Sunday, October 27, 2013

Monster Apocalypse a Go-Go

Zombie apocalypses are all the rage these days with films, books, and even a tv show. But other classic monsters deserve their (proverbial) day in the sun, too:

Vampires: The most obvious non-zombie contender for virtually extinction of the human species. Richard Matheson's I Am Legend and it's various movie adaptations have already ventured into this territory (as has the film Stake Land) --and the comics Planet of Vampires and Vampire Hunter D have already shown on vampire overrun post-apocalypses. Trading bloodsucking for flesh-eating is almost too obvious.

Piscoids: Cast them as Creatures from Black Lagoons, Manphibians, or walking catfish men, fishy humanoids are ready to climb from the depths and overwhelm the surface world. Perhaps a full-fledged takeover is the ultimate goal of the Deep Ones in Shadow Over Innsmouth? Global warming and rising sea levels would no doubt be part of their plan. A piscoid apocalypse might wind up looking more like Waterworld than Walking Dead.

Werewolves: Like vampires and zombies, werewolfism is passed by a bite, making them a reasonable stand-in. I don't know of any media werewolf apocalypses, but Dog Soldiers sort of does the "trapped in an isolated farm house" riff of Night of the Living Dead. Depending on exactly how the werewolves worked, things might be pretty tough for humanity: zombies are slow and dumb, while vampires have to sleep in the day time. Werewolves have neither of those limitations. Of course, their just humans in the day, trying to scourge for survival just like everybody else. Only at night would they join packs of killers to howl at the moon as they hunt through the ruins.

Frankenstein's Monsters: This seems like the biggest stretch given than Frankenstein had only one monster (or maybe two, depending on who you believe). Still, two monsters can overrun the world (unless they're giant, which still movies us out of zombie apocalypse analogous territory). Technology has advanced a lot since Frankenstein's day, though. Wein's and Wrightson's Un-Men in Swamp Thing (and Burroughs' Synthetic Men of Mars, for that matter) point the way: Mass production of monsters. In some ways, this would resemble an alien invasion apocalypse or robot apocalypse more than a zombie one--though perhaps the monsters "consume" humans by dragging them back to their secret factories to use as raw materials for more monsters?


Darnizhaan said...

You misspelled piscoid as psicoid once, sounds like a great name for a psionic fishman

Trey said...

That it does! Or maybe psipiscoid. There's one to send spellcheckers into a meltdown.

Jack Guignol said...

Keep in mind that in Shelley's novel, Victor Frankenstein's reason for not creating a bride for his creation is that he fears they will birth a "race of devils" that will eventually displace humanity from the top of the existential hierarchy!

(He's got good reason to fear that...his creation learns faster than any human child, is larger, stronger, more powerful, and can resist the elements!)

It's unclear whether this race of creatures would be birthed biologically or through mastery of the same science that Frankenstein discovers, but either way it would make for a fun apocalypse.

garrisonjames said...

Jack beat me to it. That bit in the novel where the (not so) Good Doktor decides that giving his creation a mate could lead to the end of humanity is a very intriguing apocalypse-seed. It wouldn't be immediate, nor even automatic. The creature and it's Bride would need to go somewhere, raise a family, found a lineage, go forth, be fruitful & multiply, as it were (assuming the biological method were the dominant method). Generations would be required in that case...however, working from their progenitor's notes and technical details, they might be able to mass produce their own armies, eventually. Perhaps a mix of the two approaches would be used.
These beings can go where humanity has difficulty surviving. They can endure much, wait patiently as they amass their resources and build their numbers...this is a perfect set-up for those behind-the-scenes sorts of cults-and-cabals potboilers. The creations of the created could be designed to perform specialized functions, serve as unique agents...this could rapidly grow into a very different sort of apocalypse...and that's without dragging in any other fun stuff like Other Evil Geniuses etc.

It'd make for a great game...

Justin S. Davis said...

For written werewolf-ocalypses, I've read a handful.

Al Sarrantonio's Moonbane from 1989 is the best, as it features a werewolf invasion from space!

Then there's 1990's WerewolveSS by Jerry & Sharon Ahern, which had modern Nazis spreading a werewolf contagion across the US. If I remember right, Sean Connery with the serial numbers filed off stopped them.

William D. Carl did Bestial: Werewolf Apocalypse in 2008. All of Cincinnati is overrun by monsters due to "airborne viral lycanthropy".

Speaking of bestial, Ray Garton did Ravenous in 2008, and its sequel Bestial in 2009. In those, "rape werewolves" take over a town, and plan on spreading their hold across the nation. Bestial is hands-down one of the sleaziest things I've ever read, with main characters that deserve to die ugly because of gross stupidity. Once on a road trip, I did dramatic readings of the smarm, it was so bad.

Oh, yeah! Steve Vance's The Hyde Effect (1986) and Shapes (1991) go with "what if Cameron's Alien, then Aliens, were werewolves"? Mayhem abounds as dozens get turned in a locked facility in the first, and then there's a sequel where they get out.... I'm really, really fond of T.H.E..

Trey said...

Wow. Thanks for the update, Justin!

Justin S. Davis said...

I'm just glad my terrible, terrible taste in literature has some use. Can't wait to tell my mom!