The end of the world is long, especially at the end. The zombie apocalypse narrated in the cult series The Walking Dead coming to an end. The third and last part of the eleventh and last season (you follow?) begins on Sunday (and from Monday 3 on OCS). Will we be rid of the living dead? Not sure. Already, the franchise The Walking Dead made lots of babies.
There was the spin-off WorldBeyond – stillborn after 2 seasons – and Fear The Walking Deadwhich will come back to haunt us in 2023 with a season 8. And then there will soon be another series centered on the character duo Carol and Daryl, and also an anthology series, Tales of the Walking Dead. The zombie invasion is therefore far from over. When you were told that the end of the world would be long…
All-In on Zombies
But above all, the most pirated former series of all time (it has since been beaten by Game Of Thrones, series also featuring zombies…), which made the event in each episode at its beginnings, was a social phenomenon with biblical repercussions. We’re just exaggerating…
Movies, series, comics, games, goodies… The fashion for zombies has taken everything in its path. Since the launch of The Walking Dead in 2010, the zombie became a safe haven for all creators. Take the example of the board game Zombicide…
Zombies on a board
Originally intended for a small circle of collectors of zombie figurines, the participatory game (all players play against zombies) has become a cult game that has seen multiple expansions and a brand new edition with improved design and rules .
Through crowdfunding calls, the creators have mobilized millions of players (and dollars). Yet not necessarily intended for the general public (just like The Walking Dead by the way), Zombicide is still among the best-selling games in the world in 2022.
Another apocalypse is possible
With these behemoth successes and the thousands of other creations featuring zombies, will we end up getting tired of the living dead? After all, the show District Z on TF1 was a flop. And Netflix was forced to cancel the series resident Evil after a disastrous first season…
“We are emerging from a decade marked by The Walking Dead and creative licensing that exploits zombies. I think it will continue but in terms of creativity, I wonder if we haven’t done the trick, says Anthony Bruno, communication manager at Black Book Editions, a role-playing game publisher. There are plenty of games that tell the apocalypse in other, more original ways. »
Zombies, a new hope
In her romance Veggy vs. Zombiesthe author Lydie Wallon wanted to give a new chance to the figure of the zombie and imagined a mise en abyme with a geek female zombie character… “I was born in the 1980s and I have all these references to pop culture that I gave to my character: Tolkien, comics, Jurassic Park… I imagined a zombie character, geek and autistic, who resists his cannibalistic instincts and wants to go towards the other, to fit in. The zombie is for me the pretext to talk about difference, acceptance, and other social issues. At home, the zombie virus is transmitted through meat, for example. »
“The zombie is very practical, confirms Karim Berrouka, author of the novel The punk club against the zombie apocalypse. He’s not a very interesting character because he embodies pure terror and there’s not much you can do with him. But it’s a super good foil to tell a lot of things. In my novel, I chose a group of survivors not at all interested in survival, in choosing a leader and organizing the struggle. The punks, they don’t care about all that. No future! For them, the end of the world is an opportunity to be seized. »
Fear of today, zombie of yesterday
For the two novelists, the zombie deserves better than the only post-Romero incarnation at work in The Walking Dead. “You can’t get enough of zombies! He is a somewhat grotesque but marvelous character, he is a dish carrier to talk about the worst faults of the human being, explains Lydie Wallon. It allows for example a criticism of the consumer society: the zombie has only one goal, to eat without satiety. It evokes our society which overwhelms us with so many images and information that we forget to think about it. »
Karim Berrouka also analyzes the strength of the figure of the zombie in the light of the topicality of our fears: “The more we distrust others, the more successful the zombie is… The zombie is the shady neighbor you worry about. suspicious and who becomes a monster. Zombie stories tell of our relationship to otherness, the fear of the stranger. »
The living dead love bad news
The scorching summer of 2022 is also a climate conducive to the expansion of zombie thinking, according to Anthony Bruno of Black Book: “We are going through a decade where the notion of the end of the world, which has long been considered a delirium of science -fiction, with post-apocalyptic worlds à la Mad Max, has become more… real. Climate change makes talking about the collapse of civilization and the collapse of our models a kind of obvious. The zombie is a symptomatic expression of that. Where it was original and transgressive to use this figure, it is commonplace today. »
And yes, who says new existential anxieties (rise of extremism, climate danger, etc.) says a bright future for zombies who can embody all the fears linked, for example, to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia or to pandemics…
Cat and zombie game
Aside from uninspired parents when it comes to dressing up their kids for Halloween, there’s someone else who’s looking forward to this zombie survival. Paul Chiozzotto is the co-creator of the Zomb’in the Dark events, an “orienteering course in zombie territory.” Since 2014, the company has grown and organizes several events a year, bringing together 650 participants each time. The principle: a kind of giant cat-and-mouse game with some of the players dressed up as zombies, in abandoned and scary places.
“We are the children of the huge wave of popularization of the figure of the zombie., recognizes Paul Chiozzotto. We were lucky to arrive at the right time with the right idea. To be honest, we didn’t think it would last, we thought people would get tired of zombies…”
Of the zombie walk zombie woke
Betting, like a lot of post-The Walking Deadon a subtle mix between fear and humour, Zomb’in the Dark “targets the very general public where zombie walks and the counter-cultural production around the figure of the zombie were intended for an informed, even expert public. »
The zombie has thus succeeded in the feat of reconciling the members of the great family of pop culture: expert nerds, connected teenagers, annoying boomers… Evidenced by the general enthusiasm around the series adaptation of the video game of author (but successful) The Last of us.
For Paul Chiozzotto, “the zombie allows for a representation of otherness that is less problematic than the bad Russians or the bad Amerians” of the works of the past. “The zombie is a fictional enemy, so close and so far from us… I don’t know if there is a figure that can renew itself so much. »