Concept: instead of taking classic literature and adding zombies, take classic zombie movies and remove zombies.
Two possible outcomes as far as I can see: Option A) REPLACE zombies with something else entirely. Night of the Living Dead? Now it’s about a vampire apocalypse ala I Am Legend, or maybe the zombies are replaced by Frankenstoid monsters. Option B) DESTROY any hint of zombie plot. This has the most potential for drastic overhaul of the work – what is Night of the Living Dead about if no undead monsters rise from their graves and there is no looming threat to society in the slightest?
I can think of three major approaches that would retain the broad outlines of a typical zombie yarn without copping out and directly replacing the zombies with some other sort of supernatural critter.
The Straightforward Approach: Use a natural disaster instead.
The Metatextual Approach: Most people are gone, and the tiny handful of survivors we’re following know they have to find a fortified hiding place, but nobody can quite seem to remember why.
The Honest Approach: Just ninety minutes of white people being anxious about immigration.
I think everyone is forgetting the Absurdism option: just remove all the zombie and leave empty space behind. People run screaming from nothing. Pure chaos, no logic. Dadaism reinvented.
Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Working Class’ (Big Train)