CGAA year 1

The time Machine essay

Ernesta Baniulyte

CG Arts and Animation year 1

The time Machine essay
What makes the topic of zombies so popular nowadays?

By Ernesta Baniulyte 20/04/2012

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CGAA year 1

The time Machine essay

Ernesta Baniulyte

Film industry in the 21 st century is filled with supernatural, fixional creatures such as vampires, werewolves and zombies. Vampires and werewolves are half men who still have emotions, and feelings, so people find them romantically attractive. However Zombies, are not attractive, they don’t have feelings or conscious. ‘’Zombie is a person neither dead nor alive – the undead. In folklore zombies are walking corpses. They have died, but had been awakened through supernatural means’’ [Hamilton, 2007]. This essay will review and analyse why the topic of zombies are so interesting and attractive to people nowadays. To answer to our essays topic we will look at tv series ‘The Walking dead’, the movie ’28 days later’, Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis theory of humans state of mind, Darwin evolution theory, and movie reviews. To begin with, to answer to the question why zombies attract people so much we can start from the idea written by Dan Birlew, that we are not attracted to zombies but to the idea of zombies apocalypse. ’The ugly truth no one wants to admit. The fascination is not because of the zombies themselves, they are merely the catalyst; the real fascination is with surviving a zombie apocalypse. Being a survivor, playing the odds, making your own rules.’’ [Birlew, 2010] The idea of zombies apocalypse gives an illusion, that a simple person, can suddenly become a hero, can control the situation and to do whatever he/she wants, fascinates people. What was forbidden in the world controlled by rules and morals, it is different in the world full of dead creatures, which want to kill you. It is possible to kill, to break shop displays, to steal in the world, where zombies exist. No doubts that attract people, they can imagine to be the ones who rule, the ones who are the strongest and in control. Furthermore, to analyse why we are fascinated about zombies apocalypse we should take a look, why we have the fascination of becoming the o nes who rule. According to the Charles Darwin it is in our nature to compete with others for the sake of surviving. ‘’It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.’’ [Darwin, unknow] So, if it is in our instincts to compete, to be the ones who best adapt themselves into the changing environment it is natural that zombies apocalypse appear attractive to people. The world changes and despite your abilities or even strength you can survive zombies world just if you adapt to the environment, and
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CGAA year 1

The time Machine essay

Ernesta Baniulyte

find the ways how to be in control, how to fright the creatures. As one of the examples we can take one of the most watchable tv series ‘’the walking dead’’ . People who analysed the behaviour of undeads survived. As well they become a hero’s everything is easier for the survivals. They finally can be the ones who adapted the most, the ones who survived and be the strongest. In addition to, even we have an instinct to fight for the sake of surviving, we should analyse why we want to break the rules, get rid of the morals. To create the rules it is not the only way to be in the ruling place. However we still want to break the created ones, and become the ones who decide what is good or bad. Or even to forget that good or bad exists anymore. Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud could be one of the good explanations why we worship to act like that. The theory of psychoanalysis claims that a person’s mind contain of three components: id, ego and superego. [see figure 1] Id – is a state of mind we were born with. Basically it is something we worship and want, despite anything. Ego is the thing where we understand that some rules exists and we need to find the way to get what we want, or we understand that after we get what we want, we will face some consequences. Superego is the highest state of a person’s mind, where a person puts together everything what parents and society taught them. The superego is the part of the mind, which understands the rules and morals, what basically makes a person feel guilty. And the guilt makes a person to fallow the morals. Ego and id is controlled by super-ego, everything we want to do super – ego stops us. We can apply that to the topic of zombies as well. Zombie apocalypse would be a perfect world, where super-ego does not exist anymore. World would be in the trouble, and now a person would be allowed to do whatever s/he wants. And if we were controlled by our conscious, what is the top of the iceberg, now we would realise and let our unconscious and instincts to act.

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CGAA year 1

The time Machine essay

Ernesta Baniulyte

Figure 1

Also, the question appears: what is about zombie apocalypse that makes us forget our super-ego? ‘The first component, id, is unconscious. The id possesses our most basic drives, which are aggression and sex.’ [blog.lib.umn.edu, 2011] So if aggression is one of the instincts, what also can be called id that can be applied to the zombie apocalypse situation. Beca use of zombie being unemotional, walking dead corpse our super – ego does not apply to us anymore. If a creature does not have feelings, does not feel pain and attacks those who do, it is absolutely normal to kill them. So the id - or unconscious aggression can be realised without competing with super ego or even ego. No one would judge a person for killing a zombie. As well a person in that situation can steel, break things, because no one cares about any property anymore. That as well releases or forbidden wish - to break the rules. So, just a thought of releasing our instincts fascinates people. The idea of being aggressive and not face a consequences which would not be beneficial for a person thrills the audience. That explains why ‘The walking dead’ or a movie ’28 days later’ are so watchable by many people.

