Walking dead in cultural history

Walking dead in cultural history

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Even the zombies of real history can be both a risen dead person and a mentally dead person, i.e. a person who is biologically alive but psychologically destroyed, a person without self, an automat for others. In any case, these physical zombies lack the free will or the individual motif of the vampire. This also applies to the zombie of film and literature. Interestingly, the zombies in the early films are most similar to what is shown in Haiti.

Zombies related to Haitian beliefs

“White Zombie” from 1932 with Bela Lugosi shows the zombies as the submissive instruments of their master, an ancient magician who enslaved the soulless bodies of his enemies over the centuries. Filmed in the style of early vampire films, the film takes a serious look at the topic. Zombies are created by black magicians stealing the corpses, these necromancers are not the followers of the voodoo themselves, but fear their evil deeds. The zombie becomes an independent figure compared to the vampire of the black and white film. The beautiful white woman is separated from the body and soul by the black magician. He makes the offer to her admirer that he may keep her body; the soul is dominated by the necromancer. It is interesting that the film, whether consciously or not, builds on the traditional elements of voodoo. Both zombies are preserved in the figure, the disembodied soul and the soulless body. And in the Voodoo the Bokor is actually given the power to take possession of the soul or the body, but not both in one.

Jacques Tourneur's "I walked with a zombie" from 1943 also refers directly to the beliefs of the Haitians. It wasn't until 1974 that he was shown on German television. Here the zombie is a victim; Betsy, the white bride of a plantation owner on a Caribbean island meets Jessica Holland, a relative of her groom who is in a state of mental apathy. Housemaid Alma explains that a voodoo priest could cure similar cases. You take part in a ritual in a Houmfort. But the Haitians use a sword to check whether Jessica is a zombie and judge their situation to be incurable because the victim does not bleed. Paul Holland's mother, Mrs Rand, turned Jessica into a zombie using voodoo practices because Jessica Paul had become unfaithful to his brother Wesley. Wesley kills Jessica and goes into the sea with his dead lover. The issue is whether it is a natural disease or a supernatural phenomenon, it was precisely this discussion about psychological limit states that was popular in the USA at the time. The film is based on a true story that was discussed in American Weekly Magazine. Valton Lewton, the producer, took this article as an opportunity to research voodoo practices in Haiti and to translate the connection between real illnesses and spiritual healing methods into a storyline.

The story does not live from the splatter, but from the oppressive mood and the fear of being made such a victim, from a dark aesthetic and the unsettling premonition that there could be another world besides the material world. Jessica looks like a shaman who only exists with one leg in the reality we know, while her other self has opened up a new space. This early approach to the real background of the zombie figure is also due to the occupation of Haiti by the United States from 1915 to 1934. Just as vampire belief was alive in Stoker's time in Eastern Europe, the Haitians believed in the walking dead and filmmakers found a motive with which they treated extraordinarily respectfully in "I walked with a zombie". In contrast to today's clichés about the voodoo, there are no cultural and racist devaluations. The perpetrator is a white plantation owner, not a scary picture of the black man; the zombies are victims and the voodoo itself shows ways to heal them - as in reality. It was not until 1988 that these zombies, which had their Caribbean origins, returned to the canvas with Wes Craven. "The Serpent in the Rainbow" takes place in Haiti, where an American anthropologist is researching the Vaudou.

The modern zombie film

However, the modern zombie film was not based on Haiti or these early highlights, but on George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" from 1964. It is here that the living dead become mindless beings, driven by lust for murder and hunger for human flesh . Only here does the zombie become a cannibal. The idea that the walking dead eat human flesh has its roots in the Arab tales of ghouls, not in voodoo. Romero's dead roam the United States. And the film explicitly targets American society.

In "Night of the living dead" Romero introduces the white man as a zombie. Right at the start, a stiff, doll-like man attacks two siblings in a cemetery. The sister flees to a farm house, unless there are five others hiding there. Black Ben joins them. He met similarly strange figures; the undead attack the house. Harry Cooper, also in the house arguing with Ben. The coward wants to hide while the black man tries to save the others. Harry only thinks of himself. Those included on the radio hear that the dead have risen and are eating the living, and will only die if the brain is destroyed. Ben tries to escape with Tom and Judy, Judy and Tom die, he flees back into the house. Coward Harry and Ben become palpable and Ben shoots him. In the basement, Harry's daughter, turned into a zombie, eats him up. The zombie kills the mother with a trowel. The black man shoots the zombies in the head and remains alone in the house.

