Zombies initially started off as Carribean voodoo creations — reanimated bodies that were, for all intents and purposes, brain dead. Apparently, there’s even a law on the books on certain islands forbidding “zombification” of live citizens.
However, as early as the 1930′s, zombies started showing up in horror movies. Among the best known early zombie movies is Bela Lugosi’s White Zombie. Zombies really started taking form with the movie that kick-started the whole “living dead” genre: Night of the Living Dead.
George Romero’s zombies were the most interesting that had ever been created. He explored the zombie personality even more deeply in the outstanding Dawn of the Dead (the one movie I have seen more than any other), where the main characters try hiding from the flesh-hungry in an abandoned mall (the Monroeville Mall in Pittsburgh, PA). However, the zombies have some sort of memory of their past lives and start showing up at the mall to continue their dead-life where their regular life left off.
There have been countless other zombie movies (there are 50 listed on the IMDB with “living dead” in the title). Some have been excellent derivative works (like Lucio Fulci’s Zombi, which was initially marketed as Zombie 2 to imply a connection with Dawn of the Dead‘s European title, Zombie). Others have broken new ground (like Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead). And yet others have been total and utter garbage (Umberto Lenzi’s laughably bad City of the Walking Dead and Jess Franco’s painfully awful Zombie 4: Virgin Among the Living Dead). Some have even combined two sides of the same living-dead coin: cannibals (live people who eat flesh) and zombies (dead people who eat flesh), like Marino Girolami’s Zombie Holocaust (aka Dr. Butcher, M.D.).
I will now refer you to a number of good zombie sites from around the Web:
- Home Page of the Dead: The definitive source for all things related to Romero’s zombies
- LivingDead.com: Another site dedicated to Romero’s zombies.
- Zombie Guide: An interesting overview of zombie films. Check the disclaimer at the bottom of the first page.
- Monroeville Mall Revisited: The site is down now, but is supposed to be back up soon. Housed a great tour of the Monroeville Mall now versus when Dawn of the Dead was filmed there.
- I Love Zombies: Yes… he does.
- Tarman’s Basement: A Tribute to Zombie Movies
- The Ungrateful Dead: Top 10 Zombie Movies
- Zombie graphic novel and soundtrack: This is an excellent comic rendition of Fulci’s classic and the soundtrack rocks.
- Escape from zombie sharks: The Video Vulture recounts one of my favorite scenes from Zombie.
- The Night of the Living Dead and the Morning After: Good history of zombie films, including some obscure foreign rarities.
- A Guide to Zombie Movies: A student’s paper on the subject from 1991.
- Zombie Hunter: A flash zombie movie with stick figures. From the excellent Stick Figure Death Theatre.
- Desktop Theme: Lucio Fulci’s Zombie: For UNIX.
Posted in Just Plain Odd