Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Life Imitates Art...And Then It Eats Your Face

How-Do-Ya-Do, Hot Off The Press Horror Hounds!

First off, an apology in advance.  The videos and links featured in this week's post are decidedly NSFW.  And for once, it's not my fault: it's reality's.  

I've been a fan of All Things Zombie w-a-a-a-a-a-a-y before it was chic.  It all started back in 1982 when I first saw George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968).  I already documented this pee-inducing event right here, so I won't bore you with a rehash.  Just suffice to say that, in scaring the ever-lovin' fertilizer out of me, NOTLD made me a zombie fan fo' life.

After experiencing the addictive properties of fear, I promptly sought out and devoured every new zombie film like a plate of chilled "B-R-A-A-A-I-I-I-N-N-N-S-S!"  What I found most amusing were the sometimes-considerable lengths that the screenwriters had to go through in order to explin how the recently deceased were sudden'y gettin' all ambulatory and developing a taste for the contents of our skulls. 

In Night of the Living Dead a deep space probe returning from Venus blows up on re-entry, scattering radioactive MacGuffins all throughout our atmosphere.  With the next two entries in his original zombie trilogy, Romero wisely dispensed with the cheesy 50's Space Age-era psuedo science.  In fact, in both Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985) no reason for the zombie shuffle-fest was given at all!  Actually, I kinda liked this a bit better since it gave the films a weird alternate universe/Grimm Fairy Tale quality.  

But in every other zombie flick, there's always a raison d'eeeccchhh.  In the Lugosi classic White Zombie (1932) and Fulci's ultra-gory Zombi 2 (1979), good ol' Voodoo is to blame.  Return of the Living Dead (1985) gave us a corpse re-animating chemical spill.  28 Days Later (2002) managed to square things away with the fictional "Rage Virus".          

But then, just when think you've seen every possible cinematic permutation for a zombie uprising, reality comes along and trumps the shit right out of it.

Vis-a-vis this:

And this:

And this.

Okay, seriously, what the flying f#@k; is going on here!?!?!

Some authorities are blaming a new, innocuous-sounding designer drug called "bath salts", which apparently makes crystal meth look like friggin' Excedrin.  And, like so many other junk drugs, I'm told that this shit can be whipped up easier then coq au vin.  Which always makes me wonder: why the hell are people so willing to ingest something that was cooked up in some redneck's bathtub?

Maybe it's because of the initial heroic effects promised by this stuff: insta-courage, super-strength and Tick-like levels of nigh-invulnerability.  Too bad they didn't read the fine print since taking this crap also makes you suicidal, psycho-aggressive and, apparently, a tad cannibalistic.

Okay, is there anyone out there who even heard of this stuff, like, six months ago?  Is drug advancement developing at the same rate as technology now?

Speaking of technology, this brings me to a stupid observation.  As we all know, a lot of kids who watched Star Trek during their formative years grew up to be scientists and engineers who went about making the fictional technology featured in the show a reality.  For example, the original series had communicators, so someone out there felt compelled to invent cell phones.  And in Next Generation, crew members used Personal Access Display Devices, so someone had to invent tablets (the iPADD?).

Which makes me wonder: is there a similar but clandestine think tank out there for designer drugs?  Is there a cabal of dodgy scientists who routinely get together and say things like: "Hey, zombies seem to be pretty popular right now.  Why don't we cook up something up that simulates the effect?  I'm sure tons of people out there will be stupid enough to take it!"

For our parent's generation, Hollywood served up plenty of epic yet slightly conventional visions of doomsday in the form of Avalanche (1978), Earthquake (1974), Meteor (1978), The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and The Andromeda Strain (1971).  But having witnessed these films (as well as a slew of similar television shows, books and video games), I suspect that our generation requires a much more scary, imaginative and well, geeky, end-of-days scenario.

Let's face it, living in a day and age when the ludicrous comic-book super-villainy of Osama Bin Laden is fathomable, what's a simple zombie apocalypse in comparison?  Our generation has marinated in speculative pop culture for so long that dealing with an undead uprising is the equivalent of Ray Stantz picking the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man as his preferred method of self-destruction.

All of this has gotten so out of completely hand that the Centers for Disease Control (and the brainless media) have started issuing statements as if they're scripted from a Romero's zombie flick:

Dear Jesus.

Y'know, I'd always hoped that when people my age assumed control over insitutions and the media we'd at least be able to keep our heads and not embarrass ourselves.  I guess I was being overly optimistic since this is downright pathetic. 

But it's still fun to speculate, isn't it?

What if bath salts aren't just some random new step in drug (de)evolution? 

What if this is just a more palatable and (dare I say it) entertaining form of apocalypse for a generation who'd ultimately be let down by a lame solar flare, global earthquake or yet another humdrum economic catastrophe?

EPIC  Actually a fairly respectable list.

FAIL  "They're heeeeeere..."

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