A zombie synchmob, a reactionary vigilante, has started to move. Ben shows up at the window and is shot. The lynching mob that goes to destroy the zombies is as horrific as the zombies themselves. Racist society itself is a monster. The only positive identification figure is a black man who is ultimately shot by this lynch mob himself. Even if Romero keeps a low profile about the political message, his criticism of American society is unmistakable. The zombies reflect the student movement against the Vietnam War, the vigilantes the America of the Rednecks and white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Romero describes the reversal of the roles in which the hero against the zombie horde is a black man as not wanted. He didn't care whether the actor was black or white.

Romero's qualities become clear in “Night of the living dead”: the individual shots could be still images, paintings. Romero masterfully stages the house as an escape castle, the melting pot of people who come together involuntarily, this classic structural element of the novel. The good qualities of Dude Ben and Coward Harry come together in this melting pot. And here it is questionable whether the politically left-wing Romero actually accidentally brought in a black actor. However, the blackness here is to be understood as a characteristic of the outsider, because Romero's criticism goes beyond just making a film about racism. Because Harry is the prototype of a white middle-class philistine, an authoritarian petty bourgeois who only thinks of himself with all proclaimed (seemingly) intact families and expects help from outside and above. In another situation, he would have fit perfectly into the vigilante.

To interpret a political meaning in each scene would be thought too far. In any case, Romero uses elementary psychological bonds for horror. Harry's wife dies because she can't let go of her daughter who has become a zombie. Also, as with Harry, the individuals cannibalizing in capitalism eat themselves up within the family can be interpreted as a metaphor; every magical element is missing - "Night of the living dead" is the artistic implementation of the Marxian dictum that in capitalism people face each other as masks of socio-economic conditions. Ben, the only one who really acts and the only one who can act on himself, does not become a victim of the zombies - but he is powerless against the reactionary vigilante. Here the zombie appears as a metaphor for social conditions, a role that it has not lost to this day. The director underlines the social dimension through the documentary character of the recordings, which was new in this form for a feature film. Romero's work lacks bourgeois morality. It remains unclear why the zombies get up. They are the repressed, the outcast, but which is part of society. And this shows the connection to the horror that the west of Vaudou designs. Because the association of Vaudou with black magic and walking dead can be explained psychologically as a distorting mirror of one's own unconscious repressed in Christianity and bourgeois morality. In the loss of control of the possessed vaudouist, the Puritan is confronted with his own sensuality, since he tries to kill it, he must condemn this own in the other as diabolical. It remains to be seen whether Romero was aware of this connection: the stake on which the zombies are burned in the film is a brilliant metaphor for this process of repression.

The zombies are the marginalized, the minorities. Their exclusion leads to an unconscious uprising, a process of appropriation that the bourgeois collective can only break up with violence. Instead of grappling with the problems, the zombies are burned at the stake. But the threat is not outside, the people threatened by the zombies kill each other - the exception is the outsider Ben, a character like John the Savage in "Brave New World".

Romero's social criticism shows itself as a deconstruction of American myths. Harry, the conservative family man of the conservatives, convinced of his "Supremacy", bossy and arrogant, exposes himself as a miserable anti-social. Ben, on the other hand, who relies on himself and not on society, his status or traditional norms, acts as an individual socially responsible and survives. But he, too, is an outsider like the zombies, and standard society treats him that way. It does not solve the problems, but violently crushes its expression. It doesn't matter that Ben fought the zombies. If something moves, it is flattened. He is as marginalized as the zombies and ends up at the stake like them. Anyone who feels reminded of situations like the Chaos Days in Hanover 1995, in which not only the unconscious violent perpetrators, but also those who prevented the acts of violence, were made to feel the police stick is right. Anyone who ends up in prison on a drug raid because of their dark skin tone also does so.

