Posted in Monday Mayhem

The Three Commandments

In recent times, moviegoers have come to realize there are no absolutes when dealing with the horror genre. Ghosts can eat food (Pirates of the Caribbean), werewolves can change at will (Underworld), and vampires can sparkle when exposed to sunlight (Twilight). However, all bets are off when we talk about zombies. Zombies live in a world of absolutes.

Zombie Hand
Zombie Hand

As a primer to my Monday Mayhem series, let’s examine The Three Commandments of the undead. Established by director George A. Romero in the 1968 movie Night of the Living Dead and solidified in his 1978 film Dawn of the Dead, these three laws are what make the zombie genre unique. Without them, zombies wouldn’t exist in their present form.

I—The Dead Have Come Back to Life

A zombie isn’t a zombie unless it comes back from the dead. Much like vampires, zombies were once dead. Hence the name: undead. Through a biochemical change, voodoo or some other form of reanimation, the dead rises. This is the crux of zombiehood. Without it, zombies simply are not zombies.

What about a virus? In modern storytelling, a virus is the usual suspect in the blame-game for many undead creations. Typically, the virus runs through a population, changing them to become zombies. In strict technical terms, these creatures may not qualify as true zombies if the victims do not initially die. However, I argue if a virus has an element of death associate with it (biological or intellectual), then of course the resultant creature is none other than a zombie.

The key here is to note a physical transformation from death to life.

II—The Undead Crave Human Flesh

Every biological species requires sustenance to maintain health. Zombies do not. Zombies eat because it’s in their nature to hunger after human meat. It’s a compulsion. They cannot turn off the desire to slay a human and feed off the body. They just can’t. They are like the sharks of the underworld. They yearn, hunt, kill and eat. That’s it. They don’t stop. From one body to another, they’ll consume a whole town without regard. They are never satiated.

The Frontal Lobe
The Frontal Lobe

III—The Undead Will Die with a Blow to the Brain

The only thing that will stop a zombie is the destruction of its brain. A hunter of the undead can use various methods to attain this result. The most common is a bullet to the head. A knife through the temple will also do a fine job of ridding the earth of the vermin species. As would any of these other methods: An ice pick through the eye socket, multiple blows from a baseball bat, a sharp stick through its mouth thereby severing its spinal cord, a screwdriver to the back of the skull, a meat cleaver aimed directly at the frontal lobe, etc. The possibilities are endless. The purpose is to render the creature dead by inflicting the maximum amount of trauma to its brain. Once complete, the zombie will no longer pose a threat to any other humans.

Have you ever heard of The Three Commandments? What are your thoughts about zombiehood?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Selene

What better way to kick off today’s Women Who Wow Wednesday post than with a kick ass, female Death Dealer.

Underworld's Selene
Underworld’s Selene

I like vampires. Well, I like vampire movies, not vampires per se. Otherwise that would make me weird. Then again, I do love zombies, so that makes me weird enough. But I like a good vampire movie. And I love werewolf movies too. Just not as much as zombie movies. So when Underworld came out a few years ago, I showered, shaved, and ran to the theater hoping to catch it opening night. How can a fan of both vampires and werewolves miss this gem?

That’s when I saw her for the first time. She stood perched on a building ledge, high above the torrential downpour, analyzing the street below. Looking. Wanting. Waiting. She leapt. Gliding a hundred feet to the bottom, she landed to a bounce. She struts her way through the crowd, hunting.

Played by the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale, Selene’s mission is to destroy Lycans, a species of werewolf that, unlike ordinary werewolves, can control their transformation. Selene is a vampire and can endure daylight. Old school vampires like the ones in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, burn in the daylight. Other vampires, dare I say it—sparkle. Shivers. Selene doesn’t have to worry about spontaneously combusting, leaving behind nothing except a big pile of ash. She has immunity to UV light. She can blend in like one of us. However, I’m not sure just how much she can blend in with all that leather she wears and her attractive features. It would be like a lion blending in with a flock of lambs.

Selene is also proficient in all manner of weaponry and possesses other abilities such as speed, strength and endurance. In one instance, a group of police officers had her cornered in a hallway with no escape, wearing their full compliment of armor. No problem. Equipped with only a scalpel, she blasted past the officers spilling their blood and leaving their corpses to rot. In another instance, she plows her hand right through a Lycan as if it were some sort of fruit.

In all this, what makes Selene special, though, is her gentle side. It’s the side only Michael, a human, sees.

The Beautiful Selene
The Beautiful Selene

As terrifying and vicious as she can be, Selene’s love for Michael makes her vulnerable to getting hurt. She trusts him. She gives of herself fully to him in order to allow their love to grow.

It’s that beautiful, delicate balance between good and evil, light and darkness, love and hate that makes Selene addictive. She represents the unattainable, defending her species at all cost.

Have you seen Underworld? Did you like it? What did you find the most interesting aspect of the film?