At one point in time zombies were relegated to the back burner of horrordom. I know, crazy right? Why, because zombies have always been pretty awesome. Long before 28 days later 're-envisioned' the undead as some sort of macabre walking venereal case study gone awry, zombies have always been that one creature that was just as formidable as most death dealers, albeit in groups of a dozen or more, but one never given its just due. George Romero seemed to get it, and not only that, but treated these bad asses with proper bad assery. So as an adolescent, being treated to the release of the stellar first entry into the Resident Evil franchise, needless to say my mind was blown. There I was, older brother Gabe at my side, controller in hand, blasting away at the undead, while also trying to survive the onslaught and stave off running out of ammo. Needless to say it fucking great. When the sequel dropped, it was like the second coming. Then things kind of got stale, as series invariably do, and the zombie genre kind of limped further away from the mainstream, and closer to the fringe where it just seemed more comfortable. A few movies would emerge, a few comics, maybe a game or two, but not much life seemed to be left in this already lifeless vestibule of cranium craving cadavers.
Then all of a sudden, wham! Zombies where every where. George retold his vision of a zombie apocalypse in a none-too-great Dawn remake. Resident Evil 4 dropped and removed the zombie element in lieu of some poor man's excuse of a zombie knock off. Resident Evil the movie franchise was born, and well... We all know how that bullshit turns out. At least until then next completely unnecessary installment that no one is asking for, and that for some reason escapes the direct to dvd death sentence it deserves for its many crimes against humanity. Then came Call of Duty's Nazi zombies, "Dude, they're Nazis, and zombies!". I will take this moment to go on record and say that 28 Weeks Later was actually really good. The opening sequence alone was perhaps one of the most truly frightening scenes I've witnessed in recent cinema. It perfectly encapsulated the fear and tension, and sacrifice that would be required to survive a true zombie apocalypse. Plus it was my first introduction to Jeremy Renner for better, and begrudgingly (lately) for worse.
I have, of course skipped over a few less-than-mentionables, and I'm sure even a few brilliant entries also, sorry. But with the sudden influx of over saturation in the zombie realm its easy to do. Some how a movie like the dead manages theatrical release, yet is a perfect example of a shitty zombie movie. One could quite literally live comfortably in the scenario depicted in the movie, as it seems only possible to get bit if you simply stand still and allow it to happen, as does occur with every death in that piece of shit. Of course, when talking about zombies and feces, you must inevitably turn to the Walking Dead, a steamy pile of excrement. A clear case of ham-fisted sermonizing discussed as thrilling zombie fare.
I guess what I'm getting at is this, zombies have always been awesome, and for a while there it was a great time to be a zombie lover. But then the corporate machinery began to turn and it was evident that there was money to be made, and shit just got all out of hand. Plants vs Zombies, for the kiddies and casuals. That isn't to say that its completely hopeless, or that anything zombie related is going to be lousy. After all, like the zombies themselves, this a genre that just keeps trucking. But when left unchecked, like all things, its easy to lose sight of what makes zombies great, and even easier to press on until the very last dollar has been made, and even slightly beyond.