Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/811/18606
The Socialist 14 May 2014 |
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In the Flesh
Helen Pattison reviews the BBC's 'In the Flesh'
Series one of this entertaining Bafta-awarded horror series saw the character Kieren Walker, a deceased teenager, returning to his family after he committed suicide. In the Rising he and hundreds of thousands of Partially Deceased Syndrome (PDS) sufferers are reanimated as zombies.
After treatment, therapy and with special make-up and a huge box of coloured contact lenses, he moves back to his family home in Roarton, a small fictional village in Lancashire where the Human Volunteer Force (HVF) was set up.
When the 'undead' rose, the army was deployed to the main cities to wipe them out but small villages like Roarton were left to defend themselves. Kieren's own sister joined the HVF to keep the undead at bay and help protect her family and community.
Now society is struggling to come to terms with "rotters", an offensive term for PDS sufferers, being released back into communities. Untreated the undead killed people to eat their brains, but now medicine has allowed them to lead normal lives.
'In the Flesh' takes on issues of everyday life. It shows segregation imposed in the local pub. The vigilante HVF kill treated PDS sufferers in front of their families and later mark the homes of PDS sufferers. Ostracised and treated as second-class citizens a layer of the undead fight back. They refuse to wear the make-up or contact lenses which make them look alive and they wear gothic zombie style clothing.
By series two, things are looking up in some ways. Roarton has become more accepting, Kieren has a job in the local pub, the guns are being collected and most of the undead have been captured for treatment. Not all the HVF abandoned their old ways, some still violently attack untreated PDS sufferers and destroy them rather than handing them over to the authorities.
There is also growing animosity to the undead in big cities. The extreme layer of the undead is able to exploit this to gain followers. Terrorist attacks by the undead are taking place while a mainstream anti-undead political party is making ground in parliament.
The series does a good job at making the viewer angry about discrimination and violence against PDS sufferers. Maybe the rest of the series will show how to resist oppression - even better, keep reading the Socialist.