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Rise of the Zombies

In Monsters from the Id, E. Michael Jones advanced an interesting theory: a culture’s horror films reflect its sub-conscious. Frankenstein was fear of the unknown energy known as “electricity.” Dracula was fear of syphilis. The rise of slasher movies in the 1960s reflected our culture’s disgust with (and horror of) the sexual revolution. Borrowing from Jones, I wrote the following for “Busted Halo” many years ago (go here for full article):

When sexual freedom rose, horror rose with it. Deep Throat came out in 1973 and Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1975. Both were low-budget long shots that brought its producers millions of dollars. Maybe it was coincidence.

Maybe it was also coincidence that Blood Feast, a movie that signaled the official birth of the gore film, came out in 1965, just as America was beginning its full-scale tumble into the sexual revolution.

But you ever notice how it seems that the pretty and promiscuous girls are always the victims in the horror movies? David Hogan noticed it in his book, Dark Romance: Sexuality in the Horror Film, criticizing horror films for working “from a surprisingly Puritan morality” that punishes fornication.

What’s the big horror genre today (if you put aside the “horror” represented by Twilight and knock-offs)? It’s zombies. Zombie movies and zombie sites have become so common that my twenty-something nephew wouldn’t go see Zombieland because he’d grown tired of zombies.

And what is on the rise in our culture? Zombies: the zombie corporations that Japan’s central bank has propped up for the past two decades, the zombie banks and automakers that the Federal Reserve is propping up, and the zombie underclass that requires public assistance and is growing at an alarming pace. We have zombies everywhere and the culture is giving us zombie movies to reflect this growing horror.

Maybe. It’s just a theory, but I find it interesting.

And if you want to draw a further connection to The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, go right ahead. When we cut off those public assistance checks and bridge cards after our country’s debt load causes it to go bust, the underclass will go ape.

Drinking Corner

A guy lives in Michigan almost his entire life, he drinks almost his entire life, and then something like this completely escapes his notice: The Lake Michigan Beer Tour. It’s not an official tour, it’s just one traveler’s recount of his trip up the Lake Michigan coast (kinda like Belloc’s Path to Rome, without the religious overtones or the fact that Belloc did the entire tour on foot). It’s a nice little travel piece, though, and captures the charm that is Michigan’s West Coast. Excerpt:

On we went to the picturesque town of Holland, where the main street is heavier with candy shops than chain stores. Better still it has New Holland Brewing. Though it’s one of Michigan’s better-known breweries, New Holland retains charm in a wood-floored, tin-ceilinged antique barroom that was packed on a Wednesday afternoon. With 13 drafts and 15 cocktails mixed from house-made spirits, New Holland’s greatest attribute is its variation — you can drink simple (a kolsch), bolder (a smoked doppelbock), then bolder still — “hopquila,” a house-invented spirit that tastes like a whiskey/tequila hybrid. Which I did.

What struck me the most about the piece: the writer went through wine country. Western Michigan has long had wine tours, but a beer tour? That’s new. And welcomed. It’s nice to see beer make inroads against wine, instead of vice versa like we’ve been seeing. I probably drink more wine than beer these days, but I’ll always consider myself a beer guy.

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