Zombies Are Back

Staff Writer discusses the resurgence of zombies in recent pop culture

It seems that every couple of years, we get a massive influx of zombie apocalypse shows, games, books, and films before it dies down for a while. It seems that right now we’re in one of the longest spans of time for zombie apocalypse media to be so popular. Zombie apocalypse media never goes away but it always fluctuates when it dominates the industry.


This span seems to have started around 2016 when Train to Busan became an international hit and The Walking Dead TV show was in the heat of the Rick vs Negan storyline and more zombie media came out following. In 2019 alone you had Zombieland 2, Little Monsters, and The Dead Don’t Die come out in theaters. The Walking Dead comic book and video games finished up in this time. The Last of Us Part 2 came out to massive praise from the video game world. So hypothetically, once it hit its peak, it was going to slow down a bit. However, one unprecedented thing happened that changed this direction.


March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic began and changed our world. For months, a lot of us were on lockdown in our own homes and many of us sought media as an escape. Catharsis is a funny thing. Like how we seek out sad music to feel better about our sorrows. During Covid, a lot of people found their catharsis in watching, reading, and playing things related to the apocalypse. Films and shows like REC, Warm Bodies, and Z Nation began to show up again on regular streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video. But the most notable way to see the spike in interest was how much zombie media has come out since the pandemic has winded down. Netflix’s Army of the Dead saw 75 million homes watching the film in 28 days, the 8th biggest film in the service’s history according to Business Insider.  Tons of zombie apocalypse media is expected to hit shelves and airwaves in the next few years


2023’s first big TV hit The Last of Us, based on the game of the same name, features a zombie-like virus and will be getting a second season. Even with The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead ending, three spin offs of the franchise are simultaneously being produced by AMC. Dead Island 2 is finally going to be released on consoles. Those are just a few of the zombie related things coming out soon. It seems the genre is gonna remain on top for a few more years. 


So why zombie apocalypse stories? In the history of the genre certain things remain the same. Ordinary people struggling to survive, complete strangers banding together, and the worst in people being brought out in the chips are down. Covid brought out the best and worst in a lot of folks. The actions of people, good and bad, in these stories are no longer as hyperbolic as they were before. The zombie genre, through all its blood and crossbows and moaning zombies, always had one major factor that determined how bad the situations got in their respective stories, and that’s the characters, the people, themselves.