Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis is pretty much what I looked like this after my morning bike commute in the driving rain. Before I left for work I had put on a bunch of mascara, and my efforts to try and not look like such a drudge at work anymore backfired in a bad way.

There's a nice synchronicity to this because a young woman called looking for a zombie movie. She had to portray a zombie for an acting class assignment and, amazingly enough, had never seen a zombie movie before, and had no idea how zombies acted and behaved. My colleague, an avid Fangoria reader and zombie afficianado, took the call.

"What kind of zombie do you need to depict - flesh eating or voodoo?"

"There's a difference?"

"One type is a recent corpse reanimated by some phenomenon, usually unexplained, although meteors, radiation, viruses, or some scientific experiment by the military gone awry are conjectured. They're mindless, slow moving and crave human flesh, although, in a rather disturbing development, they seem to be getting faster, stronger and smarter in recent movies. They tend to groan as they shuffle and stagger about in search of the living upon which to feed. These zombies can usually be slain by a blow to the head.

"The voodoo variety is a person who has been resurrected from the dead by the forces of black magic. No remnants of their personalities remain. They are under the complete spell of someone and act only to do this person’s bidding. Voodoo zombies seem to be in some terrible limbo between life and death – the soul is gone but the body has been resurrected and enslaved by a person wielding black magic."

"Uh - whatever zombie you think."

"To be safe, I would go with the classic and most familiar zombie, which, of course, you’ll find in Night of the Living Dead. If you’re squeamish and scare easily, I would watch the humorous send-up, Shaun of the Dead. There you should find everything you need."

In my assisting zombie research, I found this fascinating website on Haitian voodoo zombies, and how the superstition was used for political purposes.

There are many examples of zombies in modern day Haiti. Papa Doc Duvallier, the dictator of Haiti from 1957 to 1971, had a private army of thugs called tonton macoutes. These people were said to be in trances and they followed every command that Duvallier gave them. Duvallier had also his own voodoo church with many followers and he promised to return after his death to rule again. He did not come back but a guard was placed at his tomb, to insure that he would not try to escape, or that nobody steal the body.

One of my mom's friends went to boarding school with Michele Duvalier (Baby Doc's wife) and reported that she was quite the looker. With her flawless, cafe au lait complexion, imperious manner, and cruel beauty, boys from neighboring schools streamed to her like columns of ants - that is, until she got extraordinarily bloated on all the boarding school cafeteria carbs.

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