Zombie movie – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Film Genres Glossary Terms

I. What is a Zombie?

A zombie is a fictional undead creature that is typically depicted as a reanimated corpse. In popular culture, zombies are often portrayed as mindless, flesh-eating monsters that feed on the living. The origins of the zombie myth can be traced back to Haitian folklore, where it was believed that a sorcerer could reanimate a dead body to do their bidding.

In modern times, zombies have become a popular trope in horror films and literature. They are often associated with apocalyptic scenarios where a virus or other catastrophic event causes the dead to rise and attack the living. Zombie movies have become a subgenre of horror films that explore themes of survival, morality, and the breakdown of society.

II. History of Zombies in Film

The first zombie film is often considered to be “White Zombie,” released in 1932 and starring Bela Lugosi. This film introduced the concept of zombies as reanimated corpses under the control of a voodoo master. However, it wasn’t until the release of George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” in 1968 that zombies became the flesh-eating monsters we know today.

Romero’s film revolutionized the zombie genre by introducing the idea of a zombie apocalypse, where the dead rise and attack the living in hordes. The success of “Night of the Living Dead” spawned a series of sequels and inspired countless other filmmakers to explore the zombie myth in their own work.

III. Characteristics of Zombie Films

Zombie films typically feature a group of survivors trying to navigate a post-apocalyptic world overrun by the undead. These films often explore themes of fear, survival, and the breakdown of society. Common tropes in zombie movies include:

– Slow-moving zombies: Most classic zombie films feature slow-moving zombies that shamble towards their victims. This creates a sense of dread as the survivors must constantly be on the lookout for approaching threats.

– Gore and violence: Zombie films are known for their graphic depictions of violence and gore. The undead are often shown tearing into their victims with bloody abandon, creating a sense of horror and revulsion.

– Isolation and claustrophobia: Many zombie films take place in confined spaces, such as abandoned buildings or underground bunkers. This creates a sense of claustrophobia and isolation as the survivors are trapped with the undead closing in around them.

IV. Subgenres of Zombie Films

There are several subgenres of zombie films that explore different aspects of the zombie myth. Some of the most popular subgenres include:

– Zombie comedies: These films combine horror with humor, often featuring bumbling survivors and absurd situations. Examples include “Shaun of the Dead” and “Zombieland.”

– Zombie apocalypse: These films focus on the outbreak of a zombie virus and the subsequent collapse of society. Examples include “28 Days Later” and “World War Z.”

– Zombie romance: These films combine the horror of the undead with elements of romance and drama. Examples include “Warm Bodies” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”

V. Impact of Zombie Films on Popular Culture

Zombie films have had a significant impact on popular culture, influencing everything from television shows to video games. The success of films like “Night of the Living Dead” and “Dawn of the Dead” helped popularize the zombie genre and cemented the image of the flesh-eating undead in the public consciousness.

Zombie films have also inspired a wave of zombie-themed merchandise, including action figures, clothing, and even zombie survival kits. The popularity of zombie walks and zombie-themed events further demonstrates the enduring appeal of the undead in popular culture.

VI. Notable Zombie Films

There have been countless zombie films released over the years, but some have stood out as classics of the genre. Some notable zombie films include:

– “Night of the Living Dead” (1968): George A. Romero’s groundbreaking film that introduced the modern zombie myth.

– “Dawn of the Dead” (1978): Romero’s sequel that explores the collapse of society in the face of a zombie apocalypse.

– “28 Days Later” (2002): Danny Boyle’s film that reimagines the zombie genre with fast-moving infected humans.

– “Shaun of the Dead” (2004): A comedy-horror film that parodies classic zombie tropes while still delivering scares.

– “Train to Busan” (2016): A South Korean film that follows a group of survivors on a train during a zombie outbreak.

These films represent just a small sampling of the diverse and creative ways that filmmakers have explored the zombie myth in cinema. Zombie movies continue to captivate audiences with their blend of horror, action, and social commentary.