Dead Rising: the zombie trend

walking deadA pop culture trend that takes form in all sorts of media outlets is that of what some people see as an impending apocalypse, most notably the awakening of the dead in a zombie apocalypse.

The predictions made about the end of times is nothing new, especially with the recent failed prediction by the Mayan calendar that predicted the world would end in December of 2012.

But the thought of a zombie apocalypse continues to sweep the nation as seen in multiple TV shows like “The Walking Dead”, movies like “Dawn of the Dead” or “28 days later.”

Dordt College professor of psychology Dr. Mark Christians outlines why he thinks zombies are such a phenomenon in our world today.

“I think that what makes zombies or the thought of a zombie apocalypse so enticing is just like when you’re watching a horror movie. You can watch the horror take place and then you can step back into reality and realize that everything you watched wasn’t real.”

Watching the horror take place is one of the reasons why AMC’s hit TV series “The Walking Dead” is so popular, Christian’s explained. This groundbreaking TV series takes its viewer’s inside the lives of a group of survivors in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. Over 12.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the shows midseason premiere in early February.

Zombies roaming the earth has been depicted in multiple video games as well, most notably Activision’s “Call of Duty-Nazi Zombies” where players fight off waves of zombified Nazi soldiers.
Dordt College junior and zombie video game extraordinaire Jory Kok explains his thoughts on the zombie phenomenon.

“I feel that everyone who watches a movie or TV show with zombies in it, they always imagine themselves as being in it/always thinking that they could survive a zombie outbreak when in reality, they probably wouldn’t,” Kok said.

Though he doesn’t believe that a zombie apocalypse will happen, Kok didn’t shy away from discussing his plans if zombies were to roam the planet.

“If there was a zombie outbreak and for some reason the government couldn’t control it, I would take wife and my friend Joe and his wife-he and I have good survival instincts,”Kok said. “We would cruise around in a vehicle with as much gas as we could find. Stop at every Wal-Mart for supplies and ammo. Live off canned foods for as long as possible. Around here in Northwest Iowa, the key is to use the openness of the Midwest. Find some farm in the middle of nowhere, build large fences around it to protect yourself and wait it out. You could also try to grow crops for food.”

The trend of zombies and the rising of the dead is depicted across the world, but it can even be seen on the campus of Dordt College in its annual “Humans vs. zombies” game held each fall.

Dordt College students voluntary sign up to take place in this week-long event where one person is designated as a zombie, and the rest are humans. It’s the zombie’s job to “kill” as many humans as possible, turning them into a zombie. A zombie is denoted with a green scarf tied around the forehead. Humans are signified with the same green scarf but tied around the arm.

Tyler Couperus, a freshman from Alberta, Canada, paced the way for all zombies on campus, tallying the most “kills” of anyone else taking down 32 humans.

“I’m actually not into zombies that much,” Couperus said laughing. “I’m just really into the ‘zombies vs. humans’ game on campus. It’s a giant game of tag essentially.”

Couperus may not be the biggest zombie fan but even he can still see why the zombie obsession is such a spectacle.

“People today put some much emphasis on things having to be rationale. Something that will never happen and put an interest in it. A world that proves things won’t happen-like the zombie trend,” he said.

Kok concluded by saying that a zombie outbreak is unlikely so everyone can relax.
“Believe me, If I had to choose the way the world would end, I would choose zombies. I feel I’m prepared for it. I know that that will never happen though because if a zombie apocalypse did occur, our country has the technology and force to stop it before it even begins to spread…I think,” Kok said.

Jordan Harmelink, Staff Writer

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