Everyday I'm featuring one of my favorite monsters and today is 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. (Although it seems that’s changing, too.)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 is to kill it or run away from it.
But there certainly some up-sides to being a zombie.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 (thus making it potentially easier to kill one). 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.
Obviously, there’s entirely too much for me to name all my favorites- but there are a few that stick out which I must mention.Firstly is Max Brooks (son of genius funnyman Mel Brooks) who wrote the all-time greatest book on the subject in World War Z.It is the scariest thing I’ve ever read and covers every angle you could possibly think of to describe the apocalypse.From what I can tell, the upcoming movie has virtually nothing to do with the book so I wouldn’t get your hopes up there, but if you are a reader, read the book.It’s effing amazing!
Next up is The Walking Dead.I admit, I only got on board when the tv show came out but I loved it and that lead me back to the source: the graphic novels by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, currently up to issue 110. The thing that makes the walking dead so compelling is the premise: whereas movies end this comic doesn't (or at least won't till the characters have been going on for years and years and years.) It shows you what happens after the credits roll, after the main climax ends, after the fear and horror fades. It shows you life after death and how it continues on in spite of constant, unending struggle. The real monsters in the walking dead aren't the bulk of humanity that is now in zombie form, it's the other survivors who lose their humanity despite still being human. I'm a fan of the show as well (though it is VERY DIFFERENT from the comics in terms of plot timline) but my heart really belongs to the graphic novels.
Last but certainly not least is 28 Days and then 28 Weeks Later. While not technically zombie movies due to the infected people still being technically alive they are categorized as such and therfore earn mention in this list. I can't entirely explain why, but these movies- particularly the second one- scared the hell out of me. Even now, years and years after seeing them, I have nightmares. Seriously. Whenever I think of zombies I think of the ones from these movies. They're fast, bloody and damned aggresive. And because the virus that made them also caused an apocolpyse, they're everywhere. While they don't have the staying power of real zombies (as at the end of the first movie you see them starved, emaciated and too weak to move), they're still damned frightening. And in my imagination they live on as unstopable destructive forces that will break into my bedroom and kill me when I sleep. I am forever frightened by these movies.
At any rate, in the end zombies were, are and will remain one of the best sources for horror entertainment around and with zombie walks becoming an annual evnt in more and more cities their popularity is destined to grow for some time to come.
And now, as always, I invite you to hop along and keep the monster lovin' goin'.