My Checkered History With the Undead

My Friends,
   It would seem that the zombie apocalypse is nigh.  Tempted as I was to write an obligatory zombie post about Rudy Eugene’s face-chomping earlier in the week, I decided to take the high road and abstain for a time.  After all, bandwagon-jumping seemed a disingenuous if expedient way to generate page views.  But now that the initial fervor has subsided, I think its appropriate to weigh in.
   I wasn’t always as terrified of zombies as I am now; in fact I spent the first few years of my life in idyllic ignorance of this particular monster’s existence.  But alas, one day while watching Duckula

For those who don’t remember.

…I got my uncle to read the episode’s title screen.  It was The Zombie Awakes.  “Zombie?” I asked, “what’s that?”  He tried to explain that it was a type of monster who shambled around with his hands outstretched, seemingly in a trance, but that didn’t really seem incredibly scary to me.  Nor did the Duckula episode stick out in my mind as particularly traumatic.  Then I saw Thriller
   In retrospect, this greatest of Michael Jackson videos had a sublime effect on my development; the first time I saw it I couldn’t even finish it but I knew right off the bat that I didn’t want to fucks with no zombies.  In a profound way, that video shaped one of my greatest childhood fears: any kind of slow-moving attacker who inexorably walks after me with the foreboding assurance that they will catch me.  Furthermore, it also shaped my typical reactions when in scary situations.
Choreographed dance routine, naturally.

   For a few years thereafter I would always have zombie nightmares in the fall leading up to Halloween because I knew they would be playing Thriller on Muchmusic, and that my father, dick that he is, would be like, “Hey Andre, come here for a minute and check this out…”  Don’t get me wrong, I played that album like mad and I loved the song, especially the Vincent Price voiceovers, but I couldn’t mess with that video.
   However, like many childhood fears, the fear of that video diminished with time and at some point I actually watched it the whole way through.  But by that point I had bigger problems to deal with.  In the late 90s, Capcom decided to dick-punch me in the fear-bone and release Resident Evil.  My friend Greg brought this game over to our house along with his PS1 back during Easter weekend 1997, when he decided he was going to stay over for a few days and rape my psyche.  I felt not only terrified, but betrayed: Greg had always brought cool games and accessories over.  For example, if he hadn’t previously brought over his game genie and code-book I may never have beat Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game.
 This game was hotfire, although I never did redeem my coupon for free pizza…

Resident Evil was a different matter though.  I spent the weekend hiding behind pillows while he and my older brother played the game and my little sister called me a pussy.  Watch the following video and see if I wasn’t justified:
HAPPY EASTER!!

Given my pre-existing, Michael Jackson-induced trauma, the last thing I needed to see was a deformed, pale, ghoul getting …er, “intimate” with another man.  
   Yet I couldn’t look away.  
   RE also introduced to me the important concept of “zombie outbreak” and a “zombie virus.”  Prior to these notions, my conceptions of zombies were limited to cursed dead people who would only rise from the grave to dance with you if your date ran out of the theatre scared.  
Or perhaps to reach climax behind you while you’re walking like an Egyptian
This made the prospect of the undead all the more plausible because even if you don’t believe in curses, you have to believe in evil conglomerates like RE’s Umbrella Corporation whose hubris will spell our doom.
I don’t know what is more disconcerting, that Umbrella thought they could re-brand themselves with a French name and break that pesky association with the zombie-making ‘T-Virus,” or that they are a subsidiary of L’Oreal?  
Sacre Bleu!!
   I came to the reluctant realization that although zombies scare the crap out of me I have a certain fascination with them.  The next few years I didn’t have much contact with zombies other than RE, which my brother inexplicably decided to buy once we got a PS1.  But toward the end of high school/beginning of university, I saw Shaun of the Dead, Land of the Dead and 28 Days Later in pretty rapid succession relative to my previous isolation.  These were important films which further shaped my fascination with the undead: from SotD I learned that zombies could be hilarious (British ones at least), while from 28DL I learned that zombies might not actually be zombies at all but (again British) victims of an extreme form of rabies which, though it maddens the afflicted, causes no impairment to ground speed and agility.  On the other hand, LotD taught me that Dennis Hopper can truly portray the quintessential dickhead.
Also, zombies could now be Mexican Colombian

