An excellent essay here by Davia Sills about the cultural space zombies occupy for us. Excerpt:
At the heart of the zombie metaphor lies our need to understand our own personhood: can we extract good from all that darkness? Can we come back from the depths of despair and retake the world of light? We still have our share of monsters, like the skulking, mindless killers on the long-running US TV series, The Walking Dead. But more and more, viewers want to see zombies such as R from Warm Bodies and Camille from Les revenants who are just as confused, angry and unsure about their place in the world as we are. The humanised zombie is an antidote to the ever-present threat of terrorists, school shooters, exotic pathogens and predators of all sorts because it offers the potential for us to understand those who are different from us. Sure, zombies with personalities crave human flesh, but the most evolved of them struggle to control themselves, either in memoriam of the person they were or for the sake of the human beings they now love.
Read the whole article.