I’ve been reading Dracula this past week and today while I was pondering what kind of Halloween post I could do tonight, it hit me: There’s a direct link between Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies, or the legends of such monsters at least.
At first glance, there aren’t many similarities between the three monsters, sure, Vampires are said to be able to change into bats and possibly other creatures while Werewolves shift between human form and wolf form, but Zombies can’t change shape at all.
Zombies and Vampires are both undead, but werewolves aren’t undead, so those aren’t similar.
The one thing all three have in common (at least according to myths and common culture) are that a bite from any of them will turn a normal human into the thing that bit him. Which is kind of odd if you think about it; why would a Vampire want to turn every one of its victims into another vampire? The world would soon be over run, even if we had a good number of Vampire Hunters around.
Same with Werewolves, the curse placed on a werewolf is confusing, does it pass from one person to the next with the bite, leaving the biter free from the curse? Or does the curse spread itself until whole packs of werewolves form?
While that’s an interesting question, one that I invite any werewolf with knowledge of the workings of his or her curse to enlighten us in the comments, that’s not the focus of this post. What I want to explore is the reasons behind the creation of Zombies legends in the past few decades. Let’s begin.
In basically all zombie movies that plots are the same, Zombies take over part of the world, or all of the world and a few handfuls of people are forced to fight for their very lives. Also if you are bitten or perhaps even touched by a Zombie you are doomed to become one. The question is, what makes such an idea so popular?
I believe that there is something in the deepest part of the human brain that delights in thinking morbid thoughts like that and perhaps even wants to become something different, something other than a human, even if that something is a flesh-eating mindless being that died and no longer thinks for itself.
There isn’t that much of a difference between a Vampire, Werewolf or Zombie (no insult to any of those races that may be reading this). They all have roots in the same part of the human brain that enjoys thinking such gruesome thoughts.
It’s my beliefs that Zombies are just the creature that modern culture needs to stay on edge. Vampires and Werewolves took root centuries ago, perhaps as some warning to fear the night, perhaps as ways to keep children in line, perhaps just to amuse those telling the tales, no matter how that arose, those tales kept being told and retold until large sections of the world either believed in them or wanted the rest of the world to believe in them. Perhaps certain kingdoms used the fear of undead Vampires to keep from being invaded. I’m not sure how the ideas of Vampires or Werewolves got so popular, nor do I believe that anyone can really claim to know, I believe that the origins of these creatures are lost to time.
In modern times, we grew tired of Vampires and Werewolves, they weren’t current, we needed something stranger, something that we could explain away in our own ways, something untied to the past, or at least something not fully understood. That’s when someone heard something about Zombies, took the name and ran with it, creating the mythology that currently is attached to Zombies, as well as creating our own monster to take its place along side Vampires and Werewolves.
The only thing missing from our own monster is something to repel it, like Wolfbane is for Werewolves and Crosses and Garlic are to Vampires.
Thanks for reading, I hope you found my ideas and thoughts enlightening. Please feel free to leave a comment below!