Arts & Culture
Master of Arts (MA)
The following piece is an examination of the evolution of the zombie in popular media. It begins with a brief recap of the zombie’s history, beginning with its roots in 19th century Haitian folklore, followed by its usage in the format of film. The most notable and enduring entries in the zombie film genre served as scathing critiques of contemporary human issues, encapsulating all of the fears and insecurities of its audience. In recent years, however, due to the way the international film market has changed, the zombie film has lost its emotional power and edge. Contemporary zombie filmmakers are romanticizing and satirizing the idea of a zombie apocalypse, instead of lending it the seriousness it deserves.
This does not mean that the zombie genre as a whole has died. In fact, with the advent of “The Walking Dead,” it’s found a new home on television, where it’s being taken far beyond its original roots. Thanks to its serial drama format, “Walking” provides us with something that even George A. Romero couldn’t manage — namely, a detailed, long-term look at how a zombie apocalypse would play out.
Engel, William, "The Reanimation of the Zombie Genre" (2015). CUNY Academic Works.