Research Paper: Dawn of the Dead

Better Essays
Caleb Turrentine
M. Hampton
EN 103-028
30 November 2012
Dawn of the (Evil & Symbolic) Dead Over the past decade, interest in zombies in pop culture has sky rocketed. There have been over 100 games and movies featuring the living dead. George Romero’s 1978 film Dawn of the Dead, sequel to Night of the Living Dead, gives its audience insight into these evil symbolic structures known today as zombies. In this film, there are four survivors that take refuge in a huge shopping mall, sealing the doors and creating a zombie-free hideout. This movie is often referred to as one the best horror films of its time and a door way to today’s interest in zombies. Throughout the film, the four survivors deal with hundreds of zombies and at the climax are also having to deal with a biker gang. Although not all four of these characters survived, the mall was a perfect spot for the movie to take place according to a review done by the Spinning Image Company. “The mall is a brilliant location, not just for the satirical possibilities it offers Romero, but also for creating some clever, unsettling imagery,” said Daniel Auty in his review. Auty is speaking of the several times throughout the film where Romero would cut to a scene of just zombies roaming random parts of the mall. These zombies were different than what we see today however. “[The zombies] look silly, they fall over a lot, and Romero mostly shoots them in either broad daylight or the stark fluorescence of the mall” (Auty). The zombies in Dawn of the Dead appeared from the first minute without Romero giving any sort of insight on how it happened. So in order to understand the body in its monstrous state, one must know the origins of the zombie. Many scholars agree that the term zombie originated from the voodoo religion in Haiti. In “Slaves, Cannibals, and Infected Hyper-Whites: The Race and Religion of Zombies”, writer Elizabeth McCalister discusses these origins in great detail. “The word zonbi appears in



Cited: Asma, Stephen T. On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print. Auty, Daniel. "Dawn of the Dead." Rev. of Dawn of the Dead. n.d.: n. pag. The Spinning Image. Web. Bishop, Kyle William. American Zombie Gothic: The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture. Jefferson, NC: McFarland &, 2010. Print. Gilmore, David D. Monsters: Evil Beings, Mythical Beasts, and All Manner of Imaginary Terrors. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2003. Print. "Haiti and the Truth about Zombies." Www.umich.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.umich.edu/~uncanny/zombies.html>. McCalister, Elizabeth. "Slaves, Cannibals, and Infected Hyper-Whites: The Race and Religion of Zombies." Anthropological Quarterly 85.2 (n.d.): 457-86. Web. "Public Health Matters Blog." Public Health Matters Blog RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2012. <http://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2011/05/preparedness-101-zombie- apocalypse/>.

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