May 30, 2012
Research Paper: The History of Zombies and Film
Zombies now have come to be a movie genre all of their own. Fast-paced monster movies about the dead coming back to life have moved into new and scarier directions. Analyzing the progression of zombie culture and its impact on movies reveals the complete transformation of the monster. In order to captivate ever changing audiences, it seems as if film directors are continuously reinventing the zombie. In addition, the realistic natures of these films help to establish and maintain a fear of zombies by paralleling their occurrence with situations that could actually occur in “real life,” such as a governmental catastrophe like biological warfare.
Movie producers have long since realized that connecting the creation of zombies with real events in history is entertaining for people. The first zombie movie, White Zombie starring Bela Lugosi, was made in 1932. This movie was loosely based on the Haitian Voodoo myths about witchdoctors or “Bokors” who made people appear like zombies by drugging them. The film was about a man, who had a broken heart and wanted help from a “Bokor” to bait the love of his life, but everything went wrong, and she turns into a zombie. Movies similar to this continued until the 1960s. These zombie movies were definitely interesting, but they lacked events people could relate to such as ones occurring in their native cultures. The iconic zombie movie, Night of the Living Dead produced by George A Romero, entirely changed everyone’s perception of zombies. Romero credits the new breed of zombie he created to Richard Matheson’s novel “I Am Legend.” The novel was about a disease that swept through the human race changing them into vampires and leaving one surviving man. These zombies had evolved a great deal from the ones before them. They were not drugged by witchdoctors anymore. Now, they were infected by a disease which was only given to another...