They keep coming and coming and don’t let up. They’ll hunt you down and kill you without mercy. They have no soul. They’re impervious to pain. They are dead inside, unable to feel empathy or feel anything for that matter. They will not rest until every single human soul lies dead under their feet.
If you think I’m talking about terminators, raise your hands. C’mon, don’t be shy. They sound like terminators, don’t they? They’re not, at least not in my book. I’m talking about zombies. How many of you guessed right? Well, you’re wrong, too. They’re terminators. Not sure, are you? Welcome to another edition of Monday Mayhem.
For those not familiar with the origins of The Terminator movie, one day, director James Cameron was suffering from a very high fever when in the midst of his dreams a metal skull appeared to him. It had burst into flames and filled his mind in a frenzy of horror. When he awoke, he immediately took to his typewriter and within twenty-four hours had the treatment written of The Terminator. Just like that.
For those unfamiliar with a film treatment, it’s a short story written in present tense prose with a liberal dollop of the director’s style. It’s much more detailed than an outline.
The idea behind The Terminator lies in man’s quest for immortality. A terminator does not feel, does not ponder on life’s great mysteries, does not fill its head with silly arguments of what is right and wrong. It roams and kills. Nothing more. Not much different from the undead, really.
Let’s have a look at similarities between terminators and zombies.
Persistence—Terminators do not know when to give up. They will keep coming after its target until either it dies a terrible death or its battery depletes. The likelihood of its battery depleting is next to zero. Therefore, you can run it down, drive a metal rod through its body, crush it with a steel girder, and blow it up. It will still come after you without relent. A zombie works the same way. Once it spots its victim, it will stop at nothing to capture it. Other than a shotgun blast to the head, nothing will deter it from its aim to make human its main dinner dish. It will keep coming and coming. It will not stop until we’re all dead.
Roaming—Those treacherous endoskeletons travel long distances to achieve their mission objective. They smash through doors, crash through windows, overcome gun blast wounds all for the sake of killing their targets. They’ll even drag their way to them if they have to, which is no different from the undead who chase after their prey. No manner of defense will discourage zombies from their inordinate plan to attack and dismember their victims. And yes, they’ll also drag to capture their victim.
Unfeeling—The driving force behind a terminator is its mission to kill its target. It does not care if its intended target has a family. It does not equate the loss of life to the loss of a relationship. Its design dictates merciless killing as its goal. In much the same way, a zombie’s ultimate quest is to satiate its craving for human. It has no empathy for the potential loss of a brilliant life. It doesn’t understand the bond between humans, the love of a parent for a child, the love of a mate for a mate. It possesses no heart. It does not cry for its victim nor does it rejoice after the killing. It can’t do any of that because it simply does not feel. How dreadful a life when a sentient life walks the earth soulless, empty and void.
Regardless of the many similarities mentioned, and I’m sure you can think of more, you know what I would find interesting? Instead of terminators and zombies going after humans, why not have them in a massive battle against each other? Wouldn’t that be something to look forward? But I think we’d know who would win.
Can you think of other similarities between the metal endoskeletons and the undead?