Sarah Lauro, professor at Clemson University studied zombies while working on her doctoral degree at the University of California at David. She keeps updated on movies, television shows and video games about the undead, but focuses on zombie walks, which are when large numbers of people get together to act like zombies. Most of them wear special makeup and dress in tattered clothes to complete the look.
Lauro believes that there is a connection between the obsession with zombies and the amount of dissatisfaction and economic distress many people are feeling.
She says that a zombie mob began in Toronto in 2003 and by 2005, the popularity dramatically increased. It was at that time when people were unhappy with the war in Iraq. She says,
"It was a way that the population was getting to exercise the fact that they felt like they hadn't been listened to by the Bush administration. Nobody really wanted that war, and yet we were going to war anyway."
The interest in zombies seems to have exploded with popular movies like "Dawn of the Dead," "28 Days Later," "Resident Evil" and the hit series, "The Walking Dead." Zombie walks are also on the increase with people in at least 20 countries participating. In October 2010, the New Jersey Zombie Walk in Asbury Park, N.J. gathered more than 4,000 participants.
Sarah Lauro believes that when citizens feel disempowered that zombies provide an outlet for them. However, she says that some of them may not realize the connection. She says,
"If you were to ask the participants, I don't think that all of them are very cognizant of what they're saying when they put on the zombie makeup and participate. To me, it's such an obvious allegory. We feel like, in one way, we're dead."
"I think that the more society feels like a drone to the government, economics, or anything else in their life, the more they feel like zombies and zombie role-playing/entertainment begins to increase."
While some people have always been intrigued by zombies, there are others who have recently been drawn to the television show "The Walking Dead" and have surprisingly enjoyed watching it even though they never liked violence or gore. Sarah Lauro may just have a point to what her research indicates.