By Vexen Crabtree 2006
In one genre of film, the elite are supreme and powerful and the 'normals' are weak and expendable. But am I talking about vampire films, where the vampires are strong and the masses are weak, or am I talking about zombie films, where the survivors are strong and the masses are weak? Let's see what we learn from both!
Vampires are elitist: They are stronger, quicker, more intelligent, upstanding and long-living... all the things that make people better, vampires have. Elitists are people who believe in, or believe they are, a class of people better than most other people. Nietzsche, the philosopher, taught that most people are inferior untermensch, but that some can raise themselves up to become super-human ubermensch. This is also the philosophy expounded by the Church of Satan. Vampires are the elite, and, like elitists, they are hated by the normals partially because of their attitude of superiority. In vampire films likeable vampires that are on the Humans side lack any superiority complex and are humble. In vampire mythology, the vampires are the elite and the "herd", vampire-fodder, are the untermensch.
“I am a Satanist! Bow down, for I am the highest embodiment of Human life!”
These words could be said by:
A vampire to a 'normal'
A zombie-film hero to a zombie
An elitist Satanist to a 'normal'
All three assert that their life is worth more than those of the masses.
This is similar to zombie mythology, but with a different focus. In zombie films, the 'survivors' are the stronger, much more able than the zombies in everything they do. In zombie films, the survivors are the elite. The masses, the horde, are unthinking, weak, expendable and easily exploited. The masses are the untermensch.
In vampire films and zombie films, the strong elites are the enemy of the mindless masses. In vampire films, some strong heroes emerge from the masses, who can take on the vampires. These strong untermensch are more like misdirected elites than the rest of the herd. In vampire films they are often highly attracted to the vampires and devote their lives to studying them, before actually emerging to fight against them. In zombie films, Bub Zombie (from Day of the Dead) and the black Leader Zombie (from Land of the Dead) are both strong zombies, more intelligent than the others. In both zombie and vampire films, there are strong untermensch who fight against the elites, normally in a highly anarchic self-destructive fashion.
Vampires are often portrayed as actually very attractive, and there are hardly any vampire-movie-fans who do not associate themselves with the vampires, rather than the Human heroes. This is part of Human psychology that Nietzsche calls the slave morality: We wish to be better than everyone else, but we also dislike those who are better than everyone else. So, Humans secretly long to be vampires, or a hero in a zombie film, because they are better than everyone else. Outwardly they profess that this is an evil and subversive wish.
Zombies can instinctively tell who else is a zombie. They hate the living and want to kill them, to drag them down to their own level. Vampires, however, love being better than everyone else. They only chose certain select untermensch to be raised up to vampire level. They revel in their superior qualities. Likewise, in my page on trash culture I point out that the dregs of society actively dislike anyone intelligent or talented, or 'different'. This is like the zombies aggression towards non-zombies, and the normals aggression towards vampires. The untermensch, the trash culture elements, wish everyone to be equally limited, simply because it's not fair that some should be excellent. Those who are better than trash culture often complain they cannot get on with the untermensch because 'they know I'm not one of them', 'they can tell I'm different', 'I'm not one of them'... in short, the elites cannot get on with the zombies, and the zombies cannot stand the living, just like the untermensch cannot stand vampires.
Small animals feed on insects. Large animal predators feed on small predators. This is natural. This is normal. We are not surprised when, one level up, we find that we eat "lower" animals, such as rabbits. It's how it is. Our intelligence and development has made us the arbiter of life on this planet. We value Human lives much more than animal life. So, we side strongly with the survivors of zombie plagues and we feel they have every right to survive by killing zombies, because the living are so much better than them. Through several levels of the food chain, we are happy to admit that it is normal for the higher species to use lower species. But why, then, do we draw the line at our level? Vampires, and the elite, are a level better than the untermensch, so why are we appalled when "they" use us according to the natural laws that we accept? We accept natural laws to justify our using of lower species, so how come we find it so repugnant when higher species use us? The reason is that our justification for the food chain is fake; the real reason is necessity. We will do what it takes to keep on top. Likewise, so will vampires. And so will the human survivors of zombie films: They will kill, in order to keep in power.
Zombie and vampire films therefore, teach us much about humanity and the will to power. We learn that the 'natural laws' that we use to justify our existence at the top of the food chain are not the real justifications, and that we are simply self-interested, species-biased and paradigm-biased. Anything better than us we fight against, and anything weaker than us we exploit.
“The biggest weakness of all is not knowing your weaknesses”
The elite have character flaws. Vampires are often undone by their own ambitions, ruthlessness or arrogance. Human survivors in zombie films are often undone by relationship issues, power struggles, and inabilities to face their true selves. All these flaws are fully exploited in vampire and zombie films, in fact, you can almost predict exactly who will die by the seriousness of their character flaws.
Not even elitists believe that the strong are without flaws. The strong have just as many weaknesses as the weak, but their attitude towards failure is different. The elite are go-getters, do-ers, thinkers... and even when battling their own flaws, they continue to strive. Those who die in zombie films are those who become complacent or lazy, or cannot deal with their character flaws. Those who die in vampire films are those who are innocent, and vampires who die first are the non-intellectual brutes, rather than the all-rounders. So, to survive and live the better life, understand your own predicament in life, and in the food chain, by watching more zombie films and maybe some vampire films too! I just knew my lifestyle choices were correct!
Current edition: 2006 Sep 09
Parent page: Zombies!!! The Biology and Philosophy of the Living Dead!
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