Zombies and the Shopping Malls!

George A. Romero is world-famous for one thing and one thing only: zombies. The sixty-eight-year-olds career of writing and directing zombie movies has now spanned forty years since Night of the Living Dead premiered in 1968. With Diary of the Deads release in 2007 and an announced sequel set for 2009, he shows no signs of slowing down. His films are very graphic and bloody, but they are more than simple gore-ridden horror films set out to scare and disgust audiences. Romero often uses his films as an opportunity to make a statement about society, although Mr. Romero himself tends to deny that his films are about anything deeper than zombies.

One such film with a (possible) social satire is Dawn of the Dead (1978). The film takes place in a shopping mall, where several survivors congregate in an attempt to protect themselves from the onslaught of the living dead. The setting of the film is our first clue to the underlying theme of consumerism. Our survivors flee to the mall, thinking of it as a sort of safe-haven, only to later view it as the prison that it truly is. The group is trapped inside, with the people confining themselves into smaller and smaller areas in an attempt to stay safe, while the hoards of zombies are also heading towards the mall. The audience never really knows if the zombies sense the living inside the building or if the mindless masses are simply doing what they did day after day, week after week when they were still living: going shopping.

Is consumerism so deeply ingrained into our systems that it is no longer a conscious thought, but a mindless habit? Perhaps this is not only a commentary on consumerism, but of the lack of thought that most people put into their lives. They repeat the same schedule everyday without any thought behind it, not even realizing that they are no longer living!

Kortney Bullock

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