For many of us, the last four months have been nothing short of an anxiety-filled nightmare that one could only dream of. Being locked inside with the people you love for four months? Nightmare. Going to the grocery store only to find that toilet paper has become a scarce item that one may need to barter for in order to obtain? Nightmare. Having to stay home all day and play video games and watch horror movies? AWESO... I mean… Nightmare. Although we can see the light at the end of the tunnel with all of the regional re-openings throughout the world, the end might still be far from over.
All in all, the Canadian government seems to have done a pretty good job handling the COVID crisis, but if I was in charge, I’d consult George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead series before making any more quick decisions regarding the provinces re-opening. Now that your eyes are done rolling and they have returned to the page in front of you, I will explain why re-watching those films might be an invaluable experience.
Anyone who has studied horror movies will tell you about the social commentary that Romero absolutely nailed when he delivered the first three movies in that series (Night of the Living Dead; Dawn of the Dead; and Day of the Dead). However, the one thing that film critics didn’t consider was that these movies could predict the future and in sequence too! In fact, maybe I’m not the first to discover this. Maybe the Canadian government has done their zombie homework? I have a hard time believing that they developed a 3 stage plan for re-opening and there just happens to be 3 films in Romero’s original series.
Before I delve into what could happen in the future, I think it’s necessary that we acknowledge what we have already been through over the past few months, as well as what we expect to happen in the coming weeks. For organizational purposes, I will be chronicling my experience of COVID so far in 3 stages.
Stage 1: Nights of me Living in Bed
Night of the Living Dead is widely considered to be one of the first mainstream horror films to depict zombies as we currently know them: hungry and dead. But what I didn’t realize was the level of accuracy in the portrayal of the characters and their arguments inside the house. Much like the last 3 months for the majority of humans on planet Earth, the characters in the film are boarded up inside of a house in order to escape the deadly consequences of the outside world. The only difference being that zombies travel at the speed of Jordan Belfort on Quaaludes and COVID travels at the speed of a sneeze from a woman named Janet at the nearest grocery store. Regardless, I couldn’t help but see the parallels between the characters arguing while they were trapped in the house and the arguments between myself and my family members. Romero really did manage to predict what would happen when people are trapped inside of a house with no escape. Good thing the townspeople didn’t swing by to try and save us!
Stage 2: Dawn of the Trend
Even though the majority of us have been doing a fantastic job staying safe during these times, I can’t be the only one who has nightmares about members of my family flocking to the nearest mall once they open. I’m sure that people will be lined up outside the mall and inside the mall to get into their favorite stores, but at what cost? I’ll probably get excuses here and there about how a quick visit to Winners is absolutely necessary and essential, but if we’re being honest, the most essential part of Winners are their washrooms. Regardless, Romero seemed to be right on the money with his Night of the Living Dead follow-up, Dawn of the Dead. In the film, the main characters are held up inside of a mall that is filled with zombies. One of the characters even mentions that the zombies might be in the mall due to an instinct or a memory from their past life. Not to draw an unflattering parallel towards people who may decide that they must go shopping, but I can’t help but see a herd of zombies when I think about all of the people who will inevitably start bumbling around Yorkdale Mall, salivating outside of the H&M.
Stage 3: Looking Forward
While it is pretty incredible that George A. Romero was able to foresee the consequences of COVID all the way back in the late 60s and 70s, the future remains to be seen. Hopefully there are more people staying indoors re-watching his zombie movies rather than gallivanting around town like World War 1 had just ended. However, if there is one message that I’d like to leave for the Canadian government, other governments around the world and our fans on ScreecherNet, it’s that many people in our society can be slow to learn about the dangers of our post-COVID world. Although the weather is nice and we are all excited to get back outside with our friends and get back to work to earn some money, it might be necessary to keep regulations on a bit of slow build up as we try to regain some semblance of normalcy. As Romero shows us in Day of the Dead with the fan-favorite zombie character Bub; zombies can learn. They just might need some time and a bit of guidance. So, do us all a favor and help guide people back to that normalcy in a timely and calculated manner. Maybe even toss some Beethoven in there too. I hear it does wonders for one’s cognitive rehabilitation. Please be like Bub. Take your time. Good luck and stay safe!