Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are Zombies Real or Pretend?

Dylan loves Michael Jackson.  He’s particularly fond of Thriller, both the song and the video.   He asked to watch it the other day and I said no because it has zombies.  He described the video in some detail, even imitating the dances.  Obviously he’d seen it before.  I knew he wasn’t afraid of anything, except zombies, vampires, the dark, monsters, Moo Cat (sometimes), windows without blinds in them, banshees, being alone, needles, nightmares (that’s fear of having one, not an actual nightmare), loud noises, his large stuffed animals if they’re left on the bed at night, and having splinters removed.  We decided to watch it together.  
“Are werewolves real?” Dylan asked.
“No,” I told him.
“That’s Michael Jackson,” he told me.  
“Uh huh,” I said.  Translation: You were negative twenty-one when this came out, kid, shut up.
“He turns into a werewolf, but not really.”

Adults see special effects in their infancy; a 6-year-old sees terror.

When Michael Jackson and Ola Ray leave the theater, a voice comes from the background.  Someone in the movie they're leaving reads a phrase written in blood: “See You Next Wednesday.”  Not wanting to be outdone in my knowledge of the Thriller video, I told Dylan that director John Landis puts that phrase in all of his movies.  Dylan was not impressed.
[Side note: I didn’t need to Google the name of the actress who played Michael Jackson’s girlfriend.  At eleven years old I didn’t know why I thought so highly of her, but I knew it had to be something special.  Special enough for her name to stick all this time.]
“Are zombies real, or fake?” Dylan asked later.
“What do you think?” I non-answered.
He watched the screen for a moment.
“Fake,” he said.
“That’s right.”  
“Those are zombies.”  He pointed.
“No, those are dancers wearing zombie makeup,” I said.    
“Oh, yeah.  Michael Jackson is wearing makeup.  The rest of them are zombies.”  
“No, they’re all wearing makeup,” I said, “because there’s no such thing as zombies, remember?”
“Oh.”  The way he said oh, I knew he didn’t understand.  Zombies are fake, but this one time Michael Jackson danced with some for a video.  Or zombies are real, but the Thriller zombies are pretend.  Or Zombies are fake, but there are real zombies in movies.  
“Those are all dancers,” I said.  “They all got put in makeup, just like Michael Jackson.”  
“Then how did that one’s arm fall off?”
“It’s a fake arm.”
“Oh,” he said.  Translation: Aaron doesn’t know what he’s talking about.   
At that point in the video, director John Landis made his cameo as the zombie emerging from a mausoleum.  
“Look,” Dylan said, “That’s the Captain.  He was a Captain.”
With the navy blue suit, hat, and the beard, Dylan certainly had a point.
“Actually, that’s the director,” I said.
“He directed this video,” I explained, “and he put himself in it as a joke.”
“And he died?”

This is why daddy drinks.
“No, he’s wearing makeup.  Zombies are fake, remember?”
The big dance sequence in the street started.  Dylan pointed to the screen.
“That’s Michael Jackson in zombie makeup.  Those are zombies in zombie makeup.”
“Those are dancers in zombie makeup,” I said.  “Right?  There are no zombies.”
He considered the screen for a while.  The dancers went through their head spins, which are basically showing off the various make-up jobs, when this guy happened:  

Dylan turned away.
“Can we watch Dino-Squad?” 
For a song which will really haunt your dreams, click here.
Dylan is scared that the living dead will feast on his flesh. I'm afraid my IQ points are being drained by that song the Dino Squad plays every time a member "goes Dino."

I hope we're both wrong.


  1. Zombies are real.

    Friends are sometimes imaginary!

    {I know - I'm a sad git}


  2. Hmm... how about a sitcom with an imaginary zombie friend?

    Our protagonist imagines his friends and co-workers brains being eaten all the time. He worries about people around him losing their minds, when really it's him going around the bend.