META-NOMAD

Capitalism & the Undead P2: Animality Unbound

INTRODUCTION

We move from the slow, ambling undead towards a new mode of flux. Away from the easily structured modernities, the fluorescent, clean buildings and the tinny red blood. We shall be cast from the murmurs, the drooling hedonistic masses; those so easy to avoid. We will find a new hunger, insatiable and violent. A physicality born from thoughtless material-gain. A literal breed of consumer. Organic consumer capitalists, grown from the land.

THE DEAD NEXT DOOR (1989)

We begin with a cult film, with cult elements. A new direction towards the consumer, the acceptance of such, people will consume and so it simply is, the fight is lost almost before the film has even begun. A concentration not on defence against the consumer, but on assimilation with their needs, their wants…their desires. A structured society that has a place for zombies.

Down through twisting rural roads, to the corner stores of suburbia and within the concrete metropolis’; the undead have become clutter, small fragments of a larger whole, littering the world, scraping and bashing into everything, consuming all they contact, an accepted virus. A world without blood cells of white, a world that has forgotten the possibility for protection and thus accepts. Sometimes, gratefully.

As with any formal society divides begin against ‘whatever-it-may-be’, those who are fine with, and those who are not fine with, extremists of left and right, with those on the fence only being consumed. To not make a decision is to be infected by a virus worse than death. The Zombie Squads replicate replace the police in this film, mobilizing and hunting vagrant biters, jay-walkers get shot down, undead squatters evicted with death.

“The thing’s head’s off its body for Christ’s sake, doesn’t it know that?”

No, it doesn’t, consume, consume, consume.

There is the opposite, as there always is, those against those who are for, protecting the zombie’s right to exist, to not be used and experimented on, to not be round up and controlled for gain of another. Surrounding squad-stations and government buildings, armed with placards and speeches, reminiscent of a counter-culture, hoards of protesters, a small mass infecting others with their own non-brand.

It can be just a brain. A literal brain, surrounded by its own mucus casing, a pulsating red vessel, void of all nutrition and stimulation, a mere gear to be turned by that which passes by, taking in and then…nothing. The brain becomes an organ of use, machinery to be utilized, plugged in and wired up to a system built with malicious intent, an ignorant capsule bowled at an economic circuit-board.

A slave-virus with one directive: to consume, or feed. If unfed the user will die, the virus, wholly its own, survives without the user. A malignant consumerist alien feeding on your soul until you die. It has no other objective. To use up, to spit out and continue. The sputum of humanity.

28 DAYS LATER (2002)

A medicinal beginning. Caged ancestors infected with rage, the archaic remnants of homo-sapiens locked away, animalistic behaviours behind lock & key. Descendants tied down and forced to watch the work of their worst offspring, plugged into direct-horrors, a brain-feed into the worst of a Race. The categorical begins to poke at our unconscious, the chained Id tested and vulnerable. The outside seeps in, a thin quiet mist of infinite enters, with the purpose of evolutionary deconstruction: animality unbound.

To avoid the terror one must destroy feeling. To avoid the reality one must become a new. To avoid reality one must consume. Coma or not one has to awaken in a new world. Lost and alone, attempting to find real people, subtle, nuanced, 3 dimensional humans who still have Being. To move freely in a city without a bump, money strewn, food a plenty, survival a mere gimmick against trinkets and toys.

THE END IS NIGH. A repetition of any apocalypse, except, the apocalypse came and went, no one noticed; the time to invest in death. The churches reverse into themselves, Hell is overcrowded so they burst up and into the sacred. Temples now breeding grounds, disease centres, concentrated spaces of the Antichrists’ brethren. The priest walks out, a saviour in the dark, and as he comes into the light his bones become not his, his muscles flare and his teeth expand, hope is lost, you are nowhere and no one is coming.

To run from salvation is the step before the endless. One must re-enter the underground, meaning only exists when something is there to give it such, but if one is too pre-occupied with simple survival, then the environment simply becomes objects within space. Homo-sapiens occupying a world void of meaning, chased from their own minds by an empty hoard.

“Plans are pointless, staying alive is as good as it gets.”

A small glimmer of life atop a new tower, the last remaining kernel of human life resides in a grey block amidst a desert of hollow beings. Trolleys meant for collecting stacked 10 high, once used by the undead to consume more & more, now used by the living to defend themselves. A barrier of consumerist memories.

A simple visit to a food store, one time, for survival is as good as it gets, necessities only, then, into flux, mobility and survival, always. Mental survival, the ability to disallow the infection in, not even as thought, to kill a consumer is to kill nothing, it is to shoot the air. The undead die, nothing changes. An empty death for an empty existence. The roof a wash with empty buckets, the living get handed nothing, for the world is not theirs. The world is no longer alive.

