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The History of Zombies in Popular Culture

 article about The History of Zombies in Popular Culture
You may have noticed that zombies are quite popular. From movies and TV shows, to books and games, it seems like us humans can't get enough of the undead flesh-eating creatures. Aside from the pop culture that's purely focused on zombies - The Walking Dead, World War Z etc. - we've also seen tons of mashups as well - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Cockneys vs Zombies to name two of the most popular. But why can't we get enough of them? What is it about this walking, not really breathing, monster that fascinates us so much?

It All Started in 1968


Most people generally agree that our fascination with zombies began in 1968 when George A. Romero released the low budget movie shocker, Night of the Living Dead. This may not have been the first zombie movie - White Zombie and Revolt of the Zombies were released in the 1930's - but it was definitely the film that got us interested. Following the release - and popularity - of this movie, dozens more followed before the end of the century but zombies still didn't have the mainstream appeal that they seem to have today.

What changed?

The Early Noughties


The early noughties saw a number of zombie flicks hit the cinemas. 28 Days Later, Resident Evil, and Dawn of the Dead all seemed to reboot the genre. Now commonly referred to as “the infected”, these zombies seemed to become an almost 2.0 version of the Night of the Living Dead zombie. They could move much more quickly, and escaping them was more about agility as it was using weapons. In 2004, British movie Shaun of the Living Dead was released to high acclaim, and people started to appreciate zombies in new ways. Yes, they were - and probably always will be - a great tool to use in horror films, but comedies can also work.

Then Came the Books... and the Games


While it's undoubtedly true that Night of the Living Dead took its influences from one of the earliest zombie books, I Am Legend, more and more zombie stories hit our shelves at the start of the century. From the Zombie Survival Guide to World War Z, bookstore shelves were full of literature that we couldn't wait to immerse ourselves in. Of course, the games then followed. From the Resident Evil franchise to Dead Island and Dead Rising, we had more choice than ever. Even casinos started to follow suit with people even able to play slots online featuring zombies. Check out casinos like Unikrn and you'll find plenty with zombies at the helm.

The Walking Dead


After all of the above, came The Walking Dead. One of the biggest TV shows to come out of the US, and popular with American and international audiences alike, zombies were soon on our screens every week. Every Sunday we'd all sit around our TV sets waiting to see where Rick Grimes would lead his band of followers to next. And then came the spinoffs: Fear The Walking Dead on TV, the Telltale Walking Dead series for consoles and PC, and The Walking Dead mobile game. Even the Centers for Disease Control responded by creating a blog post about zombie preparedness!

Will we continue to be fascinated by the rise of the undead? If the last 60 years are anything to go by, we'd say it's a resounding yes!


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