A quality of Romero lies in his cultural pessimism, in that he is closer to the later punks than to the hippies of his time: "We are not the new people described by Lenin, we are the sick children of circumstances." Because the marginalized do not embody the utopia of a future one idyllic world. They are soulless children of circumstances, dead and yet not dead, the shadow of social violence and not its overcoming. The alternative that Ben shows to trust himself cannot prevail. The people in the extreme situation do not react in solidarity, but tear each other apart, in the literal sense. It is American society that is torn apart. The undead man-eating is the man-eating of late capitalism.

Roy Frumges, George Romero's biographer, explains: “He didn't think of them as zombies in“ Night of the living dead ”1968. But the concept was convincing and ten years later, on "Dawn of the dead" his creations were accepted as "zombies". (...) The second became more of an action and adventure film, a kind of war film with a strong undertone. At that time, the zombies stood for the unconscious hikers of the "shopping center generation". In retrospect, the film is one of the smartest insights into consumer habits of the 1970s. ”

Features of the modern zombie

The zombie in the modern culture industry is difficult to classify. Corpses awakened by extraterrestrials, slaves infected by a virus, slaves created by evil magicians, alienated body machines like the Borgs, people without consciousness all fall under zombies. The external determination and the loss of the individual personality seems to distinguish all zombies. In modern times, they are undead either physically or as a metaphor. But there are also zombies in the role-playing game, zombie masters who lead armies of corpses against civilization. The walking dead, an ancient human fear, keep coming back in the zombie film. Losing control, the main western fear of voodoo, is also a core element of modern zombies.

The modern zombie

There is no black magician who brings the zombies to life, they just get out of their graves. Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" from 1978 created the zombies that horror films still know today. The infection, still the most popular way to become a zombie, has its origins here. Whoever comes into contact with the body secretions of the undead becomes a monster who knows neither intellect nor morality, but only hunger. While "Night of the living dead" treats the self-laceration of modern America abstractly, "Dawn of the dead" is a snappy settlement with the consumer society. A shopping mall is the scene of the battle between the zombies and humans. The carnage not only takes place between zombies and those trapped, but also a rock band wants to conquer the shopping center as a third party.

Romero's brilliance is again shown in the staging of a plot that could be treated dry in sociology seminars as a dramatic and bitterly evil horror film. Alienation of the individual, the Marxian fetish character of the goods, the criticism of the new left on consumer terror usually does not promise exciting entertainment. The zombies storming the mall could also be the looters in Tottenham. Whoever thinks of the mercenaries in the rock band, who occupied the houses and shot at the locals in the flood-ravaged New Orleans or in Baghdad, should be right. Capitalism in the crisis turns out to be anarchic violence in which everyone fights against everyone.

These Romero zombies found successors who lack Romero's depth and subversive approach. Because Romero bathes in the abyss of the broken society of the USA and celebrates its self-destruction with relish. This is not necessarily in the interests of fans who are used to computer animation. Roy Frumges mentions that Romero was aware of this: “In fact, they are not interested in the underlying issues and never were. In George's early films, the budget was enough to fill the plot with zombies and gore. But as the years went by, George first became more interested in the characters and the narrative, and secondly, the rising costs (...) forced him to either give up the zombie cinema or use computer technology, which snubbed purists (...). The fans tend towards nonsensical stuff (…). "

Already in 1979, not only the Western spilled over to Italy, but also the zombie film. Lucio Fulci filmed "The Dread Island of Zombies". Together with "A zombie hung on the bell rope", this splatter film became, along with "Evil Dead", "Zombie Holocaust" and cannibal films, the epitome of youth-endangering horrors and the discussion about tightened censorship - a must during video nights among teenagers and a reason to go to the cinema to sneak. Fulci's stories only serve as a framework for explicitly shown violence and man-eating orgies; his films still belong on the shelf of every horror fan. However, George Romero is also not a politically correct Marx seminar. Bull Schreiber commented: “In the past, the philistines changed streets because they thought we would sacrifice their cat to the devil. Today we are the clowns of civil society. ”The outcry of the pedagogical bourgeoisie, who blames“ horror horror films ”like George Romero for increasing brutalization, confuses cause and effect in principle. Erfurt ritually destroyed CDs of the computer game "Resident Evil", which the local gunman had played, and hired a journalist who researched the social upheavals after the fall of the wall and linked them to the shooting spree. It was similar with Nietzsche, Marquis de Sade or Machiavelli, who the adapted double moralist will never forgive for showing people how they are - not how they should be. Whoever brings the bad news is to blame.

