Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombies vs. Vampires

It’s been a while since I last wrote about Horror’s two battling genres in one post. If I were to add werewolves, then it would be a regular party. For today’s Monday Mayhem though, I’m going to concentrate on zombies vs. vampires. What makes one dominant during a season while another takes a vacation?

Asbury Park Zombie Walk 2010 (File licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)
Asbury Park Zombie Walk 2010 (File licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

It wasn’t too long ago that vampires stole the scene. Remember? They were everywhere. They were in movies, books, TV, magazines, songs, etc., and teens romanticized the genre, writers couldn’t meet demand. Twilight became a rage. Thirteen year-old girls wanted Edward to be their husband. Vampires were hot.

Then, as quickly as it’d started, it all changed.

Vampire
Vampire

Nowadays, zombies are the hottest ticket in town. Unlike previous generations of zombie lovers, we’ve become more sophisticated. We love our Zombie Runs where once, twice or as many times as we can handle, we go after competitors in an all-you-can-eat buffet of sprinting through a course for charity. In some respect, we join the troops to simply have fun while playing the part of zombie or victim.

It doesn’t end there. The most popular show on TV is The Walking Dead, about a group of survivors who try to elude walkers (zombies) as a way to find peace in a world consumed by a virus. So far, peace has escaped them. Perhaps one day they will find what they’re looking for. The show has spawned whole websites dedicated to the plot, cast and walkers.

The popularity contest between vampires and zombies is a long one. But, I have a theory. It has to do with the economy and it has to do with people’s perception of the world. This is what I think.

When times are good and folks feel secure with the economy, their neighborhood and their life, vampires rule the airwaves. When things don’t look so good, the economy is in crash and burn mode, and people are generally evil toward one another, zombies rule. Don’t take this as science, although there may have been a scientific study done here and there to prove it. I’m thinking out loud leaning with heavy generalizations.

Good times = vampires.
Bad times = zombies.

This is why I think zombies are currently popular. Vampires are gentlemen. They have a certain sophistication people equate to as being rich. I mean Dracula, the most famous vampire of them all, lives in a castle. How rich is that? While on the opposite end of the spectrum is the lowly zombie, working hard with a horde trying to make a meal out of anyone it comes across.

Silly theory, isn’t it? But it makes sense, right? Twilight and a number of other vampire franchises were at their peak in popularity when the economy was doing well or on a rebound. Now that things aren’t so great, zombies have taken over the top spot.

Maybe I’m too far off base with this one. What do you think?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

What do you think makes a genre popular? Do you think the economy has anything to do with it?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombies, Aliens & Vampires

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?

Alien
Alien

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?

The X-Files
The X-Files

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.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

What other movies have an alien theme associated with the zombie genre? What do you think of The Night of the Living Dead?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

The Craft: Sarah

Hard to believe it’s been seventeen years since the movie The Craft came out. For all my young readers who may have missed watching this spectacle, it presents another view of what a witches’ coven really is. I’m dedicating this Women Who Wow Wednesday to Sarah Bailey, the natural witch from the film.

Robin Tunney as Sarah Bailey (Photo Credit: movpins.com)
Robin Tunney as Sarah Bailey (Photo Credit: movpins.com)

A couple of years after the release of The Craft, City, Toronto’s premier local movie station at the time, broadcasted this film almost every month for a couple of years. It was something to behold considering there were a lot more entertaining movies to watch such as Armageddon and Bad Boys. Yet, I’m theorizing because a large contingent of teenage girls had the unquenchable desire to meet Leonardo DiCaprio from Titanic, they’d do anything to get close to the star, including casting spells.

I have to admit though, I became hooked with the movie pretty early on before it became a success on City.

Let’s get to the goods, shall we?

Sarah Bailey (Robin Tunney) moves into a new city and joins a witches’ coven. Sound familiar? Well, we’ll leave the Twilight references out of this post for now. Let’s backtrack. Sarah’s new school features a diverse clique of girls. The popular girls take one look at Sarah and label her an introvert. On more than one occasion, they make her the butt of all of their jokes. A boy, who she thought had a thing for her, spread the rumor she was easy after a night of abstinence with the lad.

