From 1932's White Zombie to 28 Days Later and the current crop of Japanese shockers, the zombie movie has been one of the most enduring mainstays of international horror cinema. Now, for the first time ever, the complete history of zombie cinema is told in this lavishly illustrated and fully cross-referenced celebration of living dead cinematic culture.
The inside info on zombies in movies and television, from "Thriller" to "Zombieland "to "The Walking Dead" A is for "Army of Darkness." This short history of animated corpses in pop culture will explain how Sam Raimi's epic adventure "Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness" changed the zombie movie genre forever. B is for braaaains Readers will learn all about the undead's favorite food, and find out which film introduced one of the greatest movie cliches of all time. C is for "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari." One of the earliest films ever to portray a zombie is discussed here, as is the story of how the living dead became an essential part of the horror genre.
Historically, zombies have been portrayed in films and television series as mindless, shuffling monsters. In recent years, this has changed dramatically. The undead are fast and ferocious in 28 Days Later... (2002) and World War Z (2013). In Warm Bodies (2013) and In the Flesh (2013-2015), they are thoughtful, sensitive and capable of empathy. These sometimes radically different depictions of the undead (and the still living) suggest critical inquiries: What does it mean to be human? What makes a monster? Who survives the zombie apocalypse, and why? Focusing on classic and current movies and TV shows, the author reveals how the once-subversive modern zombie, now more popular than ever, has been co-opted by the mainstream culture industry.
It's official: the zombie apocalypse is here. The living dead have been lurking in popular culture since the 1930s, but they have never been as ubiquitous or as widely-embraced as they are today. Zombie Cinema is a lively and accessible introduction to this massively popular genre. Presenting a historical overview of zombie appearances in cinema and on television, Ian Olney also considers why, more than any other horror movie monster, zombies have captured the imagination of twenty-first-century audiences. Surveying the landmarks of zombie film and TV, from White Zombie to The Walking Dead, the book also offers unique insight into why zombies have gone global, spreading well beyond the borders of American and European cinema to turn up in films from countries as far-flung as Cuba, India, Japan, New Zealand, and Nigeria. Both fun and thought-provoking, Zombie Cinema will give readers a new perspective on our ravenous hunger for the living dead.
Publication Date: 2017-10-15
Zombies first shuffled across movie screens in 1932 in the low-budget Hollywood film White Zombie and were reimagined as undead flesh-eaters in George A. Romero's The Night of the Living Dead almost four decades later. Today, zombies are omnipresent in global popular culture, from video games and top-rated cable shows in the United States to comic books and other visual art forms to low-budget films from Cuba and the Philippines. The zombie's ability to embody a variety of cultural anxieties--ecological disaster, social and economic collapse, political extremism--has ensured its continued relevance and legibility, and has precipitated an unprecedented deluge of international scholarship.
Zombie studies manifested across academic disciplines in the humanities but also beyond, spreading into sociology, economics, computer science, mathematics, and even epidemiology. Zombie Theory collects the best interdisciplinary zombie scholarship from around the world. Essays portray the zombie not as a singular cultural figure or myth but show how the undead represent larger issues: the belief in an afterlife, fears of contagion and technology, the effect of capitalism and commodification, racial exclusion and oppression, dehumanization. As presented here, zombies are not simple metaphors; rather, they emerge as a critical mode for theoretical work. With its diverse disciplinary and methodological approaches, Zombie Theory thinks through what the walking undead reveal about our relationships to the world and to each other.
Benjamin Hervey’s study of the film is the first to provide a close analysis of the film and an in-depth account of its reception. Drawing on original archival research, Hervey traces how the film quickly gained cult status, while at the same time it was hailed as a piece of art cinema and as a deep political allegory.nbsp; Hervey analyses the film scene-by-scene, detailing how the scoring, editing, photography and lighting came together to overall powerful effect.nbsp; He provides a richly detailed historical context for his reading of the film, showing, for example, how scenes in Night directly relate to contemporary news coverage of Vietnam.
Although there is perhaps no better film that captured the Apocalyptic mood of the United States in 1979 than George Romero's "Dawn of the Dead," the work is less successful in capturing the mood of the region in which it was filmed, Southwestern Pennsylvania, where the U.S. Steel Corporation announced huge closings and layoffs. Robin Wood's critical discourse of the movie reads it as a critique of consumer capitalism. Although the film may constitute a devastating critique of consumerism, that is not ipso facto a critique of capitalism. Wood leaves out one crucial element of any genuinely Marxist analysis: the problematics of social class.
This essay makes an argument that may be obvious to some, namely that muzak is zombie music. This can be seen in two versions of the iconic zombie film Dawn of the Dead, in which muzak is employed as an essential element of the score. The original film, released in 1978 and now a classic of American horror cinema, was directed by George A. Romero and is famously set inside a zombie‐infested shopping mall; a big‐budget remake was released in 2004, directed by Zack Snyder. In both versions of Dawn of the Dead, muzak—defined here fairly broadly as the kind of piped‐in, easy‐listening, lightly‐orchestrated pop tunes (also known as “environmental,” “mood,” or “elevator” music) used as an aural backdrop in commercial spaces like offices, stores, and especially shopping malls—serves a number of purposes, from pacing to atmosphere to commentary.
Most importantly, though, it paradoxically intensifies the horror of the effect of the films by strongly evoking feelings best described by Freudian notions of the uncanny and taboo, and by serving as a near‐perfect analogue for, and even embodiment of, the living dead themselves. It is not only the presence of easy‐listening pop tunes in these films, but also how they are used—diegetically and non‐diegetically, crossing over from the filmic world onto the soundtrack and back again—that is the focus of this essay. These transgressive musical moments/movements are especially meaningful, as they underscore the liminal nature of the apocalyptic zombie and of the subgenre of zombie cinema in general. This essay demonstrates how, in Dawn of the Dead, muzak is zombie music insofar as it is organically connected to the deeply disturbing and problematic figure of the zombie, and is used to delineate and intensify our horrified response to taboo‐shattering, boundary‐crossing animated corpses.
There is a striking divide, in the literature on comedy, between approaches that stress the social functions of humor, including social control and alleviation of social stresses, and approaches that focus on the psychological mechanisms of humor, including incongruity and arousal. These two kinds of approach have proven quite resistant to integration, because they are rooted in fundamentally different understandings of the pleasure of humor. Put simply, the pleasure of the put-down is hard to square with the pleasure of the pun. This article examines new scientific research on humor, including recent brain imaging studies, to see if there is any evidence for an empirical divide.
The conclusion, in practical analytical terms, is that when, near the start of Shaun of the Dead (2004), Shaun fails to notice that he is surrounded by zombies, our perception of the inappropriateness of the character's actions and our perception of the playfulness of the depiction are both necessarily involved in our perception of the scene's funniness.