In 1980 John Carpenter created another classic with "The Fog". Here the boundary between zombies and other little or not intelligent undead can hardly be drawn: Undead seamen appear in a fog in a coastal village and bring death with them. The action is secondary, the mood creepy. Unusual, but part of the genre is the video clip "Thriller" by Michael Jackson from 1983. He presents himself as a kind of god of the dead. The separation of zombies and other mutants in the pre- and post-apocalyptic films in the spirit of the nuclear threat and awareness of the ecological disaster in the 1980s would be academic. Poison, radioactivity, genetic experiments are explanations for the existence of zombie-like creatures in a number of films. Toxic Zombies from 1984 shows the change from the hippie to the punk generation. Hippies who smoke poisoned marijuana mutate into carnivorous zombies. In "Redneck Zombies" 1987 Hillbills use the liquid that has fallen from a truck in a container to get drunk and therefore become zombies.

The snake in the rainbow turned Wes Craven in 1988. He went back to the myths in Haiti and used real studies by Wade Davis as a model. An ethnobotanist comes to the Caribbean to research the zombie myth. But while he suspects substances that lead to the state of the supposedly dead, he gets into a nightmare in which black magic and psychic suggestion are inseparable, animal visions of the great jaguar appear to him. An officer in the secret service is the Bokor and appears to be entering his dreams, claiming to have captured souls. The scientist is caught in the middle of a revolution.

"Army of Darkness" from 1992 brings humor to the zombie genre. An average American reads the Necronomicon and thereby travels to a kind of Middle Ages, jumps into a fountain and has to kill whole piles of the undead with a chainsaw. After that, the new millennium and the growing possibilities of computer animation brought new zombies to the cinema. In 2002, "28 Days Later" was born - a new kind of zombies - a kind of predator species. They no longer stagger and are not completely unintelligent, but fast and efficient killers. Roy Frumges explains: “Usually the end is in sight when a trend makes fun of itself. “Shaun of the dead” from 2004 and “Zombieland” from 2009 seemed to indicate that the subgenre was imploding. But that didn't happen. The zombie mythology that George created offers endless opportunities to explore it. ”In 2005, old master Romero trumped this modernization of the zombie film with“ Land of the Dead ”. “Land of the dead” shines above all through apocalyptic images of the destruction of a typical American city, and here, too, the undead are quick beasts.

Resident Evil from 2002 is the adaptation of a computer game. As in Underworld, the focus on action is not on mood. Anyone who loves the Gothic atmosphere of White Zombie or Nosferatu will be disappointed with the film. The craziest zombies are currently from Japan, where the politically incorrect mix of porn and zombies is particularly popular. Quirky stories like zombies, which grow antlers, and which are kept in a zoo to make love powder out of the antlers, also bring unusual insights.

Literary zombies

"I am legend" from 1954 was an important novel devoted to the topic. The undead are rather vampires here in the narrow sense because they drink blood. Their hunger and instinct drives them in hordes through destroyed cities; they pounce on the living. Here the undead appears as the metaphor for a broken civilization in which only the law of survival counts.

In the literature, David Wellington particularly stands out in the zombie area. He grew up in Pittsburgh, where Romero made his films, and took them in with breast milk, going beyond them in many ways. The latest part of his undead trilogy was published in German in August 2010 "World of the Undead". Zombie-like beings and intelligent corpses have taken over the earth. A few people struggle to survive in remote areas of the planet. And they too behave like monsters, against all norms and against every ethic of a semi-civilized society. It is the world after its demise, and Wellington pushes the reader into an abyss, into hell on earth. It can't be that bad in hell after death. It gives an insight into what the classic zombie film leaves open. Life after the apocalypse continues, a disgusting dystopia. Immortality seems possible, as a dried up and decayed corpse. Torture scenes and cruelty are all too realistically described, short, concise and clinical than with Romero. Wellington works as a United Nations archivist, and a look at the reality of war and crisis areas offers more material than a fantasy, however blossoming.