That’s when Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Bonnie (Neve Campbell) and Rochelle (Rachel True) enter the picture. They’re dressed in black, have all sorts of weird stuff going on with them and, oh, yes, they’re witches. They want Sarah. Bonnie noticed her balancing a pencil on its tip in French class–without hands. Naturally, they’re not going to let this opportunity pass. Besides, they need a fourth witch to complete the circle and call the corners. You know, north, south, east, west? The corners. Of course let’s not forget the elements, too. Earth, wind, fire, water. They can’t call the corners without a fourth member in their coven.

Sarah Bailey
Sarah Bailey

Sarah accepts. But little does she know what she’s getting herself into. The magical incantations they perform in the beginning are nothing short of sideshow magic tricks. Silly things like levitation, changing the color of one’s hair, etc. Small stuff, really. It’s only after they summon the corners that things turn creepy.

I don’t want to spoil it, I’m only going to say the lesson in the movie is to be careful what you ask for, it always comes back to you three times over. What goes out comes back to you in threefold. That’s a massive lesson to grasp there for those ever wanting to curse anyone in life. In the movie, Karma is deadly.

Back to Sarah. From a shy, insecure teenager, Sarah becomes a force of reckoning. Not only does she prove herself vulnerable and weak during the tough times, she’s a girl who has that underlying strength to conquer all during the worst of times.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Have you seen The Craft? What did you think of Sarah Bailey? If you ever wanted one power in your life, what would it be?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombies, Vampires and the Economy

Jack Flacco is proud to announce RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, the first book in the Ranger Martin series, will publish on October 22.

An economic theory of sorts caught my attention the other day I thought I’d share. The theory goes something like this: when the economy does well, zombies rule. When the economy flounders, vampires seize the reigns. What better way to add to my Monday Mayhem series than to introduce a discussion of money, zombies and vampires?

Pontypool
Pontypool

It started with an article I came across on one of these financial sites, on my way to explore for another post I was working on. Funny how these things work. Whenever I’m looking for something to supplement a current post, something else hits me square between the eyes to prevent me from completing my research. Nonetheless, I can see how the theory came to be.

I’m writing this as is, without much commentary. I’ll provide the examples (including movie posters) more as a guide, but you can draw your own conclusions. Suffice it to say, some daring economists have already written about this before, plotting the rise and fall of zombies and vampires against fluctuations in the Dow Jones Industrial average.

Here’s my take on the theory…

Zombies, by nature, consume anything and everything. They have no sense of self-restraint. If they see something consumable, they will eat it. Nothing in their path is safe. Every so often, they lay dormant, waiting for their next big feast. As sharks frenzy, so do zombies when they spot a sure thing. Whatever obstacle may block their path, they quickly dismantle. In large groups, zombies are unstoppable.

Warm Bodies
Warm Bodies

So is the zombie economic model. During a recovery, consumers freely purchase having no self-restraint. A new bike? Buy it. A new car. Buy it. A new house? Yep—buy it! Everything catches their eye as fair game. There may be lulls where they seem to have satisfied their cravings, but they’re waiting for the euphoria to catch again. And if it’s Black Friday or Bargain Tuesdays at the local electronics shop, look out. Nothing will stand in their way to get to that big screen TV. In groups, consumers can ravage a store in seconds.

Vampires, on the other hand, are subtle hunters, choosing deception as their ally. They crave blood. When they satisfy their craving, they recede into the shadows. The strong and weak is no match for their cunning. Patience is part of their nature. Once they spot a target, they will stalk it until the time is right for the kill. They appear as human but their innards make them soulless creatures.

Twilight
Twilight

And so is the vampire economy. When times are tough, consumers are a guilt-ridden, crafty lot, choosing to talk their way into a deal. They take a tally of how well they’re doing by how well they’re saving. Sticker price means nothing to them. If it says $10, they’ll negotiate for $9 hoping to get it for $9.50. Large companies, small shops, makes no difference. They’ll wait. A deal is bound to come their way. When they see it, they’ll move in for the kill. If someone else spots it, they’ll push their way to get there first. Even if it means spilling blood.

Supplemental Reading Material

Have you ever heard of this theory? What is it that makes it unique among other zombie theories?