American Zombie Gothic
The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture
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About the Book
Zombie stories are peculiarly American, as the creature was born in the New World and functions as a reminder of the atrocities of colonialism and slavery. The voodoo-based zombie films of the 1930s and ’40s reveal deep-seated racist attitudes and imperialist paranoia, but the contagious, cannibalistic zombie horde invasion narrative established by George A. Romero has even greater singularity.
This book provides a cultural and critical analysis of the cinematic zombie tradition, starting with its origins in Haitian folklore and tracking the development of the subgenre into the twenty-first century. Closely examining 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 Return of the Living Dead, Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, and, of course, Romero’s entire “Dead” series, it establishes the place of zombies in the Gothic tradition.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.
About the Author(s)
Kyle William Bishop
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: 33 photos, filmography, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
Series: Contributions to Zombie Studies
Table of Contents
1—RAISING THE LIVING DEAD
The Folkloric and Ideological Origins of the Voodoo Zombie 37
2—THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE
Imperialist Hegemony and the Cinematic Voodoo Zombie 64
3—THE RISE OF THE NEW PARADIGM
Night of the Living Dead and the Zombie Invasion Narrative 94
4—THE DEAD WALK THE EARTH
The Triumph of the Zombie Social Metaphor in Dawn of the Dead 129
5—HUMANIZING THE LIVING DEAD
The Evolution of the Zombie Protagonist 158
Conclusion—The Future Shock of Zombie Cinema 197
Chapter Notes 213
Book Reviews & Awards
“in this seminal study, Bishop navigates well the oil and water-like mix of serious analysis and zombie cinema. It isn’t often that one comes across Marxian dialectics and graphic descriptions of cannibalism in the same paragraph, but Bishop’s understated style makes it work”—Library Journal; “fascinating”—Raising the Undead; “a very complete analysis of the evolution of the zombie in American cinema”—Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts.