December 5, 2013
The Walking Dead is a great show, no doubt. But seriously, why are zombies so scary? They are slow so you outwalk them. They are easily beaten with a blow to the head. They are not stealthy, they are not sneaky, they are not silent. You can see them coming a mile away and you can just walk in the other direction. Even The Walking Dead focuses more on human threats than zombies.
Zombies have two things going for them. 1- There are a zillion of them and their ranks keep growing. 2- If you die you become one of them.
But that really only goes for the modern Romero zombies, the ones that George Romero created in Night of the Living Dead. I prefer the old White Zombie-type zombies (the old film with Bela Lugosi) or the kind in Hammer’s old Plague of the Zombies. Before Romero, zombies were generally animated corpses under the spell of a voodoo master. Even today in Haiti that’s a prevalent belief. There may be no creepier scene in filmdom than the sugar mill scene in White Zombie.
1:02 to 1:07 is my favorite part of the film.
If I had to be menaced by a supernatural horror, zombies are my pick. Werewolves are scarier- they are animals who can outrun and outhunt you, and tear you into bits with their claws and teeth. Imagine trying to fight a pack of rabid wolves. Can’t be done.
Vampires are badass too. (Not your shitty Twilight vampires, thank you very much.) They are smart and cunning, with animal instincts and deceptive human appearance. Depending on your preferred mythology, they can turn into bats or rats, or fog. They can control “base creatures” and hypnotize humans. True, like werewolves, they can’t come out during the day (sorry folks, they can’t) but the damage they can do at night is enough. The only thing in your advantage is that vampires are solitary. They have no real desire to create more vampires. Why? That’s just more competition. Vampires are smart.
Ghosts? Big deal. They can’t touch you. Poltergeists (literally translated as “rock throwing ghosts”) on the other hand, now that’s scary.
But zombies? I was a high school teacher. I saw enough of them zoned out in my classes.