Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It takes a village...

...to raise a child. So the saying goes. I don't know, I don't have any kids myself.

So there's a lot of things that remain the same between most horror worlds and our real one. They typically follow a lot of the same scientific laws that ours do, seem to be populated by most of the same people and include a lot of the same places.

(Everyone knows Metropolis is actually New York, right?)

One major difference between the real world and the world of most horror stories is the effectiveness of teamwork. 

Working with other people is generally accepted as one way we make the world better. We get more work done in a faster time and can even accomplish tasks which nobody could accomplish on their own. As the saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child." If you really want to look, it's not hard to see that everywhere you go. Generally speaking, the more you need people's help, the more are willing to come together.

 As an example, a good friend of mine found out at the beginning of the year that her 8-year-old daughter had a rare and very serious type of cancer. The treatment needed was immediate and expensive and they reached out to their friends and community and the response has been nothing if not impressive. In a matter of weeks their facebook page alone had over 500 Likes. (I'm still waiting for #50. :-P ) Local businesses and even friends from out of state have worked together to donate to her cause and arrange events. If you have time and want to read more they have a website set up, complete with blogs written by the young lady and her mother to read at www.caringforcarmen.com. So wander over once you're done here, or go now if you want, I don't mind, I'll wait. 

Back? Ok, I'll continue. So in the real world, teamwork works. People can do amazing things working together. How is that different in most horror worlds? 

In any world in which a horror story is set, teamwork is likely to get you killed. In fact, most horror stories start off with a small band of people: friends, family, or just a handful of people who all shared a craving for cinnamon-swirl ice cream at three am. 

(I swear, I did not know this was actually a thing when I wrote that.)

Typically, working together at first means unleashing some demonic cursed alien beastie which promptly kills two or three members of the group. More attempts at teamwork tend to fail and/or make things worse, at which point people start thinking "You know, maybe we've got too many people working on this." and they break up into smaller groups, typically couples or a trio while one unlucky bastard is left on their own. 

Now, people are still working together, just in smaller groups, spread out to cover more ground. So even apart, they're trying to work together. Unfortunately, now the smaller groups get picked off two at a time when the demonic cursed alien beastie comes back and usually stumbles upon them getting it on. 

Oddly enough, in this situation, it's usually the person all on their own who actually ends up surviving the whole ordeal. This makes sense, as it is much easier for one person to hide by themselves, than it would be for two people to hide together. 

The demonic cursed alien beastie is only one scenario though. What if there is no obvious monster trying to eat everyone? Well, two other main options are a biological contaminant, in which case everyone is much better off staying away from everyone else to prevent spreading the disease; or the killer is one of the group, in which case, the only safe and smart thing to do is to trust nobody, go off on your own and hide until the police show up. (Even then, you should probably steal a gun and one of the police cars and hightail it back to civilization and spend the rest of your life ready to run in the opposite direction if you ever bump into any other survivors.) 

But, Shaun, I hear you cry, aren't there ANY examples of where teamwork is the way to go? Yes, sadly, I'm afraid there is. 


Ah, the zombie. Always moving around causing problems. Out of most horror stories, the zombie invasion is the only one during which people seem to be able to pull their shit together and actually pull off a little successful teamwork. Boarding up abandoned houses, covering the exits, making forays into town for supplies. All the kinds of things you would expect people to accomplish while working together in the face of the apocalypse. Granted, you're still going to run into problems if the group gets too big. (There's always the one guy who wants to be in charge that nobody wants to listen to.) For the most part though, it's nice to think that when the dead rise up, you can count on people to watch your back and step in for you if you just can't shoot the still-warm corpse of your ex before she takes a bite out of you. 

So let's all remember which world it is we really live in and try a little teamwork now and then. Hmm? 

~ Shaun

Space Corps Directive 5796: No officer above the rank of mess sergeant is permitted to go into combat with pierced nipples.


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