Zombies, often still using this voodoo-inspired rationale, were initially uncommon in cinema, but their appearances continued sporadically through the s to the s, with films including I Walked with a Zombie and Plan 9 from Outer Space A new version of the zombie, inspired by, but distinct from, that described in Haitian folklore, emerged in popular culture during the latter half of the twentieth century. This interpretation of the zombie is drawn largely from George A. The " zombie apocalypse " concept, in which the civilized world is brought low by a global zombie infestation, has since become a staple of modern popular art.
After zombie films such as Dawn of the Dead and Michael Jackson 's music video Thriller , the genre waned for some years. In the Far East during the late s, the Japanese zombie video games Resident Evil and The House of the Dead led to a resurgence of zombies in popular culture. Additionally, The House of the Dead introduced a new type of zombie distinct from Romero's slow zombies: the fast running zombie.
These games were followed by a wave of low-budget Asian zombie films such as the zombie comedy Bio Zombie and action film Versus , and then a new wave of Western zombie films in the early s, including films featuring fast running zombies such as 28 Days Later , the Resident Evil and House of the Dead films, and the Dawn of the Dead remake , while the British film Shaun of the Dead was in the zombie comedy subgenre. The late s and s saw the humanization and romanticization of the zombie archetype, with the zombies increasingly portrayed as friends and love interests for humans.
In this context, zombies are often seen as stand-ins for discriminated groups struggling for equality, and the human-zombie romantic relationship is interpreted as a metaphor for sexual liberation and taboo breaking given that zombies are subject to wild desires and free from social conventions. The English word "zombie" is first recorded in , in a history of Brazil by the poet Robert Southey , in the form of "zombi", actually referring to the Afro-Brazilian rebel leader named Zumbi and the etymology of his name in "nzambi".
In Haitian folklore , a zombie Haitian French : zombi , Haitian Creole : zonbi is an animated corpse raised by magical means, such as witchcraft.
The concept has been popularly associated with the religion of voodoo , but it plays no part in that faith's formal practices. How the creatures in contemporary zombie films came to be called "zombies" is not fully clear. The film Night of the Living Dead made no spoken reference to its undead antagonists as "zombies", describing them instead as " ghouls " though ghouls, which derive from Arabic folklore, are demons, not undead. Although George Romero used the term "ghoul" in his original scripts, in later interviews he used the term "zombie".
The word "zombie" is used exclusively by Romero in his script for his sequel Dawn of the Dead ,  including once in dialog. He eventually accepted this linkage, even though he remained convinced at the time that "zombies" corresponded to the undead slaves of Haitian voodoo as depicted in White Zombie with Bela Lugosi.
Zombies are featured widely in Haitian rural folklore as dead persons physically revived by the act of necromancy of a bokor , a sorcerer or witch. The bokor is opposed by the houngan or priest and the mambo or priestess of the formal voodoo religion. A zombie remains under the control of the bokor as a personal slave, having no will of its own. The Haitian tradition also includes an incorporeal type of zombie, the "zombie astral ", which is a part of the human soul.
A bokor can capture a zombie astral to enhance his spiritual power. A zombie astral can also be sealed inside a specially decorated bottle by a bokor and sold to a client to bring luck, healing, or business success. It is believed that God eventually will reclaim the zombie's soul, so the zombie is a temporary spiritual entity. The two types of zombie reflect soul dualism , a belief of Haitian voodoo. Each type of legendary zombie is therefore missing one half of its soul the flesh or the spirit.
The zombie belief has its roots in traditions brought to Haiti by enslaved Africans, and their subsequent experiences in the New World. It was thought that the voodoo deity Baron Samedi would gather them from their grave to bring them to a heavenly afterlife in Africa " Guinea " , unless they had offended him in some way, in which case they would be forever a slave after death, as a zombie. A zombie could also be saved by feeding them salt. English professor Amy Wilentz has written that the modern concept of Zombies was strongly influenced by Haitian slavery. Slave drivers on the plantations, who were usually slaves themselves and sometimes Voodoo priests, used the fear of zombification to discourage slaves from committing suicide.
The Haitian zombie phenomenon first attracted widespread international attention during the United States occupation of Haiti — , when a number of case histories of purported "zombies" began to emerge. Seabrooke cited Article of the Haitian criminal code which was passed in , asserting that it was an official recognition of zombies. This passage was later used in promotional materials for the film White Zombie. Also shall be qualified as attempted murder the employment which may be made by any person of substances which, without causing actual death, produce a lethargic coma more or less prolonged.
If, after the administering of such substances, the person has been buried, the act shall be considered murder no matter what result follows. In , while researching folklore in Haiti, Zora Neale Hurston encountered the case of a woman who appeared in a village. A family claimed she was Felicia Felix-Mentor, a relative who had died and been buried in at the age of The woman was examined by a doctor; X-rays indicated that she did not have a leg fracture that Felix-Mentor was known to have had.
