American Zombie Gothic: The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the by Kyle William Bishop

By Kyle William Bishop

Zombie tales are primarily American, because the creature was once born within the New international and services as a reminder of the atrocities of colonialism and slavery. The voodoo-based zombie motion pictures of the Nineteen Thirties and '40s show deep-seated racist attitudes and imperialist paranoia, however the contagious, cannibalistic zombie horde invasion narrative demonstrated by way of George A. Romero has even better singularity. This booklet offers a cultural and significant research of the cinematic zombie culture, beginning with its origins in Haitian folklore and monitoring the advance of the subgenre into the twenty-first century. heavily analyzing such influential works as Victor Halperin's White Zombie, Jacques Tourneur's I Walked with a Zombie, Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2, Dan O'Bannon's The go back of the residing Dead, Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, and, in fact, Romero's complete "Dead" sequence, it establishes where of zombies within the Gothic culture.

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Additional resources for American Zombie Gothic: The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture

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35 This terrifying breakdown of social order leads to one of the more curious allures of zombie films: their ability to fulfill survivalist fantasies. Those obsessed with the survivalist credo hoard foodstuffs and ammunition in their isolated mountain cabins and basement bunkers, just hoping for the day when society will collapse and their paranoia will finally be justified. Numerous survival manuals and websites, like those Brooks’ book parodies, encourage and direct such behavior, and apocalypse narratives allow proponents of survivalism some cathartic enjoyment.

Such an academic approach is vital to most folkloristic inquiries, as has been discussed at length by the leading authority on “authenticity,” Regina Bendix. ”4 This passage illustrates why the verification of a cultural artifact’s authenticity becomes so essential: without the establishment of that authenticity, the object, event, or practice simply lacks any credibility or cultural value. ”5 Part of my task in this chapter is to establish the singularity of the zombie monster a part of twentieth-century American culture, and, because authenticity is indelibly linked to a codifiable form, I will illustrate the patterns found in the zombie phenomenon in my later analysis of the existing literature to verify this sense of the “authentic” zombie narrative.

I argue that Halperin’s film, while admittedly bringing the zombie to the attention of America filmgoers, unfortunately presents a dated and ultimately negative view of black society and culture. Although the movie might effectively frighten white viewers with the terrible possibility that black nations could indeed threaten the safety and autonomy of white women — in effect reversing the oppressive mechanisms of colonialism —White Zombie does so by relying on offensive stereotypes and an inaccurate sensationalizing of Haitian folklore and culture.

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