|Here’s an interesting interview about the anthology The Living Dead (which contains my story “The Skull-Faced Boy”) and about some of the political subtext of zombie fiction. The interviewer is Rick Kleffel of The Agony Column and the interviewee is Jeremy Lassen of Night Shade Books.
Rick Kleffel: I’m going to read Clive Barker’s comment on zombies from The Book of the Dead, the introduction. He says: “Zombies are the liberal nightmare. Here you have the masses, whom you would love to love, appearing at your front door … with their faces falling off. And you’re trying to be as humane as you possibly can, but there they are, after all, eating the cat! And the fear of mass activity, of mindlessness on a national scale, underlies my fear of zombies.” Now, I think this is a really interesting comment on some of the political nature of zombies, because we have seen that as a nation we’ve kind of been acting in a mindless fashion, and I think the resurgence of interest in horror fiction is somewhat a result, at least to my mind, of our current economic crisis.
Jeremy Lassen: Well, that’s definitely the case. There’s always been a tie between horror and politics. There’s an old saw that says that horror fiction is always popular when Republicans are in office, and that sort of has proven to be true, continuously. I guess you could add the corollary that the economy always ends up in the tank when Republicans are in office, and so thereby makes the economy-and-horror connection. But that’s interesting, casting this as “the liberal nightmare.” Because that is sort of the case: The fear of the masses who vote against their own self-interest.