This article was first published on Medium, 2 April 2015. Warning: analysis and spoilers for seasons 1 to 5.
Like millions of fans around the world, I love The Walking Dead, and I’m an avid horror aficionado. Yet after five seasons, with breathtaking plot twists and turns, The Walking Dead’s treatment of gender, race and sexuality remains stagnant. For a show that takes many liberties when asking the audience to suspend disbelief, there’s one area it has no trouble maintaining a familiar narrative: the dominance of White, heterosexual men.
Since it launched, the show has focused on relationships and character development. This proved a novel way to bring horror to popular TV. Anthropologist, Professor Juan Francisco Salazar and Dr Stephen Healy, a geographer, argue that Season Five “reflects on the meaning of group solidarity in a brave new world.” The researchers demonstrate how various social science readings of the show centre on social anxiety. In their view, this most recent season was concerned with “Rick’s communitarian family.” That is, the other characters on the show who have bound together supposedly through Rick’s leadership, even when there have been long periods (notably Season 3) when Rick provided little guidance.
The show invites its audience to consider their own bravery under zombie duress. Would we panic and leave sweet Noah stuck in a revolving door swarming with zombies? Would we become “weak” within the walls of Alexandria? Should this frustrating person or that annoying character be killed? The show does not encourage us to think about why the writers persist on upholding White men as leaders, and why White women, people of colour and other minorities are notably absent from the narrative landscape.
It’s no accident that the diplomatic and inclusive leadership of Deanna (a White woman), flawed as it may be, is presented as fundamentally irrational because of its inclusive ideals. Meanwhile, Rick, a White man, is presented as the only model for viable leadership in spite of his flaws.
Perished is a short Australian film screening at the MIFF alongside REC 3: Genesis. This tale follows a solitary man who survives the zombie apocalypse. Trapped inside a shed without food or drink, he vacillates from despair to resourcefulness. Plenty of gore for zombie lovers, but stands apart thanks to its ending.
Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Day 1: [REC]³ Génesis.
Spanish film with English subtitles. Screens with the impressive, low-budget short Australian zombie flick Perished.
Like most adoring fans of the [REC] franchise, I came to this film brimming with excitement.REC³ Genesis (the third REC film) is the first of 14 films I’m watching at the MIFF. Unfortunately, this third instalment is disappointing – primarily because of it does not live up to the REC legacy. Continue reading REC Genesis: Film Review
In this video, you see Cordyceps are ‘killer fungi’ that infect ants and other insects, changing their behaviour and eventually killing them. Then a fungus grows out of their body and heads. They have been dubbed ’zombifying fungi’.
Although I don’t note this on my CV, I am, in fact, somewhat of a Zombie Sociologist (that’s a sociologist who studies zombie artefacts and accumulates zombie knowledge for public education – not a zombie who is also a sociologist). As such, I have collated some pertinent social facts* about zombies. I feel it is imperative that I share these with you.Continue reading Sociology of the Zombie Apocalypse