Watching the horses frolic, alive in their own world, Frank watches intently, the image a temporary vaccine against the undead. The grass a colour known only to the living, the breeze a temperature felt by those who can feel and the sky existing only for those who know what it’s like to exist.

A single drop of the virus and one shall turn, the most loving and compassionate human will change in an instant. Now the loving has gone and one must feed. Family, friend, both only a thing to be consumed, something to be used only to prolong one’s own life. Narcissistic entities existing in a perpetual empty landscape.

The virus is contagious anew. Virus-assimilation via proximity, to live within the world of the undead one has to become part-undead. It can take you over, you get a consumerist lust, the supposed wants and needs infect your mind, and so you turn, and you justify your cause, until you can do so no longer.

DAWN OF THE DEAD (REMAKE, 2004)

Time has passed since the original mall, the mall of Americana, the tubular bright lights, the advert jingles, the colours found only in certain eras. Gone are the rambles and bored groans of green-tinted zombies, the tongue-in-cheek humour, the possibility of friendship. Welcome to the new improved zombie, the consumerist 2.0, one whose memories never were, and if they were, they were implanted.

An idyllic neighbourhood, the perfect job, the protector of the community, the children, the fitness, the sport and the caring. All infected beyond return. The virus shall inherit values, it shall evolve morality into its own being. It shall take what you know to be true, destroy it, blend it into a phlegm-paste and force-feed you with it. And until you beg for more, until you either die, or beg to eat shit, the virus shall not stop.

A return to the familiar, the Mall, the transcendent home of the consumer, building as encapsulation of intent: we know you think you want to consume, so we made a place to reinforce your belief. The undead run this time, their thirst for the original is energized. The hunger more insatiable, the hoards larger, the uncontrollable hedonism, the ignorance sprayed.

“Why’d you think they come here?”

“Memory maybe, instinct, maybe they’re coming for us.”

Perhaps the virus is airborne, for these humans seem dumb, ignorance towards the intent of others, the belief that those that do not know, in fact do know. The belief that everything might end up OK, the belief that there will be an end that they can conceive, the belief that, in short, the world is still theirs.

There’s another, aside from the group, a street over, atop a roof. “May as well be on the moon.”. The alive are so few. Originality is an impossibility. To find another amongst the mess of the unthinking. One shall only see new possibilities from afar, what is possible is out of reach, to attempt anything new, original or lifelike is to risk death. Before you reach an idea to be spread, the many shall eat you whole. If you ever even think of trying something, the skin shall be ripped from your bones, like gum from the underside of a school-desk.

“When there is no more room in hell, the dead shall walk the earth.”

The evolution takes place under the noses of the alive. An undead mother giving birth to an undead child. A human-turned-consumer giving birth to a little consumer child. There’s no longer need for a virus, with this mutation, we have become a virus. From spawn we need falsities. From birth we are anchored to a nothingness of our own creation. Torn from the womb and cast into a sprawling slum of narcissism, greed, guilt, plastic, chemicals, imprints, replication, simulacrums, chambers, systems and structures. Hope does not want us.

One has to become sporadic, reach for an organic weaponization, strive for a fusion of nomadic-survivability, turn to possibilities oceanic in scale, turn to realities larger than clusters. Grow shields for limbs, our organs must turn liquid and flow into the channels of the like-minded. We must, at all costs, accelerate evolution. To avoid becoming a zombie, first one must truly not want to become one, not even glimpse at the possibility of an undead existence. One shy look towards the life of a consumer and one has already turned.

Please follow me on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/meta_nomad

Capitalism and the Undead P1: The Romero Era

INTRODUCTION:

Consumerism and the Undead may have perhaps been a more fitting title for the following series, however I feel that the symbolism often branches into more nuanced areas of political discourse, thus Capitalism feels…right. In this 3 part series I shall be looking at the progression of capitalism/consumerism as an underlying motif/theme is zombie films, beginning with the classic George A. Romero era of zombie horror films, through to modern day high-budget action horrors. The evolution, mutation and gradual change in and of the characteristics of zombies in general is not just intentional, but a natural reflection of the society in which the film resides. Thus when one watches a zombie film, one bears witness to the masses-of-the-times, the sprawling unthinking decay, the unavoidable mutations of thought under capitalism.

How these ‘parts’ end up is entirely up to them. They will not be a critical synopsis of the films, as this has been done to death and is simply not my job, neither will be they be in line with my REDUX posts in their obscurity an abstract-nature, I wish to use popular horror films as a basis for lucid-critical engagement with consumerist though and the consumerist ‘way of life’.

