When I was growing up there were two distinct sects of monsters. The old “classic” monsters who including Dracula vampires, Frankenstein monsters, Werewolves and Mummies. These classics found their origins and mythos in oral tradition going back centuries as well as codified in literary works by Brahm Stroker and Mary Shelley.
In the past 50 years or so there has been the avant guarde of modern monsters which consist of vampires that twinkle in the sun or are more animal than man, werewolves that can control their transformation and have little to do with the moon, zombies brought on by virus instead of magic and killer cyborgs that have become more technical machine than biological abomination.
(There are also the second tier pulp fiction monsters such as the Thing from the Black Lagoon, Mr. Hyde, The Blob and the like but I’ll focus on the varsity squad)
I don’t want to delve too much into how the rules have changed for each. What I wanted to talk about is a thought that came to my head while watching the mid season finally of The Walking Dead.
I remembered my childhood and the classic monsters. I also remembered my childhood cereal, Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Booberry, Fruity Yummy Mummy and Fruit Brute. If you don’t know the last two I don’t blame you, they haven’t been on shelves in 20 and 30 years respectively. I never even heard of Fruit Brute but its mascot was the werewolf.
Anyways, from these cereals I was thinking of the classes of monsters that have basically stood the test of time…or have they.
The latest release of the teeny bopper phenomina that is Twilight lends credence the enduring love that people have for Vampires and Werewolves. As do shows like True Blood, Vampire Diaries and Teen Wolf.
For as long as there have been people there have been ghosts…I don’t foresee that changing too much. What goes bump in the night keeps us enthralled in the theaters as well as beside campfires.
And while Frankenstein isn’t always created by a mad scientist, how many stories are written where mans’ pursuit of decoding life has led to horror?
That leaves us with the Mummy. (Let’s try to forget the Brandon Fraser version and stick with the classic)
Is the mummy it’s own class of monster or was the mummy only the fist zombie? Since George Romero codified the zombie in Night of the Living Dead, the interest and popularity in the genre has been strong through today with numerous movies and shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead.
But does that usurp the Mummy’s individual status?
The rules for beating both are different, mummies must burn while zombies need severe brain trauma.
Mummies rise and seek vengeance for tripping their curse while zombies only seek out flesh and brains to eat.
They both rise from the dead but zombies seem to, as often as not, die as a result of infection whereas the mummy dies and then is spelled.
They both stagger around (i don’t buy into the ninja/superpowered zombie) and are relentless if slow.
After giving it some thought I think I will, much like scientists did with Pluto, downgrade mummy status to that of being in the Zombie class. No one says there is a Dracula class and a vampire class. Dracula is a vampire and so to, do I think that the Mummy is just a particular zombie in the mythos and no longer deserving of its own class.