Jack Flacco is proud to announce RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, the second book in the Ranger Martin series, will publish on October 21.
Men in Black is one of my most favorite Friday night fall movies. The other film I love, which has a similar theme is Mars Attacks. Yes, both are alien movies, and yes, both have a not-so-serious plot devoted to conspiracy. When these movies came out back in the late 90’s, The X-Files had a huge following. Talk about conspiracy theory. The X-Files took all that we knew back then about alien invasion and turned it on its head. Who can forget the tag line The truth is out there?
For today’s edition of Monday Mayhem, I would like to examine interesting fads that have taken over the media. In particular, I would like to look at the alien, vampire, and zombie fads of yesteryear and today. In the past, I’ve detailed how vampires and zombies throughout time have played a game of one-upmanship. Sometimes vampires are on top, and sometimes zombies. Today, zombies rule.
Where do aliens fit in all this?
As I’d mentioned, in its heyday The X-Files had garnered a massive following. Everyone wanted to know how the aliens fit in the whole humanity vs. alien universe. The show’s creator Chris Carter had a perfect formula where he’d trickle just enough information to the audience to keep them coming back for more. The X-Files had also some of the most interesting episodes on television for the time. I can never forget the episode where a cockroach appears to crawl on the screen. I screamed thinking the roach had somehow invaded my home. Through the wizardry of modern television effects, I became a sucker for the producers’ quaint, but hilarious practical joke.
Vampires didn’t become fashionable until the movie Twilight came out. I should rephrase that. Vampires didn’t become part of pop culture until the advent of Stephenie Meyer’s literary anvil hit the scene. Anne Rice, of course, influenced the genre years earlier with her book Interview with the Vampire, but teenage girls with Edward on their mind had more than blood coursing through their veins.
As with all fads, once Breaking Dawn’s star came and went zombies took over the reign as the pop culture phenomenon. With The Walking Dead in full swing and World War Z about to become a movie, is it a wonder zombies turned hot. Campuses across America played host to zombie runs while Halloween transformed from vampires only clubs to zombie apocalypse nightmares.
As for the aliens? They’re there. Listening and waiting until their time comes again. Only time will tell what pop culture has in mind once the reign of the zombies ends.
What other movies have an alien theme associated with the zombie genre? What do you think of The Night of the Living Dead?
18 thoughts on “Zombies, Aliens & Vampires”
They all had their spotlight, I think. Not too sure about aliens plus zombies. No movies come to mind.
YAY! Can’t wait for your second book! 🙂
Seems to come round in cycles. There were a lot of zombie movies in the 80s and they seem to be popular again now. And there are a tonne of zombie apocalypse games out there at the moment. Day Z being the one everyone is talking about at the moment.
Would you believe I’ve never seen Mars Attacks or The X-Files? Adding them to my list. SO excited about your next book!!
You GOT to watch Mars Attacks!, Kaela. It has a B-movie feel yet has a great story and effects. Thanks also for showing interest in my next book! 🙂 I can’t wait for release!
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Hmmm, I have one WIP with vampires and zombies and another that 50% aliens so maybe I can help the three reach a state of Kum ba yah. 🙂 And dang if I don’t have the X-files theme song running non-stop through my head now – thanks!
Interview with the Vampire was my first love in regards to fictional Vampire genre. Though, somewhere before that, when vampires became glamorized romantic figures in Hollywood, that was my first love of the vampire genre from my pre-teen years.
Ann Rice, without a doubt, is also a way better writer than Stephanie Meyers. However, her work was also darker and while there were underlying romantic tones between certain characters, her vampires didn’t have that type of relationship (as they didn’t have any sexual urges even).
Rice’s work appealed to us dark, wanna-be gothics (i.e. me as a teen) but not so much to the greater teen girls searching for forbidden romances and other bad-boy images which Edward carries with him.
Totally agree. Something about Anne Rice’s Lestat made her stories come alive, even when the main stories were dark in nature. Funny you mentioned her, I just finished a study on her and found in her later years, after becoming Catholic again, she had one string of bad luck after another. Not sure if that’s related to the decision of not wanting to write vampire novels again.