THE UNDEAD:

The undead, zombies, biters, walkers, infected, etc. The idea has many names, yet they all reflect one kind of entity, a brainless consumer. Who’s entire directive is purely to consume another’s flesh and brains, to consume another’s originality, or simply to consume. Usually zombies come about via the spread of a virus or infection, I may look into the ways in which the virus comes about, however I feel it’s the manifestation of the virus that is of importance here. A walking, slurring infected husk, a shadow of a human being, a failed clone of humanity, an evolutionary body aborted at the last minute, a humanoid being with everything human taken from it.

EARLY ZOMBIE FILMS:

Between 1932 and 1968 there were many zombie films, beginning with Victor Halperin’s White Zombie (1932), considered by many to be the first in which ‘zombies’ as we popularly know them now are used, however it’s not until Romero’s work in the late 60’s that zombies come into their own as a key symbolic element of popular entertainment, it’s not until the late 60’s that the zombies of films are watched by their real-world counterparts, the risen-dead (the undead) acting out cannibalistic desires towards society.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)

Night of the Living Dead, the quintessential beginners guide to reanimated cannibalistic corpses. The beginning of an entire genre taking its first slow drawn out steps in a graveyard, a hollow quote that never leaves the mind of any true horror fan “They’re coming to get you Barbara.” And with that, they begin to come…and get us. It’s quite apt that the first film of its kind is based solely around one night, a snapshot of the cadaver apocalypse, this proto-film is a glimpse of what is to come and what is ‘outside’ the house in which Barbara and the cast reside for the film’s length. Within the house is the firm glimpse at a strange motif that carries through all zombie films, get above them, whether it’s upstairs, in a helicopter or atop a skyscraper, being literally above zombies is always necessary, to look down upon the consuming masses is of course a pleasurable feat, for us who know we are not on their level.

To lock oneself away with like-minded others in a worn-out house, rural, tucked away, they shall never find us here, they are the problem. We must get above them, the mindless hoards of hollow entities, to be underground is dangerous, to stay still is dangerous. As the group are torn from their artificial womb one-by-one, as the infection spreads to friends and friends of friends, you see your closest bow down to the nothingness of unthought, and so you lock yourself away in a cellar armed only with you. With only your brains, the thing they want is the thing keeping you you, for they shall remove the origin of you. And thus you become the they.

DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978)

I didn’t concentrate too much on Night of, as I feel Dawn of the Dead is the real father of the genre, with it’s baby acting as a prototype, a blueprint.

The infection, the consumer, you will not be scared of at first, they will appear an uncanny human to you, attempting to lure you into their unalloyed hedonistic appetite. And with a bite the relation to your right or left – neither matter in an instant – becomes only food, only the desire to consume everything for your own personal gain matters, to fit in with the crowd and consume with them, for brains are desired and create desire simultaneously, an all-absorbing feedback loop. Think not for yourself simply consume the thoughts of others and drool some more.

As Flyboy in his helicopter begins his journey with the group to the consumerist nirvana – the mall – he notices the “Rednecks are having a field day…” those who never bought into consuming before wont buy into it now, and flock to their own brand of identity and rebel against the mindless in-take easily. The southern-vibe as anti-capitalist is an easy lay. Different groups of unthought for different collective purposes.

Why the brain? Why-oh-why does a zombie only die after being shot in the brain? That’s where the idea is stored, the fuel for the never-ending cog of a consumer identity, the belief that to be is to belong, that to win is to own, more. Hollow humanistic shells without organs, no structure except that which tells them what to do, they only need breath, eat, shit, piss, fuck and enjoy if they give into an externally programmed desire, a desire which always has a malicious agenda.

And as the zombie bites a human the infection that flows past the cog flows too, into their veins, acidic and tinny, sliding into the ducts and destroying the not-needed. Fuelled only by the originality of others, the destruction of a single means the assimilation of another into the larger, with each ego-death their strives a further chance of complete cultural purification, all for the single aim of hedonistic-consumer desire. Race, gender, age, physicality etc. etc. and so on are no longer divided but merged into a pliable dough, given to CEO-hands. And then it’s over.

They enter the Mall from the roof, sliding down into the consumer-nirvana, settling safely into a side room. They box themselves in with food, humans in a small room next to tins of meat, tinned meat…meat in a small space. “Why do you think they come here?” “Memory, perhaps?” Memory, or present? A human walks to the mall and buys and eats and drinks and consumes because….why? A zombie walks to the mall and eats and eats and eats and consumes because that’s just what a zombie does? OK. And so the line blurs and fringe groups become nano-anomalies.

