Friday, June 1, 2012

Zombies, cannibals, and um zombies, Oh My!

I was on the road last week when news of the "zombie attack" in Miami broke, but when I got to my hotel the news was all over Facebook.  To most of my horror friends this was proof that the zombie apocalypse was in full swing.  A few of my friends of a more political nature looked at it as another instance of police using undue force on an unarmed (and naked) person.  Honestly I think eating someones face gives the police just cause to use deadly force.

However, the Miami Zombie as most are calling the incident was big news.  Within a week pictures and video had appeared on the web.  What is even more shocking that the gory images are the other incidents that seemed to suddenly be happening.  A New Jersey man hurling pieces of his own intestines at the police.  A Maryland man who eats the heart of his roommate. **(see edit) A Texas woman who decapitates her infant and eats its brain.**  All obvious signs of the impending Romeroesque Armageddon.  Suddenly the Mayans were all getting smug looks on their face.  Not since Dick Clark's death were so many predicting the end.

What most overlooked, even many hard core horror fans, was that only the Miami incident really looked like a zombie apocalypse foreshadowing.  Now that incident looked just like a classic zombie attack.  Ignoring bullets, eating flesh, growling and being naked (corpses are stripped for the morgue) all straight out of a good old Romero flick, with effects by Savini.  However the others just looked like really fucked up cannibalistic murders.  While they could be connected to horror films, they really aren't very zombie like.

The Jersey man cutting out pieces of his own flesh and hurling it at cops could have come from the warped mind of David Cronenberg.  Well Cronenberg before he found mainstream success, and put away his flesh warping imagination. The Texas woman who ate her babies brain claims she was told to do so by the devil.  That sounds like an exorcism or possibly a cult movie, the same as the Maryland man who devoured his roommate.  Still these grisly events get grouped together, and usually labeled as proof of a zombie onslaught.

Critics will say that the sensationalism of the Miami zombie case has simply heightened our senses to these gory crime.  There is a lot of truth to that, even the police in the Miami case have said similar cases involving drug psychosis have happened in the past. Whether this is a new phenomena, or just the latest attack in a series that up until now we have over looked, I can almost guarantee that we will see more.  Hell, maybe even copycat zombie attacks.  Now that's scary.

***EDIT ( proof of the media sensationalizing the Miami attack is that the woman who ate her babies brain actually happened in 2009 and was thrown out there as new by some unscrupilious editor or writer to cash in on the cannibal attacks.  I apologize for not fully fact checking.  The article plays only a small role in this blog post so I wont delete the post or the reference but will (*) it.  Shame on internet "journalists" and I use that term lightly)

How is this going to affect the current zombie craze?  Right now that craze is riding high, being pushed in large part by the popularity of AMC's The Walking Dead.  I'm somewhat shocked that The Walking Dead isn't being blamed for the Miami zombie attack.  I could concede that a psychotic person could become convinced he was a zombie.  The press has always been way to eager to blame popular culture for homicidal acts, but so far AMC has escaped their wrath.

In fact the Miami zombie attack may actually help The Walking Dead.  After all the word zombie is on almost everyone in America's lips right now.  Now with the season three premiere still four months away there is time for the furor to die down.  That is if there are no more zombie or cannibal attacks between now and then.  That's a big "if."

Whatever happens, whether TV and movies get blamed, whether more disturbed people dine on bath salts and go loco, or even if this is the opening snack in a zombie apocalypse, I can just about bet we will be hearing more about this.  I would also bet the press is going to hype up any attack that even slightly resembles a cannibal or zombie attack.  Me? I'm gonna just sit back, stock up on bullets and water, and practice my head shots.

Now here are the very, very graphic pictures.  Be warned

Miami zombie victim

Aftermath of the Miami zombie attack

Miami zombie attack victim after the attack


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