She wrote, "What is more, if science ever gets to the bottom of Vodou in Haiti and Africa, it will be found that some important medical secrets, still unknown to medical science, give it its power, rather than gestures of ceremony. A Central or West African origin for the Haitian zombie has been postulated based on two etymologies in the Kongo language , nzambi "god" and zumbi " fetish ".
This root helps form the names of several deities, including the Kongo creator deity Nzambi a Mpungu and the Louisiana serpent deity Li Grand Zombi a local version of the Haitian Damballa , but it is in fact a generic word for a divine spirit. A related, but also often incorporeal, undead being is the jumbee of the English-speaking Caribbean , considered to be of the same etymology;  in the French West Indies also, local "zombies" are recognized, but these are of a more general spirit nature.
In some communities, it is believed that a dead person can be zombified by a small child. These trains appeared ordinary, but were staffed by zombified workers controlled by a witch. The trains would abduct a person boarding at night, and the person would then either be turned into a zombified worker, or beaten and thrown from the train a distance away from the original location. Another antecedent is the Chinese jiangshi , a zombie-like creature dating back to Qing dynasty era jiangshi fiction of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Several decades after Hurston's work, Wade Davis , a Harvard ethnobotanist , presented a pharmacological case for zombies in a paper in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology ,  and later in two popular books, The Serpent and the Rainbow and Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie Davis traveled to Haiti in and, as a result of his investigations, claimed that a living person can be turned into a zombie by two special powders being introduced into the blood stream usually via a wound.
The first, coup de poudre French: "powder strike" , includes tetrodotoxin TTX , a powerful and frequently fatal neurotoxin found in the flesh of the pufferfish order Tetraodontidae. The second powder consists of deliriant drugs such as datura. Together, these powders were said to induce a deathlike state in which the will of the victim would be entirely subjected to that of the bokor. Davis also popularized the story of Clairvius Narcisse , who was claimed to have succumbed to this practice. The most ethically questioned and least scientifically explored ingredient of the powders, is part of a recently buried child's brain.
The psychosis induced by the drug and psychological trauma was hypothesised by Davis to reinforce culturally learned beliefs and to cause the individual to reconstruct their identity as that of a zombie, since they "knew" they were dead, and had no other role to play in the Haitian society. Societal reinforcement of the belief was hypothesized by Davis to confirm for the zombie individual the zombie state, and such individuals were known to hang around in graveyards, exhibiting attitudes of low affect. Davis's claim has been criticized, particularly the suggestion that Haitian witch doctors can keep "zombies" in a state of pharmacologically induced trance for many years.
According to psychologist Terence Hines , the scientific community dismisses tetrodotoxin as the cause of this state, and Davis' assessment of the nature of the reports of Haitian zombies is viewed as overly credulous. Scottish psychiatrist R. Laing highlighted the link between social and cultural expectations and compulsion, in the context of schizophrenia and other mental illness, suggesting that schizogenesis may account for some of the psychological aspects of zombification.
Roland Littlewood , professor of anthropology and psychiatry, published a study supporting a social explanation of the zombie phenomenon in the medical journal The Lancet in I came to the conclusion that although it is unlikely that there is a single explanation for all cases where zombies are recognised by locals in Haiti, the mistaken identification of a wandering mentally ill stranger by bereaved relatives is the most likely explanation in many cases.
People with a chronic schizophrenic illness, brain damage or learning disability are not uncommon in rural Haiti, and they would be particularly likely to be identified as zombies. Pulliam and Fonseca and Walz trace the zombie lineage back to ancient Mesopotamia. If you do not open the gate for me to come in, I shall smash the door and shatter the bolt, I shall smash the doorpost and overturn the doors, I shall raise up the dead and they shall eat the living: And the dead shall outnumber the living!
She repeats this same threat in a slightly modified form in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley , while not a zombie novel in particular, prefigures many 20th-century ideas about zombies in that the resurrection of the dead is portrayed as a scientific process rather than a mystical one, and that the resurrected dead are degraded and more violent than their living selves.
Frankenstein , published in , has its roots in European folklore,  whose tales of vengeful dead also informed the evolution of the modern conception of the vampire. Though their works could not be properly considered zombie fiction, the supernatural tales of Bierce and Poe would prove influential on later writers such as H. Lovecraft , by Lovecraft's own admission. In the s and early s, the American horror author H. Lovecraft wrote several novellae that explored the undead theme. Notably, the resurrected dead are uncontrollable, mostly mute, primitive and extremely violent; though they are not referred to as zombies, their portrayal was prescient, anticipating the modern conception of zombies by several decades.