New zombie novels such as “The Kingdom of Siqqusim” by Brian Keene 2007 merge the narrative structures of novel, film, comic and computer game. Keene sees "postmodern archetype of different styles" as apt term. He likes to admit the influence of Romero, deliberately adding new elements. His zombies are intelligent, there are animal zombies too. The animal zombies also threaten the wilderness, where there are no people. He summarizes his approach: "By reading or writing about fictional monsters, you can escape the real monsters and horrors for a while."

German zombies

The zombie genre has also long since arrived in Germany. The usual suspects like Christian von Aster and Thomas Plischke are still dedicated to the undead. Plischke wrote the literary all-round with "The Zombies". The main character is chosen wisely because the doctoral student Lily deals with the myths about the walking dead, a good framework to introduce the various aspects of the zombie myth. Similar to Wes Craven's “Snake and Rainbow”, Plischke leaves the clichés of horror zombies from pseudo-voodoo to virus infection. As it should be, she becomes a zombie herself when a rotting guy in a London underground club bites her. Thomas Plischke brings in the diverse forms of the genre, the Caribbean faith, the undead of the Nordic cultures, the unconscious monster hungry for brain and flesh, the alienated consumer monad of postmodernism. Plischke shows here how the zombies see the world. It's a good idea, but it's also a big problem: Lily's transformation from an intellectual to a being who knows only hunger and tears apart not only a dove but also her parents' Cocker Spaniel is one of the highlights of the genre - Researching zombies and being one yourself is only a fragile limit. To be able to stop the mind by eating fresh human flesh is too reminiscent of the vampire Louis, who tries to preserve his humanity. Not just a Plischke problem; because the unconscious dead person is not suitable for a personal character.

Create Fm from Hanover brought the chaos days, the punk meeting and the local color to their “Zombies in Linden”. Bast wakes up after a night of drinking and realizes that his hangover is stronger than usual. Linden, a district of Hanover, develops a small but fine fantasy horror corner: in May 2011, the create.fm studio at Ungerstraße 14 released the second part of the radio play "Zombies in Linden - Chaostage". Create.fm consists of Oliver Rieche, Sascha Maaß, Jan Koppens, Alec Kuehn and Sebastian Heidel.

In the 1980s and 90s, on the first weekend in August, the city repeatedly became the location of the largest unorganized point meeting in Europe. And modern zombies are closely related to punk culture. Young people on the margins without a job and without a goal are, according to George Romero's partner, a role model for the zombie of the 1990s. Only logical to think chaos days, Hanover and zombies together.

In the first part “Zombies in Linden”, the thirty-year-old Basti wakes up in the morning with his keychain on his forehead, feels like after a night of drinking, but craves the brain. Well, undead seems better to him than dead. He goes out into the street, an old woman bites flesh from her body. Undead roam everywhere, Basti meets his buddy Frank, also a zombie, at the kiosk owner. Both set out to understand what happened to them. They only know that much, a virus is at risk. Was it the woman behind the counter at the party that Basti bit her lip in? It looked so good, but apparently he drank it nicely. In the second part, the “Chaos Days”, hundreds of undead maraud through the city like on punk covers. But a monster leads the massive operation against the zombies, Christian Werwolf, who reminds of a former Prime Minister of Lower Saxony. The final showdown takes place at the Fährmannsfest, a district festival that the police violently disbanded during the Chaos Days in 1995.

Part 2, the zombie chaos days could even attract a larger audience because the chaos days are a myth. Oliver Rieche and Co. deserve it because with “Zombies in Linden 1 and 2” they create their own. With wit they quote classics of the genre in a too human zombie setting. The cinema in Hanover is looking for actors for the new Romero film "Love of the dead". Basti and Frank discuss what the right term would be for them: undead would be politically correct, but boring, Frank prefers zombie. Only zombies can say something like this to zombies, as only black negroes can call themselves, biomade, a drink made from biomad, and zombie brides with little to it spice up the story.

