Stephen King’s The Stand: When one zombie series just isn’t enough

Looking back at 1994’s The Stand, on Blu-Ray now, and how it helped shape zombie TV

Trust Stephen King — the king of horror — to be the pioneering figure in what has now become a staple in popular culture: the zombie series. Spanning over multiple films and television adaptations, this idea of a post-apocalyptic world where the dead aren’t quite dead, and humans are forced to face their deceased loved ones in a battle of survival, has been brought to us in many different shapes and sizes. 

So why, exactly, is everyone so fascinated by zombies?

The first element might be that, though one zombie might be easy to outrun or kill, a horde is virtually unstoppable. This means that when people stick together, they have higher chances of survival. This also means that this dynamic breeds hierarchy amongst humans, and often it is the humans who turn out to be the real enemy. Not only that, but once you are bitten, there’s no going back. It presents the troubling question — what would you do if you or a loved one got infected?

Let’s take a look over some of the best zombie series so far, starting with one series that kick-started this craze: The Stand

The Stand

The Stand, an adaptation of Stephen King’s best selling novel, is recognised as one of the originals. It follows a group of survivors after a deadly plague has wiped out the rest of the population. Those remaining are forced to align themselves with either the forces of good or evil, and the two sides face off in a climactic battle determining the fate of mankind. Full of twists and turns, The Stand, which can only really be described as an epic tale of survival, enticed audiences into the brutal world of Stephen King’s apocalyptic thriller. 

The Walking Dead

You may have noticed that this fascination with zombies continues to inspire much content. The Walking Dead is a prime example of this. Now on to its 10th season, this series has become extremely popular amongst viewers, marked as TV’s most relentlessly disturbing and violent drama. Five seasons into The Walking Dead, there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the show’s band of survivors. 

The Walking Dead is based on a series of graphic novels and mines much of the same territory as The Stand. A virus has killed most of the population and turned it’s victims into zombies. Like The Stand, the survivors are forced to live and survive in a post-apocalyptic world. But unlike King’s novel, the survivors are still in danger from the hoards of zombies which inhabit the abandoned towns, farmland and woods. The Walking Dead explores the story a little deeper, revealing a remarkable story about human interaction in desperate circumstances. The series had audiences on the edge of their seats much like in The Stand

Z Nation

Z Nation is an American supernatural television drama what was praised for sprinkling beautiful friendships and flourishing romances in the most unexpected of places. Along with this, the crime and the epidemic, the drama affects the lives of these characters who have to depend on each other in a world that has been turned upside down by violence and desperation. This series brought a new angle to the notion of the ‘zombie’, as they are shown to be so much more than mindless hungry drones waiting for their next human snack. 

iZombie

Another cult horror classic is iZombie. This television series is loosely adapted from the comic series of the same name, and has been branded as one of the most creative and entertaining zombie shows to date. It features a ‘zombie’ who works in a morgue helping to solve murders by eating the brains of the deceased. (She gets flashes of memories from the brains she eats. Obviously?) This show is unanimously hilarious, and it was well received by an audience who were ready to enjoy the familiar trope, with a fresh new spin. 

Even with this vast collection of zombie series’, it is clear that we will never tire of that familiarly haunting, and yet strangely comforting tale of life-post-apocalypse. Do you know what you would do?

The Stand is available on Blu-Ray™ now for the first time, featuring brand new unseen extras.