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Movie monsters downplay human emotion

By Andrew Sparling Staff writer
On April 10, 2012

  • Popular television programs like The Walking Dead and True Blood depict zombies and vampires in ways uncharacteristic to their original creations.

Zombies and vampires are the two most prevalent monsters in pop culture today. When they were originally conceived, these monsters were only meant to represent certain death for humans.

Vampires were creatures of the night, coming back from the dead as something less than human, something that burned in sunlight and feasted on the blood of the living. Zombies follow a similar idea of the dead rising, and they were nearly unstoppable. Very few things could truly kill them, and their viral ability of converting the living with a bite made survival nearly impossible. Humanity has changed its perspective on how to view these creatures. Now it seems that people can't help but love the same qualities that would lead to their doom.

The perception of vampires has changed considerably over the decades. They were originally shadowy corruptors who would seduce men and women into letting their defenses down. Then they would kill and feast on their victim's blood. Now, with shows like True Blood and the book and film success of the Twilight series, it seems people are willing to give into the temptation. Modern day vampires are shown as immortal lovers who are in touch with the feelings that regular humans, in our cold and bitter world of distrust, seem to have forgotten on the surface.

Despite their thirst for blood, the immortal lives of vampires are seen as glamorous. Humans could have a freedom we would never know in our short lives. To make vampires more appealing, they make the humans seem more like monsters compared to the potential immortal lovers who simply wished to love life eternally, with the occasional dead "bad" human on the side.

Zombies, however, have only become worse, to the joy of their fans. It seems ironic that people are obsessed with anything about creatures who now represent the negative aspects of consumerism. Zombies have no higher needs besides food. They don't seek love or money. It's impossible to know if zombies are even aware of pain when attacking a survivor. They simply grow and eat on instinct until they consume everything around them, and then they move onto the next place.

Unlike the new vampire world that seems so seductive and alluring, the zombie world is one where humanity is weeded out with the brutal efficiency of a viral infection. In the television series The Walking Dead, which was based on the graphic serial novel of the same name, the remaining survivors in this zombie-infested world are now an endangered species fighting for survival. They are also struggling to keep their humanity in a world where morality can be as dead as the reanimated corpses they are surrounded by. Ultimately, both worlds mean doom for humanity.

To make vampires more appealing, human characters are presented as narrow-minded, self-absorbed creatures. The vampires are calm and passionate with feelings that humans seem to forget for their fellow man. The survivors of a zombie apocalypse are presented with more humanity. But this makes it that much more tragic when they have to make the hard choice between questionable morals and risking their survival.

Whether people like vampires or zombies, they should never forget that they are still humans living in a world surrounded by humans. Don't look too deep into what monsters look like or you may become one yourself.


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