Zombies have been a topic of public fascination for years now. Something about the blood, brains and flesh is intriguing to people.
The phenomenon all started with the zombie horror movie, Night of the Living Dead, which made its debut 50 years ago this month and has since inspired countless zombie-themed books, movies and more.
To celebrate the anniversary, horror writer and CU Boulder English Professor Stephen Graham Jones is giving a public talk on the mythology surrounding zombies on Thursday, October 11. Jones is the author of many zombie-themed horror books, including Zombie Bake-Off, Zombie Sharks with Metal Teeth and The Gospel of Z.
Jones’ talk will answer major questions about the world of the undead: What is the zombie? Where does it come from? Why are we so fascinated with it?
The talk will not only dive into the complex history of zombies, but also focus on the present and even what the future holds for zombies.
George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was a major hit when it was released in 1968. It inspired many other zombie themed movies and shows, including Dawn of the Living Dead and The Walking Dead.
“It seeded the imagination of a generation—be it filmmakers, novelists or whatever,” said Jones. “What Night of the Living Dead gave the zombie was flesh-eating, contagiousness, infectiousness and a decomposed form—which are four things the zombie didn’t have.”
Jones said zombies have come a long way in 50 years. The genre has evolved to now include many different types of zombies.
“The main ones are the Haitian Zombie, which is the Voodoo Zombie. There’s the Romero Zombie—also called the shuffler. There is the Rage Zombie, which is the fast zombie. And there’s the Revenge Zombie.”
Although the popular idea of zombies has only been around for 50 years, there seems to be plenty of history. There are also some rules to follow when it comes to zombie content creation. Jones says people must consider if the character actually dies before it reanimates into a zombie.
“In the rage era these fast zombies oftentimes they get bitten, ten seconds later they’re zombies and they never go through the death process. And making people wonder are they even zombies? Are they just infected?”
Jones will dig into these questions and more on Oct. 11.