Ah, the screeching guitars, the guttural screams of punk rockers, and the unintelligible groans of the undead.
Two subcultures—punk rock and zombie fiction—that could not seem more disparate at first glance, but upon closer inspection, are as perfectly matched as fish and chips.
The Anarchic Underbelly
Punk rock is, by definition, a rebel’s playground.
It’s where societal norms go to die a quick, loud death, only to be resurrected in a distorted, angrier form.
Zombie fiction isn’t far off the mark either.
The general premise typically involves a world that’s been turned upside-down by an unstoppable wave of undead creatures.
Governments have fallen, society as we know it has collapsed, and it’s every man, woman, and zombie for themselves.
In both punk and zombie worlds, the established order has disintegrated, and the underdogs must fend for themselves with DIY weapons—be it a spiked bat or a battered guitar.
It’s chaos, anarchy, and mayhem, all set to a soundtrack of power chords and human desperation.
Disenfranchised and Dismembered
Punk rock arose in the 1970s as an answer to political apathy, disillusionment, and a general feeling of being ostracised by mainstream society.
Zombie fiction often reflects similar themes.
The protagonists are usually everyday people, struggling to adapt to a world that has left them disenfranchised and dismembered (quite literally).
So, what better soundtrack for hacking through hordes of zombies than the rebellious riffs of the Sex Pistols or the Ramones?
Punk’s angsty lyrics offer the perfect counterpoint to the existential dread that permeates the post-apocalyptic landscape.
After all, when society’s on the verge of collapse, why not go out in a blaze of three-chord glory?
Individualism or the Lack Thereof
Oh, the irony! Punk rock is all about individualism, about bucking the trend and being yourself, no matter how many spikes, tattoos, or questionable hair choices that entails.
Zombies, conversely, represent the antithesis of individualism.
They’re a mass of shambling, flesh-eating conformists, all following the same instinctual drive to consume and destroy.
This fascinating contrast makes for an excellent narrative device.
The clash between the rugged individualism of punk and the mindless conformity of zombies serves as a darkly humorous commentary on the human condition.
The Medium is the Message
Both punk and zombies have infiltrated a range of media—from books, films, comics to even fashion.
Punk has given us iconic moments like the Sex Pistols’ anarchic TV interviews and God Save the Queen.
Zombie fiction has its classics too, like George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” or Robert Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead” comic series.
Each in their own way critiques society and its discontents, whether it’s through politically charged lyrics or flesh-eating monsters.
So there you have it, a match made in post-apocalyptic heaven or a chaotic hell, depending on your perspective.
The next time you find yourself donning a studded leather jacket or binge-watching a zombie TV series, remember that these two seemingly different worlds are more intertwined than you’d think.
And honestly, if you’re not interested in a punk rock soundtrack to your zombie apocalypse, then you might as well just let the undead bite you now. Because what’s life without a bit of anarchy, eh?
If you’re a fan a punk, or zombies, or punk and zombies, you might enjoy my ongoing serial, Punks Versus Zombies!