Given the time of year, there really was no other alternative for this week’s blog. I ummed and ahhed about doing The Passion of The Christ as our movie this week- but that belongs more in the Saw/Human Centipede genre than the movies we’re interested in, so I decided to go right back to the book.
But this isn’t just about making cheap jokes about other people’s deeply held religious beliefs (although it is partly about making cheap jokes about people’s deeply held religious beliefs). I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but the zombie apocalypse genre is a genre with a long standing habit of cannibalising what went before. And through the last 2000 years (give or take a few centuries) one of the most popular sources to plagiarise has been The Holy Bible. If this was a blog about Movies Where Friendly Aliens Visit, the drinking game would probably feature the rules: Does the alien have amazing powers (Take an extra shot if those powers are healing powers)? Do they try to spread a message of peace and love? Do a frightened and warlike government kill the alien because they don’t understand it? Does the alien then come back from the dead? (Take an extra shot if the alien then ascends to the heavens in a stunning light display).
|These are all Jesus|
And the zombie apocalypse genre with its, well, apocalyptic imagery and all the gore and violence and penchant for preachers who totally kick ass (for the Lord), seems like it wouldn’t have wasted any time before raiding the good book. One of the most iconic lines from any horror movie is “When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth” from Dawn of the Dead. It’s a line that sounds like it ought to be a Bible verse, although there’s no line even close to it anywhere in the good book.
So, looking at the Bible, just how many zombies, or zombie like entities can we find?
Candidate A: Lazarus
As seen here, and immortalised in a brilliant pun here. Lazarus is probably the second most famous example of someone coming back from the dead. There’s definitely some zombie-like qualities here, the wandering around in his burial clothes, the fear that after being dead for four days he’ll stink up the joint, his insatiable lust for flesh.... Okay, I made up the insatiable lust for flesh.
No, truth is, Lazarus pretty much just gets up and goes about his business as usual.
You may have heard of this one. Jesus note only rose from the dead- as I just pointed out, he caused others to rise from the dead. And he was quite big on the eating of flesh and the drinking of blood, as shown here, here and here.
Who knows, maybe the New Testament would have turned out very differently if the Romans had decided to skip crucifixion in favour of removing the head or destroying the brain.
But, although he did have some cool/gruesome scars after he rose, Jesus still seems pretty much articulate and none-flesh eating, which isn’t really in keeping with the zombie apocalypse tropes. And raising one person isn’t exactly an pandemic- for there to be an argument in favour of a zombie apocalypse, you’d need a whole bunch of people rising from the dead.
Candidate C: When Jesus Causes A Whole Bunch of People to Rise From The Dead
Taken from Matthew 27: 50-53 – right at the moment when Jesus dies on the cross.
“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!””
This is way, way more impressive. Tombs breaking open, a whole horde of the dead rising, this is the kind of shit they really ought to be telling kids about the Bible in school. This imagery is proper, classic Romero stuff.
I know several of you are now clicking the Bible open in a new tab and excitedly reading on to the next bit. You’ll be disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, Matthew 27 is one of the better chapters- as well as being the bit where Jesus gets crucified, this chapter also features Judas hanging himself- admittedly, the least cool of the two Judas deaths described in the Bible. (The best one can be found here) but there’s nothing more on the zombie uprising. It’s not said whether the risen saints feasted on the flesh of the living, carried on from where they left off, or simply dropped dead again, necessitating a massive clean-up operation. The Bible pretty much skips that whole thing.
And deep down, you know it’s not enough for the dead to just rise. So far, the only gore we’ve seen at all is a couple of holes through Jesus’s hands. Dead rising and just walking about, while creepy, isn’t what we came here for. We want some violence!
Candidate D: Some Really Really Nast Shit Goes Down
You wanted it. Here it is- this line is taken from Zechariah 14:12-15:
“This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. On that day people will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. They will seize each other by the hand and attack one another. Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected—great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.”
“Flesh will rot why they are still standing” “eyes will rot in their sockets”- finally, we’re getting to the really gruesome stuff. Admittedly, there’s nothing here to suggest that they are actually dead, but as we’ve established before, and outbreak of the Rage virus still counts! According to the book of Zechariah, attacking Jerusalem will result in an outbreak of zombie madness.
|Pictured: Rational justification for a pro-Israel foreign policy|
Of course, “attacking Jerusalem will result in an outbreak of the rage virus” is one of the lesser known Biblical prophesies, and considering that all those saints rising from their graves sounded like quite a big deal, it’s been pretty much underplayed by churches and R.E. lessons alike. No, it’s generally acknowledged that when the end times finally roll around, the book to look to is the book of Revelation, which Biblical scholars tell us predicts that before the end of the world, we will see the dead rise.
|Pictured: Biblical scholars|
And quite frankly, in the Book of Revelation, that’s some of the tamest stuff that happens. And this is something we should go into right now, because it turns out this book might be about to become extremely...
Then the screen flickers, and the image of the witty but informative zombie blog is replaced by the pale visage of Locutus of Borg.
This Blog is to be continued...
In the mean time- time for the drinking game!
Well, there’s not much of people under siege, or incompetent/dangerous rescuers (Unless you count Judas). There’s not even much of mankind being the real monster. However, there are walking dead (One shot) who do rise without being “infected” (Two shots) and nobody calls them zombies (Two shots).