Zombies: Did Nuclear Warfare Fuel this Intrigue with Survivalism?

Yana Bostongirl

It is not uncommon to see that zombie-themed shows, movies, games, and even commercials have gained widespread popularity in recent years. It comes as no surprise therefore that the main reason behind this is the intrigue with survivalism.

An article published on Wikipedia suggests the English word “zombie” was first recorded by poet Robert Southey in his 1819 essay titled 'The History of Brazil'. According to pop culture and folklore, a zombie is usually either a reawakened corpse with a ravenous appetite or someone bitten by another zombie infected with a “zombie virus.”

In her article published on news.stanford.edu, Stanford literary scholar Angela Becerra suggests the world’s fascination with zombies can be traced back to the 1940s, specifically the nuclear warfare during World War II. This is an excerpt from her article:” “We use fictional narratives not only to emotionally cope with the possibility of impending doom but even more importantly perhaps to work through the ethical and philosophical frameworks that were in many ways left shattered in the wake of WWII.” 

That could be a reason why though the first zombie movie, ‘The White Zombie,’ was released way back in 1932, it was only in 1968, after World War II, that zombies achieved cult status with the release of director George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Following the hugely successful Dawn of the Dead and Michael Jackson’s Thriller, interest temporarily declined only to rise again with the release of Resident Evil. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia that explains the reason for this: “An evolution of the zombie archetype came with the video games Resident Evil and The House of the Dead in the late 1990s, with their more scientific and action-oriented approach and their introduction of fast-running zombies, leading to a resurgence of zombies in popular culture.”

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