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Horror Blog: Catching Zombie Fever
By James Whittington, Monday 7th July 2014

DIARYOFTHEDEADAccording to Haitian folklore, zombies were first believed to be soulless beings who did the evil biddings of Voodoo sorcerers. But boy, have times changed! Today, they are just fictional beings with a never-ending appetite for human flesh. And lately, these nasty creatures have been taking over the big screen and even television, from Marc Foster’s World War Z to the hit series, The Walking Dead.

The Horror Channel has been feeding into the frenzy by featuring a couple films from George A. Romero’s ‘Dead’ series…and who can resist zombies.

As night turns into day, the dead rise again in Romero’s 1985 classic, Day Of The Dead. A viral infection sweeps across Fort Myers, Florida and the military is brought in to investigate. Captain Henry Rhodes (Joseph Pilato) and his military legions Dr. Sarah Bowman (Lori Cardille) and Miguel Salazar (Anthony Dileo Jr.) are the few humans in existence in a zombie ruled town. The military and scientists are living a nightmare battling away against the flesh-eating creatures. On the brink of human genocide in the town, these two factions of the human race must work together in order to save mankind from a zombie nation. In a last ditch effort to stay alive, the small group of survivors head to an underground military bunk where all hell breaks loose. And Romero puts a whole, new twist to this genre by combining it with the ‘found footage’ genre in his 2007 film, Diary Of The Dead, which directly appeals to younger viewers. The film portrays a group of college students making a horror flick for their senior thesis, which quickly gets interrupted by the real-life terror of corpses rising from the grave.

While watching these zombie films from a bleaker and not so comical perspective, I cannot help but ask myself whether the world I see on screen can in fact resonate with the one off screen (minus the spilling guts). I mean, think about it… We can sometimes go through the everyday hustle and bustle of work and family to the point of losing sight of how we got there. And we may even find ourselves feeling disconnected with what we are doing, before groaning and stumbling about like a mindless zombie. If you don’t believe me, just sit and observe the sort that’s on the rush hour train. According to the American director, he wanted to show how “a lack of human communication causes chaos and collapse even in this small little pie slice of society”. This idea rings true in his films, where everything (i.e. the government, military, and medicine) collapses and characters are seen either losing their minds or fighting back. In a world where there is no authority and no order, characters are basically left to work with what they have and are forced to choose whether to survive or live. Through this choice, their actions of violence may become detrimental on their psyche and their values of life may ultimately change. Either way, we are constantly given glimpses of what life could be if we as a human race lacked meaning, unity, productivity or whatever else you can think of that defines humanity.

So, I strongly believe these undead creatures have something if not everything to do with contemporary society. So, who says you should go to the beach to escape the hectic life when you have the Horror Channel to do just the job. If you want to get your fix of screams and thrills, tune in this week and watch George A. Romero’s Diary Of The Dead.


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