Shadow Realities: Wolf Men, Blood Suckers and the Walking Dead

It’s Halloween – zombies, vampires and werewolves walk the streets of our cities in frightening array. However, in the popular culture of today, especially among many teens, they have far more than a seasonal presence. The Twilight series and TV shows such as The Walking Dead and Teen Wolf immediately come to mind.


So what is this fascination all about?

In part, I think these shows highlight some of the shadow sides of our culture. Vampires invite us to look at the blood sucking greed of much of this society. Werewolves may represent the unchecked rage and violence that many people, especially women, often endure. And as for zombies, too many people are “walking dead,” living their lives without meaning or purpose.

Even if partially or mostly unconscious, our young people are often both fascinated and excited by programs that highlight shadow realities. They will probably always be popular with teens. They present a side of our world that most adults would rather not think about but which young people feel they must come to terms with in some manner as they approach adulthood. Sometimes I watch The Walking Dead or Teen Wolf with my teen aged daughter, and usually she is willing to talk with me about her thoughts and reactions afterward.

Not a bad deal for either of us.

By John Mariner,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

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