When Zombies Go Bad

Zombies are predators. Granted, they’re not particularly bright predators… but predators they are and they should be respected as such.

A zombie cracking open your skull to munch on your grey matter… is a happy zombie.

A domesticated zombie is by definition an abomination. In fact, it’s even more abominationy than it is in its natural (unnatural?) living-dead state. And that’s saying something.

Those of you who’ve seen the movie Shaun of the Dead¬†will remember the scenes at the end of the movie where zombies are being accommodated into society as the latest addition to the ‘victim class’ (with Zombaid concerts to raise money for their plight) or as Walmart employees, game show contestants or even as Jerry Springer Show-type guests.

It will be a dark day when that happens, people. It’ll be the zombie equivalent of dancing bears at the circus. Mildly amusing for a second but ultimately very sad.

While it might be at first a cute idea to have a zombie as a pet, think it through for a minute.

When you see a zombie in the wild… or at the Walmarts… the best thing to do is just leave it alone.

Unless it wants to eat your brains, in which case have at it! ūüôā

So, until next time… or The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse, whichever comes first…

Be Well. And Be Prepared!

Vampyre Therapy

Saw this the other day…

The idea of vampyres in therapy immediately tickled me.

How would Freud or Jung have dealt with Count Dracula? And vice versa. The mind boggles!

While the majority of vampyres seem perfectly at peace with their lot in life/death, there may be one or two who could use some attitude adjustment. The vampyre Godric in True Blood, for example.

Yes, he is over 2,000 years old and still in the body and form of a teenager. But still… the kid needs some help, people.

To my mind,¬†the perfect candidate for the shrink’s couch is Louis de Point du Lac, a character in Anne Rice’s ‘Vampire Chronicles’, portrayed by Brad Pitt in the movie adaptation,¬†Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles.

This guy raises ‘tortured’ and ‘guilt-ridden’ to an art form. A bit of intensive therapy to get ol’ Louis in touch with his ‘inner vampyre’ and he’d be right as rain. And not nearly as annoying.

I was involved with a therapist for several years. (And, no… not as the patient!!) I picked up a few insights along the way.

“So, Louis… tell me about your childhood. And who’s that fascinating and not nearly as depressing friend of yours, hmmm? Oh, and what’s with the twelve-year old girl?? Is there something I should know about here??”

OK, so I’d make a rotten therapist. Sue me.

The Addams Family: Fully Functional

They were so happy, the Addams Family. I think that was what really attracted me most to them.

Despite their outer ‘freakishness’, they were perfectly happy with who they were. Everyone knew who he or she was and what was expected of them. And each member of the family seemed totally content with that.

The old black and white television episodes, the modern television remakes and the movies all capture that ‘functional family’ quality about them. Gomez was the adoring husband and the doting father. Morticia was the loving wife and mother. Uncle Fester and Grandmama, the beloved and supportive relatives. Even the children, Wednesday and Pugsley, despite their occasional bickering and sibling rivalry, wouldn’t dream of having it any other way.

When I grew older and saw how many ‘normal’ families functioned… or didn’t… my mind always harkened back to the simple carefree joy that the Addamses seemed to carry off so effortlessly.

When I was young, I desperately wanted to be a member of The Addams Family. Even as I got older, I guess I never lost that ‘Addams Envy’.

A part of me still wants to live happily ever after in a decrepit old mansion-house surrounded by creepy and spooky relatives, having the time of my life and never wanting anything to change, ever.

One keeps hearing about dysfunctional families. No one ever talks about a functional family.

I would like to propose that, for many of us, the Addams Family WAS and IS the fully functional family.

Ils sont merveilleux! (Tish! You spoke French!!)

Battle Los Angeles

The other day, I picked up the DVD of Battle Los Angeles.

I thought it was going to be about a space alien invasion, like Independence Day. I found out fairly early into the movie that it was actually about a U.S. Marine unit stationed near Los Angeles at the time of a global space alien invasion.

In other words, it’s a war movie with space aliens as the ‘invading army’.

I don’t normally watch war movies. I generally find them stupid and icky. There have been exceptions. Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Glory,¬†Die Br√ľcke¬†(The Bridge) [1]… to name some off the top of my head. This one, however, kinda got me hooked.

