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Friday, September 16, 2011

Creature Feature Friday: Zombies

I let everyone else go first because my favorite paranormals aren't going anywhere. Today it's my turn and I'm talking about the the undead. No, not the swoon-worthy kind. The risen from the grave, shambling, hungry for your innards, flesh-sloughing kind...

What are zombies?
They are the undead! And they are hungry for braaaains! (Okay, you knew all that.)

How a person becomes a zombie is up for debate. A zombie sinks his teeth into you, and you turn. You get some inexplicably mutated virus, and you die and don't stay dead. You could be raised by a reanimator or a necromancer looking for information or an undead army. Or, if you believe everything you see on television, then some tech executive makes a poor decision about laptop technology, the laptop gets dropped by a line worker, the power goes out, milk spoils, a not so bright guy drinks it anyway, and BAM! Zombie apocalypse. Game on! (Anybody have a twinkie?)

What do you love about zombies?  
I'm not sure I can say I love zombies. Intrigued might be a better word. I don't actively seek out undead media, but when it finds me I seem to have trouble turning it away. I suppose it's because zombies are unpredictable. They can be laughable or gruesome or scary. They might even try to find a way to express everything they're unable to put into words. Zombie luuurve.

Yes, they are super-fun in action movies. There's no shame in blowing a zombie to high heaven right? Everybody loves to see the hero take down a zombie hoard with heavy artillery. Admit it. Ving Rhames in Dawn of the Dead. Woody Harrelson in Zombieland. Etcetera, etcetera. You've watched someone blow a hoard of zombies to smithereens. And you enjoyed it.

But why are zombies frightening? Is it the threat of rotting grey flesh and a new taste for raw meat? Or is it the existential consequences of becoming undead? One little nip from a hungry straggler and, once the agonizing illness is over and the death tremors have subsided, the victim is entirely stripped of their humanity. Words, mobility, feelings... They're all gone, and what used to be a person is now a rotting husk desperate to sustain itself for one more day. Worse than that, no one is immune.

Favorite zombie in fiction:
R from Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. Who says zombies can't be gentlemen?

Favorite zombie in pop culture:
It's not real a favorite zombie so much as a particular incarnation of zombie. In the TV show The Walking Dead the zombies aren't the slow-moving, mockable things they've been portrayed as for so many years. They are frighteningly twisted mutation of humanity that can do some serious damage.

If you like zombies, you should read...
You'll also need this shirt from Shirt Woot. Trust me. It's proof that brains are an acquired taste.

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