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zombies in culture

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10/5/14
Dr. Stefan Hall
FYS-1000
Zombies: Metaphor and Meaning Zombies in Culture #1

The movie that I watched was Plan 9 From Outer Space. The idea behind it is that aliens come to Earth to prevent the humans from creating a doomsday weapon, which would blow up the universe, by using zombies to cause chaos so the humans are not able to develop the solarbonite bomb. Three main culture topics the movie brings up are aliens, nuclear warfare, and the space race.
One of the main culture topics brought up by Plan 9 From Outer Space is the use of aliens. Aliens at the time were very popular due to the fact that there had been many sightings of supposed UFOs. Also, during the same time the Cold War was happening and the aliens can be seen as a way of representing communism and the zombies in the movie can be seen as sleeper agents. The way the aliens represent communism is that they act like a communist government in how they control everyone. In this case, the zombies are like the citizens living under a communist government. The zombies follow the original idea from Haiti being that they are under control by a zombie master. The zombie master uses these people as slaves, by the use of technology, which forces them to lose their will. The zombies in the movie are tech zombies in how they are controlled through the use of technology. The zombies in the movie are like sleeper agents in how they are completely harmless until they are activated which causes them to then act in a harmful way. An example of this is when Eros sends the zombified Clay to kidnap Paula. Clay, who was an inspector before he died, would have never done this before the aliens controlled him. Another main culture topic in the movie is the idea of nuclear weapons. In the movie, the aliens use the zombies to get the humans’ attention, which causes chaos, to have them not create this doomsday weapon. The doomsday weapon, which is a metaphor for a nuke, is the main reason why the aliens are here. The 1950s were referred to as the Atomic Age because there were many nuclear tests during this time and there was the discovery of the hydrogen bomb. The aliens use the zombies to get the people of earth to talk to them so they cannot discover this doomsday weapon by in a way creating nuclear disarmament, which would stop the humans from even discovering the doomsday weapon. Nuclear disarmament is a nuclear weapon free world, which causes nuclear weapons to be eliminated. An example of all of this is near the end of the movie, when Eros tries to talk to the humans by explaining what would happen if they discovered this weapon, in hopes that it would scare the humans into not wanting to discover this type of weapon. Another main culture topic that is brought up in the movie Plan 9 From Outer Space is the space race. During the time that this movie came out, the space race had just started. First, was the launch of Sputnik by the Russians, which was the first artificial satellite, launched in to space, which caused near mas hysteria in the American public. Another major event was the launch of Luna 1 because it was the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon, and the first spacecraft to be placed in heliocentric orbit. Intended as an impactor, Luna 1 was launched as part of the Luna program in 1959; however due to an incorrectly timed upper stage burn during its launch, it missed the Moon, in the process becoming the first spacecraft to leave geocentric orbit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna_1). The aliens in the movie represent what could happen if the space race advances because we might somehow contact extraterrestrial life, which might cause them to come to earth. Aliens are used as a metaphor for other human societies, especially communist Russia, because it brings out and shows our xenophobia, the fear of the unknown. If aliens come to earth, they could use the dead to come back to life as zombies to do their bidding. Having the dead come back to life is one of our biggest fears; this is why we bury or cremate our dead and put them in coffins. This happens in the movie, as the aliens somehow know of our fears of the dead coming back to life. An example of this is when Colonel Edwards is told they have made contact with extraterrestrial life before, and when Eros mentioned near the end that they have tried to make contact before. Even though Plan 9 From Outer Space has been deemed the worst movie ever made, it still brings up key cultural topics of the time. The aliens in the movie can be interpreted as the communist government while the zombies represents the populous. The doomsday weapon in the movie is used to represent the fear of the people during the Atomic Age of the 1950s. Even though it was a low budget movie with minimal use of the zombie, it still follows the pre-Romero idea that zombies are under control by a zombie master and are not the result of an unknown disease.

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