Welcome to the very significant date of 12/12/12! I hope you’re planning something fun, especially if you have kids. Buy a dozen donuts. Make a dinner where everyone has to eat twelve of something (green beans, pretzels, etc.). Set up an obstacle course where you do twelve repetitions at each “station.” Think of an activity that your family loves to do and incorporate the number twelve in it. Happy Dozen Day!
Now back to serious matters. The next most significant day on the horizon is 12/21/2012. The day the Mayan calendar ends. The day *some* people believe the zombies will try to take over the world. But just how did the zombie thing get attached to the Mayan calendar thing? It turns out that the culprit may be Hollywood. Although the earliest mass introduction of the concept of the undead coming to life was featured in Mary Shelley’s book Frankenstein, published in 1818, movies took the theme to a new level. In 1936 H.G. Wells released Things to Come. The movie is set in a post-apocalyptic time where the un-infected humans have to destroy the infected if they want to survive.
Let’s fast forward to 1968. Many books and comics had showcased the zombie theme but when George Romero’s masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead hit screens, the genre took off. Film critic Roger Ebert warned parents not to take their children. The zombies in Romero’s movies were not silly characters you could laugh at. They felt real. With the success of his first movie, Romero went on to make five more in the “Living Dead” series.
With Romero’s lead, many movie writers did their own spin on the idea. Which brings us back to the question of how the Mayan calendar got linked to zombies. My best guess, after hours of research online, is that the Mayan calendar drawing to a close was rumored to cause unrest in the world (like we don’t already have a good bit of that). What says unrest and chaos more than zombies? It’s a scenario that reeks of more fun. Which is more exciting, after all — that earth spontaneously blows up… or that zombies are walking around, begging to be hunted, giving you a great excuse to stock pile Twinkies and Spam?
Once movies linked the two, there was no stopping the idea. Science fiction books and comics ran with it. More movies were made. The predictions became deeply rooted in our culture.
The GeekMom group has some of our own favorite zombie movies that we’d like to share with you. You can choose whether you watch them now, as you’re preparing, or once you’re hunkered down and need some long term entertainment.
The top two favorites, of course, are Night of the Living Dead (because it’s just a classic and set the standard) and Zombieland (because it’s more current and has a geeky main character).
GeekMom Amy is fond of Shaun of the Dead but also recommends a lesser known movie called Planet Terror. I’m personally interested in Planet Terror because one of the main characters loses her leg and is fitted with a machine gun that also works as an artificial leg. It’s making me feel like my regular ole plastic and titanium foot and leg are very inadequate I’m thinking I might need to call my leg guy in the next week or so, and see what we can rig up.
If you’re only interested in how a gun-leg would work, fast forward this clip to the 1:20 mark. It’s awesome.
Another obscure pick was submitted by Ariane. She caught the showing of a zombie themed movie at a film festival. It’s called Fido and here’s the premise, from Ariane herself:
“It takes place after the zombie apocalypse and it’s about middle class suburbia keeping zombies–controlled with special collars–as pets and servants. Very strange!”
When it comes to zombie movies, strange and entertaining are the same thing, right?
One theme I found interesting, as I put the call out for favorite zombie movies, was the fact that many of our GeekMom writers can’t actually watch a zombie movie all the way through. It gives them nightmares. I totally understand this. It’s the same reason I can’t watch scary movies centered around a teenage girl babysitting. It’s too real. It’s too close to home. I always tell my kids, when they beg me to watch scary movies with them, “I have enough fears of my own, I don’t need to be introduced to new ones!”
For moms, the zombie apocalypse is just another thing we have to be prepared for. If there’s not enough food or water, everyone looks to mom and asks why. If someone gets a cut or scrape, they turn to mom for a bandage. Being reminded of all the things that can go wrong (much like the scare surrounding Y2K) can most definitely give a GeekMom nightmares.
So have fun, and watch some of these treasures, if you’re able. If not, maybe you could make better use of your time making sure you do have enough bandages in the supply kit. We will not judge.