Killer Thursdays

How Sympathetic Can a Zombie Be?

Zombies Were People Too

Flesh and Bone, Rot and Ruin Book 3, by Jonathan Mayberry
The 3rd Rot & Ruin Book

I recently read Jonathan Maberry‘s Rot and Ruin series, the story of four friends who’ve grown up in a zombie devastated world. As they try to find their place in this world, they have to choose between safety, an illusion crafted from stagnation and denial for many of the survivors, and freedom in a land where everything wants to kill them.

While the novels deliver all the shambling, flesh-hungry zombie terror you’d expect, it also packs a huge emotional punch. Good horror makes you care about the characters but Jonathan Maberry makes you care about the monster too.

Yes, we are talking about zombies here. And, yes, they’re still dangerous (getting more dangerous all the time too) but you can’t escape the fact that each one of those zombies had a life, a family. No matter who they were in life, they were somebody’s child, sibling, parent or love. They were people too.

Of course, those people are now zombies who will eat you alive and turn you into to one of them.

So, there’s that.

Actually, maybe it’s that we can see ourselves in the zombies that really makes zombies scary. They are us and show us what we could be.

Zombie in a hoodie

What do you think? Can zombies really be sympathetic? Do those sympathetic elements make the zombie scarier or less scary?

Image Attribution (In Order of Appearance):
Image via (fair use)
Zombie by e_monk, on Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

10 thoughts on “How Sympathetic Can a Zombie Be?

  1. @Nicole: Yep, that would be a hard thing.

    @Lara: Definitely. They’ve got enough action to keep you going but the focus is less on the horror and more on the characters. I love that.

    @Caleb. LOL Yep, zombies are great shoulders to cry on…unless they’re hungry.

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