Zombies v. The Undead

Tales from the Crypt (book)

Tales from the Crypt (book) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, there’s this big craze over zombies (you know they’re big when they’re used in public service announcements and have their own “Zombie 5K“), and while I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing—I personally have nothing against zombies, like I do the overworked, beslutted, and “reimagined” vampire craze—I feel I need to make a differentiation, here, between “zombies” and…the “undead.”

Really, you ask?

Yes. There is a difference. At least to me, and I’m sure some will take opposition to it, but I assure you, I am only sticking to the “facts” as they prove my argument.

Cause, I am a fan of…The Great Undead.

You see, zombies…are alive…but are rendered monster-like through some sort of introduced agent, like a really really bad flu, a government-generated virus, voo doo whoop-de-doo, or cubicle-office work. Of course, many ignore the original zombie, as characterized in, say, the 1932 movie, White Zombie, where there is an Evil VooDoo Master pulling the puppet strings (there are other origins, see this link). I find that link interestingly tagged with “(fictional),” though know of the evils of tetrodotoxin and and The Serpent and the Rainbow discussion of “zombies.” Anyway, today’s versions are independent and hungry. They hunger for flesh, especially the much-prized delicacy of brains.

Zombies can be stopped: a simple penetration of their brains, brings their reign of horror to a quick, ignoble, end.

Now, the “undead,” on the other hand, are supernaturally reawakened corpses that crawl out from their graves and stumble around with no particular need for flesh, brains, or anything else, short of scaring and killing. Real spooky stuff. The undead can’t really be stopped (not in and of themselves, anyway)…unless you terminate whatever it is that reanimated them, or they completed their deed. You may decapitate them, but they just keep on coming. Incinerating them would take them out, I suppose, because of the near-total destruction, but still, I wonder….

And they don’t eat anything.

You see, the dead can’t eat.

Just like real vampires (and I prefer “vampyre” but these are not real vampyres…) have no frigging SEX DRIVE. No EMOTION.

Why?

BECAUSE THEY’RE DEAD.

Yes, dead, people. Did that fact escape everybody but me?

How can dead things have any kind of appetite, and how can they have sex? How can they enter into frigging relationships and pine over humans?!

Oh, “magic,” you say, because, well, how can the dead come back to life, anyway? That’s magic, too!, you cry. It is!

It’s fake magic.

Yesss, there I said it. Fake. Magic. Call me old school on the matter, but the whole “Twilight” thing rolls off my back like blood off an undead duck’s coat. I just can’t get into the displaced Human drives and appetites on the undead and their strikingly good looks. I’m constantly distracted thinking, strike a pose!

Twilight and True Blood “vampires” are just people with fangs.

Where’s the scary in that?

The spooky?

From what I’ve seen, “those kinds” of “vampires (which are undead—did I mention that?) are there to emote, and exhibit graphic violence and sex. Which we get where?

Anyone?

We get that in any ShowTime or HBO show.

Again (important digressive point, here): today’s vampires are just people with fangs.

Okay, reanimating my thrust, here, so…zombies. While I am a huge Night of the Living Dead fan, I have, however, been more into the rising-from-the-grave-undead-by-supernatural-means more (I’ve always been into the supernatural, not the gore, but the etherial, the elemental, that which comes from beyond)…like Tales From The Crypt creepy, and any mummy movie (a fan of the Karloff versions as well as the Fraser versions). That’s where my favorites, uh, lie (even if “lay” is the proper word, not gonna use it with the undead; I’m not interested in “laying” any undead…).

So, I just wanted to clear this little distinction up. You know, to give the undead their due.

Man, I feel so much better now. Been wanting to do that for years. I can now crawl back into my own grave….

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About fpdorchak

Paranormal fiction author.
This entry was posted in Leisure, Spooky, To Be Human and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Zombies v. The Undead

  1. Terry Wright says:

    Good job, Frank. I believe in vampires as they were designed by their creators with certain inalienable rules and restrictions, but lately, vampires have taken a big hit on their authenticity. It’s sad what some authors have done to them. Vampires that sparkle in sunlight, a perfect example of the bastardization of the species. Sunlight makes vampires spontaneously combust. That’s the rule that gives their power limitations. Far be it from these authors to strain their brain cells to make their vampire characters follow the rules. It’s easier to break the rules. It’s lazy to break the rules. So vampire stories get dumbed down. Readers have caught on, though.That’s why zombies are in the spotlight now, until someone makes them eat with spoons and forks and dress in fine clothes and go to high school and fall in love. I’m going to puke.

  2. Vampires burning up in sunlight started in 1922 with Nosferatu. Sunlight combustion is not a part of pre-20th century vampire folklore.
    In Bram Stoker’s original novel, Dracula’s powers were reduced in daylight, but he moved about freely.

    And Arabian desert vampires (of that region’s folklore) prefer to go out in daylight!

    • fpdorchak says:

      I’ve been wanting to reread Dracula for many years now. To be honest, I haven’t read it since, well, high school—YEARS ago—but during high school, I’d read it at least three times. It was one of my favorite horror reads. LOVED the atmosphere. So, I’m really very interested to see if I feel the same rereading it a lifetime later. But I do seem to recall something about him out in daylight, so, thanks for that comment!

