Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Unquiet Dead

While horror is my main passion, I have a lot of love for other genres like sci-fi and fantasy. It's not so far-fetched really, there's a lot of cross-over. Horror appeals much more to an emotional response, while the others focus on the characters, plot details or setting. But they share an interest in the fantastical or speculative.

Right now I'm allowing myself to get hooked on Doctor Who. I had never watched it before, but the only Doctor Who I've ever been familiar with was this guy:

Since I don't think I've ever seen an episode, I must have absorbed knowledge of him through some sort of sci-fi osmosis. I have no clue. 

So I'm starting with the series beginning in 2005 on Netflix, and came upon the episode "The Unquiet Dead." This often happens while I'm indulging in another genre, I find a little worn path back to horror. In the episode, The Doctor and Rose travel to Cardiff on Christmas of 1869, right around the time Charles Dickens was puttering around. Dead bodies are coming back to life at the local funeral parlor, and on this show that usually means something alien is afoot. 

There's a luminous blue vapor that travels around, infesting the dead bodies before they reanimate. They look much like zombies when they do rise, which isn't too surprising. The interesting part was the explanation of why the bodies were rising, which they stumble upon before and during a seance. Now, The Doctor has known all along that there was some scientific, albeit alien explanation for these living dead, so the seance is just the best method for connecting to the aliens and finding out what they want. He explains that there's a rift, a weak point in time and space that connects one place and another, and that these rifts are usually the cause of ghost stories. In this case the rift is connection a dying alien species with that point in time on Earth. 

I won't spoil the rest of the episode if you haven't seen it, but I found it a fun alternate explanation for undead, paranormal spookiness. Sometimes the horror genre needs a bit of rejuvenation from other types of stories in order to prevent ruts.

Doctor Who via Netflix
The Unquiet Dead via TARDIS Data Core Wiki

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