   Now around this time it is significant (I use that term loosely) to mention that I joined the military.  It was here I found out that there is a whole sub-culture of survivalists and gun-nuts praying for the zombie apocalypse, as it would (will) literally be the kind of squeeze-first ask questions last  kind of free-for-all which current gun laws neatly cock-block.  Though I am loathe to admit, I too have rolled this concept over in my head and pondered its relative merits.  To be sure, in order to be the kind of chainsaw-wielding, shotgun-toting, combat-knife-sheathed-in-boot, leather-jacketed, Road Warrior-esque badass I’d like to think that I would be, I would probably have to dump some dead weight which I currently call “family” or “friends.”  Even Max had to lose his family before he earned the appellation “Mad.
Family is a no-no, but dogs are legit
   In any event, whether rolling as part of some kind of group or as a one-man wolf-pack, I WOULD NOT, under any circumstances attempt to engage the zombies as part of a military formation.  Intuitively, you would think that trained killers with a limitless supply of ammo, strict orders to terminate with extreme prejudice and a fortified position would fare pretty well during World War Z.  However, if the zombie media I have watched has taught me anything, its that the army gets wiped out pretty quick.  No, I would stand a better chance either as a solo badass or as part of a group which included a pregnant woman, a few kids, a quadriplegic, a kid with aspergers, a senior prone to wandering off, a hippie chick asking why we can’t make peace with the zombies instead of killing them, and/or a recently-bitten friend whom I can’t bring myself to kill.  These companions, though all seemingly useless and detrimental to the cause of survival, would, after being saved by me and my boomstick several times, manifest some kind of hidden skill of limited usefulness which would assist me during a particular difficulty I would have overcome anyway, only to never manifest this skill again because I would be careful not to get in that particular circumstance again.  Nevertheless, I would see  past their apparent weaknesses and learn that everyone has something to offer.  
Carol: “Rick, I took this grenade out of your pocket when I did your laundry and stole it so that I could give it back to you and look like a hero when we would inevitably need to break through bulletproof glass to escape the decontamination process at the Centre for Disease Control.”
Rick: “Carol, all this time I thought you were a slow, unskilled, not-that-hot, menopausal woman with no reproductive value to repopulate the Earth with.  But now I see that you have the power to steal things and them give them back at opportune times.  Also, the power to do laundry.
This kind of Real World ensemble typically fares quite well in the zombie wasteland.
   This of course brings me to The Walking Dead…

From L to R: zombie-bait, exception to “no killing humans” rule, Asian Michael Cera, bullet magnet, too emotionally conflicted and pregnant to be an asset, leader by virtue of uniform, moral authority, and of course “I put down my own sister so now I am badass”
…which I started last week and got through today.  That’s something like eighteen zombie-filled hours in one week for someone who, in spite of professed fascination, is terrified of these things.   Now take this zombie saturation and add to it the fruitcake mailing body parts to the Conservatives, my man Rudy goin cray in Miami, and the fact that its 2012 so the world is supposed to be ending and all, and its not hard to see that yesterday morning I wasn’t feeling too confident in my abilities not to get bitten by something.  The sky was grey and overcast; quite foreboding really.  I was hearing constant sirens and saw all types of emergency vehicles rushing around my neighbourhood (fire, ambulance and coppers).  Then, while walking to the bus stop I saw a special police forensics van from the nearby city of Kitchener hauling ass down my street.  Something was amiss it seemed, and in my hungover state I put the clues together in perhaps not the most logical way: 
“Well obviously there are people dropping like flies due to bite-related attacks.  The police here have brought in their counterparts from other cities to see if the attacks match the string of attacks going on in other places and I of course don’t have a gun.”  -Me, spider-sense tingling; common sense not so much
   Nevertheless I pressed on to the bus stop and when I entered I surveyed my fellow passengers, to see if any bore the tell-tale signs of infection.  They seemed alright but the elderly lady I sat beside appeared very weak and frail.  This was perhaps attributable to her being elderly and all, but in my fucked-up mind-state I assumed she was in the late stages of extreme fever which preceded death and re-animation after an infection.  I would simply wait ’til she expired and then bonk her on the head so she could have some dignity and all.  However, as I sat absorbed in my thoughts of helping the world by braining an old lady, she moved or something and her arm grazed my leg and I nearly shit myself.  The shock of this movement on her part (no understatement, I actually jumped) not only necessitated new underoos but also cleared my head and I decided to stop being such a fucktard.  Made it to the farmer’s market and back without a single bite.
   Now that I am done The Walking Dead at least until the new season this fall, I imagine my paranoia will subside.  And provided there are no more instances of naked cannibals needing to be extricated from their victims with gunshots to the head, I imagine that North America’s zombie paranoia will see a similar denoument in the coming weeks.  
   However, if these attacks continue and you want to be part of the rag-tag group of misfits who survives the zombie apocalypse, load your gat, make your peace with Raptor-Jesus and shout me a holler.  
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo






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1 Comment

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One response to “My Checkered History With the Undead

  1. Zombrex

    GROW a BACKBONE!

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