The power is turned on, the dynamism excites the shells of flesh, which ones? The store windows are lit, the tubular bulbs glow bright, the attractions spin and entertain a mass, a mass of beings they view as no different, a mass whose purpose is to be entertained. As pathetic legs give way on escalators, ponds splash with the hit of the dead, a concentration on the stable mannequin.

Those on the semi-outside, those not-undead, those still alive still have to live within this world, survival still has its origins, only now there are two kinds of survival: One in having to literally keep breathing, two is having to stay sane in yourself amongst the murmurs of the undead surrounding.

Those alive grab a cart for the essentials and enter the new halls for the undead, buildings, rooms and floors meant for zombies, a controlled architecture helping guide the frozen culture around and around, a circular life is aimless and also pointless, but for one to throw the idea of meaning in there, that is a tyranny. And the muzak plays.

In their successful attempt to gain supplies one of the group becomes aware, aware of his own possibility to fit in, the inside in warm and easy, to be undead is to be alive and not-think, what a beautiful state of being he thinks, many think…most think. And so he goes insane, to remain with a few in a tension, or to fall lustfully into the welcome, the embrace of a mass, the split causes insanity and weakness prevails. Next you wake up and you are dead, then undead, and you cannot go back.

And the mall begins to bore the alive, for they do not fit in here, the toys and entertainment work only short term for those with form. Those of us with originality have little time for lights and gimmicks; and the zombies keep going, the same trinkets and toys tussled with over and over. The alive now at terminal boredom sit and wait, not once pondering of a re-entering into the animalistic and chaotic ‘outside’, to sit on the wall is a travesty of spirit.

And so the outside invades, patience cannot be employed and thus can be taken by anyone, the roar of the engines and machinery crashes in, metal into mall, a defence happens. But it is too late, a confusion of states occurs and a realisation of non-belonging begins, a merging of kinds into a uniform blob of violence for-the-sake-of begins; and zombies are dotted, waiting for an entry, still ready to take.

As the many fall and organs spill, preferences also tumble, and the zombies begin to eat shit, intestines empty into the mouths of morons, for they know no better and think of this as a fruit of origin.

It is either head to the outside or commit suicide, for some simply cannot become-mass.

DAY OF THE DEAD (1985)

To begin with the nightmare of a consumerist force so strong it can literally penetrate your private space/residence, enter into your diary, your thoughts, your memories…your dreams. Your desires are not your own.

Once again the undead are awakened into their dynamic via noise, entertainment draws them near, nothing substantial, not even a coherence, just a vacant loud-noise interests them, they hear not a noise but something they can consume making a noise, originality THIS WAY.

The base underground this time, surrounded by a wire-mesh fence which holds away hundreds of the undead. This time the alive enter not into the hive itself, but shy away, leaving the existence of humanity underground a pathetic whimper against the mass above.

Within the underground there are pressures, tensions between the alive, towards a direction, militaristic, scientific, philosophic? Everyone is at each other’s throats, above and around are the undead and humans still bicker. The aggressive-passion turns inwards, towards each other.

The experiments are underway, conditioned so a zombie can survive simply from a stem and a brain, a vessel to be filled with organ-structure, the brain a pulsating remnant of what it should be. Primordial-instinct is replaced with a consumer instinct, to buy and consume is to breath and eat. “It can be conditioned to behave the way we want it to behave.”

“All the shopping malls are closed.”

It’s in the streets now, the infection creeps into the world unnoticed, unchained and released from its source, its haven, infecting everything it comes into contact with, a cultural poison of hedonism, consumerism and cultism.

And Bub comes into focus, a new kind of zombie, one that remembers his past, what it was like to have ideas of his own, to think and feel and act as he wants, but still, he is to be trained, moulded by science and disciplined by the military, from his mindless slumber he wakes and in an instant a gun is shoved into his hand. His is taught how to shoot, but more importantly who to shoot at.

The experiments go south, the Dr runs out of food and toys for the undead, he begins to feed them their own, the undead regurgitating what they will once again digest, a consumer cycle, flesh-in, flesh-out, shit-in, shit-out…then shit back in again.

Bub escapes his chains, entering a simulacrum of the outside, unsure of his meaning and thus aimless in his escape, to escape for the sake of escaping, into what, a nothingness you know not of. He finds his carer dead and with that his questions fall silent.

It’s suicide or a state of flux. One must keep moving amongst such a degenerative force. To stand still means death, death by fitting in. The ‘in’ is death.

And so Romero gives us the push-overs, zombies one can nudge out of the way, walk by without distracting them. They claw and slowly grind towards originality, yet not at a perverse speed, their place in the world is empty and without dynamic, hollow shells made to search yet not know what for, and thus their desire has been filled by the malicious. The evolution has begun, the mutations creep from left to right, a twisted creature, the relation we want to forget.