Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On Zombies

There are a lot of similarities between vampires and zombies. They both originate from the same oral traditions in ancient folklore: undead creatures who eat flesh/drink blood (they didn’t distinguish between the two back then). References to them can be found in most cultures. They’re both considered infectious: zombies can make another zombie by biting them, vampires can make another vampire by biting them. And now, after years of literature, movies, and other forms of entertainment they’re both insanely popular in fiction.

And yet the differences between the two are striking. Vampires are suave, sophisticated, often handsome, hypersexual creatures with powers to seduce, bespell and enthrall. Zombies are shambling, decaying, mindless creatures that cause nothing but fear in the eye of the beholder. Vampires might be pursued by some for the purposes of romance, sex or just a wild time. Zombies are something you flee from and if you come into contact with one your only choice it to kill it. Vampires are (usually) limited to moving about freely only at night whereas zombies are not. Vampires tend to be solitary creatures and can often be found independent of other vampires. Zombies tend to travel in packs making them more difficult to kill and attacks more deadly. Vampires are rarely (nowadays) depicted as causing apocalypses where the entire population becomes infected and survivors are few and far between whereas zombies are usually solely depicted in this format.

I’ve already spoken at length about my fear of zombies and why they’re frightening while vampires are exciting so I won’t rehash that now. But I will say this: in terms of fear I would venture a guess that a lot of people agree with me. And possibly because of this zombies are an extremely popular staple of Halloween.

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