About Me, The Director’s Cut
I’m just a normal person. I live in the country, and I have a cat. I love to read and to watch movies. Basically, I love any story. It’s a blessing…and a curse (I love Monk, too). In high school, my friend Cybille and I would have “Bad Movie Night”. It didn’t matter how horrible the movie was; once we got started, we needed to know how it ended. We could talk through most of it if we wanted, but we had to finish the story. Now I’m a Wikipedia junkie because it just saves time. I can be pretty sure that somebody will have synopsized it all up for me, so I can get the story without having to suffer through the movie. Which kind of leads me to the curse side of my story-itis…
There are only two weird things about me (that I will admit), and they are my fears. I am only truly afraid of two things, both of them ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I’m afraid that my house will burn down, that my dog will get carried away by an owl, that something bad will happen to a loved one – all those normal kinds of fears that regular people have. But I’m talking about truly afraid. It’s the closest I come to having an irrational phobia, like being afraid you’ll fall off the earth. The fear is real, but is that really going to happen? Probably not.
Number one is I’m deathly afraid of sharks. Not little baby sharks you can touch at the aquarium. I can do that. But I wouldn’t get in a tank with one. I will go up to my knees in the ocean, but ankle-deep is even better. I suppose I could go in up to my thighs, if one of the kids was drowning. When I go too far, I get a panicky, frantic kind of feeling that I imagine is what happens to people who have true phobias. For me, it feels like there’s a a shark right behind me. You know how you get a strange feeling when someone walks up behind you? You don’t have to turn around to know that person is there – your whole body responds physically to that possible danger. That’s how I feel. Basically, I feel like at any moment I’m going to be eaten.
I can be brave in the face of my fear. For example, there was this one time (actually, this is the only example) when I was a teenager, and I was on vacation with my friend Margaret and her family in Chincoteague, Virginia. There had been hurricanes the week before, and these huge conch shells had been rolled up from the ocean. All the others were out on the sandbar pulling up these beautiful shells, and man, I wanted me a conch shell. So I went out to that sandbar, and I felt around with my feet, and I dived down, and I got my share of shells.
And the whole time I just wanted to curl up into a ball so the sharks wouldn’t eat my feet off.
To this day, I am at the same time immensely proud of myself for getting those shells and completely aware of the ridiculousness of my fear. It is highly unlikely – particularly since I won’t go into the ocean – that I will ever get eaten by a shark. It does happen, but it’s not likely to happen to me.
On the other hand, I also can’t help thinking that right on the other side of that sandbar is where all the sharks were probably swimming that day. When you see the aerial photography, that’s where they always are, between the first and second sandbars. I know this because, right after a shark has eaten someone, they show a lot of aerial shots of all the sharks swimming where you do. If you swim in the ocean.
Ok, so what does my irrational fear of sharks have to do with the “story-itis curse”? JAWS, that’s what! That damn Jaws movie. I couldn’t go in the swimming pool after I saw that movie! Thank goodness it was the end of the summer. Crazy, I know…the pool, for goodness sake. But fear is what it is. I could see there were no sharks. I knew there would never, ever be a shark in that pool. Probably. But my mind was still screaming at me to “get the hell outta there, dummy!”
Number two is even worse.
Number two is the zombies. Thank you again, Wikipedia, because I just can’t seem to stay away from the stories. I HAVE to know what happens. I have already seen way too many zombie movies for someone who is terrified of the zombies in the zombie movies. I can’t say the word irrational enough – I want you to understand that I understand the complete insanity of Zombie Fear. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like the ocean thing. There are no out-of-bounds places or anything like that. I’m not afraid I’ll ever run into or be in any real danger from a zombie. I don’t think. Probably not.
