One Foot In The Grave: The Zombie's Consumption Of American Film
Davis, Ronni M.
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American film has chronicled the evolution of the zombie mythos for nearly eight decades. Originally constructed as a projection of the plight of the enslaved population of Haiti, the zombie as introduced to American film remains a symbol of societal anxieties. I argue that, to reflect the changing zeitgeist, the zombie shifts into three general forms. The Haitian Zombi is generally a passive creature subject to the will of its creator; it reveals desire to control people that either pose a threat or that have something that the creator covets and is otherwise unable to attain. The Extraterrestrial Zombie represents shared anguish over the consequences of space exploration and nuclear technology development, which emerged together after World War II. The Apocalyptic Zombie, which has taken over the genre and caused an explosion of zombie interest in the last decade, reveals fears awakened by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001: fears of hidden threats, biological weapons, powerlessness in the face of government betrayal or abandonment, and, perhaps most importantly, becoming a monster. Examining the zombie as a cultural body provides a space to explore the roots and possible outcomes and solutions of serious underlying concerns on the minds of many contemporary Americans.