Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Parable of the Dead

Zombie films are more than just scary and gross. They are tragic and disturbing. The powerful idea behind them is that of the world coming to an end as the dead overcoming the living. It has been used over and over again to make effective if somewhat hyperbolic social commentary.

Of course, in spite of all the “messages,” these movies are made to appeal to the macabre in folks. Each one tries to outdo its predecessors in the gore department. That is the hardest part of a Zombie film to stomach; they are not really scary, just gross.

The most striking commentary is best made in “Shaun of the Dead.” This comedy does an effective job of showing just how Zombie-like the world already is today. People shuffle through their lives in an aimless, purposelessness. Their whole goal in life is just to satisfy all their appetites for food, sex and entertainment.

The Bible has pointed out this problem from the beginning. Humanity is less than what it was intended to be; it is in a very real sense the living dead. The very fact that so many people consider seeing people eaten as a good time is evidence to that effect.

For Christians there is a message here too. Shaun is shaken out of his loser lifestyle when he realizes the Zombie outbreak is threatening those he loves. After the threat is over, he goes right back to being a slacker. Plenty of “Christians” live this sort of life all the time. Their lives are no different from the rest of the world until some crisis comes their way. It is a tragedy really.

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