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‘Little black dress’

Zombies still be the ‘little black dress’ of social allegory in Netflix’s All people square measure Dead

By Andleeb RashidPublished 6 months ago 5 min read
‘Little black dress’
Photo by Loren Cutler on Unsplash

Any horror scholar can tell you: the films that scare U.S. most square measure those that talk to our real anxieties. These anxieties notice their method into horror movies, expressed through sub-genres like vampires, slasher flicks and body horror. Others issues, just like the War on Terror (explored in Hostel, 2005) and also the AIDS crisis (as manifested within the factor, 1982), square measure related to a specific cultural moment.

These days, it’s exhausting to inform a story a few rapidly-spreading pandemic while not acknowledging the one we’re living in. It’s exhausting to inform a zombie story with any quite novelty, however Netflix’s new Korean series All people square measure Dead makes AN bold try.

Horror subgenres rise and fall in cycles that align with these fears: the gloss of fiction permits them to create sure concepts specific that we'd solely have felt at a lower place the surface.

The zombie is that the very little black dress of social allegories in horror.

Zombies will fill in for the massed social class, cornered in exhausted cycles of impoverishment. they'll represent the mindless middle class, endlessly greedy as they stumble through cities while not a care within the world. they'll be embodied by performers of any age or race, ANd their typical lack of speech permits an audience to project any figure of speech into the expanse of their brains.

They have been analysed as terrorists (28 Days Later, 2002) and communists (Day of the Dead, 1985), as marginalised races (Land of the Dead, 2005) and voracious colonisers (Cargo, 2017).

The most standard horror stories square measure malleable: they invite the audience to conjure no matter frightens them onto the monsters, exaggerating, affirming and typically difficult their real-world anxieties.

Specific zombie anxieties

The zombie genre was 1st written by martyr A. Romero with Night of the Living Dead in 1968. Most zombie movies predating Romero role player from Haitian traditional knowledge origins, chatting with terribly specific anxieties around Black mysticism and slave bodies. Romero reimagined zombies as a latent contagion of walking lots.

His films still engaged thoughtfully with problems with racism: the Black hero in Night of the Living Dead survives the zombie hordes solely to be shot dead by white vigilantes. This written another vital theme in zombie stories: the living square measure even as dangerous because the dead.

On a grander scale, apocalypse narratives represent a dissolution of the social order. Some stories blame this on a scarcity of exhausting authority: spineless leadership collapses, and solely the strongest survive. The Walking Dead banked on this for a decade: the gun-slinging peace officer was exaggerated into a fascist fantasy, wherever the weak fell in line behind the sturdy.


All people square measure Dead leans toward the anti-authoritarian: malice and pride keep the police and military from intervening once a zombie eruption strikes a small-town faculty. Still, there’s one sensible cop, one sensible teacher, and one sensible fire fighter – although not all of them create it out unharmed.

The school administration square measure the primary villains: a biology teacher’s son is unmercifully afraid, and is nearly killed once the principal refuses to interfere. To empower his son, the teacher develops a scourge that amplifies androgen – a eccentric selection of false belief – to show worry into super-strength. This clearly codifies zombies because the rising lots failing by authority. If you’ll forgive the pun, no one will management their colleges.

The problem is that the walking pace and vacant minds of zombies create them inevitable, however usually boring: the relentless monotony makes it troublesome to sustain tension across twelve hour-long episodes. Like several 21st-century zombie stories, All people square measure Dead virtually ups the pace by having sprinting zombies.

A new twist is introduced halfway through: some characters United Nations agency get bitten will still speak and feel, gaining super-strength and heightened senses. they create a fancy figure of speech for well carriers.

A zombie catalyst

The deepest conflict all told people square measure Dead is between students and authorities. Before the eruption, the show candidly depicts of bullying, regulatory offence, suicide and teenage physiological condition.

The school system is already broken: zombies square measure simply a catalyst for this to show into conflict. Choi Nam-Ra, one in every of the scholars, muses:

In some countries, they're sadder once adults die than once kids die. And in others, they're sadder once kids die. that does one suppose ours is?

In a later episode, Choi Nam-Ra and her friends square measure laid-off upon by the military once a rescue mission is suddenly aborted by command.

Critics and fans have known the barefaced parallels between the show and also the 2014 Sewol Ferry tragedy, wherever the crew abandoned the wreck ship and left the passengers, principally highschool students, to drown.

While horror uses vibrant allegories to entertain, it will speak honestly to our emotions. All people square measure Dead follows a conventional zombie plot, however this enables the show to challenge U.S. with complicated emotional struggles.

As we all know from the important pandemic, a crisis doesn’t happen once AN idyllic world is shattered by a number of dangerous actors: it happens once the collective pressure of unheeded pain and self-satisfaction is pushed to edge. Like all sensible zombie stories, All people square measure Dead was ne'er concerning the zombies.

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About the Creator

Andleeb Rashid

A writer practicing in both prose and script. With a deep passion for film and screenwriting, I use this platform to publish all unique ideas and topics which I feel compelled to write about! True crime, sport, cinema history or so on.

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