Zombies vs. Vampires: Who Is More Awesome?

Script written by George Pacheco.

Is humanity more likely to face a real-life zombie apocalypse or a vampire apocalypse? And would we be better off fighting zombies or vampires? Between the mythology, fright factor, movies and TV, famous characters and real-life probability, it’s tough to decide between the bloodsuckers and the brain eaters. WatchMojo pits Vampires against Zombies to see which legendary creature terrifies the world more.

Special thanks to our users John Mountain and Muppet_Face for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Zombies%20versus%20Vampries


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Script written by George Pacheco.

Zombies vs. Vampires: Which Scares YOU?

It’s an all out monster mash! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and in this installment of Versus, we’re setting up a creature feature showdown between two of history’s most infamous nightmares: the Zombie and the Vampire.

Round 1: Mythology

Zombies have taken many different forms over the years, but the archetypal idea of the zombie can trace its origins back to Haiti and West Africa, where legend has it they’re dead bodies that have been magically re-animated, usually through Voodoo or Necromancy, that are then set to serve the will of their masters. Haitian zombie-dom is likely rooted in the country’s history of slavery as brought over from Africa, with the traditional zombie linked to the body’s trapped soul, as opposed to pop culture’s more common zombie infections.

Although we can see a strong connection to zombie or zombie-like culture within Haiti, Africa and Britain, nearly every culture seems to have some form of vampire within its folklore. Indeed, the vampire seems to pre-date even recorded history, with oral folk tales of creatures like Romania’s strigoi, the Biblical figure of Lilith, and the Lamia of Ancient Greece becoming legends. These vampire myths were often created by these cultures to deal with the mystery of death, as these creatures aren’t always undead, but usually consumed the blood of the living as part of their horrific existence.

The sheer multitude of vampire origin stories and their permeation into worldwide cultures throughout history means that these beasts draw first blood on our list.

Winner: Vampire: 1 / Zombie: 0

Round 2: Movies & TV

There’s no shortage of zombie-related entertainment on both the big and small screens. Whether it’s the “The Walking Dead,” “Zombieland” or “World War Z,” the matter of the undead has resulted in serious financial success fueled by an audience rabid for some content. Of course, this isn’t even taking into account George A. Romero’s genre-defining zombie films, which utilized the zombie as a metaphor for real world conditions like consumerism and classism. If we can take away anything from Romero’s work, it’s that the zombie can be used to make audiences feel a number of emotions besides simply fear.

Then again, vampires are horror movie royalty; with a rich history going all the way back to the silent age. 1932’s “White Zombie” – with its connection to traditional Haitian beliefs – was the first true zombie feature, but there have a number of stone cold classics in the vampire movie genre as well, from “Nosferatu” to “Interview with the Vampire” to the iconic Universal film, “Dracula.” Films from Francis Ford Coppola and the folks at Britain’s Hammer Studios excelled at bringing Dracula to the screen during the modern era, inserting a hefty helping of blood and skin to keep audiences coming back for more. Then again...there’s also the “Twilight” series, which replaces the fear and mystery with... sparkles.

Although the vampire’s complex nature makes this a close one, Romero’s work alone adds a certain gravitas that even the best vampire movies can’t really touch.

Winner: Zombie: 1 / Vampire: 1

Round 3: Fright Factor

There’s just something intrinsically romantic and tragic about the vampire and the melancholy bubbling away just below their surface. The vampire never grows old, and never dies, so it stands to reason that watching the world age around them might make even the hardest bloodsucker feel a little bit lost and depressed. There’s also the natural allure and sexuality that have always surrounded the vampire within pop culture. Although not every vampire is portrayed with an intense sexuality, the eroticism of the modern vampire, as well as their well-dressed aristocratic forebears, means that we’re often lulled into a false sense of security by them until it’s too late.

There might be nothing more frightening than seeing a loved one torn to pieces in front of you by a horde of marauding, vicious undead ghouls – except a loved one tearing YOU to pieces as a member of that zombified horde. There’s just no winning this one: the zombie is a horrifying reflection of the human race: a reminder of how selfish and violent we can behave when pushed to the extreme. This feeling is amplified when we see how quickly society can devolve when faced with zombies. Plus, their decayed appearance and persistent, insistent shuffling is just plain creepy.

We’ve gotta say: slow-moving ghouls that’ll tear you limb-from-limb are scarier than sexy vampires, so this round goes to the zombies.

Winner: Zombie: 2 / Vampire: 1

Round 4: Famous Characters

It’s a name you’ve heard before but it bears repeating: Count Dracula. This vampire is one of the most iconic horror figures of all time; one that’s been portrayed by actors like Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee and Frank Langella, each of whom brings something a little different to the table. Whether it was Langella’s sexual swagger, Lee’s frightening might or Lugosi’s line delivery, Count Dracula is a versatile character with an evergreen appeal to audiences. There’s also “Nosferatu’s” Count Orlok, played with devastating creepiness by Max Schreck and then in the 1979 remake by Klaus Kinski, as well as Tom Cruise’s Lestat, all characters with personality and charm to spare.

Meanwhile, there have been very few specific zombie heroes or villains to speak of. “Bub” from Romero’s “Day of the Dead” and Frankenstein’s Monster are two notable exceptions to this rule – although it’s arguable whether the latter is a zombie at all – but overall these undead beings are scarier when they’re part of a faceless, unstoppable horde, not due to character development or personality. After all, the zombie’s intrinsic nature is that of a brainless, or animated, killing machine.

Since zombies don’t really have any cognitive functions left other than “move, feed, kill,” vampires have the edge in this neck-and-neck fourth round.

Winner: Vampire 2 / Zombie: 2

Round 5: Real Life Probability

Scary as this is, there have been established examples of zombie research and behavior within the real world, including drug-induced cannibal attacks and stem cell regenerative experiments – not to mention wasp behavior in the animal kingdom that can be scarily compared to zombie mind control. You want more? As reported by CNN, the U.S. government actually has a contingency plan in place on the *ahem* rare chance that a zombie apocalypse actually place. Add in the connection between rabies infections and the brain, and you have one creature whose fact might be scarier than its fiction.

On the flipside, vampires have captured our imaginations, whether we’re talking about books, movies…whatever. Unfortunately, at least as we see it, the idea of an immortal, blood sucking denizen of the night belongs on the printed page or the silver screen and not IRL. Sure, subcultures celebrate the vampire as a fantasy archetype, but the actual idea of these classic monsters is about as realistic as the Wolfman or the Creature From the Black Lagoon (unless of course, you’re talking about non-human organisms, since blood sucking bats, insects and so on DO exist…).

Because we think humanity is more likely to fall due to an outbreak of zombies rather than an outbreak of vampirism, we have to award this round – and the overall win – to the zombies, with a score of 3-2.

Winner: Zombie: 3 / Vampire: 2

Do you agree with our pick? Which classic monster do you feel deserves top honors? Don’t forget to battle it out in the comments and for more interesting versus battles, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.

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