Sex is a major trope in the horror genre. In a slasher film? Better not have premarital sex. In a vampire movie? That vampire probably wants to sleep with you. Relationships and sex can be used a variety of ways in horror films including being a vehicle to move the story along, Usually, sex is punishable by death in many horror sub-genres. The zombie genre, however, tends to look at sex a little differently.
Wildly popular now, zombies are the new vampire. They are taking over. Cities across the country have massive zombie walks. The Walking Dead has become a top rated comic and hit television show. Novels, video games, and many more have tackled this subject in a variety of interesting ways. Zombies have been around for a long time, but nowadays they have become a driving force in entertainment media. George A. Romero’s 1968 Night of the Living Dead seems to be where a lot of inspiration is drawn from, but the way zombies are being depicted is not what is at the very core of a lot of zombie related things.
It is the people dealing with the zombies.
People have become way more important then the creatures their selves. How do they deal with this dystopian situation? How do they deal with each other? Humanity always seems to regress to their most innate mentalities when dealing with any catastrophe and the dead walking the Earth is no different.
So, what does this all have to with sex?
Sex within the zombie apocalypse rarely means imminent and immediate death like it does in many of the other sub genres of horror, but it could bring many other problems.
Pregnancy and the birth of what I like to consider ‘Apocalypse Babies’ is one of the problems that those in a future overrun by zombies have to face. Regardless of danger, it seems humans still require to pair their selves off which usually means babies. Birth control must not be readily available when you are scourging around for food and attempting to survive.
The Walking Dead has dealt with newborns and potential pregnancies in both the acclaimed comic book and award winning TV show. Not only was there a pre-Apocalypse birth in which the survivors had a baby to care for, there was pregnancy scares post coitus for those hooking up despite of the apparent zombie threat. The comic book series handled the baby in a more – er – believable way albeit tragic, but the television show is holding on to Lil Asskicker and inserting the baby in as many scenes possible. After a pregnancy scare, a character says they do not “want to be afraid to have a life” which seems completely misguided considering they are surrounded by death. It is perfectly fine to be afraid of the flesh eating dead. It is perfectly fine to not conceive children in this world.
But, that does not stop humanity from getting their groove on and inevitably having children despite the dire consequences. Some of these kids might actually survive infancy as evidenced in Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. This post-apocalypse video game takes place several decades after a mutated fungus causes some humans to become zombie-like creatures. The character Ellie is a 14 year old that was born after the world went crazy and has grown up within this “new” world. It is always a rarity to see these destroyed worlds so far in the future. Typically it is right after the outbreak with the characters learning how to handle it. Ellie is a girl born into this world and it shows. She knows how to take care of herself and has no qualms about doing what it takes to survive. However dark it may seem, it is quite a refreshing take on life with zombies.
Sex is trope within the horror genre that means something different in each of it’s sub genres. While there is no immediate threat of death like in slasher movies nor is it highly romanticized like in vampire lore. Whatever the case may be, when the dead rises will is be survival or satisfaction for you?
Also, zombie babies. Let’s try to avoid that.