It’s not that it’s a fantastic movie. It’s probably not. But for some reason, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. The way the Marines (and one woman [Air Force]) try to fight and ‘win’ their little piece of the battle had me mesmerized. I couldn’t imagine myself in that situation. I’d probably hide under a desk, frozen with fear, screaming my head off.

I’ve never been in a war. I’ve never had my town occupied by another country’s army. My parents and grandparents went through it. They had to watch, powerless and defenceless, as¬†Nazis took¬†over their village. They had to hide in the fields and bushes while Allied bombers were blasting the hell out of everything, while the German army was pulling out and¬†blasting the hell out of everything, and while partisans, fascists, socialists, communists and Lord knows who else were fighting each other and blasting the hell out of everything.

And then I thought of the girls I know who have boyfriends fighting in Afghanistan. What must they be going through? How do they function day-to-day? Going to bed every night, waking up every morning, not knowing if their boys are OK, if they’re hurt… if they’re dead. And what about the moms?? Those are their babies out there. Their toddlers. Their kindergarten graduates. Their first graders with the goofy smiles and the front tooth missing in¬†school pictures.

War is stupid and icky. And yeah, I know… you gotta do it sometimes.¬†That’s just the way it¬†goes.¬†¬†But it is so much stupider and ickier for the people who have to fight.

What’s the old saying? Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn’t actually have to go out and do it himself.

These Marines and that one Air Force woman went out and did it. Because it is what they signed up for. It is what their country demanded of them and what they demanded of themselves.

Battle Los Angeles made me want to kick Dick Cheney in the nuts.

aa-tribalfang

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[1] AMAZING movie. Saw it when I was a little kid. FANTASTIC!!

Fang Fodder

The other day, I was pondering a profound question… Would any self-respecting vampyre ever really want to clamp the old chompers down on a goth girl? Are the Girls in Black the real Fang Fodder?

Now before the dark community stakes me, hear me out.

What do vampyres secretly crave? Sunlight!

In their darkest heart of hearts, what they really want to do is stand in the sunlight, bask in the old rays just like “normal people.” If their hidden and perhaps even subconscious desire is light… would they really go after pale-skinned wannabee imitations of themselves? I would argue that they do not.

I would say that what a vampyre would really find irresistible is someone who embodies that cloaked craving for sunlight. A corn-fed farm girl, for example, with blonde pigtails who is all fresh air, great outdoors and long summer days would be, to the undead, like tasting sunlight trapped in a vein. It might very well be the closest he will ever come to the real deal.

Big blue eyes, freckles and overalls, just bustin’ out in healthy all-natural goodness. Mmmm..mmm!¬†And no bursting into flames! Win – win!

Wouldn’t the undead prefer a long warm sip of that rather than some black-mascaraed powder-faced tattoo junkie (not that there’s anything wrong with that)?

So, ladies… if you’re really hell-bent on being Fang Fodder… you may want to start by re-thinking the fashion choices.

aa-tribalfang

The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse

If Hollywood has prepared us for anything, it is The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse (TUZA).

Think about it. Virtually everyone in Canada, the US and the rest of the English-speaking world has more than a working knowledge of zombies and how to kill them. [1]

Whether they are the old-fashioned slow-moving George Romero kind of zombies (a la Night of the Living Dead), new-style medium-speed zombies (a la The Walking Dead) or the modern fast-moving zombies (a la 28 Days Later or 28 Weeks Later) [2], most people are pretty much aware of the basic zombie rules and how to conduct themselves when they come face to face with the Living Dead.

Unlike vampyre movies where at least some people know what vampyres are, the people in zombie movies are completely ignorant of the nature of zombies or how to deal with them. The entire phenomenon catches them off-guard. In this, we have an advantage in that¬†we know in advance exactly what they are and just how to combat them. What we need to do is go from that cursory knowledge of zombie lore to a ‘hooah” level of preparedness. We can’t wait for the dreck to hit the fan, folks. We need to start readying ourselves now.

At the very least, I suggest watching the movie Zombieland. This enjoyable and informative flick not only is tons o’ fun (and has a superb cameo by Bill Murray), it is also chock full of handy zombie facts. See it. Learn it. Live it. Also, tune in to the AMC television series¬†The Walking Dead. As far as Zombie Basic Training is concerned, this is Must See TV.

For those serious about surviving TUZA, it’s tough to beat the New York Times bestseller The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead. You might also want to get your hands on any kind of ‘survivalist’ materials. [3] Those nutty wackjobs out in Montana and North Dakota are onto something, you know.

