I suppose it all began when I was putting together last year’s Christma(dnes)s article. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was bad enough, but an even lazier knock-off of a lazy novel? And a knock-off based around A Christmas Carol? No thanks. Seeing not one, but two zombie poetry books only added to my displeasure on the overexposure of zombies. Even CNN Health’s Twitter feed actually devoted a day to zombie questions, complete with a “#cnnzombies” hashtag for crying out loud! But what finally pushed me over the edge was the endless parade of zombie merchandise out there. And no, I’m not referring to the numerous “zombie apocalypse survival guides” floating around out there.
If there were only one “survival guide from a zombie’s perspective” out there, I wouldn’t mind so much about the fact that zombies are rarely able to read or how, being creatures of instinct, a zombie would have no use for a guidebook. After all, it would just be a one-off spoof of the above-mentioned guides. But when the parodies start to rival the source material in volume, then I’m free to point out the flaws in the humor.
How to Speak Zombie: A Guide for the Living wouldn’t be so bad if they were just selling the sound module or if it was a short book whose pages alternated between the word “brains” and random groans. Sadly, we get attempts at humor like “aaaaYYYrarhhhhmMUHHHTT?” translating as “Can I borrow your yoga mat?” Ugh.
I don’t know what annoys me more about The Zen of Zombie: Better Living Through the Undead: The fact that it exists or the fact that it spawned a series of follow-up books, including The Code of the Zombie Pirate. If you think that last one sounds like a hilarious idea, kindly leave this website and never return.
Do we really need a “Zombie Survival” energy drink? Or what about a zombie-themed magnetic poetry kit? If you think that I should cut these some slack due to their being novelty items, I invite you to look at some zombie novelties that not only don’t suck, but almost made me not write this article. For example, this zombie shooting gallery rules. While both the toilet sticker prank and zombie survival kit are well-made and would be perfect for Halloween, the kit gets extra points for actually doing something interesting and useful with the “zombie survival guide concept.”
But leave it to the official Pride and Prejudice and Zombies calendar to get me to change my mind back to writing this. Even if we put all of the knock-offs and wannabes aside, I’d still hate that novel for its quick-and-dirty grafting of the latest pop culture buzzword onto an old public domain work that so many somehow found innovative and clever. But 501 Things to Do with a Zombie makes Pride and Prejudice and Zombies look like a masterpiece of hard work and originality. For you see, none of the things to do are zombie-related (save for a brief reference to Dawn of the Dead, a rare moment of actual humor)! It’s just brief snippet after brief snippet of things like “Thumb wrestle” and “Adopt a pet.” This book could easily be applied to ANYTHING just by changing the title. I can’t believe somebody actually published this.
A book that combines Chicken Soup for the Soul and zombies? What a timely and humorous joke since it’s 1993. OH WAIT.
Although I don’t hate zombies, the sheer amount of overexposure of the walking dead is definitely going to make me avoid anything relating to them for quite awhile. That said, I’m sure I’ll be able to look at zombie stuff again without instinctively grimacing sometime later in the year. After all, that I Walked with a Zombie DVD on my shelf isn’t going to watch itself…