Thursday, October 20, 2011

Zombies! And Not One Reference to Braaaiiinnnsss. Oops.

It seems that zombies are the big thing to be "into" at the moment. In fact, right now, there is probably a Zombie Crawl being planned in your humble little burgh by some inpsired hipster film dork with daddy's credit card and a "ironically cheesy" second hand t-shirt. But before zombies were "cool," before people were pretending (or in some cases, not pretending) to prepare for the so-called zombie apocalypse, before The Walking Dead, before Shaun of the Dead, and even before Night of the Living Dead; zombie's have had their place in folklore. Yep. People were into zombies long before that cardigan-and-strategically-placed-scarf-wearing neighbor of yours was into them.  And even though this blog might seem like a cathartic rant against hipsters, it's actually a little history lesson in zombies....and also a way for you to "one up" any hipster you encounter. In fact, I'm preparing you for the Hipster Apocalypse. You are welcome.

The origins of zombiism has it's roots in Haitian voodoo culture. The word "zombie" comes from the Haitian word "zombi" (what a stretch) which means "spirit of the dead." According to folklore, a Haitian voodoo priest, or Bokor, can supposedly re-animate a corpse through black magic and a powder called coup padre. Coup padre contains tetrodoxin, which is a toxin found in the porcupine fish. But, here's the rub: Zombies are not really resurrected from the dead. Nope. Instead, a Bokor administers the powder to a LIVING person. The person then appears to be dead after receiving the powder, but they just have a decreased heart rate and lower body temperature. They are not fully dead. They are only half-dead. Bet you didn't think you'd be getting a Monty Python allusion? Nobody expects a Monty Python allusion (I'm on a roll!). Anyway, the family believes the drugged up person to be dead and buries the poor sap.

Later, the Bokor exhumes the individual. Although physically intact, the zombified brain has lost all memory, free will, and rationality.... kind of like a Stepford wife...or a Scientologist. The zombie is now under the control of the Bokor until said Bokor dies.

The prototype for the film zombie was in the movie White Zombie (not the band) which premiered in 1932. White Zombie tells the story of a well-to-do Haitian businessman (played by Bella Lugosi) who falls in love with a married lady. Lugosi's character "zombifies" the husband to get him out of the way. Most zombie movies that followed would portray the same sort of setup: a once cognizant being is rendered brainless by and under the control of a malicious master.

It was George Romero that re-invented the way we view zombies. In 1968, he released Night of the Living Dead, which gave us a new type of zombie. The new zombie is a formerly dead, weak, flesh-hungry monster that was created by some epidemic or event (in this case, radiation from a fallen satellite). And, most importantly, the zombie spreads it's disease through biting. After Romero's idea of the zombie, several other zombie films followed suit, using this prototype. The zombie has come to represent disease, war, invasion, etc., depending on the era  and what was going on in the world. Also, Romero was the one who declared that a zombie could be killed by a blow to the head.

But, more interestingly, I just happen to be listening to Queen's Don't Stop Me Now as I type this. Those of you who are Shaun of the Dead fans understand why that is "interesting."

But, even MORE interesting, is this necklace. Ah, yes. We have come to that point in the blog where I try to pay the bills. Here's a great necklace that will be perfect for Halloween. And if you wear it in front of your hipster neighbor and say something like "I don't really believe in zombies, but I think this necklace is fun," that will really piss him off. He'll have to hug his Coachella t-shirt and chug some coconut water to get over it.
And, use coupon code BLOG15 to get 15% off. Yay, savings!

AND- This just in: This blog won silver in the Colorado Springs Independent Best Of issue. Yep. I can't believe it either. This blog isn't even my second favorite blog....

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