      But, I still wouldn’t call Dracula “people with fangs.” He had SPOOKY AURA, and SPOOKY DID. And I am a fan of “the spooky.” :-]

      Thanks, again, Daven!

      • Lugosi’s ’31 Dracula is still the most believable “hypnotic” vampire on film.
        Nosferatu is pure visual art, but I’m just not a “burn-up-in-sunlight” kind of guy. My vampires can go out in sunlight. So can Lord Ruthven (1819), Varney The Vampire (1847), Carmilla (1871) and Stoker’s original Dracula (1897). Need I say more? Just like these four genre-defining characters, mine have a daytime limitation. Extending their fangs changes their eyes to night vision mode, so they cannot extend their fangs in daylight without being blinded by glare.

        Sparkling skin: No matter how scientifically improbable it was (or how ridiculous the glitter glue looked onscreen), it was at least a wholly original, logical way to explain why vampires would avoid sunlight even when they are not harmed by it. Any rational being would avoid going out in the daytime if it made their skin looked like it had been dipped in glitter glue. 😈

        PS: There are many details in Stoker’s books (ie: Lair Of The White Worm) that only adult readers with years of life and literary experience can truly appreciate.

  3. fpdorchak says:

    I read “Nosferatu” and saw the movie–yes, quite stylish! But I do prefer the Stoker Dracula lore, myself. But, i’ve never been a huge vampyre fan myself–I tend toward, well, I’ll wait until I post a blog about. Perhaps on the morrow, good sir? :-]

    I have read “Lair of the White Worm,” and/or saw the movie. But, again, BEEN a while and remember zero about it. I’d also read some of his other stories, I think he did a werewolf story? Is taht right? Or something kinda immediately followed the Dracula timeline? Wish I could better remember this stuff, but it’s been some 30 years….

  4. I’m trying to figure out if you wrote this post after my Twitter comment about zombies last week or before (and I just missed it completely)! Nice clarification of the matter. (Hmmm…I work in a cubicle…is that what’s wrong with me?!) I am not a fan of zombies, as they are portrayed in today’s media hype. I remember a few years ago watching a Discovery (History?) Channel show about a real-life case of zombie-ism in a man in Haiti, which may have been caused by eating a particular kind of fish. Everyone thought he was dead and he seemed peculiar when he came back to “life.” Details I am recalling are sketchy, but I’m sure it could be Googled. Anyway, your definition of zombies being alive but rendered gross (my simplification) as opposed to being undead supports that case as well (although I don’t believe this man hungered for any human body parts).

    I seem to be one of the few women I know not taken in by the whole “Twilight”/”True Blood”/vampire-romance/sex kick. I grew up watching Lugosi (as well as Karloff, Chaney, etc. and other Universal “monsters”) and read Stoker in my early 20s (probably worth another read now). While I know all books and films (even the old school versions) add and subtract what they feel is necessary to create a mood, it’s too bad some authors today have to ruin the traditional folklore for a quick teenie-bopper buck. (Boy, I sound old & grumpy!)

  5. fpdorchak says:

    Hey, Mandy, thanks for stopping by!

    I think you posted that after I wrote it, but not sure–definitely the same day. I know I noticed it AFTER I posted the blog, but that doesn’t alwasy count, since I’m not always on The Twitter.

    I mentioned in one of my posts about the movie “The Serpent and the Rainbow,” which is about what you were talking about and has to be about the same man. He was injected with tetrodotoxin (from Puffer fishes, toads/frogs/plants, see http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/strange-creatures/zombie1.htm), which kills all nerve function, as I remember it. I think you still feel pain, but you just can’t do anythign about it, like move or swat at it–literally “zombified.” But I also think it wears off, or–in the case of the movie–there might have been some other agent administered afterward to keep people “under control.” just don’t recall. I did see that movie when it came out. Pretty intense–and based on truth, since a pharmeceutical (sp?) company had sent one of theirs down there to fact find.

    Being a writer, I’m happy for most authors who get themselves a well-paid gig, but, geeze, what can I say? Obviously, so many out there DO like it, and it does bring the “theater of the weird” into households that they would never get into any other way, but it’s just not for me. And everyone will and must “expand” on legends, as Humanity does with everything, right? Freedom of choice, I spose. :-] And after having watchined ONE episode of the Walking Dead—this season’s opener, I gave up on it! It was a slaughterfest that reminded me more of a video game. Again, great work the the SFX folks, but I just never got into graphic gore. I believe there’s something for everyone out there, and hope with good writing, some of the more “old school” works can get reworked in less graphic adn gratutious ways. I’d love to pen a mummy novel or three, but just don’t know enough about ancient Egypt any more. So, my “Mummy Trilogy” of poems will have to do it for me…..

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  7. Wendy Brydge says:

    Oh, my gosh. I could write another book about this right here, but man, you know what? *stands up, claps* I don’t really need to say a damn thing. Well done with this one! Well done!!!

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