Monday, May 28, 2012


If you've been keeping up with the news lately, you've probably heard the horrific (if not a tad hilarious!) story about the zombie attack that took place in Miami, Florida.

Okay, so maybe it wasn't technically a zombie attack. But the transition between this paragraph and the one previous must have been pretty damn suspenseful, am I right? I mean, hearing that something akin to an actual, factual zombie outbreak might have happened in the real's nuts! Zombies are such an enduring part of popular fiction -much like dragons or leprechauns or Eskimos -that the thought of one actually existing in real life is so surreal it can be downright scary. What actually happened in Miami is as follows: a crazed man (quite probably under the influence of lycergic acid diethlamide, only even more potent) ran naked out onto the street and attacked a homeless person who was just minding his own business. But the naked man didn't attack him using a knife or a pistol or even a length of rubber hose. No, sir, this particular naked individual tackled the homeless man to the ground and proceeded to -and I shit you not here, folks -devour the victim's nose and eyeballs.

Seriously. I wish I was making this up. I'm not.

Sounds just like something George Romero would conjure up, doesn't it? And that gives me the perfect opportunity to spend this week's article touching upon something that's bothered me for a while, and that's the whole fascination with zombie apocalypses in general. Namely, I don't like 'em.

For one thing, they're always grossly misrepresented. Maybe they're just hard up for new employees over at ZombieCorp. or something, but from where I stand it seems that anything and everything can qualify as a 'zombie' these days. Infected lunatic? He's a zombie. Drugged-out porn star with a taste for blood? She's a zombie. A Nazi who injects an experimental growth enhancement serum into his eyeballs, only to have it backfire, melting his skin and turning him into a shambling mess of liquefied sinew and foul-smelling bodily fluids? Ohhh, you'd better believe he's a zombie! Personally, I'm one of those sticklers who believes that a true, definitive zombie is just the corpse of a deceased human being that is granted mobility through the use of black magic, witchcraft, or (primarily) voodoo. None of this "infected with a disease" bullshit. It doesn't matter how many brains he tries to chomp on, kids, a man infected with a maddening disease is not a zombie. He's just a sick, sick man. Therefore, if you want to see what a "true zombie" should look like, horror movies won't help you there. The best place to look would probably be Weekend at Bernie's II.

For a second thing, the idea of a zombie apocalypse has kind of run out of appeal at this point. I mean, it might be entertaining to see a man in a cowboy hat slice a zombie in half with a chainsaw or something to that extent, but how long can we stand to see that kind of thing? Zombie apocalypses are like the plain potato chips of apocalypses, in that we should stop settling for plain and try a goddamn FLAVOUR for once. At this point, every time I turn on the TV and see zombies ravaging a countryside, their undead limbs flailing and covered in buckets of corn syrup-based fake blood, I just can't help but roll my eyes and think, "Okay. We get it. Zombie apocalypses would be bad. Can we please just move on now?"

There are so many different kinds of apocalypses we could be experimenting with, and they could prove to be loads more entertaining than yet another movie where Ving Rhames gets trapped inside yet another enclosed building with yet another assortment of makeshift weapons at his convenient disposal. To prove how well these different flavours could work, here's a special treat: 5 all-NEW apocalypses, each one sexier and scarier than the last. So writers, the next time you start up a screenplay and think about adding zombies to the mix, do yourselves a favor and say "Fuck it", and go with one of these instead.

You can thank me later. With royalty cheques.

CAT APOCALYPSE: Cats may be soft and cuddly, but they're assholes. It's just a proven fact. They act nice because we feed them and we clean their shit, but if they had the opportunity, cats would kill us and everyone we love just to prove that they're superior. So imagine if every cat on the planet suddenly woke up one morning with a heightened sense of intelligence, not unlike Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Only these cats don't wait to be mistreated before starting to rebel: it's pretty much instantaneous. They're picking up butcher knives in their little paws and stabbing Grandma and Grandpa through the forehead without a second thought. And when precocious little 4-year-old Timmy tries to pick up his tabby, his tabby responds by clawing out precocious little 4-year-old Timmy's eyes. Scary? Definitely. Plausible? Yeah, I could see it happening. Plus, their fur would get everywhere.

GHOST APOCALYPSE: You know those scary movies where a family movies into a haunted house and their lives are turned upside down by the terrifying poltergeist who dwells within the house's walls? The family can't get a decent night's sleep, the children are traumatized with fear, the parents go crazy trying to resolve the situation, one or two members of the clergy get involved and only end up regretting it's mass hysteria. Now, instead of concentrating that hysteria within one home, imagine that happening in every home. In every city. In every country on the planet. Boom. Apocalypse. I mean, look at all the shit that happened to that couple in Paranormal Activity; and that was just ONE ghost! Everyone who actually could fall asleep would have nightmares for the rest of their lives. Terrifying? You bet your ass. To paraphrase Cal Evans from Undergrads, "Ghosts are scary, guy."

INSECT APOCALYPSE: Aside from those really weird scientists that people generally don't enjoy talking to, nobody likes bugs. Bugs suck. They're ugly, they're unpleasant, they make our skin crawl, and some of them can bite and/or sting us, causing pain and -in some extreme cases -even death. Worst of all, they're everywhere. Literally everywhere. Jungles, forests, deserts, cities, countrysides. Beneath the floorboards. In your bed. Under your kitchen sink. Crawling across your arm right now. The world has pretty much been going through an insect apocalypse since the end of the last ice age. But the one saving grace? They're small. Miniscule, even. So we begrudgingly put up with them, comfortable in the knowledge that we could easily reach out and snuff out a bug's life with a simple flick of our mighty mammal wrists. But what if, suddenly, they weren't so small anymore? Imagine a wasp the size of a transport truck. Imagine a scorpion as big as the Empire State Building. Haven't you ever seen a fantasy that had giant tarantulas in it? Giant tarantulas are scary as hell! Normal tarantulas are scary as hell!! This is the stuff of nightmares, people! If an insect apocalypse comes, I'd be one of the first ones to put a shotgun in my mouth and end the pain before it can begin.

SUPERMODEL APOCALYPSE: Stop rolling your eyes. This can work. Imagine if a beautiful supermodel suddenly gained the supernatural ability to turn any woman she touched into an equally beautiful supermodel. And all those women, in turn, would be granted the same ability. Kind of like zombies creating more zombies, only this involves more miniskirts and much nicer hair. Imagine half of the women on the planet become "infected" with the supermodel virus, while the other half remains normal (so far). Now imagine you are one of those normal women. Every day, you live in constant fear that your husband is going to leave you to run off with one of those skanky supermodel bee-otches that are slowly dominating the planet. The normal women would go crazy with paranoia. Some of the less stable ones might murder their husbands out of sheer suspicion alone. And think of the impact this could have on society as a whole! If everyone is "beautiful", will it be necessary for the concept of "beautiful" to change? How will we cope in a world where all women are of equal visual appeal, and all men are suddenly beneath them? I know I'd be on the edge of my seat for this one.

ACTUAL APOCALYPSE: You know, the one from the Bible? With the demons and the angels and the fiery swords and whatnot? Why the fuck isn't that a movie yet? That sounds awesome!

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