Sunday, October 28, 2012
How to Keep Zombies Fresh
Ha ha. I don't get to make zombie jokes very often because, well, I don't really have the zombie thing.
I confess. I don't get it.
I mean - yes, I watched Night of the Living Dead long ago on a hot summer afternoon that did nothing to dispel the dark creepiness of that movie. It scared me silly. And then it pissed me off that the one guy who manages to survive the night gets mistaken for a zombie in the morning and killed.
Really hope that wasn't a spoiler for anyone. But hey, that movie is nearly as old as I am, so I think you've had time to see it.
Still, with all of you gleefully going on about the zombie apocalypse, double taps and so forth seeming to enjoy it SO much, I feel like the kid in the corner pointing at the shuffling creature and saying "dude, a toddler could outrun that thing."
No, no - I get why this is a bit of horror for the human mind. Part of our fear and dread of death. Revenants are the fulfillment of both our greatest hopes and deepest terrors. Everyone at some point longs to have someone dead come back to them - and yet we know we can't have that and shouldn't want it. The utter wrongness of that reversal feeds the nightmare of the revenant. It also plays on our knowledge that we, too, will someday die. Zombies are the monsters we become.
So, to actually address this week's topic - how do you write about zombies or revenants and keep it feeling new.
I've already scattered those breadcrumbs, I hope.
You do it like you do to avoid any cliché - by digging beneath the surface of it. Instead of taking the easy route, go beneath, to the charge of emotion that fuels the thing. The inevitability of death and the subsequent corruption of the body. The perversion of natural order to bring the dead back to life. The obsessive terror that this, too, could happen to you....
Happy Halloween everyone!
And if you need a palate-cleanser after all that talk of death and would like to taste the opposite side of the coin, I'm participating in a fun little sale of erotic books. Sister Word Whore Carolyn Crane is also playing. You can check it out here.