Dead Man Still Walking: A Critical Investigation into the Rise and Fall . . . and Rise of Zombie Cinema

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/194727
Title:
Dead Man Still Walking: A Critical Investigation into the Rise and Fall . . . and Rise of Zombie Cinema
Author:
Bishop, Kyle William
Issue Date:
2009
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Horror films act as a barometer for society's tensions and anxieties, and the early years of the twenty-first century have seen a notable increase in such movies, the zombie narrative in particular. This "Zombie Renaissance" demonstrates increased dread concerning violent death--via terrorist attacks or contagious infection--and establishes the currency of a critical investigation into this oft-maligned subgenre. The zombie narrative has particular value to American cultural studies as the creature was born on the shores of the New World, rather than being co-opted from the Old, and it functions as a symbolic reminder of the atrocities of colonialism and slavery. Drawing on ethnographic studies of Haitian folklore, the voodoo-based zombie films of the 1930s and '40s do crucial cultural work in their own right, revealing deep-seated racist attitudes and imperialist paranoia, but the zombie invasion narrative established by George A. Romero has even greater singularity. Having no established literary analogue, Romero borrowed instead from voodoo mythology, vampire tales, and science fiction invasion narratives to develop a new tradition with Night of the Living Dead in 1968. His conception of a contagious, cannibalistic zombie horde uniquely manifests modern apprehensions about the horrors of Vietnam, the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement, and, in the more recent films, the problems of excessive consumerism and the anxieties of both the Cold War and the current War on Terror. Essentially, zombies work as powerful metaphors for modern-day society and the prevailing cultural unease surrounding violent death and the loss of autonomous subjectivity, and, as recent production proves, the subgenre will continue to serve the viewing public as it grows, mutates, and evolves.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Abjection; Gothic; Romero; Uncanny; Zombie
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
English; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
White, Susan

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleDead Man Still Walking: A Critical Investigation into the Rise and Fall . . . and Rise of Zombie Cinemaen_US
dc.creatorBishop, Kyle Williamen_US
dc.contributor.authorBishop, Kyle Williamen_US
dc.date.issued2009en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractHorror films act as a barometer for society's tensions and anxieties, and the early years of the twenty-first century have seen a notable increase in such movies, the zombie narrative in particular. This "Zombie Renaissance" demonstrates increased dread concerning violent death--via terrorist attacks or contagious infection--and establishes the currency of a critical investigation into this oft-maligned subgenre. The zombie narrative has particular value to American cultural studies as the creature was born on the shores of the New World, rather than being co-opted from the Old, and it functions as a symbolic reminder of the atrocities of colonialism and slavery. Drawing on ethnographic studies of Haitian folklore, the voodoo-based zombie films of the 1930s and '40s do crucial cultural work in their own right, revealing deep-seated racist attitudes and imperialist paranoia, but the zombie invasion narrative established by George A. Romero has even greater singularity. Having no established literary analogue, Romero borrowed instead from voodoo mythology, vampire tales, and science fiction invasion narratives to develop a new tradition with Night of the Living Dead in 1968. His conception of a contagious, cannibalistic zombie horde uniquely manifests modern apprehensions about the horrors of Vietnam, the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement, and, in the more recent films, the problems of excessive consumerism and the anxieties of both the Cold War and the current War on Terror. Essentially, zombies work as powerful metaphors for modern-day society and the prevailing cultural unease surrounding violent death and the loss of autonomous subjectivity, and, as recent production proves, the subgenre will continue to serve the viewing public as it grows, mutates, and evolves.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectAbjectionen_US
dc.subjectGothicen_US
dc.subjectRomeroen_US
dc.subjectUncannyen_US
dc.subjectZombieen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglishen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairWhite, Susanen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHogle, Jerrold E.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGallego, Carlosen_US
dc.identifier.proquest10498en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659752208en_US
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