Mind you, one of the main differences (and hence one of the big disadvantages) of TUZA is that, unlike most cinema vampyre attacks where you usually only have to deal with a relatively small number of the undead at any given time, there is going to be shitload of zombies. Think of the zombie-surrounded buses in the 20o4 remake of Dawn of the Dead, and you get the idea. Luckily, zombies are unorganized so, depending on how we hunker down and set ourselves up, we should be OK.

And yet, in light of the disturbing recent admission of the Leister City Council, just how prepared are we?

For those wanting some pre-TUZA experience with the living dead, I suggest participating in your local Annual Zombie Walk. The 9th annual Toronto Zombie Walk takes place October 22, 2011.  In Niagara Region of Southern Ontario, the St Catharines Zombie Walk takes place on Saturday July 16, 2011.

aa-tribalfang

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[1]¬†Although, if they are the living dead, do we¬†technically¬†‘kill’ them? Kill them again? Re-kill them?

[2] Some zombie purists say that the new-style fast-moving zombies are not ‘true’ zombies in that they are ‘crazies’ (as in the 2010 movie The Crazies). In other words, living people who have been infected and don’t die before turning into monsters.

[3] The Wilderness Survival Guide: The Practical Skills You Need for the Great Outdoors; also the Ultimate SAS Survival Gift Edition or the Collins Gem – SAS Survival Guide, both by John “Lofty” Wiseman. The SAS stands for¬†Special Air Service. I also recommend a good firearms catalogue.

The Monster Rules

When I was a child, the world had its share of Monsters. Not that my particular neighbourhood was over-run with them or anything… but… they were there. And there were more than a few of them.

Luckily for me and the other kids in the neighbourhood, Monsters were honour-bound to adhere strictly to The Monster Rules. They were and, as far as I know, still are in full force and effect. Without this ancient code of conduct, Monsters would be completely free to do as they choose, childhood would be intolerable and the streets would run red with the blood of grade school kids.

I was never altogether sure exactly how The Monster Rules came about. Presumably, their origins were ‘lost in the mists of time’ and all that. But, just as puzzling, I am completely unaware of how I myself came about knowing the Rules. I don’t recall ever hearing them or reading them. I don’t remember anyone telling them to me. I think children instinctively grasp what the Rules are. They come about that knowledge through The Great Childhood Collective Unconscious. Kids just “know.” I don’t think learning has anything to do with it.

Back in the days when parents let their offspring run amok, completely unsupervised,¬†blocks from their homes and for hours on end, children knew when and why to come home. When? When the street lights came on. Why? Because that’s when the Monsters came out. Now, the Rules provide a 15 minute grace period from the time the street lights come on, allowing even the dullest little squirt plenty of time to run home. It was a fool-hardy youngster indeed who wandered more than 10 minutes running distance from his home just before sunset. The smarter kids, safely at the dinner table, knew that young punk in question would pay for his reckless behaviour by being attacked and quite possibly ripped apart, maybe even ending up at an altogether different dinner, hosted by the Monsters.

This is not to say that one was safe merely because one made it across the threshold within 15 minutes. Heavens, no. Places in house were also infested with Monsters! It never seemed to occur to any of us at the time… but why were we dashing home at breakneck speed to avoid being on the Monster Menu when all the while there were Monsters in the basement and in the bedroom closet of the very places to which we were running?

The Rules vary according to the needs and circumstances of the child/potential victim. For example, at night when lying directly over the Monster Under the Bed, one is safe provided however that one does not peek over the edge and check under the bed. The Rules provide that eye-contact with most Monsters allows them to attack. This Rule even works when, tucked in and lying on your side, you know that there is a Monster in Bed with you, right behind you, teeth bared and claws distended, just ready to slash and tear. No matter how much the Monster in Bed is dying to pounce, it is powerless… as long as you do not look over your shoulder.

The “See the Monster” Rules do not, however, apply to The Thing in The Bedroom Closet. You can stare at it all night and it is more than content to stare right back with full shadowy malevolence. The fact that you are looking at it and seeing it is all part of its power… its weaponry. Just knowing it is there is enough to scare you. You are otherwise quiet safe… even if you look at it… because it won’t attack you. It doesn’t have to. That’s not what it’s there for.

Thank goodness, Monsters are bound, as always, by The Monster Rules.

At least… they were when I was a kid…

aa-tribalfang