This was originally just going to be a reply to Greybob‘s comment on the previous entry, but it kind of spiralled out of control into an outrageously long ramble on everything tangentially related to what he said. And then I thought, well, why waste it in the comments box? Who even looks at those things, anyway? (don’t answer that)
Well, personally I think zombies are more versatile and have been handled a lot better then vampires have recently. I’m not quite zombied out yet. I’ve been meaning to check out Walking Dead, both the show and the comics.
Have you heard of High School of the Dead? It’s an anime about a group of high school students who get trapped during the zombie apocalypse. I’ve been meanng to check it out, but I’ve heard it’s very very fan-service-y.
I definitely think zombies are the most universal of all the typical monsters and I’d say there’s probably tons and tons of stories you could use them in that haven’t been utilised, both from simply the environment you put them in but also just how you view them. Though, yeah, after playing Left 4 Dead several times a day, every day, for months on end, I think I am quite officially zombie’d out for the time being. It does speak volumes about how much I love the game and how much I like zombies, though. My brother has given up on zombie media as part of his wedding vow (no, seriously), but even he admitted that The Walking Dead TV adaptation sounds great and he had tremendous fun with a short playthrough of Left 4 Dead; he had tremendous fun intentionally startling Witches.
Though, why are they so appealing? I suppose you could say that it’s the combination of simplicity and depth to zombies that makes them universally appealing. They’re mass mobs that stumble around and eat brains, but from the nuances you give them you can analyse them in so many ways. Fido, for instance, has the zombies used for menial labour and are treated like trash, but one little boy becomes best friends with his family’s personal zombie, and it almost prompts the question – are zombies still people? Do zombies have rights? Yes, they perform mundane tasks such as mowing the lawn and delivering newspapers, and they may be undead sons of bitches, but if Fido himself is to serve as a prime example, they still have some degree of humanity left in them, if because of traits from when they were alive – it’s just a matter of getting to know them enough for them to display it. Though in that case, would society really be willing to love their zombies enough just so they could act like really, really shallow people with zero conversational skills? Would giving zombies (mostly harmless zombies!) rights just mess up the whole architecture of civilisation? Who knows.
In a way, I guess because zombies are so simple, you can do pretty much anything you want with them. I have zero familiarity with it, but Pride and Prejudice and Zombies must be some kind of achievement, I guess. Meanwhile, some other monsters have so much mythos that if you start just picking and choosing what you want, they’re no longer the iconic monsters and just become… things. Vampires, for instance. The Space Vampires, despite the amusingly kitschy title, is less about bloodsucking astronauts and is more about some metaphysical gobbledygook about sharing life-force between people, or something. It has less in common with movie vampires and more to do with psychology and the concept of energy vampirism, which given the author is clearly the dude’s forte; though as I’ve described it before, it comes across as an outrageously quaint story that’s about very level-headed people being very level-headed, even when faced with three invisible space monsters threatening the integrity of the universe. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the movie Lifeforce is much better in the freaky supernatural department than the source material.
Also, sorry, but I think it’s very hard to write about vampires without them becoming pretentious. I read a book quite a while back called The Golden – it had some beautifully-written descriptive prose detailing wonderful Victorian architecture, but Christ almighty, its had some pretentious-as-shit dialogue. I gave up on it two chapters in because everyone was an obnoxious fuck. I’d like to see a serious and unbiased vampire fan give their well-written views on it if just to hear their thoughts on it, but for me it was just obnoxious people being incredibly obnoxious and getting emotional and angry far too easily. It was kind of a vampire detective story – a concept that could be intriguing! – but everyone anyone ever talked to was an obnoxious twat to each other, and I constantly wished I could just give them all a slap on the bake. I don’t normally resort to Irish euphemisms in my “critique,” but sometimes you just have to say it straight.
To get back to the original comment… I have heard of High School of the Dead. At first the idea sounded reasonably promising, but from what I’ve read and seen of it I’m not exactly enticed. If it were done realistically (well, about as realistically as the dead rising from the grave and eating human flesh can be done) I might have been interested, but it just looks like rampant fanservice wrapped around a mildly apocalyptic environment. It’s hard to take the premise seriously when all the males look like viewer surrogates or wish fulfilment, and all the females have triple-digit cup sizes and are constantly flirting with them while in their skivvies. I’m sure that joke would work better if I actually knew how cup sizes worked. The numerical part is actually the chest size, not the bust size, isn’t it? (it’s kind of sad that I know the basics of measuring bra sizes, yet I can barely tell what size feet I have. The unfortunate priorities of a young male, eh?)
Of course, sometimes for a concept to take off, all it needs is a really dynamic source of origin. I haven’t read Dracula (I read an abridged version in school years ago which described everything as “suddenly”. even the teacher agreed it was a terrible version), though I hear it’s pretty good, and I won’t deny that Nosferatu is my personal definitive vampire film; it really highlights the many connotations surrounding the term “vampire,” and not just the usual Cliff’s Notes. I think what I’m poorly trying to say is that one good story with an intriguing concept can inspire a lot of others to expand upon it, but quite often they lose the unique charm of the original.
This is mostly a poor attempt to segue into how I watched Jurassic Park a couple of nights ago, and holy crap, it was incredible. I would not deem my vocabulary or structure of words suitable enough to express the sheer awe I felt at watching this movie again. I haven’t sat down and watched it in years, but my god, am I glad I saw it again. It’s a spectacle. It makes me love dinosaurs all over again! Watching it with my mother who shrieked at every frightening moment reminded me just how darned scary the film can be. Throughout most of the movie I was thinking, “gosh, could they make this any more wonderfully whimsical and appealing to a child?” Honest to god, hats off to John Williams. I had forgotten just how beautiful the soundtrack was – yes, the dinosaurs are terrifying, but you can’t deny that the sheer magic of seeing the creatures alive on screen is just breathtaking. I can’t think of a better word to describe it than “magic.” It captures the awe of it just so well.
Watching it with my mother did bring me down to earth and remind me just how terrifying the movie could be to one less desensitized than I am (thanks a lot, video games!). After flicks like Land of the Lost and Night at the Museum where the tyrannosaurus rex is reduced from king of the Cretaceous to basically a big joke, it makes you appreciate how savage yet strangely noble (some say deus ex machina-inducingly noble!) the Jurassic Park t-rex was. It’s a hulking and frightening monster, but it is still a mere creature of the wild doing what it does best – it doesn’t track one particular woman across the globe just to give it grief like a certain shark once did, it’s just a dangerous animal doing its natural thing. I think a lot of other dinosaur flicks emphasise the “oh shit giant dino wants to eat me!” element and less the part of humans invading on a land they were never part of. Yes, it’s all genetic experiments and security precautions gone terribly wrong, and the characters explain in detail how there’s a lot of stuff that just doesn’t bode well with the thunderous lizards (you used the wrong plants, morons!), but it really captures the essence that these dinosaurs have been brought to modern day, but are still in their natural environment.
Yeah, I’m running pretty low on decent doodles – there’s stuff I started that needs finished, but I’m clearly too lazy to do that anytime soon, so here’s something from over a year ago. I think it was part of a crude animation project, but I honestly can’t tell.