December 24, 2010
Scary Christmas, Everyone
It’s Christmastime, so naturally my thoughts now turn to family, friends, and zombies.
What? You were expecting an essay on eggnog, maybe? No way. I’d choose zombies over eggnog any day. I mean, have you ever checked out the fat content on the side of the carton? Talk about a nightmare.
Anyway, I’m going to follow the time-honored yuletide tradition of vegging out in front of the tv after the big day is over with episodes of the new AMC show, The Walking Dead. Because after a long book tour, capped off with weeks of copyediting a big fat manuscript, I feel like a zombie myself. And because zombies are, hands-down, my favorite monsters. They’re the only truly scary guys left.
I used to love vampires – before they all checked into rehab. I loved them when they slept in coffins, had long, dirty fingernails, and would rip your throat out on a whim. I loved the bats and rats, the cobwebby castles, the blood-smeared fangs. There was no mercy, no remorse. No wonder Van Helsing was always ready to pee his pants when the sun went down. Edward Cullen wrecked all that. The biggest worry I have when I see Rob Pattinson onscreen is that it’s suddenly going to start raining in Forks and ruin his ‘do.
Same with werewolves. Lon Chaney scared the H out of me when I was little. That mean, snarling face. Those teeth. David Naughton, too, a few years later as the American werewolf in London. Stay off the moors? You bet I will. Now we’ve got Jacob Black and Remus Lupin. Concerned, polite, and mopey, they walk around with their tails between their legs before they’ve even done anything. I can’t imagine either of these guys chewing off someone’s arm. I can’t even imagine them chewing the carpet.
Zombies are the only monsters who haven’t caved to this new-age monster mush. Zombies are old school. They’re totally gross and entirely unreasonable. They drip. They stink. They’ll eat your heart out, then step on your head.
Sure, their behavior lacks finesse, but it has its upsides, too. For starters, they aren’t terribly introspective, so they never lay the whole “Woe is me, I’m so undead,” trip on you. There’s no such thing as a whiny zombie.
Secondly, there are no tortured zombie love stories to complicate the plot, and there never will be. Because really...who wants to see the hero’s lips fall off when he finally kisses the girl?
And third, they’re relentless. Which is kind of reassuring at this time of year. Because by the twenty-third time you’ve watched Frosty the Snowman, and the four-hundred-fifteenth time you’ve heard Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you only wish a zombie would bust through the window and eat your brain.
So to those of you watching Eclipse over the holidays, sleep tight. And I know you will, because as monsters go, the Cullens are sugar plum fairies. Me, I’ll be up ‘til the wee hours, terrified, biting my nails (and the odd sugar cookie), waiting for the undead to stumble up the driveway.
With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore:
Scary Christmas to all, and to all a good fright!
With best wishes,