It's time to trade in an old, worn horror device for another old, worn horror device. Really? Has the entertainment industry brought our expectations so low, that we're content to settle for the less trite of all the cliches.
Zombie-Vampire-Fill in the blank evil. Have we run out of Boogeymen?
Something unique is so hard to come by anymore. It's as if anyone is afraid of taking risks. They'd rather remake something well-known to try and capitalize on it or re-image a well-known creature or mythos than go forward with completely fresh idea/take because it might bomb.
I want to see robots. Or original monsters. OR Cthulhu.
Sure, vampires and zombies have notable people who produced work in the genre, but the legends behind these creatures come from tales thousands of years old...and from across many different cultures. Writers probably don't feel like they can put as much of their own "touch" on it since, even when zombies and vampires have been done to death, there still no specific author that they come from, whereas say a Cthulu pretty much leaves you drawing heavily on the works of another author.
Zombies are so popular because people believe they could happen. That a human rabies epidemic could result in some sort of similar undead epidemic. Real threat or not that is how it is perceived, zombies are a metaphor that resonates with the masses. From the "shuffling to work", to the breakdown of societal norms, to the resurgence of the human spirit. A more cerebral threat does not have this. It simply has, hang on to your brain pan, and hope you can fight off the madness. Besides the success of The Walking Dead, I think part of the reason zombies are popular to the masses is that they are easy. They are a simple horror, as they are our loved ones brought back to unlife, they are the "monster among us".
Vampires, a.k.a. immortals, are popular because of the archetype created by el vampire in the early 1800's. Essentially espousing that regardless of means if a person lived forever they would rise through the social ranks. The mundane struggles of life would fall away and their life would dwell on excess. An over all indulgent life style starting with unlimited sex and gluttony. People are infatuated with this romantic notion. That if only you damned your soul you'll live forever and be rich in worldly possessions forever, forever young, forever accomplished and elevated, forever wanting nothing...if not relationships or true happiness.
Should Cthulhu become the next mainstream media darling enemy prototype it would be a deathblow to Lovecraft's works and just spawn a million vapid imitators who forget the true horror of the master author. That the cosmos is beyond human understanding and that we are but dust in the wind, our lives and insight so limited as to be utterly insignificant. And that were your eyes ever to be opened to this fact, you would be even more alone and insignificant because no one would believe you, and call you mad.
The mass market likes to deal with more physical types of elements, not existentialism. Don't get me wrong, I love Lovecraft's universe, its just not something that strikes me as something the masses will embrace. Zombies, vampires and the like are a much easier metaphor for the average joe to grasp.
Something radically different is going to have to happen, basically a completely new archetype for an apex horror predator and probably something from a completely unexpected culture as well.
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