Haven’t seen THAT movie? Your opinion is now invalid.

zombiecomicI’m around 18 years old at my first ever convention. ZomBcon. I’m nervous. I’m not very social, not fantastic at interacting with people. I’m just getting into the whole scene. At some point I start talking to someone about zombie movies and said person bombards me with questions.

Have you seen this movie?

How about that movie?

You must’ve seen this one, it is totally critical.

But what about this one?

Well, what have you seen?

Me? I say, Night of the Living Dead. Dawn of the Dead. Day of the Dead. Maybe ten others, but hey, those are all I’ve seen. That doesn’t mean I don’t love zombies, it just means I haven’t seen many movies. Right?

Wrong. Because I haven’t seen all those bottom of the barrel zombie flicks I’m something less now. The person gets that look on their face, the This-Person-Isn’t-Really-On-My-Level look tinged with They-Are-A-Poser. A slight pause. A spacey look as they reorient and decide whether to drop the subject or ask if I liked the Dawn of the Dead remake better than the original.

At this point you may be thinking, “Eh, boo hoo!” but keep on, friend, reader participation is required in the end!

I argue that this kind of thing happens all the time. I’ve been on the receiving end more than once, seen it happen to others, and unfortunately, found myself dishing out my own slice of Superiority Pie to unsuspecting, innocent victims. My apologies to those people. I’ve since stopped doing it.

It seems like, especially in our beloved Horror culture, we immediately try to judge someone based on how many books or movies they’ve seen in the genre. Maybe you don’t realize it directly, but by doing the “have you seen/read” game, and whittling away at the person, you’re figuring out where their fandom is relative to your own. How in to zombies are they really? How well have they really analyzed the Halloween films?

All of this would be fine and dandy if we didn’t do anything beyond gauging their interest level so we can find common ground to talk about (which is what happens most of the time). Where it goes wrong is when someone thinks less of the other for not being as devoted as they are. When someone thinks because you haven’t seen Aaah! Zombies! your thoughts on zombies are entirely flawed. Because you haven’t thought about sociopolitical parallelisms in regard to the human understanding of zombi…

Oh, sorry. It’s time to wrap this thing up when THAT kind of tangent starts.

What do you think? Have you been in one of these conversations before? Seen it happen to someone else? Are completely clueless as to what I’m talking about? Think this phenomenon is natural and positive?

Why do we do this?

10 points for reader participation! ;D

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About Eloise J. Knapp

Eloise J. Knapp hails from Seattle and never complains about the rain. She works in the videogame industry by day and is a post-apocalyptic horror author by night. Knapp's work includes The Undead Situation trilogy, ANAMNESIS, and the Anisakis Nova series. When not writing you'll find her hiking the Pacific Northwest.
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4 Responses to Haven’t seen THAT movie? Your opinion is now invalid.

  1. Gary Munford says:

    I think we do it because we want other to be impressed by our knowledge of the genre. I myself ask those questions so that I might help them discover new movies to see. I love it when someone points me to a movie I haven’t seen yet. One thing I do turn my nose at thought, and it sounds elitist as hell, is when I ask someone their favorite horror movie and they mention something along the lines of Final Destination or Scream. They aren’t bad movies, but when i think of horror, real horror, those would be far from my thoughts.

  2. Aaron Egnor says:

    People are compelled to base their own worth on how they stack-rank against others with similar interests. I’ve been DJing goth/industrial/darkwave since 1990, and I still have people ask “Oh, do you have such-and-such bootleg limited-edition only released on that third Tuesday during an eclipsed harvest moon 12″ vinyl single that Trent Reznor heard about from Andrew Eldritch’s mom’s orthodontist? No??? I do. I’m surprised you don’t have it – I thought you were a DJ.” Yeah, whatever. If that’s what they need to make themselves feel better then so be it.

    If someone does treat you like that after finding out you haven’t seen some obscure zombie movie just smile and say “No, I haven’t see that one yet – I was busy getting published.” 🙂

  3. I’m a very analytical sort of guy, but when it comes to movies I strictly want to be entertained. I don’t particularly give a fat froggy’s buttocks about themes and metaphors, I only desire to be moved in some way on an emotional level. Scare me. Sicken me. Shock me. Make me laugh, scream, or weep like a child who just seen Santa Claus beheaded because the jolly bastard forgot to duck when he steered his sleigh under those new power lines that went up last week. Move me, dammit! There are loads of movies I haven’t seen, not because I’m not a die hard horror fanatic, but because my time is limited, and I don’t want to spend too much of it watching garbage that is about as mentally stimulating as picking up dog feces with one of those little blue plastic baggies at four o’clock in the morning. And let’s not kid ourselves, there is A LOT of garbage out there. For every one zombie flick that kicks ass, there are probably twenty that suck rocks. You don’t have to see every high school film project that features a zombie or two in order to be a connoisseur.

  4. inside sales says:

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m
    not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

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