Social perspectives on the zombie revival
Olsen, Cassie J.
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Times of political, economic and social upheaval in the United States have influenced the popularity of zombie media including films, television series, literature, and video games. The success of George A. Romero's earliest zombie films (starting in 1968) can be directly related to anxiety regarding the Vietnam and Cold War as well as reflecting views on race relations. Similarly, the zombie narrative has greatly increased in popularity beginning in 2002 with the theatric release of 28 Days Later and Doom along with the release of the graphic novel The Walking Dead. The increasing interest and expansive recent release of zombie media has come to be known as the "zombie revival." The thesis that follows explores the chronological shift from the beginning of the zombie revival starting in 2002 to present media released and published before and during the thesis conception. I argue that the zombie revival is a direct response to the times of uncertainty and fear felt throughout the United States after the terror attacks of 9/11 and subsequent recession. Further, media introduced during the zombie revival reflects current social issues such as social immobility, unemployment, prejudice, collective paranoia, and depression relating to personal stagnation. Current zombie media acts as a vessel to refocus collective fear and anxiety in an uncertain world into a cathartic experience.