The type of death one can expect from a zombie is nothing if not intimate. They use no secondary object, like a knife or even a rock. They use only their own teeth and hands. Victims are frequently shown having their abdomens violated by a group of zombies who proceed to then put the vitals into their mouths. Like I said—intimate.
In our culture we resist intimacy. There was a time when servants would bathe and dress their betters, but nowadays we have a hard time carrying on a conversation with someone standing next to us at the urinal.
Charles Taylor observes that our culture is characterized by a “withdrawal from certain modes of intimacy, as well as taking a distance from certain bodily functions” (Taylor 137). Taylor cites the work of Norbert Elias in his book, The Civilizing Process, where he describes a shift involving a “steady raising of the threshold of embarrassment, one might even say, disgust” (Taylor 138). Where once people were advised not to blow one’s nose in the tablecloth, we now insist on leaving the table to perform the same act.
We are uncomfortable with intimate connections to others. It is the convention that bodily functions are not even mentioned. How much more offensive is the disembowelment and consumption of entrails witnessed regularly in a zombie film.
Clearly, this is a monstrous affront to our modern sensibilities.
Next zombie post: Zombies are Funny