Zombie Cliche Lookout: The Monsters
There has long been an unwritten rule in zombie stories that you don’t call them zombies. While this seems to be quickly falling out of favor, there are still times when you need to come up with some sort of euphemism for zombies. Case in point: telling people about them who don’t have the right frame of reference. Take kids, for instance. You probably don’t want to tell them that these things are reanimated corpses that want to catch them, and then eat them alive. That’s probably a little too much for kids to handle. But at the same time, you want them to take the threat very seriously.
Hence: monsters. Kids understand what monsters are, at least on a very non-specific level. Monsters are the bad guys. They should be afraid of monsters, because the monsters are going to “get them”. This instills the right mindset in kids to help them survive. Avoid the monsters, and don’t get eaten by zombies.
About this Episode:
I want Vicky to be a good mother here and comfort her children, but also work hard to keep them safe. In my original draft, I had the kids cry, and then be comforted by Vicky. I ended up rewriting things because it just didn’t feel right for Vicky. These kids should be scared, that might just keep them alive.
Discussion Question: Explaining Zombies to Kids
As both a father and a huge fan of zombies, I’ve come across this one a time or two: how do you explain zombies to kids? Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I let my five year-old watch zombie movies with me, but it’s also pretty hard to completely hide my obsession. We’ve gone to zombie walks, I have loads of zombie books, movies, and games. Oh, and then there’s all those LEGO zombies I have lying around my office.
So how do you explain that to kids without, you know, horrifying them?