At some point in our lives (usually by the age of 6), we have to admit to ourselves that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy aren’t real. This revelation is both depressing and liberating, germinating the seeds of skepticism and logic that govern our lives as adults. Rational debate is one of the distinguishing hallmarks of adulthood.
For reasons I cannot understand, movies involving vampires, werewolves and zombies remain immensely popular, despite the simple logical arguments that render them into implausible childish myths. All of these creatures are proposed as physical beings, not supernatural or magical. And yet, all but one of them could exist without the aid of some unspecified force that is not part of the natural world.
Vampires, for example, must consume human blood to live. What is the component of human blood that enables them to survive that is not present in rabbit blood or cow blood? It’s never explained, because there is no such component. Animal blood would be much easier to obtain, and reduce vampires from a terrifying threat to ordinary neighbors who have an unusual diet and work the night shift.
And does anyone really believe that vampires can be repelled by crucifixes or garlic? Or that they can transform themselves into bats or other creatures? (See werewolves, below.)
The one thing I can believe about vampires is that they have a sensitivity to light. Not the blistering, screaming, bursting-into-flames sensitivity that we see in the movies, just the kind of thing that could be handled by 30 SPF sunblock, a floppy hat and a pair of Oakleys.
Werewolves are supposedly human beings who have contracted a disease from another infected human. Every 28 days, for no apparent reason, the human is forced to change into a wolf for one night, which makes no sense at all. Becoming a wolf does not serve any purpose. I like to imagine the werewolf virus mutating every year, like the flu. One year, you’re a panda. Next year, you’re an armadillo.
The thing I find laughable about werewolves is that nobody bothers to calculate the metabolic cost of transforming from a human form to that of a wolf (and back again) in the space of a few minutes. You couldn’t consume enough calories in a lunar month to accomplish it, and the stress of the transformation would undoubtedly kill you.
The problem with zombies is that there are two kinds (depending on your literary source) - a reanimated corpse or a living human infected with some germ or toxin. Regardless of the zombie definition, both of them want to kill non-zombie humans. They are universally depicted as profoundly retarded creatures, so how do they tell a zombie from a non-zombie? And why humans? What’s the appeal? Why not pigeons or cats?
The idea of a rotten corpse somehow developing the ability to move and produce enough energy to dig itself out of a grave and walk around is just absurd. The degraded tissues would be incapable of such actions, not to mention the indignities imposed on corpses by morticians. I suppose an argument could be made that fresh corpses are available everywhere, but I think the living would outnumber them by a large margin, so they wouldn’t pose very much of a threat.
That leaves the “infected living” zombie. It’s easy to imagine a human being turned into a psychopathic killer, because psychopaths already exist. Of the three, it’s the only one that has no logical barriers. So far, nobody has developed an infectious agent that will accomplish this goal. The only thing we know for sure is that somewhere, deep in an underground lab, somebody is working on it.
So I’m not sharpening stakes or making silver bullets, but maybe a shotgun wouldn’t be such a bad idea.