Thursday, November 11, 2010

Post-A-Day: True Fear, Thy Name Is Zombie Smurfs


We're in a bit of a zombie renaissance right now. In the span of one day I watched the exciting premiere of The Walking Dead, the hilarious and incredibly well done Community zombie episode "Epidemiology", and slayed some zombies of my own in the action-packed Dead Rising 2. There's something about the re-animated dead that's always fascinated me. I even shot wrote and shot a short film a few years back about a guy dealing with his time before he turned into a zombie after being bitten, called "Turning."

While there have been plenty of zombie-related movies to scare me over the years, one of the scariest zombie stories (at least, at the time) I remember was an episode of The Smurfs where our lovable little blue creatures were being turned into zombies. For a show where the character's biggest problem was usually a bumbling old wizard who was a minor annoyance at best.

The incident began with some kind of insect that bit Lazy Smurf on his tail. He quickly transformed into an angry, purple (originally black if you see the comic above, but they quickly rectified that when potential racial overtones surfaced) zombified version of himself that said nothing but "Gnap!" and he hopped back to the Smurf Village with a singular mission: to infect other smurfs by biting them on their tails.

The village was quickly overrun, but thankfully [Spoiler Alert!] in the end Papa Smurf saved the day with an antidote that cured the village. For a while though, things seemed BLEAK. I remember actively turning the television off in the middle of the episode (though I eventually was brave enough to sit all the way through it), and that same fear for my life only happened one other time, which was the first time I saw Michael Jackson transform in his Thriller video, another little vivid piece of childhood trauma.

Dear God, this shit still send shivers down my spine.

It's kind of a dark episode for such a generally lighthearted show. The happy village of pleasant lovable blue midgets were minutes away from becoming a rampaging village of mindless zombies! This thought reigned HEAVY in my young impressionable mind for some reason - that any of us could so quickly be transformed from 'good' to 'evil.' quickly overtook my second biggest childhood fear, which was falling down the stairs. That fear was sadly based on a series of very real events.

-Matt

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