In our nightmares we are walking “food.” How come humans don’t see their prey that way?
August 12, 2014
Being alone this weekend, I stayed up super late and re-watched two exceptional horror movies, Blade 2 directed by none other than Oscar-winner, Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Strain) and Indie director Jim Mickle’s nasty little treat, Stake Land. I rarely watch movies twice but these two films deserve the attention. The stories. Effects. Direction. Acting. In every way both movies deliver.
These aren’t my daughter’s vampires. Here, the predacious creatures treat the human race as merely cattle: warm-blooded animals useful only as food. Pale, powerful and ugly these virulent beasts rip through people like stoned teenagers raiding the pantry at 2 AM. They are primal and frightening. Not brooding and handsome. Why I love them so!
Now to relate this back to something perhaps you can relate to. Hopefully… Sort of… Maybe.
Back to the food chain and human appetites… Unlike the hungry vampires who literally drool before devouring one of us we don’t look at our living food that way at all. When I drive by cattle grazing in a field I don’t think of a sizzling piece of medium rare steak or a cold glass of milk.
I see a sedentary beast with flies buzzing around its head. I’m guessing a mountain lion looks at these same creatures in an entirely different manner. Lustfully drooling, like those vampires. I find that totally intriguing. Think about it. We don’t perceive our food sources as delicious until they are presented to us as such, i.e. breakfast, lunch or dinner. When I go fishing, a passion of mine, I don’t contemplate crunchy filets drizzled in lemon. Likewise, I don’t think a hunter is envisioning dinner when he draws a bead on a wandering elk.
Why, I wonder, are we like that? When other animals on the food chain are not. I remember the way my otherwise domesticated house cat looked at birds in the yard. With piercing eyes, he licked his lips, often emitting a disturbing, guttural sound. Like a freaking vampire.
The classic ad campaign for the Beef Council (“Beef. It’s what’s for Dinner.”) was outright carnivore porn, showing rare and succulent slabs of meat in extreme close-up. Yet, these plated cuts of beef were a long way from the barn or slaughterhouse.
And so, in an admittedly convoluted way, we’ve come to the topic of advertising.
People respond to presentation. When hungry we don’t think of a chicken or a cow or a trout in its natural state. We imagine it cooked in our favorite ways, surrounded by other favorite mostly prepared things. Advertising is all about presentation. It needs to make us want something, whether we even need it at all. It will stop at nothing to do so. The fantasy of any advertiser (no matter the category) is to create hordes of drooling customers, who look upon their products lustfully.
But something about our human nature won’t allow us to envision food from something walking around. Why is that?