Krueger: Students’ love for zombies: Fiction or reality?

Emily Krueger

I might be dying to go to Hobby Lobby to buy a bandana this year — literally.

Beginning on Sept. 30, the yearly campuswide game of Humans vs. Zombies begins its eerie dominion over the university. The game is simple: Red bandana equals human; green bandana equals zombie.

Obviously, the zombies chase humans. If you are “eaten” you become a zombie. “Humans” can even make sock weapons to defend themselves against the hungry flesh-eaters, “stunning” them for a few seconds to make a quick escape.

Hence, beginning in only a few short days, the ISU zombie apocalypse comes to a head — and a brain — as students with red bandanas wrapped around their arms strategically dash towards the safety of their classes. The university buildings become more widely known as “safe zones,” with a horde of green-clad sleepwalkers trailing behind students as they take refuge.

In the past century, we have been introduced to a world where the zombie fan base is at its peak. The past five years have brought America movies such as “Warm Bodies” and “World War Z,” and TV shows like “The Walking Dead” that have plagued television and newspapers across the nation. Zombie survival guides, zombie marathons and even zombie energy drinks have trudged their way into people’s hearts and homes in a most peculiar way.

A normal response to this phenomenon is simply to overlook the underlying factors and enjoy popcorn and a movie.

But something awakens the inner investigative journalist in me. Something about the possibility of the undead awakens a curiosity and a course of anticipation through viewers’ minds.

It is that lingering question, the “What if?” of the story. What if there were a pandemic that wiped out almost the whole world population? What if I were one of the few who survived? What if a worldwide zombie apocalypse actually happened?

Then again, maybe the answer is not left in the “What if this happened?” but rather the knowledge that it could happen — that someday the end of the world will happen. The curiosity regarding the Armageddon or a worldwide apocalypse leads to an even bigger query.

What makes people dwell on the topic so devoutly? Movies such as “2012,” “I Am Legend,” “After Earth” and countless other titles are obsessed with the thought of the end, even venturing to question what would happen after it is all over.

Does a new beginning arise from the ashes?

I find it interesting that many of these movies always end with mankind’s heroic persevering existence. Never is humanity completely wiped out. We, humans, have made ourselves play God.

Could it be that the apocalypse strikes a nerve within our melodramatic pride, cutting back to the reason for our existence? In the light of the world ending, could humankind be tracing back to what really matters — the reality of faith in something? Whether that is belief in a god, the God or some deity within yourself, everyone reaches back to that one thing that gives them security in a world of uncertainty; it is a truth I believe is planted deep inside every human being.

On Sept. 30, the campus will be swarming with undead entertainment. During the chaos of it all, I hope that my words give students the enticement to search out answers to their persistent questions — and to really take some time to ponder our existence.

Because you never know. Tomorrow could be too late.