“Where there is no imagination there is no horror.”
~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
the rage in Zombie tales these days is all about virus, radiation and Bacteria it seems. Its reality, some say, the most likely and logical explanation to start something as Illogical as the dead rising and storming across the world like dieters driven insane by calorie counting and eating anything that cant escape them.
Why write about zombies, in a way it is symbolic, Death vs Life, how long and how hard will a person struggle to keep on this side of the underworld.
on the other, its the sheer unrelenting proximity of death that literally stalks you through the shadows, through the rain and snow, Death given form and function, the doppelganger of life itself.
it can take the form of your mother, or father, sister or child, its the shadowy human shape that staggers and lurches down a moonlight hallway reeking of rotting blood and spoiled meat that steps out of the shadows and into a beam of moonlight and reveals the ruined and shredded face that you once kissed passionately.
we have it seems lost the capacity for imagination, its all about the people they cry as they gulp down soap opera plots on the walking dead, or anti consumerism speeches given visual form in a Romero flick.
(Don’t misunderstand I like “the Walking Dead” and Romero’s early zombie movies, forget the new stuff thanks.)
yes there is horror in the situation, in the complete destruction of the lives of the characters. but its horror with a small h, the real horror is apparently not seen, or rarely touched on in the zeal to make walking dead romance stories today, or formulaic movie and tv plots.
The real horror is in that death no longer works right, the foundations of the world have been over turned and nothing will ever be the same.
Horror is in the crowds of undead that were once just like you, stripped of everything that made them human and alive.
Horror is in the total mystery of what drives them and where it came from, and horror rests in not knowing if there is something that might follow the walking dead and complete the destruction of the neat logical world that’s already taken a mortal wound.
“A presence dark invades the fair
And gives the horses ample scare
Chaos rains and panic fills the air
When something wicked this way comes…
Ill winds mark it’s fearsome flight,
And autumn branches creak with fright.
The landscape turns to ashen crumbs,
When something wicked this way comes”
~ Ray Bradbury
medical explanations while satisfying to a story line,allow the reader or viewer to sit comfortably in a semi logical world, with the comfort that if it happened in real life tens of thousand of Doctors would surely find a cure. but what if, the plaque was more than that, natural or created by man what if, something darker was behind it. What if something older than time itself, had finally had enough of lurking in the shadows and taking second fiddle to the power that opposes it.
I chose to use the Dark as a literary vehicle, for many reasons, mystery for one, because truly what do we really know about the beings our religion’s teach us about, what if the things we fear or worship are only a small part of what the entity is and that maybe there are thousands of names and beliefs for this thing of nightmares.
secondly out of respect for others beliefs, assuredly a fictional Satan would not conform to others religious beliefs regarding an established creature of evil.
and lastly because as inspired by Chris Phillbrook writing as I was, I wanted an entity that actively hated humanity, wanted it driven to extinction, not because it wanted their souls, for no other reason than because it wanted them dead.
I wanted some thing Locked in a war with its opposite, both sides bound by rules, were Mans free will matters, where hope is a weapon and a weakness and this antithesis of life uses the very things that gives us our humanity as weapons to destroy us.
Evil because it is, not because it chooses to be.
so what happens if such an entity is roaming the world of the zombie apocalypse, might it have followers, might it have prepared servants to aid it during the end, to slaughter and kill for it, to open doors in the night allowing the undead to steal in and kill those hiding in a building believing they are safe.
The dark opens a whole new wellspring of ideas to write into a story far beyond.. Hiding in a mall or prison, going no where fast while waiting to die.
its in the what ifs a story is born and its
what if’s that can make the imagination fly.
suspend your logic of the real world because maybe in the imaginary world of zombies and horror, the logic is hidden behind Quantum physics and the many worlds theory, never spoken of but lurking there in the mind as a subtle reminder that even in the real world there are mysteries we do not understand.
Imagination and suspension of belief do not have to be handed to you, but engaged by you the viewer and reader.