Today's new zombie fad is a reflection of an unhappiness in society, a researcher has claimed.
With numerous zombie films and shows gaining great popularity in recent years, Clemson University professor Sarah Lauro has claimed that the phenomenon mirrors society's general dissatisfaction as well as recent economic chaos.
Last year a homeless man, Ronald Poppo, was attacked by a man, Rudy Eugene, thought to be high on bath salts. Eugene beat Poppo before biting and eating a large portion of his victim's face off. The horrific attack sparked wave after wave of reports in the months that followed of other zombie-like attacks across the globe.
One of the most popular TV series on at the moment is "The Walking Dead," which is about the struggle of a band of humans trying to escape a pack of zombies.
In recent weeks some radio stations have also been hacked with a warning played over broadcasts telling of a breaking zombie apocalypse.
In some states zombie events have taken place, with dozens of people gathering together, dressing up as zombies and walking around in rugged clothes and make-up of bloodied faces.
Clemson University professor Sarah Lauro has studied the zombie phenomenon for her doctoral degree at the University of California at Davis. Speaking of the zombie events where people gather to walk around like zombies, Lauro has said that such occurrences started in 2003 in Toronto, and their popularity spread through the following years. Her research showed that the events took place alongside an increase in dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq.
Lauro has said, "It was a way that the population was getting to exercise the fact that they felt like they hadn't been listened to by the Bush administration. Nobody really wanted that war, and yet we were going to war anyway," according to The Associated Press.
She further describes that "zombie walks" have taken part in at least 20 countries as of 2012, with more than 4,000 participants gathering for an event in New Jersey in October 2010 - setting a Guinness World Record for the largest recorded event of its kind.
Lauro also told AP: "We are more interested in the zombie at times when as a culture we feel disempowered. And the facts are there that, when we are experiencing economic crises, the vast population is feeling disempowered. ... Either playing dead themselves ... or watching a show like `Walking Dead' provides a great variety of outlets for people.
"If you were to ask the participants, I don't think that all of them are very cognizant of what they're saying when they put on the zombie makeup and participate. To me, it's such an obvious allegory. We feel like, in one way, we're dead."
Here is video footage of the New Jersey Zombie Walk, which set a new world record as the largest such event. "Zombie Walks" have now been documented across 20 different countries as of last year: