Zombies have been incorporated into numerous kinds of media over the years, and children’s media has been no exception to the zombie spread. Like most other media or genre changes that zombies have been through, the zombies in children’s media fit within the understanding of zombies, but have their own specific use for the aesthetics and storytelling appropriate for children. Ranging from only tiny snippets, to occupying whole episodes or being a significant part of a film, zombies have become well adapted into children’s media.
Kinds of zombies Edit
Zombies in children’s media overwhelmingly take the appearance and aesthetics of the shambling, walking corpse, flesh and brain hungry type of zombie. Earlier styles of zombies, such as those of White Zombie or Night of the Living Dead, as well as the more recent fast zombie, are quite lacking in children’s media. This is perhaps related to the theme and mood that many of the movies that types of zombies originated in. Reanimated corpses seeking out brains originates from and films like Return of the Living Dead, which have a much less serious tone and more comedic tone, which may make it easier to adapt into a tone more acceptable for children. Examples of this can be seen in films like Paranorman, where the creators sought to make their zombies shambling corpse like zombies. The video game Plants VS Zombies features aesthetically similar but cartoonish zombies who are beaten back by autonomous weaponized plants.
Zombie plot Edit
The uniformity of aesthetic seems to also apply to zombie related plots in children’s media. Most children’s media with zombies takes the route of “science gone wrong” or of a magical mishap that unleash an infectious zombie outbreak. This can be seen in series such as The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, and others. However, one significant exception to this is quite important, as it seems to be one of the earliest zombie related media specifically for children, Scooby Doo on Zombie Island. This film’s plot features a much more vodou like story, where zombies are the result of a deity’s work.
The uniformity seen within both the aesthetic and plot of zombies in children’s media seems to represent a lot of what embodies zombies that is appropriate for children. Being adapted largely from the most popularly recognized forms of zombies, and from those stories that were often the least serious, presents what is likely the easiest way to quantify and reproduce zombies in an way recognizable, relatable, and acceptable for children’s viewing.