Vampires or Zombies?
The question has haunted TV and Movie pundits for the last several weeks and the debate shows no sign of abating. If you look in the horror section of any bookshop you would think that Vampires had already triumphed, taken the trophy to Transylvania and started massacring virgins by the score.
Or staring pensively at the pre-dawn light wishing they could sunbathe just last time and toying lovingly with a heart-shaped pendant given to them by some emotionally challenged 15-year-old. Whatever.
But like all good horror villains – Zombies are down but not out. That takes a head shot! (pause for applause) Try the fish, I’ll be here all week…
But who reads books anymore? Antiquated symbols of a forgotten era when learning was about thinking and… stuff. If you want anyone to care, put it on TV.
“The Walking Dead” premiered on the US cable network AMC on October 31st and became an instant hit. The ratings were so impressive that it was renewed for a full second season of 13 episodes almost immediately despite only being scheduled to run for six in its initial run. Also despite the creator firing all the writing staff and doing it all himself. Also despite verging, at times, on the tiresome side of cliché ridden predictable garbage. Also despite some of the acting being so wooden as to make it hard to see the actors for the trees so to speak. Also despite reportedly moving so far from the original source material that by the end of season one the TV series no longer bore any resemblance to the graphic novel series that inspired it. Despite also stealing my awesome idea that i had, like, a year ago! (curse you Darabont!)
Having said all of that though it has Zombies in it. Shuffling around, chewing stuff.
Coming out to bat for the Vampires though is HBO’s runaway success “True Blood”. “True Blood” features both wussy Vamps (boo) and nasty vamps (yay!); also werewolves (so 20th century) and were-panthers (choke); shape-shifters (blah) and his family; Maynads (whassat?) and fairies (aww shucks). However, it does include Anna Paquins breasts on occasion and also features Alexander Skarsgard, the sexiest Scandinavian there ever was. And of course Deborah-Ann Woll, simply the most gorgeous creature on TV today.
So the TV teams line up pretty well evenly on paper, what about the Ratings, the only score worth keeping in television (for the next few years anyway).
“True Blood” has been the highest rated show HBO has ever produced. The finale of season 3 cashed in 5.4 million total viewers in the US on subscription cable, with no data for DVR or internet downloads. That was the second highest rated episode of the season, 60,000 short of the season high the week prior. So, using some fuzzy math you could estimate a weekly average across the season, conservatively, at between 4 and 4.5 million.
On the other side however, we have a clear winner with the “Walking Dead” pulling in a season average, albeit over only six episodes, of 6,644,000 total viewers, making it the 5th most watched premium cable show for the year. As well as that though it topped the rankings for the all important 18-49 demographic pulling an average 4,545,000 in that demo alone.
Zombies 1: Vampires 0.
Aha, i hear you ask what about movies? Surely with the enormous suck-cess of the pouty bloodsuckers and the virginal rebel, Vampires are clearly going to even the score? Let’s check the 2010 box-office results for the judge’s decision.
For the Vampires, the champion and MVP “Twilight: something-or-other” and the lamest supernatural beasties ever what with their constant blue-steel faces and their incessant whining about “oohh, i can’t touch that”. Total global box office takings of $US629.9 million. Another bloodsucker is the imaginatively titled “Vampires Suck” created by the genius behind top flight films: “Scary Movie”;”Epic Movie” etc. Total box-office $US36.6 million. Making up the bench for the fangers is the american remake of the swedish film adaptation of the novel “Let Me In” with $US12.1 million. I never saw the American film but I imagine it wasn’t as good as the Swedish one, which wasn’t as good as the book.
So based on these 3 plus another 10 million or so for crappy foreign movies that don’t rate a mention (ie “Daybreakers”, the Australian abortion featuring a particularly depressed looking Sam Neill) that brings the total up to about $US690 million.
Starting a fair way behind for the Zombies is “Resident Evil… um… 3…? 4…?” The latest and by far the least coherent. Also, Milla Jovovich’s acting seems to have inexplicably gotten worse as the series and gone on. There are slo-mo bits, there is the selfish one who gets eaten and the heroic survivor – all set to a faux Reznorian soundtrack. Fresh! Box-office takings $US282.3 million. Also on team Zombie, “The Crazies”, a remake of a 1973 George Romero classic where a virus is released in a small town blah blah blah – you know the rest. The 2010 reboot does star Timothy Olyphant at his smoldering best playing a… you guessed it, a small town sheriff. Total box-office $US39.1 million. After that it’s pretty slim pickings for Zombies so add another $US10 million for random foreign films (i’m sure the Koreans or the Thais have made a couple) that makes about $US 332 million.
So After the scores are tallied it looks it’s a tie on all fronts – Zombies are clearly the favoured TV beastie of choice but the Pouty Mormonisms of the Twilight juggernaut just keeps on rolling, and with two more due this year and the next respectively, the future looks bleak for the shambling, moaning masses.
Still, there’s always “Left4Dead”, try making a computer game where you get points for love, hippies.