By Steven Smith
Recently I sat down with the incomparable Joe Kelly of Man of Action, who, like many people, was amazed I don’t like horror. This is a common misconception about myself, one that has happened since forever. I recall vividly during my college make-up class how the professor chose me to model all the broken bones, burns, and general disfigurements. I wore them dutifully, holding back my vomit and general nausea. My professor apologized afterwards when the color returned to my cheeks.
Now you may think this sucks away some of my supposed geek cred — and it might, but horror and all around yucky is not my thing and it never has been. Something in my wiring does not like being scared or freaked out. Yes, I know it’s not real but I think that’s what gets me the most. It very well could be. Even zombies. Especially zombies.
I hate zombies. Hate. Loathe. Disdain. No likey the cannibalizing undead. They are my biggest fear, and silly as that sounds, it’s true. Vampires don’t bug me, monsters either, but for some bizarre reason zombies just creep me the fudge out. Can you imagine how hard that is? Especially right now in pop culture? Robert Kirkman and I have exchanged words on this subject and no he’s not to blame. George Romero is, and I will avoid him forever.
When I was a wee lad, let’s say early teens (don’t judge – ah, go on, judge away) I sat down in my parent’s basement to watch “Night of the Living Dead.” Had me some popcorn, some iced tea and I was ready to check out this horror classic. Got a third of the way through, turned everything off, went upstairs and crawled into bed with the sickest feeling in my stomach. A few hours later I woke up convinced there were zombies trying to get into the house and began pounding on the inside of my bedroom door to get out. A sane person would have just opened the door as it had no lock and escaped into reality but nope, not this kid. My father came out into the hallway thinking someone was at the front door. “No, it’s me,” I said before slinking back between the covers.
Since then, zombies and I are not friends. And I’ve tried people, I really have. I watched the first season of “Walking Dead” and sincerely dig all the actors working on the show, but I couldn’t get past the lumbering undead. I bought the first volume of the comic and again, really enjoyed the characters but I couldn’t get past the despair and all around horror, which is the point. I’m a huge fan of Kirkman, especially Invincible but cannot make way through his zombie opus. I wanna, but I canna.
The weird thing about my horror issue is it’s sorely inconsistent. I’ve seen every episode of Lars von Trier’s “The Kingdom” and that’s some wicked freaky nois, plus “Jaws” is one of my favorite films – kind of a scary staple. In real life I’ve had the misfortune of seeing some horrific bloody things which did not bother me in the slightest. I like spiders and snakes, and know enough about sharks that the ocean is not a problem for me. But for some lame brain reason, zombies take me to scaredy-ville and I cannot abide.
SO, at this year’s Comic Con, when you see me interviewing the cast of “The Walking Dead,” know the personal hell I endured when I plowed through every episode to get my stories straight. But if you’re dressed as one, stay away from me. And don’t dress scary on kids day, use your head.
You can watch Steven Smith every Sunday — and right now! — on his new MTV Geek program Cooking With Thrones .