Why are we so fascinated by zombies?

Why do so many video games feature the walking dead?
29 May 2019

Interview with 

Dr. Hank Davis, University of Guelph


A xombie


Georgia Mills looks at why we're so fascinated with zombies.

Georgia - It's an undeniable mainstay of the gaming industry whether it's horror survival or first person shooter the humble zombie is the butt of much videogame violence. But why do we love to take a hammer AK 47 or indeed any kind of offensive weapon to the polls on be other than the fact that they're trying to eat our brains. Well many of us love being scared. It's like riding a roller coaster. You give your fear circuits a little test drive and get a boost of adrenaline all while knowing you're in a safe environment. Horror films theme parks haunted houses. They're all popular because of this. But why zombies are so scary. Well according to Dr. Hank Davis from the University of Guelph there are three powerful triggers of fear that are a result of our evolution.

Hank - The first is a fear of being chomped on which arises from being very much part of the food chain. We're very sensitive to things that prey on us to a sense of being stalked to a sense of menace. The second is a fear of the disgusting and gory. We are very very aware of. Rotting bodies Gore and it's very good that we avoid these things because they do harbour. Nasty bacteria that can kill us. So rotting organic matter is not something you want to play with or eat. And finally a fear of the uncanny. A person who violates our sense of what a person actually is. The biggest reason is that you can't reason with it more than any other species on the planet. Ours uses reason we reason with each other we are a very very social species.

Georgia - And guess what. Zombies take all three skyboxes.

Hank - Zombies are also good because they're predators. They carry deep contagion. They themselves are dead bodies so you don't want to get too close to them. And finally they want to reason with us.

Georgia - So there you have it. Zombies are the ultimate spooks and it could also be argued zombies provide those of us who feel slightly weird about gruesomely murdering a fellow human even if they are computer generated a guilt free monster to blow to smithereens.


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