The movie business is a huge, thriving industry. Within that industry are numerous sub-genres, all geared at giving the audience thrills and chills from the comfort of their own home. You will find slasher flicks about knife wielding maniacs, and monster movies like Frankenstein and Dracula. There is also a very specific sub-genre of movies that revolve around zombies. Take a look at some information on zombie movies, what makes them popular, and what some of the prime examples of the genre are.
Zombies are not a new invention or idea. In fact, they have been a part of various cultures for quite some time. Different areas of the world tend to refer to zombies in different ways. Most people are familiar with the classic version based on film. These zombies are ravaging, violent, and very frightening. Some are portrayed as slow but relentless, possessing little speed, reflexes, or motor skills. Instead of physical prowess, they utilize massive numbers of the undead to eventually wear down victims until they can feed.
Other movies approach these monsters in a much more vicious way. They are incredibly fast on their feet. These very quick zombies are much more difficult to deal with compared to the slower version. They are also much more vicious, acting almost rabid. All zombies feed on the flesh of still-living humans. These tales typically begin with a strange or unknown disease or virus, either man-made or natural. It will sweep the globe, infecting massive numbers of people, leaving a few sporadic pockets of non-infected individuals trying to cope with the problem.
Zombie movies are much more than mindless terror aimed at giving the audience cheap thrills. They are often multi-layered, approaching many social and cultural issues in a somewhat subliminal manner. There are many that have great character development and weave together interesting stories, fueling a very interesting and effective mix of plot elements. For this reason, zombie films must not be written off like the often mindless monsters they portray.
In the early history of zombie films the monsters were considerably different from what we see now. The mindless slaves were a product of voodoo where the lifeless body would be removed from the grave after burial to serve the will of its human master. These ideas on the genre can be found in the 1932 film “White Zombie” as well as the 1943 movie “Revenge of the zombies”.
As these films continued to evolve, the monsters evolved with it. Around 1968, a new take on the zombie genre was developed forever changing our view of these movies. A small budget, black and white film called “Night of the Living Dead” would forever change zombies. Created by George A. Romero, these zombies would become the classic undead, flesh-eating monsters we are familiar with today.
Of course, the evolution of zombies did not stop there. There are many modern films that offer new takes on the genre. In 2002, “28 days later” hit theaters to great critical review and accomplished great thrills along with great directing and execution. “Army of Darkness”, directed by Sam Raimi, is considered a cult classic. There are even comedic takes on these movies with great success, like 2004’s “Shaun of the Dead” and 2009’s “Zombieland”.
Zombie movies are a cornerstone of the horror industry, and they have been for decades. They are ideal in providing fun scares for the audience, but they must not be reduced to mindless fun. They are often very intelligently written and executed, and can approach many interesting cultural issues. If you are in the mood for a frightening, adrenaline-filled experience from your safety of your home, you can’t go wrong with a great zombie flick.