The Enduring Popularity of Zombies

Ever since film was possible – or at least shortly after it first start being created for mainstream audiences – zombie films have been around. Many people think that it was George Romero that created the zombie; a shambling, brain-chewing terror that made for an unforgettable trilogy of horror flicks, but this is only partly true. Zombie films actually existed long before the sixties and seventies; there are some examples dating back as early as the thirties and perhaps even before – but it wasn’t until Romero got his hands onto these creepy monsters that they made a good and proper comeback.

The original zombie present in most black and white thrillers followed one key ingredient of zombiedom: the creature was originally a living person who had died and came back to life. However, the nature of zombies back in the day of pre-Romero nightmare creatures was one of servitude. Zombies were slaves brought back to life by voodoo masters whom they served in various ghastly and gruesome ways until their master’s wicked will was done. They were quiet, obedient, and didn’t even eat people! Thinking of the blood-drenched zombies of today, pre-Romero zombies were quite a different species altogether!

Then Night of the Living Dead came out. The first part of the original trilogy, Night of the Living Dead took the horror world by storm. Its unique blend of zombie terror and cutting social commentary struck many viewers and convinced them that zombies were the monster of the week. Of course, they stuck around for a long longer than that. Even as Romero went on to release a further two zombie flicks – Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead – other film makers were turning their attention to turning the undead into lively profits.

There’s just something about zombies that have made these body-munching monsters so appealing to filmmakers and audiences alike. While other trends come and go – such as the slasher franchises of the seventies and eighties, like Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and Halloween, and the torture porn films of the 2000s, such as Saw and Hostel (though the slasher enjoyed a comeback in the nineties with the likes of Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer and so on) – zombies appear to be enduringly popular. So much so that Romero even made a comeback of his own following the remake of Dawn of the Dead with Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and the most recent Survival of the Dead. And that’s just the zombie flicks made by Romero.

It’s easy to catch a zombie movie on TV using Sky anytime + – especially since there’s so much to choose from, from the original Night of the Living Dead through ancient voodoo zombie films or more recent ventures like Shaun of the Dead, 28 Weeks Later and Zombieland.


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