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Posted on October 7, 2015

Point Counterpoint: Are Zombies Good Horror Monsters? (No)


Note: You’ve read Elizabeth’s argument why zombies are excellent horror monsters, now read Gwen’s counter argument that zombies are horrible horror monsters.

In the spirit of true democracy, my cohorts have allowed me this space during our illustrious “Zombie Week” to explain my utter distaste for all that is “zombie.” I know I might lose a few of you here, but I hope we can all just agree to disagree. Without crushing the hearts of all those out there on the zombie apocalypse bandwagon, I finally can shout it from the mountain that I just don’t find zombies all that scary.

I feel like an addict stuck on step five, confessing my horror wrongdoings. Standing here before you, I confess that I don’t watch The Walking Dead, I avoid Halloween haunts that have zombie themes, and I never feel compelled to rent a zombie flick. (Yes this is sacrilege coming from the state that is home to most Romero films.) I hope you can indulge me by reading the reasons that I don’t like zombies. Selfishly, I hope that those of you who agree with me, might just share this article in solidarity and discuss it with your friends.

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Posted on October 5, 2015

Point Counterpoint: Are Zombies Good Horror Monsters? (Yes)

Elizabeth Erwin

Note: For the counterpoint to the argument that zombies are good horror monsters, check out Gwen’s piece on Wednesday!

For the past decade, zombies have been experiencing a pop culture resurgence. Because they are instantly identifiable horror monsters, it isn’t at all uncommon to hear the gripe that zombies aren’t really all that scary. This, my friends, is utter nonsense. Zombies have style, substance and a penchant for ripping victims wide open. What more could a horror fan want?

Death by Zombie is Brutal

Scenes of carnage in most American zombie narratives make it clear that death by zombie is utterly brutal. In Shaun of the Dead (2004), David is ripped open in horrifically gory detail as he screams in terror. It is a scene that is as bloody and visceral as any you’re likely to find in slasher horror. City of the Living Dead (1980) ups the gross factor when Rose is killed as she is forced to vomit uncontrollably. As both of these cases demonstrate, the assumption that zombies pose no real threat is a misplaced one. Sure, they often (but not always) are slow moving but their tendency to move in groups increases their threat value. And when they catch you, it is guaranteed not to be pretty.

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Posted on October 2, 2015

Point Counterpoint: Is Scream Queens Horror? (Yes)


To be more specific, Scream Queens is clearly part and parcel of the horror subgenre called Horror/Comedy. So in a sense it is not straight horror. But I don’t think anyone assumed that it was. To negate Scream Queens as part of the horror canon is to negate such great films as Gremlins (1984), Beetlejuice (1988), and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)—and let’s not forget the landmark horror television series Tales From the Crypt (1989-96). What follows is my counter point to Elizabeth’s thought-provoking post, laying out why I feel Scream Queens is definitively part of horror and how horror comedy walks a thin line to maintain its place in the category.

Horror subgenres

Scholars of horror desperately try to define the parameters of horror. Both Elizabeth and I are tirelessly trying to create our own definition of what constitutes horror. One thing that all scholars seem to agree on is the fact that not everything that is horror fits nicely into the little box labeled “horror.” Perhaps part of the reason for this is that “horrific” is a subjective term. Some people find vampires and ghosts to be horrific. I, myself, find family gatherings, commitment, and small children to be much more terrifying. The things that incorporate horror but do not quite fit wholly within the category get shoved into subgenres. Some widely agreed upon subgenres are: teen horror, slasher, supernatural horror, monster horror, family horror, natural horror, body horror, psychological horror, and comedy horror.

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