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Guest Blog Anne L Hogue-Boucher Vampires And Zombies – Speed.

 

-the_Woman_Eater-

 

 

All horror writers have obligations. All acknowledge the difference between creepy and terrifying monsters. Zombies are both.

Zombies have history. Lovers of Hammer Films relish The Plague of the Zombie, a film underrated by critics. Decades passed before low budget horror was taken seriously. None of the actors became stars but Michael Ripper appeared in several Hammer movies, and, with the name Ripper, he had to. Before The Plague Of The Zombies, the 1958 movie The Woman Eater featured a plant that ate women, and in 1951, John Wyndham wrote The Day Of The Triffids. In the 50s, scientists, rather than neighbours returning from death, were the threat to nature and existence. Then the nuclear arms race stoked paranoia, and, by 1966, when The Plague Of The Zombies was made, audiences were ready for dodgy Cornish neighbours. The Plague of the Zombies influenced many other zombie movies that followed on both sides of the Atlantic. Neighbours transformed into zombies had actually appeared two years earlier in The Earth Dies Screaming. The paranoia in that film, though, is more concerned with external threats. The group cooperates and survives. But the movie was unequivocal, the dead that live on create danger. Zombies are creepy.

Slow zombies shuffle and swarm together. They walk with an imbalanced gait towards their food source, the healthy upstanding citizen. Living flesh is their snack of choice.

Relentless and shambling hordes of once-people are unpleasant to ponder. Shaun Of The Dead is hilarious but also eerie. Zombies cause nightmares and appear in both poorly done B-movies and the masterpieces of horror cinema. Slow zombies disturb because they are dull and relentless. Their overwhelming numbers challenge notions of superiority.

Super-speed turbo zombies, the once-people that can move as fast as Linford Christie, are different.

After the creepy hordes, the zombies in 28 Days Later not only swarmed and had an insatiable hunger for living human flesh, they appeared and devoured in seconds. Both fast and slow zombies only need one bite. But fast zombies do not allow the victim to think and act.

The apocalypse created by fast zombies is darker. Decency, loyalty and common sense skills are no longer enough for the humans. The group will not prevail, only the gifted and lucky survive. This is why the group, when it is met in 28 Days Later, consists of military fascists in retreat.

Slow zombies, shambling their way to their next living snack, provide an ominous mood. But for the marriage of the macabre and disturbing with the heart-pounding fear factor, nothing beats fast zombies. They have acceleration and can tear apart sweet little old ladies at the end of the street in seconds.

Slow zombies are fine for the 100% creep factor that keeps a reader or viewer locked in their flat for the night. Slow zombies make us doubt our decisions on how to escape. Fast zombies, though, seal off the escape route, and make a reader dig through the attic for that old hunting rifle.

 

Anne often wonders why the zombie in her hamper keeps telling her ‘the stars are right’. She once earned 2nd place in hopping at the Pre Kindergarten Olympics at her school and ever since she has vowed to improve those skills. Anne has hopped her way into the Zombie Bites anthology on a story called The Journalist. Zombie Bites will be published by Red Rattle Books on 30 10 2014. Zombie Bites and Mortal Shuffle will be launched at the Betsey Trotwood in London on 30 10 14. If you would like to learn more about Ann and her mix of the silly and horrific, you can follow her on Twitter. If you want to know more about Zombie Bites click http://www.redrattlebooks.co.uk

Vampires And Zombies – Work

Zombie work

Even at the time, the agricultural revolution did not seem a good idea.  Growing wheat meant working longer hours, a reduced diet, less travelling and tedious repetitive tasks that caused arthritic ailments.  But somehow humans were seduced by wheat.  It may have been hard to chew but it could be stored to feed others.  The human race was more miserable but its numbers grew.   Once we had storage and land ownership, the elites arrived.  The early entrepreneurs had two great ideas, serfdom and slavery.   Despite the modern fashion for competitive TV bake offs, back then making bread was not for the sensitive and the superior.   Elites are good at identifying saps.  Work and hierarchy has defined our lives and identities ever since.

Vampires do not disrupt work. The logic within the legend is unavoidable but the apocalypse is rarely mentioned.   The vampire perverts friends, challenges Christianity and redefines female sexuality.  Stoker imagined work as continuing but with working men who would have to cope with women who were out of control, or women who were great in bed but not willing to put the kettle on.  Call it old-fashioned stereotyping but the members of the Circle of Light are all defined by their work.  Even Mina redeems her gender by demonstrating practical and technical work skills.

Zombies sometimes exist secretively like vampires but it is rare.  Zombies are mobile lumps with an appetite.  The apocalypse is immediate and a sudden shock. Society collapses and work is no longer possible.  It is as if the agricultural revolution had never existed.  All that arthritic suffering is reduced to nothing in a cataclysmic moment.  Survivors kill zombies but not for food.  Zombies are not included in the menu, not even as salted soup.  Survivors head for supermarkets.  Livestock on farms and wild animals are forgotten.  Well, it is an apocalypse.

Work ceases but shopping prevails.  Thinking like this would not have been possible if man had not been domesticated by the production of wheat.  The drama in a zombie movie consists of two elements, whether the humans will defeat the zombies and can the good guys finish at the peak of the hierarchy.   A zombie cannot be defined by work, so it is no surprise that humans usually prevail.   The notion that the virtuous, those who have compassion and are capable of romantic love, will head the hierarchy that results from a zombie apocalypse is dubious.   No antecedents in history exist.  If they had, we would not have had slaves, serfs and economic rent.

But if we ignore the mandatory trip to an abandoned supermarket, the average zombie movie gives a half-decent idea of life as a hunter-gatherer.  The crucial difference is that nobody takes home the prey. Zombie hunters develop terrible table manners but they also have time for contemplation.  They can discuss with stunners from the opposite sex how they discovered the importance of responsibility and compassion.   Just as well because the toughest test is ahead.  Supermarket bread soon goes stale.

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If you like zombies and are still not sure if you would survive a zombie apocalypse, look out for Zombie Bites due to be published by Red Rattle Books next month.