Browsing Tag


Posted on September 2, 2022

Return of the Zombie Salesman: A Review of Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse

Guest Post

Picture this: you are playing a video game about a zombie outbreak. Perhaps your avatar is struggling to survive as undead enemies hunt them in claustrophobia-inducing environments, like Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine in Resident Evil (1996). Then again, maybe your avatar is the one doing the hunting, slaughtering hordes of zombies with relative ease as Frank West and Juliet Starling can in Dead Rising (2006) and Lollipop Chainsaw (2012), respectively. Either way, you are likely imagining the following scenario for your hypothetical video game: a zombie outbreak has occurred, and the living must escape from, or do battle with, the undead to survive.

Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse, which originally released for the Xbox in 2005 and was re-released on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch in 2021, is a zombie video game. Yet, in a subversion of the above-mentioned scenario, Stubbs the Zombie has players take on the role of a zombie: an undead salesman by the name of Edward “Stubbs” Stubblefield to be precise. In Stubbs the Zombie, the goal of the playable character is a wholesome one; Stubbs must find a way of reuniting with his love interest, a Marilyn Monroe lookalike named Maggie Monday. Yet, despite his wholesome quest, as an undead monstrosity Stubbs is a harbinger of death.

Read more

a colorful field of flowers
Posted on June 27, 2022

Sleeping off the Fever: The Dream Aesthetics of 28 Days Later

Guest Post

Growing up, horror was a carefully curated genre in my house. No fiction books and certainly no video games. Movies were only allowed if it was clearly a man in a monster suit. As I grew older I also grew more unsatisfied with this arrangement. Starting in middle school, I took greater and greater risks to smuggle new experiences home from the library in the form of Stephen King as well as more varied horror movies. This just so happened to also be the era of the zombie resurgence, with the slacker nerds of Shaun of the Dead and the mean punk spirit of the Dawn of the Dead remake, both movies I love for different reasons. However, it’s the 2002 outbreak that has stayed chasing after me all these years. Read more

Posted on December 23, 2020

Resurrecting Pet Sematary

Guest Post

Pet Sematary, at least at the time Stephen King wrote his 2001 introduction, was the most frightening book he’d written, according to the author. He explains that for any parent the death of a child is perhaps the most traumatic event they might ever face. The only thing worse would be if s/he came back to life, not him- or herself. Two major films were made based on this novel, one in 1989, directed by Mary Lambert and a second in 2019 by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer.  Resurrection is a frightening idea. It claws out of the ground of religion.

The entire premise of resurrection, to those in the western hemisphere, derives from Christian teaching. Among the many movie monsters, two revenants in particular—the resurrected and the zombie—inspire a special fear. Is it because religion tells us that at least the former is actually possible? Horror derives much of its energy from the fear of death, and the living dead of either stripe have religious origins and cross boundaries that are carefully guarded.

Read more

Posted on July 24, 2020

On “Little Monsters” and Teaching in the Apocalypse

Guest Post

No personal protective equipment, no training for the current situation, and no Clorox wipes as far as the eye can see, though you’ve never needed one more. The threat of death lurks around every corner, and your job, nominally developing your students’ minds, now requires jeopardizing your body. It may sound like Betsy DeVos’s plan for the 2020 school year in the US. In fact, it definitely is. But it is also the plot of Abe Forsythe’s 2019 Australian film Little Monsters, a zom-com in which kindergarten teacher Miss (Audrey) Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o) must safely extricate her class from a petting zoo plagued by zombie hordes stumbling over from a nearby American military base. 

As US educators watching the film in 2020 (why, God, why????), we find it difficult to overlook how often our supposed “life of the mind” demands making an ultimate sacrifice of our bodies. In that regard, COVID-19 simply replays the tired old arguments around gun violence in American schools. Whether we’re told to arm ourselves with guns or antibacterial gel, our teaching is interrupted constantly by threats we’re not trained or paid to handle. What Little Monsters suggests is that this is modern-day education.

Read more

Posted on March 26, 2020

Night of the Living Dead in the Time of Confinement and the Coronavirus

Guest Post

George A. Romero’s classic zombie trilogy, Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), and Day of the Dead (1985), is the ultimate example of the zombie as a social metaphor. Countless articles have been written about each film, especially the racial undertones of the first film. In the age of the Coronavirus and confinement, Night of the Living Dead suddenly warrants a re-watch. When survivors are trapped inside a farmhouse, the social equilibrium is reset–and the film mirrors some of the worst aspects of human nature during a societal breakdown and confinement. Even the (anti)hero, Ben (Duane Jones), commits heinous acts that he most likely would not have otherwise. Yet, the film also shows a few of humanity’s bright spots.

Though shot outside of Pittsburgh, Night of the Living Dead is a film that could take place anywhere, which, again, makes it all the more relevant during this global pandemic. As of the time of writing this, COVID-19 has impacted every state and nearly every country. Cities have been hit the worst, specifically New York City, but the virus knows no boundaries and has started to spread through rural pockets of the country, more evocative of Romero’s setting. The radio and television reports that speak of the growing outbreak in the film have an eerie parallel to our current moment, as each day brings more grim news. Read more

Back to top