The special thing is that the zombies, especially Basti and Frank, appear very human. They are not vampires with overwhelming charisma, but dear guys with handicaps and unappetizing looks. These edge creatures become heroes who save their neighborhood. Zombies are a metaphor for alienation, you rarely see them as figures of identification. With all the humor, the guys from create.fm convey a consistently humanistic message: the inner values ​​count, and the monsters behave humanly: "It depends on the innards!"

Zombies in music

The film zombies inspired musicians. The rock band White Zombie named itself after the classic, their singer Rob Zombie turned decent horror. Punk bands like Misfits and Gothic bands like Alien Sex Fiend staged an undead aesthetic. The record cover "Troops of Tomorrow" from "The Exploited" shows punk corpses that roam the cities. Songs like "The island of zombie women", bands like Voodoo Zombie characterize a subculture that has been growing steadily since the 1980s. Film and music, computer games and novels can hardly be separated. Gothic has its roots in punk, horror punk and dark wave was an expression of the critical part of a generation for whom the threat of nuclear war and the decline of industrial capitalism was a reality of life; today zombies are almost mainstream. It was high time that the Berlin band "The Undead around David A. Line and Greta Zsatlos dedicated themselves to the zombies. Their CDs Zombie I and Zombie II from 2011 quote Romero and Fulci extensively. As you would expect, the undead tell a story, the depth of which can be put into literary terms: a survivor speaks to a girl on the phone; when he meets her, he realizes that she is a zombie too.

The zombie today

Zombie walks enjoy worldwide popularity like Halloween parties, in Mexico City with ten thousand participants, in Hanover with at least 400. The cliché of the typical horror fan as a lonely, single and sexually unfulfilled man looking for a valve and shortly before the amok stands, turns out to be nonsense. More than half of the zombies in Hanover were women, including those who looked remarkably good in normal life.

Es scheint, als ob der Zombie eine Möglichkeit ist, aus Körpernormen auszubrechen. Gerade in den USA, wo sich 14jährige die Brüste verkleinern lassen, Botok und Silikon ein Barbie-Ideal vorgeben müssen, bedeutet die Untotenästhetik einen Bruch mit dieser Entfremdung. Der Zombie, der seine Wunden offen zeigt als Spiegel des kosmetischen Zombies. Kaum jemand hat dieses Motiv des Zombiestars besser verarbeitet als Clive Barker in Coldheart Canyon, wo ein alternder Star nach einer Schönheitsoperation verunstaltet, das Reich der Toten kennen lernt.

Untote, die ein breites Publikum in den USA und Europa anziehen und unter „Zombies“ fallen, haben mit dem Glauben der Vaudou-Anhänger sehr wenig zu tun. Und die Filme, die sich an den Mythen Haitis orientieren, sind keine Massenware. Woran liegt also die Faszination? Da spielt zum einen die Angst mit, dass die Toten wiederkehren, eine Angst wohl so alt wie die Menschheit. Das scheint aber nur ein Nebenaspekt zu sein. Denn die Richtung der modernen Zombies geht eher in die Verwandlung von Menschen in Wesen, die von Tötungsdrang und der Gier nach Menschenfleisch gesteuert sind, eher eine eigene Spezies als Untote. Diese Monster waren aber einmal Menschen.