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CGAA year 1

The time Machine essay

Ernesta Baniulyte

Next, to make sure that our contemporary fascination of zombie’s apocalypse is actually about our wish to release our id and not just contemporary fashion, we should look at historical examples. ‘Zombie is a reference to the living dead in the belief system of Voodoo’ [umich.edu, unknown] Originally zombies came from Haiti and Caribbean voodoo legends, which tells a story about people whose souls were stolen by magical means. However, it is not just legends. Apparently people used to drug other people, which turned them into mindless creatures, what basically reminded of zombie: just a piece of meat without a mind and feelings. That proves the existence of people wanting control other people. Turning them into the mindless slaves, it led other people to forget super ego, and finally led their instincts to do whatever they wish. Zombies can be found in other legends, such as Arabian legends of ghouls. ‘’ in popular legend, demonic being believed to inhabit burial grounds and other deserted places. In ancient Arabic folklore, ghūls belonged to a diabolic class of jinn (spirits) and were said to be the offspring of Iblīs, the Muslim prince of darkness. They were capable of constantly changing form, but their presence was always recognizable by their unalterable sign: ass’s hooves.’’ [britanicca.com, unknown]. They did not have souls, what basically also references them to the zombies. Zombies appearance in many legends, all over the world just proves, that people unconsciously were dreaming about demonic unconscious creatures, which can be killed or controlled. That shows that it is not just contemporary fashion of these creatures rf fear of itself. It is actually can be seen as unconscious desire to have mindless slaves, or creatures that can be destroyed without a release of super ego or in other words morals. Next, we all have inner fight in our unconscious where super ego, ego and id fights. That led us to the S. Freud theory of neurosis. ‘The thesis that neuroses are caused by unconscious conflicts buried deep in the unconscious mind in the form of repressed libidinal energy would appear to offer us, at last, an insight in the causal mechanism underlying these abnormal psychological conditions as they are expressed in human behaviour, and further show us how they are related to the psychology of the 'normal' person.’ [Jun – Woo Kim, unknown] We can make a conclusion that we all have a seep wish to be released from unconscious fight and

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CGAA year 1

The time Machine essay

Ernesta Baniulyte

be free to do what we actually want, what means we would not need to control our unconscious wishes anymore. The last but not least, it is fine to kill zombies and release your id, because of the fear of zombies. ‘’Kinemortophobia is fear of the undead; specifically, zombies.’’ According to the American psychiatric association many of the people have Kinemortophobia. [American psychiatric association, 1994] That led to the conclusion that people want to destroy what they fear. Probably is another good reason why people are watching zombie movies. It can be considerate as overcoming your fear or showing that it is possible to survive zombie apocalypse, what again led to the wish to be in the ruling place. The idea of killing they fear fascinates people, and as well lets to forget they super ego or any morality forms and becoming a master of the situation. To sum up, we can see that zombies are not popular as a topic of itself, it just lets us to fantasise about releasing our darkest wishes. Does not matter if it is our instincts or Kinemortpophobia it leads as to the one conclusion, we want to forget our super ego, we do not want to feel guilty about what we do, but we worship to be in control and create our own rules, make the world turn around us and our wishes. Looking at Charles Darwin’s evolution theory or Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis we can see that we unconsciously wish of being aggressive, because it is in our nature to fight and to have a wish be the best in adopting ourselves in any environment. So perhaps watching movies with a zombie thematic we can feel that it is possible to become the hero in the situation, where everyone loves you for what we do, even your activity is the most cruel – killing. And that satisfies and audience, because they can be killers, what would release they instinct to be aggressive and they would not be judged for that, so the inner fight between super ego and id would not exist anymore. A person would feel completely satisfied and would not have a feeling of guilt.

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CGAA year 1

The time Machine essay

Ernesta Baniulyte

List of Illustrations Figure 1, blog.limb.umn.edu (2011), [online] http://blog.lib.umn.edu/hamdi002/blog/2011/11/personality-structure.html [accessed 18/04/2012]

Bibliography American Psychiatric Association (1994), . Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4 addition, Washington, DC: Author ; Birlew, Dan (2010), [online] http://www.danbirlew.com/why-are-zombies-sopopular/ [accessed 26/03/2012] Britannica.com , (unknown) [online] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/232832/ghoul [accessed 18/04/2012] Hamilton, Sue L. (2007) ‘’Zombies. World of Horror’, ABDO ; Jun-Woo Kim, (unknw) [online] ‘http://mskright.com/library_data/106B01SU.pdf ’ [accessed 18/04/2012] Krensky, Stephen (2007), ‘’Zombies: Monster Chronicles’’, Lerner Publications, USA Morton, Shayne (unknown) [online] http://www.atlantamagazine.com/features/story.aspx?ID=1531520 [accessed 26/03/2012]
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CGAA year 1

The time Machine essay

Ernesta Baniulyte

Schuh, Marie (2006) ‘‘Zombies’’, Capstone press, USA Umich.edu, (unknown) [online] http://www.umich.edu/~engl415/zombies/zombie.html [accessed 18/04/2012]

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