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LostInParadise's avatar

Why is there this sudden interest in zombies and vampires?

Asked by LostInParadise (25329points) August 17th, 2010

I enjoyed the original Dracula movie, largely due to Bela Lugosi’s performance. “There are things far verse than death, Van Hilsinger.” Beyond that I do not have any particular interest in the undead. Is this just a U.S. phenomenon and is it mainly for younger people? It strikes me as a bit decadent. If the U.S. is, as some say, in a decline then I can see future historians pointing to this as an indicator.

I don’t know if there is any historical precedent. There is plenty of literature involving ghosts and spirits, but people believed in such things. Nobody really believes in the existence of zombies or vampires.

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16 Answers

CMaz's avatar


stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

They’re fun, takes your mind off of life’s real problems.

Austinlad's avatar

I posed the same question in a comment to another question a few days ago. I think there are many, many other fun things, not to mention serious ones, that can take one’s mind of life’s real problems besides stories about walking dead people, and particularly about cannibalism, a disgusting subject that seems to be cropping up more and more (“The Road”).

Have we perhaps set the bar too low for entertainment?

serafina's avatar

The scene/emo culture and previously goth from years ago promoted the love for all things dark/cult/vampir-ish (Is that even a word) Agree with First answerer, Hollywood has jumped onto the bandwagon now and through their greed we are seeing more and more of the same style of films. It’s getting boring now, and i loved the original films better.

Seaofclouds's avatar

For me, I like reading books about supernatural stuff (vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons, witches, etc.), along with many other genres (sci-fi, horror, romance, mystery, and more). I’ve been reading these books for the past 20 years though, so it’s not a new thing for me.

janbb's avatar

Why? Why? Why?

Trillian's avatar

The interest for me has been ongoing since about 1970.

ucme's avatar

Wasn’t the Jerry Springer Show on years ago?

MacBean's avatar

@Austinlad The Road isn’t about cannibalism, and if that’s all you took away from it, I’m very sorry for you.

Berserker's avatar

This is not a ’‘sudden’’ interest. Vampire literature for example has been around since like 1600, if not earlier. The 1950’s basically revolutionized the medium as we know it today with all its low budget horror films and comic books about Vlad the Impaler.
This was in America too, so maybe it was as ’‘decadent’’ back then than it may be now.

These things have always fascinated people, because behind their initial concept lies some insight and questions about death, ’‘what if’’ scenarios and other things that fantasy often makes us think about in ways other mediums won’t. The charm of wallowing in your own misery is a little more serious in Dracula than it ever was in those harlequin novels, I’d say.
The undead seem to strike closer to home however, especially vampires, not exactly because they’re a reflection of our fears and desires on an emotional level, but because one of horror’s main concepts used to frighten its audience is to utilize realism, and this greatly enhances the relation between us and them.

Think about it. A zombie invasion. In your town, your country…it doesn’t take too many elements to bring that up, and for the sake of exploration and morbid curiosity, it makes it dumb fun for everyone. Zombies have also been a part of entertainment ever since explorers in the 20’s discovered African Voodoo spirituality. Actually it was probbaly discovered before that, but I mean the zombie entertainment.

Granted, superstition and religion once ruled the lands and this was never known as entertainment, (And in some places it may be no laughing matter still.) not back when sleep paralysis was blamed on succubi (And even today it’s sometimes blamed on aliens.) but it has been around for quite some time in film, theater, music, literature and art.
The styles change, and so do the concepts; Twilight ain’t no Anne Rice, and Anne Rice is far from being Don Sebastian, but the interest in vampires and zombies (Add ghosts and witchcraft to the list.) is elaborated, diverse and vast enough that we can’t really say it’s ’‘booming’’ beyond the media just telling us what’s awesome, like it does with everything.
I mean when Twilight came out, I started seeing non Twilight related vampire material everywhere, (Which was mostly a hell of a lot more interesting than what it was meant to promote.) but we shouldn’t use that as a barometer for a budding passion.

Granted, Hollywood does blow everything out of proportion, but in that case every genre touched by Hollywood faces the same treatment.

Maybe people don’t believe in vampires and zombies today, but they sure as hell did before, so for what you said about ghosts could very well stand for this, as well, since it became entertainment after being a belief, just like ghosts…

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Symbeline Fantastic answer! Goth is fun even without all the zombie and vampire stuff.

Berserker's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Indeed. You don’t have to be a Goth to enjoy that stuff, and if you enjoy it, that doesn’t make you a Goth. But Goth is another thing altogether…;)

Hobosnake's avatar

On a less serious note, a movie reviewer I respect (whose review of zombieland which includes this theory can be found here, theorized that the love of zombies (or, more specifically, killing zombies) evolves from a desire to kill our hated peers channeled into more morally acceptable targets (zombies).

More serious theorists might lump it into the growing fascination with all things magical/mystical that contributes to the popularity of Harry Potter, and, as such theorists claim, twilight.

Instead I’d like to point to one of Twilight’s greatest critic groups: the nerds. No, we don’t hate it because we are jealous. Many nerds hate twilight simply because it throws out all the “rules” for vampires and werewolves, as partially outlined by this expert.

Nerds have loved such mystical, rule-laden things for a long time. Don’t ask why, maybe we like how complicated they are, maybe we like movies and video games where we get to see someone kill things because we sure as heck can’t. Whatever the reason, nerd culture is on the rise, and it’s slowly becoming paradoxically “cool” to be a nerd (that I’ve seen and heard of, at least).

flutherother's avatar

What I find just as interesting is how unpopular ghosts have become. They used to be seen regularly and ghost stories were common. Where have they all gone?
Zombies are born out of fear. That something horrible wants to kill us is a thought that lies deep within our psyche. It is a fear that is as old as the hills. They are also a licence to kill. It is perfectly socially acceptable to blast a zombie’s head off with a rocket launcher and so they provide a useful outlet for our aggressive instincts. I suppose it is a bit decadent.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Symbeline I think we’ve clarified our true niche as Steamgoth. Gotta have the goggles. :^)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

As much as I enjoyed the original Night of the Living Dead, vampires are scarier. Here is why:

7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Outbreak Would Fail (Quickly)

Read more:

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