I had the zombie dream last night, and that seems as good a reason as any to address it here on the site. See, I’ve been having variations on the same zombie dream on and off for close to fifteen years now. I’m fairly certain it started shortly after I saw Dawn of the Dead, which was shortly before I turned twenty. It’s something I’ve discovered is remarkably common among my male friends, especially (but not exclusively) those who are deeply interested in zombies. I’m sure there are women that have the zombie dream, too, I just don’t know any of them.
The dream is usually some variation of the apocalyptic zombie scenario. Zombies run amok everywhere, and I am left alone, or nearly alone, to battle the undead hordes. These dreams are not nightmares, not for me at least. To the contrary, I find them both fascinating for their symbolism and entertaining for their sheer zombie awesomeness. Indeed, I have no doubt that they have played a major part in my obsession with all things zombie. For whatever reason, my brain has latched on to the image of the shambling, animated dead as a vehicle for any number of subconscious desires, fears and impulses.
In the dream, I am always fighting valiantly and unceasingly against the living dead, but there is always the grim certainty, just as in most zombie fiction, that eventually I will fall and be consumed. In my own analysis, I’ve determined that the zombies frequently play the part of inexorable external forces working against me. For example, while I was in college, I would have the dream with some frequency around the time of finals. I have also had it at tax time, before a big project at work is due, etc. At other times, the zombies themselves aren’t necessarily the focus, but simply acting as a foil for other impulses — for example, the last time before this most current time I had the dream, the main anxiety in it was about not being able to reach my daughter, who was on the other side of town during a major zombie outbreak.Â Not coincidentally, this was right after she went to stay with her grandparents for a while. In other words, like many a filmmaker working genre Z, the zombies were but symbols of something else.
On the other hand, I occasionally have it at a time when I simply am thinking a lot about zombies. Last night, for example, I was thinking about them right before bed and actually hoping I’d have the dream. I was also trying out melatonin to see if it would aid my intermittent insomnia, and I’ve heard it can contribute to vivid dreams. In any case, I love the zombie dream and I hope I keep having it — honestly, the one thing that’s a bummer about immersing myself in zombie media is it tends to reduce the frequency of how often I dream zombies. If anyone cares to share, I’d love to hear about others’ zombie dreams, including what you think it might mean to you.