Anders als beim modernen Vampir ist es das Moment der Bewusstseinslosigkeit in der postmodernen Gesellschaft, das die Zombies auszeichnet. Nicht von ungefähr spielen Zombiefilme in heutigen Großstädten, in Supermärkten, auf Tekknoparties. Und die Kontrolle über seinen Geist und Körper zu verlieren, unter die Kontrolle eines Anderen zu geraten, sei es ein Leichenherr oder ein Virus ist ein Abbild der postindustriellen Gesellschaft. Die Menschen schlagen sich in der Wirklichkeit dieser Gesellschaft als „Humankapital“ durch, müssen sich immer wieder neu verwerten und verwerten lassen, ohne einen Zugang dazu zu haben, warum und für wen sie arbeiten. Zunehmend lösen sich soziale Bindungen. Das menschliche Miteinander verschwindet und damit das Bewusstsein, in einer Gemeinschaft mit anderen zu leben. Und in diesem täglichen Kampf um die materielle Existenz ist die Angst, zu einem „Zombie“ zu werden, groß – zu etwas zu werden, das sich selbst nicht mehr spürt, nicht mehr weiß, was es ist, kein Gefühl für den eigenen Körper mehr hat. Dazu kommt die von Romero ausgedrückte Lust vieler, dass „das alles“ endlich vorbei ist, die Zerstörung der Fiktion der heilen Mittelschichtswelt, die in ihren Einfamilien-Siedlungen amerikanischer Städte das Elend der Ghettos draußen hält.

Roy Frumges bringt es auf den Punkt: „Vampire sind Sexsüchtige, Werwölfe manisch-depressiv. Zombies, im Licht ihrer großen Popularität in den letzten Jahrzehnten (nicht in den 60er, 70er und 80er Jahren des letzten Jahrhunderts, wo Georges Arbeit dominierte) stehen für die „Schlaffigeneration“. Sie baden nicht, sie haben keine Jobs, wandern ziellos umher und haben keine wirklichen Interessen. Meine Studenten lieben es, sich als Zombies anzuziehen und sich als Zombies zu versammeln. Ich sage nicht, dass sie kein Interesse an Studium und Karriere haben, aber da gibt es etwas, das sie aufnehmen.“

In „Night of the living dead” blicken wir in den Abgrund einer Provinzgegend irgendwo in den USA. In späteren Zombiefilmen sieht der Betrachter die Zerstörung von Gesellschaften oder sogar der Menschheit. Liegt das daran, dass das Kino krassere Szenen zeigen musste? Oder war es ein Ausdruck des jeweiligen Zeitgeists? 1968, bei „Night of the living dead“ kämpfte die Studentenbewegung gegen die konservative Herrschaft. In den 1980er fürchteten die Menschen sich vor dem Atomkrieg, das Gefühl war apokalyptisch. Heute, im Turbokapitalismus, verändert sich die Gesellschaft in einen Kampf jeder gegen jede. Zeigen Zombiefilme diese Entwicklung? Roy Frumge beantwortet dies: „Mit einem Wort: Ja! Tatsächlich sieht „Land of the dead“, ein liebliches, elegisches Werk, die Zombies als Terroristen, die unsere Küsten überfallen, etwas, was die Menschen für undenkbar hielten.“

Zu der Angst kommt auch die Lust an der Selbstzerstörung derjenigen, die in diesen kaputten Verhältnissen leben und nur zu genau wissen, dass ihre heile Welt eine Wunschvorstellung darstellt. Es ist also die Lust an der Apokalypse, die den Zombiefilm auszeichnet und es sind nicht die Gesellschaften in Haiti oder Westafrika, die Vaudou-Traditionen anhängen. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Also read:
Zombies – Die wandelnden Toten in der Kulturgeschichte und im Horrorfilm

Maya Dere. Der Tanz des Himmels mit der Erde. Die Götter des haitianischen Vaudou. Wien 1992.
Astrid Reuter: Voodoo und andere afrikanische Religionen. München 2003.
Imogen Sager: Wenn die Geister wiederkehren. Weltdeutung und religiöses Bewusstsein in primitiven Kulturen. München 1982.
Tankred Koch. Geschichte und Geschichten vom Scheintod. Leipzig 1990.
Mircea Eliade: Das Heilige und das Profane. Vom Wesen des Religiösen. Köln 2008.
Piers Vitebsky: Schamanismus. Reisen der Seele. Magische Kräfte. Ekstase und Heilung. Köln 2007.
Ole Chistiansen und Thomas Plischke: Filmübersicht Zombies. In: Nautilus – Magazin für Abenteuer & Phantastik. August 2007. Nr.41.
Chas. Balum (Hg.): The deep red horror handbook. Albany 1989.

Author and source information

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