Beyond the Living Dead

Essays on the Romero Legacy


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About the Book

In 1968, George Romero’s film Night of the Living Dead premiered, launching a growing preoccupation with zombies within mass and literary fiction, film, television, and video games. Romero’s creativity and enduring influence make him a worthy object of inquiry in his own right, and his long career helps us take stock of the shifting interest in zombies since the 1960s. Examining his work promotes a better understanding of the current state of the zombie and where it is going amidst the political and social turmoil of the twenty-first century. These new essays document, interpret, and explain the meaning of the still-budding Romero legacy, drawing cross-disciplinary perspectives from such fields as literature, political science, philosophy, and comparative film studies. Essays consider some of the sources of Romero’s inspiration (including comics, science fiction, and Westerns), chart his influence as a storyteller and a social critic, and consider the legacy he leaves for viewers, artists, and those studying the living dead.

About the Author(s)

Bruce Peabody is a professor of government and politics at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey.

Gloria Pastorino is a professor of Italian and French at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where she also teaches English and world literature, drama, and film. She lives in New York, New York.

Kyle William Bishop is an associate professor of English and film studies and serves as the Honors Program director at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah. He has presented and published on a number of zombie-related texts and has authored two other monographs with McFarland.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Bruce Peabody and Gloria Pastorino

Series Editor Kyle William Bishop

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 221
Bibliographic Info: 24 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7837-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4262-8
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Contributions to Zombie Studies

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction: Are They Coming to Get Us?
Gloria Pastorino 1
Splat Panel Shocks: Romero, EC Horror and Innovation
Emma Austin 15
No Grave Can Hold Them: Night of the Living Dead and the Rise and Rebirth of Zombies in Comics
Chera Kee 32
Blowing It All to Hell: Zombie Films as Allegorical Westerns
Gloria Pastorino 54
Dead Men Telling Tales: From Night of the Living Dead to Zone One
Angela Tenga 80
The Night of Spaghetti Horror: The ­Flesh-Eating Frenzy of Italian Zombies and Cannibals
Fulvio Orsitto and Gloria Pastorino 98
From Fiddler’s Green to Juiced Up Islands: The State of the State in Romero’s Zombie Narratives
Bruce Peabody 117
“They’re [Still] Coming to Get You”: White Liberals as the Zombie Horde in Jordan Peele’s Get Out
Cammie M. Sublette 143
Rousseau, Romero, and the “Sentiment of Existence”: The Search for Perfectibility in Dawn of the Dead
Benjamin Isaak Gross 155
Conclusion: Do Not Go Gentle into That Bad Night: Humanism, Violence, and Plumbing the Romero Legacy
Bruce Peabody 170
Filmography 189
Bibliography 193
About the Contributors 205
Index 207

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Clear, coherent, and containing the best examples of academic critical integrity, it promises to be an indispensable work that will provide a very serious foundation for taking the work of George A. Romero into this new challenging millennium.”—Tony Williams, author of The Cinema of George A. Romero and George A. Romero. Interviews

• “George Romero’s vision of zombie apocalypse still haunts us more than half a century later. In an age of worldwide pandemic, extreme inequality, and looming environmental collapse, the figure of the zombie has never seemed more relevant. The essays in this volume show us how Romero’s prophetic legacy continues to reverberate through popular culture, helping us to think about the all too real horrors that we continue to face.”—Steven Shaviro, author of The Cinematic Body