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Wednesday 08 October 2008

Proclamations of the Red Queen

30th May 2008

Why We Like (Gay) Zombies

Posted by: Craig Young

Why is there currently an upsurge of interest in the lavender undead? I decided to explore this question, with the assistance of a blog on the general cultural zombie zeitgeist.

Zombies are the least fantasised of humanoid monstrosities. Given the current rationale of an out of control mutant virus designed for nefarious military objectives (during the “War on Terrorism?”), they’re more ‘believable’ than vampires, werewolves, reanimated Egyptian mummies and the other retro fare available within the horror genre. It probably has much to do with the advent of the New Right in the eighties and nineties, and the associated shift to privatisation of risk management from former government hands, which led to the resultant advent of Blair, Brown and Clark in Britain and New Zealand.  With diminished mental health expenditure, and a rise in urban underclasses, pathologies fester and lay unexamined, until we are ’shocked’ by a hideous violent crime and/or act of anti-social behaviour.

Or, in the case of the United States, how cumulative neglect of government mental health services and resultant porous holes in networking with criminal justice agency breeds serial killers. From live humans feasting on human flesh or mutilating bodies, it’s perhaps a not-unimaginable leap to extrapolate undead, drooling, cadaverous post-human creatures moaning with cannibalistic lust.

Where do we fit into this, and why is it that gay zombies tend to get a more sympathetic reception within independent gay cinema, apart from Vidkid Timo’s inaugural At Twilight Come the Flesh Eaters (1994), which remained more faithful to the zombie horror subgenre? It could be that gay men recognise the injustice of being stereotyped as so motivated by one bodily sensation (desire for male same-sex bonking) that we can identify with the undead. As well as that, in the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, PLWAs used to have their own problems with facial and bodily wastage as the retrovirus ate into their immune systems and opportunistic infections resulted. For that reason, then, we’re willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Moreover, most gay zombies aren’t stereotyped undead. They are sentient, and motivated by other things than cannibalism and homicide, and there’s a lot you can cover up with lipstick and powder, as can be witnessed by the title character in Gay Zombie (2007). However, it’s important to note that there is a variant on this- those gay undead who want to eat men two different ways, as in the aforementioned At Twilight Come the Flesh Eaters and Creature from the Pink Lagoon. 

And happily, I can now announce the first sighting of a lesbian zombie, although annoyingly, she’s more audible than she is visible or textual at the moment.  Fundies don’t like the idea of “the occult and homosexuality” in this short story, which is a faaabulous reason for trying out “My Friend is A Lesbian Zombie.”

Must be confusing if they’re a politicised lesbian zombie, though. Would lesbian feminist zombies restrict their cannibalism and homicidal tendencies to evil corporate CEOs, unpleasant televangelists and right-wing antifeminist activists, given the complicity in oppressing others that could otherwise result? (In which case, are they therefore evil at all??!!) As for lesbian separatist zombies, would they therefore only eat other lesbians rather than be contaminated by male flesh?

And no, I haven’t encountered any transgender zombies, apart from the zombie drag queens of Cage au Zombies, a French production with obligingly jockstrap and trainer-only clad undead football players as well as the aforementioned darknight divas. Mind you, given the average drag queen’s artistry with lipstick, powder and maquillage in general, wouldn’t it be difficult to spot one until it was too late?

Hmmm. Perhaps we should rename this new indie gay zombie cinema LGBTZ?


“Why We Love Zombies” Short Ends and Leader: 29.10.07:

Jamie Russell: Book of the Dead: The Complete Encyclopedic Guide to Zombie Cinema: Godalming: FAB Press: 2007.

Tags: General

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Craig Young // May 30, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    And wouldn’t food poisoning be an everpresent danger for the aforementioned lesbian feminist zombies, given how rancid right-wingers tend to


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