The Walking Dead – and the subconscious awakening…
So I finished watching the first season of The Walking Dead, and even wrote a blog post about its literary credentials. But, what was interesting was my subconscious desire to suddenly watch a movie I had watched years ago; The Mist.
I vaguely remembered the characters, the actors, the situation, and the vexing circumstances. But, for reasons that were unknown to me, I had rented the movie for instant viewing on Amazon.
I’m mulling through the film during a lazy Saturday morning, laying on the couch, bobbing my tea bag in a cup of hot water, absorbing the characters and how the situation unfolds upon them. But as the film progresses, I notice Laurie Holden, and the same frozen, concerned face that she uses in The Walking Dead. It appeared to be a subtle coincidence, but then Jeffrey DeMunn pops into the screen, with the same wily eyes and paranioa that he offers The Walking Dead. And then Melissa Suzanne McBride shows up with her shrunken head, sporting the same clueless gaze of helpless fear. At his point, I was not longer under the suspicion of “coincidence,” as something subconciously was clearly resurrecting an unknown desire to watch The Mist. So I explored further, only to discover that Frank Darabont had written and directed The Mist too! I was mesmirzed to know that somehow, I had been subliminally subdued to Frank Darabont’s work! This isn’t a terrible discover, considering how good The Shawshank Redemption is. But the most compelling thought, is how was it that I had come to The Mist? I had remembered The Mist as a campy, monster story, not as something containing literary merit, assuming that The Walking Dead contains literary merit. But I reconsidered the idea, and engaged deeper into the movie, testing to discover how it measured against The Walking Dead, and if it does contain literary merit.
So let it begin: The Mist vs. The Walking Dead
It’s easy to distinguish their differences: the one is regarding zombies, while the other is engulfed in a mysterious cloud. The Walking Dead’s characters are able to free range, while The Mist’s characters are almost entirely trapped within the grocery store for almost the entire film. Environmentally and setting, they are different.
But their similarities are what’s intriguing. On the front, the characters’ enemies are not the same, but taken aback, they are both pandemic forces, attempting to wipe out civilization. The small camp of survivalists in The Walking Dead are in the exact same situation as the survivors in the grocery store in The Mist. And the same actors that Frank Darabont uses are all playing the same role. So it appears that The Mist and The Walking Dead are not so distant, and it’s as outlandish to figure out the semiconscious yearning to enjoy The Mist, after enjoying the first season of The Walking Dead.
Now, does The Mist contain literary merit? I propose that it does.
Hypothesis: The Mist challenges cultic ruling by suggesting that one has a better chance of survival in a monster-filled fog, than by the damning rule of lunacy.
So the film stars fairly basic: a group of towns people are trapped within the grocery store because of the unknown mist that contains man-eating monsters. So, clearly, in order to survive, you don’t go outside. But, a religious, old testament, mythos preaching nut is poisoning the inside of the store with diatribe-vomit from the bible. She develops a congregation within the store, wielding knives, searching for humans to sacrifice to the monsters outside. An innocent young man gets stabbed and murdered as a result of their influence, and then they try to tear a young son away from his father, to murder him too.
The movie displays how the occultic congregation transforms into the monsters. The group of rational individuals flee the grocery store, knowing that their chances of survival are greater in the fog, than inside of the nut house.
The Mist does have a campy, b-horror atmosphere to it. However, there are layers of cheese to peel off, and once they are peeled off, its core is exposed as literary statement, imposing the fact that radical false prophets are modern monsters of society.