Romero would later claim as an influence. Richard Matheson 's novel I Am Legend , although classified as a vampire story would nonetheless have definitive impact on the zombie genre by way of George A. The novel and its film adaptation, The Last Man on Earth , which concern a lone human survivor waging war against a world of vampires, would by Romero's own admission greatly influence his low-budget film Night of the Living Dead ;   a work that would prove to be more influential on the concept of zombies than any literary or cinematic work before it.
A popular evolution of the zombie is the "fast zombie" or running zombie. In contrast to Romero's classic slow zombies, "fast zombies" can run, are more aggressive, and often more intelligent. This type of zombie has origins in s Japanese horror video games.
How to Make a Zombie by Frank Swain | Waterstones
In , Capcom 's survival horror video game Resident Evil featured zombie dogs that run towards the player. Later the same year, Sega 's arcade shooter, The House of the Dead , introduced running human zombies, who run towards the player. The running human zombies introduced in The House of the Dead video games became the basis for the "fast zombies" that became popular in zombie films during the early 21st century, starting with 28 Days Later , the Resident Evil and House of the Dead films, and the Dawn of the Dead remake.
Films featuring zombies have been a part of cinema since the s, with White Zombie directed by Victor Halperin in being one of the earliest examples. Romero's Night of the Living Dead , the zombie trope began to be increasingly linked to consumerism and consumer culture. Voodoo-related zombie themes have also appeared in espionage or adventure themed works outside the horror genre.
For example, the original " Jonny Quest " series and the James Bond novel and movie Live and Let Die both feature Caribbean villains who falsely claim the voodoo power of zombification in order to keep others in fear of them. The modern conception of the zombie owes itself almost entirely to George A.
Romero 's film Night of the Living Dead. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times chided theater owners and parents who allowed children access to the film. There was almost complete silence. The movie had stopped being delightfully scary about halfway through, and had become unexpectedly terrifying.
There was a little girl across the aisle from me, maybe nine years old, who was sitting very still in her seat and crying.
Romero's reinvention of zombies is notable in terms of its thematics; he used zombies not just for their own sake, but as a vehicle "to criticize real-world social ills—such as government ineptitude, bioengineering, slavery, greed and exploitation—while indulging our post-apocalyptic fantasies". Its first sequel, Dawn of the Dead , was released in Lucio Fulci 's Zombi 2 was released just months after Dawn of the Dead as an ersatz sequel Dawn of the Dead was released in several other countries as Zombi or Zombie.
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Return of the Living Dead featured zombies that hungered specifically for brains. Zombie films in the s and s were not as commercially successful as Dawn of the Dead in the late s. Perhaps the most notable entry, the Evil Dead series, while highly influential are not technically zombie films but films about demonic possession , despite the presence of the undead. After the mids, the subgenre was mostly relegated to the underground.
In s Hong Kong cinema , the Chinese jiangshi , a zombie-like creature dating back to Qing dynasty era jiangshi fiction of the 18th and 19th centuries, were featured in a wave of jiangshi films , popularised by Mr. Vampire Hong Kong jiangshi films became popular in the Far East during the mids to early s. Prior to the s, there were not many Japanese films related to what may be considered in the West as a zombie film.
According to Kim Newman in the book Nightmare Movies , the "zombie revival began in the Far East" during the late s, largely inspired by two Japanese zombie games released in  Capcom 's Resident Evil , which started the Resident Evil video game series that went on to sell 24 million copies worldwide by ,  and Sega 's arcade shooter House of the Dead. The success of these two zombie games inspired a wave of Asian zombie films.
The zombie revival which began in the Far East eventually went global following the worldwide success of the Japanese zombie games Resident Evil and The House of the Dead. The turn of the millennium coincided with a decade of box-office successes in which the zombie subgenre experienced a resurgence: the Resident Evil movies — , the British films 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later ,   the Dawn of the Dead remake ,  and the comedies Shaun of the Dead and Dance of the Dead The new interest allowed Romero to create the fourth entry in his zombie series: Land of the Dead , released in the summer of Romero returned to the series with the films Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead Motion pictures created in the s, like 28 Days Later , the House of the Dead and Resident Evil films, and the Dawn of the Dead remake,  have featured zombies that are more agile, vicious, intelligent, and stronger than the traditional zombie.
The success of Shaun of the Dead led to more successful zombie comedies during the late s to early s, such as Zombieland and Cockneys vs Zombies At the same time, starting from the mids, a new type of zombie film has been growing in popularity: the one in which zombies are portrayed as human-like in appearance and behavior, retaining the personality traits they had in life, and becoming friends or even romantic partners for humans rather than a threat for humanity.
