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Nil

posted by [personal profile] towith at 05:58am on 26/01/2013
A few weeks ago I had a discussion with [livejournal.com profile] fragilemacabre about fealty we sometimes attach to character designs within the horror genre, namely whether or not vampires and zombies contained certain properties which should not be altered. I argued that certain traits make something a zombie and that to abandon those is to abandon the idea of the zombie. [livejournal.com profile] fragilemacabre's rebuttal was that the concept of a purity of forms in fiction is fallacious.

After some thought I asked myself the question "What makes a monster, a monster?" My conclusion was that horror stories are tales we tell ourselves about our fears and that the fidelity I feel for those character archetypes is extent to which I identify with those fears. This raises the question of why people wish to change these monsters and the logical answer is that our fears have changed.

Vampires once stood for our fear of foreigners, disease, sexuality and decadence. In a modern liberal society many of these fears have fallen away, replaced by a Peter Pan fantasy of immortal youth. Should we be surprised then that modern vampires sparkle and are inextricably interested in High-school girls?

With the forthcoming release of the friendly-zombie film Warm Bodies, I can only ask myself what fear has fallen away from society. Many theories abound about the nature of the zombie; do they embody mindless consumerism, communism, prejudice etcetera. I subscribe to the theory that the zombie is an expression of bereavement. The zombie siege represents the crushing depression and feelings of isolation which come with losing a loved one. Perhaps then this is the reason why I find them so compelling and why a young teenage audience would find it difficult to identify with those fears. In any case, I will be watching the box office numbers with great interest.
There are 2 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
 

Nil

posted by [identity profile] trav28.livejournal.com at 09:12am on 26/01/2013
I recall from an interview with Clive Barker (about 20 years ago) that "zombies are the liberal nightmare" as it was difficult to imagine in a contemporary age a "mummy crashing through the patio window". I read this as a zombie siege would force us mentally and physically into places that one would not normally tread. For me, a zombie plague isn't that interesting, the real "meat" is how society would address those issues that it would cause and how we would react emotionally and psychologically to seeing the dead walk and whether or not it would cause the trains to not run on time.

 

Nil

posted by [identity profile] towith.livejournal.com at 05:26am on 28/01/2013
Definitely. That's certainly the Romero approach to zombies. I'd say that it's the same concept found in John Carpenter's The Thing, or The Blob, the monster doesn't matter as much as the reaction in creates.

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