Let's get this out of the way first: I'm a zombie fan. I don't like vampires, and I don't think that Edward is particularly sexy. Sorry. But as an entertainment commentator for Starpulse I'd have to admit, with some reluctance, that vampires have zombies over a barrel. And it doesn't look like that's ever going to change. The hit television series True Blood
, and the media swallowing ultra-franchise Twilight
, have demonstrated a renewed interest in these banal blood-suckers. While movies like Zombieland
continue the trend of zombie comedies which, although undeniably funny, only re-enforce zombies as the laughable passing novelty that they are. What's worse, this has happened before.
The nineties were a dry spell for zombie fans. Mostly due to the string of comedy films that were released during the late eighties in response to George Romero's infamous Night Of The Living Dead
films. After becoming a scary representation of societies cruelty at the hands of Romero's cinematic mastery, films like Return of the Living Dead
(1985) and Redneck Zombies
(1987) rendered the staggering undead unscary. Their resurrection is attributable to Danny Boyle's 2002 masterpiece, 28 Days Later
, which made them scary once again.
Vampires, to the contrary, don't go through these phases of popularity. Even early pictures staring Bela Lugosi
have seen them as figures of seduction and danger. Buffy: The Vampire Slayer
ruled the airwaves during the late nineties, and before that Forever Knight, a series about a vampire detective, did relatively well for nearly a decade. In this context, Twilight is merely a continuation of the immortal vampire tradition, as we see zombies slowly returning to the grave.
Twilight: New Moon © Summit Entertainment
The reason for this is apparent. Zombies will never be sexy, nor will they ever be enviable. Even the new super fast mutant zombies from Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake can't compete with vampires who are now more akin to superheroes than monsters. They sparkle in the sunlight rather than dissolve. Who wouldn't pay the price of feeding off medical blood bags for an eternity if they could prance among the treetops and stop on-coming vehicles with their super strength? Even last year's Zombie Strippers
merely succeeded in making our beloved shambling pussbags more laughable than attractive, and continue shoveling dirt on their shallow grave.
Zombieland © Columbia Tristar Marketing Group
None of this deters me as a hard nosed zombie fan because zombies bring us better horror movies than vampires. The best vampire movies usually reside in the middling area of action/comedy/horror (Underworld
, Dusk Til' Dawn
, The Lost Boys
) whereas zombies, at their best, deliver the hard dosage that horror fans crave (Day of the Dead
, Lucio Fulci's Zombie, Pet Sematary). And when they're not doing that, they're always good for a laugh (Shaun of the Dead
The simple truth of it is that vampires and zombies occupy two different subgenres of horror, and both are fiercely territorial. Vampires are light, fun, and dramatic, where zombies are either darkly satirical or hysterically violent. Hardcore zombie fans are a niche audience, and vampires have more mass appeal. There are exceptions to this, as always, but with only one zombie film upcoming (The Crazies, another Romero remake destined for that small niche audience of gore hounds) and three mainstream vampire films, (New Moon, Circue Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
, and Daybreakers
) there certainly seems to be no stopping the vampire gravy train. Sorry zombies, maybe in another ten years or so.
Story by Eric Jones
Starpulse contributing writer