The truth is, I don’t like any movie where the danger can’t be eradicated, where you can’t kill the bad guy. That’s the thought that’s so terrifying to me, that there’s this thing coming to get you that you have no hopes of destroying. In that respect, zombies aren’t really as bad as Jason, Freddie Krueger or Michael Myers*. At least you can shoot a zombie in the head. But I just hate it when the guy falls off the building and he’s impaled on the really spiky post of a wrought iron fence that’s oddly close to the house and then they look over the side – and he’s gone! How horrifying is that ? (And even at the end of the movie, you know he’s coming back in the next movie. There’s always a next movie. Even if it’s 10 years later, there is a next movie.) I can’t watch those at all, but zombie movies are almost as bad. I mean, it’s a reanimated corpse! How do you kill (re-kill?) a corpse?
Logically, I know there’s nothing that will reanimate dead tissue and make it walk around and want to eat your brains.
Doesn’t make it less scary.
And the movie industry is getting closer and closer to convincing me of the possibility (calm down, I didn’t say likelihood) of a zombie apocalypse. Some of the newest movies have really gotten more into the scenarios that could be true. Well…they’re based on things that border on the possibility of truth. In those cases, the zombies aren’t always “the un-dead”; now, it’s sometimes a kind of disease. In Zombieland, it was a mutation of mad cow disease. 28 Days Later was based on this crazy monkey disease that turned you into a homicidal brain-fried maniac. At least when the body died in that movie, that was it. I can deal with that; if you know there’s a chance these things will eventually die off from thirst (and starvation if you’re lucky), you can someday be safe again.
And yes, I did see both of those movies, which were pretty good. I really liked Zombieland a lot, and every now and then I have the urge to see it again. Even to buy it so I can see it whenever I want. Oh my gosh, you guys, do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth? Do you get it? It’s a curse, people. Oh, the humanity. Oh, the un-dead humanity. But I won’t allow myself to buy it, because…well, to be honest, I almost feel that just having it in the house would be like inviting a vampire in. Once you ask it in, it can get you!
As far as the new TV show, The Walking Dead, I can’t find any episodes synopsis anywhere on the internet.** As I’ve searched around for this information, my inner voice is crying out, “Why!?! Why, storyline, why must you be so compelling?” I saw one of those next episode previews where they showed a guy running down the stairs saying, “Don’t leave me, don’t leave me.” He was kind of wheezing the words out, and he seemed so frightened and desperate. I just had to know what happened to that guy – I was so worried that maybe they left him.
They didn’t, but apparently they left some other dude, who was maybe not so nice, tied up on the roof or something. I don’t know what happened after that, because my zombie dealer – I mean my source – I mean the guy who told me what happened each week – anyway, he moved. I actually considered buying the first season on dvd. Can you believe that? I had to talk myself out of it, because, well, that would be CRAZY!***
And that’s the thing. What’s so compelling about the ones that really get it right is the human story. It’s the survival aspect, and it’s characters that you really want to see make it in the apocalyptic aftermath. What would people do, how would they act? How would they survive not only the monster that’s trying to kill them, but each other? It’s almost like real life.
Actually, it’s Survivor…but with zombies trying to eat you. Outwit, Outplay, Outlast – and don’t get eaten.
So that’s me. You start with “I’m a regular person” and somehow end up on Survivor, Zombie Island. Welcome to my blog!
*Michael Myers of the Halloween movies; not to be confused with Mike Myers, the actor; I am not in the least afraid of Mike Myers, the actor.
**I wrote this in April of 2011, and now all of the episodes are nicely summarized on Wikipedia. And I have read every single one of them. *sigh*
***Okay, so now I own seasons 1-4 on dvd. Mostly I’m fine, except if I watch more than 1 at a time, I start feeling like there will be zombies in my front yard when I open the door, and I hesitate before I let Louis out at night. One step at a time, right? Anyway, keep it moving people…nothing more to see here.
Oh yeah, I bought Zombieland. And Shaun of the Dead. And Warm Bodies. And World War Z. I actually saw that one in the theater. Twice. Big screen zombies, y’all! I’m just a wild woman.
Just to prove it: