REDDIN: Brains! Brains! ZOMG BRAINS!!!

It has come to my attention that my columns these last few weeks have been a little depressing.

Look at what I’ve covered thus far: Books, television, theater, movies, and America are all dying. Facebook and the Motion Picture Association of America are evil. Joaquin Phoenix is descending into madness.

Yes, I know it turned out Joaquin Phoenix was never crazy in the first place, but that’s not the point.

At any rate, this week, I decided I’d focus on something a little more lighthearted.


OK, maybe I missed the mark a little on that one.

While the concept of the zombie has been linked to voodoo beliefs for centuries, the contemporary incarnation has its roots in the late ’60s with George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead.”

After an initial surge in popularity, the fad went dormant for decades. But, like a zombie itself, it rose again, slowly gaining a foothold in the world of film, video games, literature and, most recently, television. AMC’s new series “The Walking Dead” premiered Sunday.

But while zombies are staggering into a new entertainment frontier, there are still a few proverbial shopping malls they have yet to breach. Here are five killer ideas that will (if you’ll pardon one last pun) knock you dead.

5) Zombie Superhero Movie

This one’s a gimme: Marvel Comics has been making bank on their hit series “Marvel Zombies” for five years now, and they like making their comics into movies at the speed of light anyway.

Here’s the basic premise: A zombie virus infects some of Earth’s mightiest heroes. The surviving heroes fight the zombie heroes.

Really, what’s not to love?

4) Zombies!: The Musical

Zombies have managed to infect almost every form of entertainment thus far, but they’ve been pretty sparse on the stage. Not if I have anything to say about it.

Imagine you’re at a Broadway show. The house lights are dimming, and you’re settling into your comfy chair. Then a line of putrid, rotting corpses shuffles down the aisle moaning in harmony and sloughing slimy portions of their costume on your sportcoat.

It’ll be such a relief to hear the phrase “theater is dead” as a compliment for once.

3) Magic Zombies

As the cinematic zombie has evolved, it has moved further and further away from its mystical roots. And while “realistic” zombies are cool, the fact of the matter is any “real” zombie would rot to pieces in roughly two weeks, making a zombie apocalypse shorter than a season of “Jersey Shore,” and possibly less damaging to the American psyche.

So, let’s get supernatural. Start with the film’s villain: your unfriendly neighborhood necromancer. Add a few edgy 20-somethings discovering their magic abilities for the first time, and make sure Disney doesn’t get its sanitizing little hands on it. Guaranteed success.

2) Humans vs. Zombies vs. Vampires

What’s the only thing better than one horror movie fad? Two horror movie fads.

In a world where zombies exist, it’s equally plausible that vampires exist. And if vampires and zombies exist, then the vampires are obviously going to side with the humans. After all, who are the vampires going to bleed dry if the zombies eat all the regular folks?

1) Zombie Protagonist

We’ve had every other kind of hero. But the one person zombie movies have never really looked at is the zombie itself.

It would be horror of a very different sort — the protagonist compelled to feed his hunger for human flesh, despite his abhorrence of the act. It would certainly tell a different story than the traditional zombie narrative. But I think it could be absolutely fascinating, if done well.

And who knows? Maybe he can even find himself a zombie lover, and they can stagger off into the sunset together.