At a book sale today, I commented to my companion that I was a bit bored with vampires. I had found a copy of the first book in the True Blood/Sookie Stackhousen(?) series by Charlaine Harris and had decided not to buy it. My companion disagreed and spent the next minute rhapsodising about vampires. ‘They bite,’ she crooned, a touch too loudly and sensuously for a church hall on a Saturday morning in my personal opinion. But that is by the by. Apart from my friend and assorted Ron Pattison groupies, I get the impression that we’re all a bit bored by vampires. There’s a lot of them about and I can’t help but feel that a moratorium is called for. So far, so uncontroversial.
However, if we are to move, slowly, to zombies, things are different. Zombies are great, zombies are cool, zombies are going to medical school.
Well, I’m sorry, but I just don’t get this whole zombies thing at all. They are the dullest and dreariest supernatural menace to stalk the cinema since I can’t think when. Yet they seem to be adored by many. I mean, all they do is moan, lurch and eat people alive and even that palls after a few times. The website www.tor.com ran an article which posited the theory that we like them so much because they are so pathetic. They are ‘schlupps’ the article suggested which I take to mean that we are meant to feel a certain sympathy for them. I don’t get it myself. I mean to say, with a vampire there’s a chance of some decent conversation, with a ghost you might be given a great revelation and some cool special effects but all you ever get from a zombie is a moan and some anthropophagy for your trouble. Where’s the pleasure in that?
I suppose that if ghosts represent our fear of personality annihilation after death and vampires our fear of predatory sexuality and STDs, then zombies channel our fear of pre and post mortem decay and loss of facilities. Oddly enough, that was what folkloric vampires seemed to have represented before Bram Stoker and then Bela Lugosi got their fangs into them. Perhaps a similar arc awaits the poor shambling zombie? Already they can run, which they never used to be able to so it’s not such a leap for them to become sophisticated, stylishly dressed and Hungarian as opposed to hungry.
‘I do not eat…snacks.’