I did not realize she had such hardship after hanging up her Vampire and Mayfair Witches stories (have you read The Witching Hour? pretty damn good!) I heard she did start writing novels centering around religion. What a huge shift, though. Especially as she was under the pseudo-name, A. N. Roquelaure when she did The Sleeping Beauty erotica-trilogy.
Which is funny – because in many ways, it was also better written and far more graphic “50 Shades of Grey” way before that craze hit the roof!
Just to show how things go in cycles, I think the first alien invasion fad started in ’97. 1897 with H.G. Wells War of the Worlds. And picked up again in 1947 with ‘real life’ reports like Kenneth Arnold, and Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon as hard core as anything Stephine Myers put out.
And who can not think of the Alien Zombie connection and not think of the Craptastic classic from Ed Woods Plan 9 From Outer Space.
I actually saw Ed Wood’s film and thought it was one of those interesting movies someone watches but never remembers. Did you know it’s available online for free as part of a national archive project in the U.S.? I suppose the 50-year copyright license has expired to allow those museum folks to offer it for free. Not sure.
I didn’t know that.
I saw it first in VHS because it was supposed to eb the worlds worst movie. then some friends from work and I saw it in a retro film festival, colorized!
I love X-Files but I never liked any of their alien themed episodes. I preferred the other random sci-fi ones. I do love zombies, well, i don’t really love zombies but I do love the zombie genre.
Despite being a zombie fan, and not really into much of the alien stuff (although I have to admit Mars Attacks is one of my favourite films), I took a chance on a box set of ‘Falling Skies’ recently due to a complete lack of anything decent on British television at the moment, and I was absolutely blown away by it. It was the prefect mix of clever plots, great special effects, and post-apocalyptic survival in a world turned upside down. Having watched the first two series back to back in a matter of a couple of weeks, I’m amazed it’s not much bigger and more popular than it actually is, and I wonder if it might be the first sign that aliens are starting to challenge zombies for supremacy. Certainly, with ‘Star-crossed’, another alien-based drama, now gracnig our screens, it seems things might be moving in that direction. How long before others start piling on to what appears to be a slowly growing alien bandwagon? However, for me, zombies will still reign supreme (even if they drop in popularity as fashions shift yet again).
Colin, I’ve been noticing a slow seeping of alien plotlines in movies and books for another generation of writers willing to take a leap of faith in the genre. Will aliens be as popular as zombies are now? I have no clue. But the idea that we want to populate Mars will eventually bring back those alien plotlines to the forefront at full spring. I’m fairly certain of that. Look what happened when U.S. landed a man on the moon, science fiction spiked with people interested in knowing what will become of us if ever there was an alien invasion. At least that’s what I’ve read!
I’m not too sure how popular aliens will ever become, mostly because they are such a diverse topic. All zombies play by rougly the same basiic rules, as do all vamipires, yet each alien is very different from the next and I think this limits the bandwagon effect somwhat. However, you’re right that the continued space exploration, and particularly talk of manned missions to Mars in the near future (although in reality, we are still a ver long way away from it actually happening) will lead to an increased interest in what might be out there, and what would happen if we evern met them. My bet, based on what has happened every time in human history when a more advanced culture has met a less advanced one, is that it wouldn’t end well for us!
Never saw The Night of the Living Dead, this one is still on my TBW list. The Night of the Creeps has an alien-zombie connection. Really love that one.
Ever since Christopher Lee’s Dracula performances, I was a vampire fan. Stephenie Meyer just enriched the topic.
I never saw it, but I hear Invasion of the Bodysnatchers has a few zombie-esque qualities. Funny thing with zombies, vampires, and aliens is that you do have groups who never realize they ‘went out of style’. I remember being into vampires in high school and college due to the Vampire: The Masquerade game and Buffy. Zombies were fun when I got into Resident Evil games. It never came to my mind that they weren’t big, so it’s strange to hear how Twilight revitalized them. Though, I think that is up for debate in some circles.