Rogers also notes the accompanying visual transformation of the living dead: while the "traditional" zombies are marked by noticeable disfigurement and decomposition, the "romantic" zombies show little or no such traits. In the late s, zombie films began declining in popularity, with elevated horror films gradually taking their place, such as The Witch , Get Out , A Quiet Place and Hereditary Intimately tied to the concept of the modern zombie is the "zombie apocalypse"; the breakdown of society as a result of an initial zombie outbreak that spreads.
This archetype has emerged as a prolific subgenre of apocalyptic fiction and has been portrayed in many zombie-related media after Night of the Living Dead. Victims of zombies may become zombies themselves. This causes the outbreak to become an exponentially growing crisis: the spreading phenomenon swamps normal military and law enforcement organizations, leading to the panicked collapse of civilized society until only isolated pockets of survivors remain, scavenging for food and supplies in a world reduced to a pre-industrial hostile wilderness.
How to Make a Zombie: The Real Life (and Death) Science of Reanimation and Mind Control
Possible causes for zombie behavior in a modern population can be attributed to viruses, bacteria or other phenomena that reduce the mental capacity of humans causing them to behave in a very primitive and destructive fashion. The usual subtext of the zombie apocalypse is that civilization is inherently vulnerable to the unexpected, and that most individuals if desperate enough cannot be relied on to comply with the author's ethos.
The narrative of a zombie apocalypse carries strong connections to the turbulent social landscape of the United States in the s, when Night of the Living Dead provided an indirect commentary on the dangers of conformity, a theme also explored in the novel The Body Snatchers and associated film Invasion of the Body Snatchers Simon Pegg , who starred in and co-wrote the zombie comedy film Shaun of the Dead , wrote that zombies were the "most potent metaphorical monster". This variety is indicative of the power of the zombie as a storytelling tool: no matter what the fears of our time or the preferences of the author, a zombie story can be crafted to evoke an emotional response.
In taking a stab or, perhaps, a head-chopping swing at three key elements of the modern zombie, the first recurring theme is the loss of identity and self-control, often replaced with aggression or basic urges. With tiny brains and tiny immune systems, small animals tend to be easier targets for parasites that force their victims to lose control. As an ant forages for food, it might ingest some spores of a parasitic fungus, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis.
The ant soon starts a drunken walk, and then—in actions unusual for unaffected ants—it climbs away from its fellow ants or is later carried away up a tree or a blade of grass and chomps down to stay in place. The fungus kills the ant from the inside, sprouts out of its head and releases spores onto the ground below, to start all over again. But part of the behaviour of infected ants may be an evolutionary adaptation —an attempt to save their friends from infection. Even so, the fungus does cause the ant to lose some self-control, leading to the clenching of jaws that root it in place for the fungus party to begin.
How does this happen? We all have nervous systems with chemical receptors, so all a parasite needs to do to control us is create the right chemical cocktail and get it inside our bodies. Need a zombie army? Look no further than ants Ants are found across the world, and so are their parasitic puppeteers.
The flatworm Dicrocoelium dendriticum , for instance, goes to extraordinary lengths to take over the motor controls of ants. Why ants? While other animals died out over the long history of life on Earth, ants survived—and these piggy-backing parasites came along for the ride. Ants have a better track record, are easier to control, and there are many, many more of them for you to command.
Further up in complexity we turn to worms that hijack crickets. Then, persuaded by these worms, the crickets seek water and dive in—a dangerous activity for the cricket, who is essentially leaving its habitat behind. The worms burrow out and lay their eggs. There are many more examples of insects that lose their minds, but what about more complex animals? This parasite can cause an infection known as toxoplasmosis, which is generally thought to cause only mild effects in most people. The extent of the human personality shifts caused by toxoplasmosis is still being investigated, but we do know that the infection can be disastrous for mice.
Infected mice and rats lose their fear of cats, and so are more likely to be eaten. Moving on to diseases with more noticeable human symptoms, how about coordination problems, tremors and shaking limbs? Human cannibalism leads to its onset, rather than the disease causing cannibalism. Prion diseases work by affecting the nervous system are you noticing a trend? Prions themselves are little misshapen proteins that tell other proteins to become misshapen, like irresistible origami instructions that are shared through the body.
Sometimes it takes decades for symptoms of these diseases to show up but, eventually, they manifest into catastrophic, so-far incurable conditions. Should they be? He contends that the expected economic cycle is not the present problem but rather that there is a lack of trust and a deterioration in structural economic performance.
He claims the current economic stagnation will predominate if people continue to have entitlement expectations governments may no longer be able to meet. View all posts by Beth. Skip to content New non-fiction books. Published by Beth. Previous Post Introducing our newest reading tool — Book Psychic!
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