Browsing Tag

night of the living dead

woman walks alone
Posted on January 2, 2022

America’s Original Sin—Top Ten Movies About the Horrors of Settler Colonialism

Guest Post

“Once upon a time, there was a girl, and the girl had a shadow.”

-Red (Lupita Nyong’o), Us (2019)

We live in a haunted house. The founding of the American nation began with a moment of sweeping amnesia about its defining structure—settler colonialism, a form of colonization that replaces the original population of the colonized territory with a new society of settlers.[1] From depopulation to the reservation system[2], the residential school system[3] to the plantation system[4], settler colonialism as an ongoing process depends upon a constant flow of physical and cultural violence. Colonization is as horrific as humanity gets—genocide, desecration, pox-blankets, rape, humiliation—and it is the way nations are born. It is an ongoing horror made invisible by its persistence. And yet since the inception of film, the horror genre has, perhaps sneakily, participated in, portrayed, and resisted settler colonialism, ensuring at the very least that it remains visible. Horror movies invite us to rethink the roles that fear, guilt, shame, and history play in the way we conceive of the United States as a nation founded through settler colonialism.[5] They unveil the American experience as based on genocide and exploitation and force us to consider horror as a genre about marginalization and erasure. The ghosts in these films are “never innocent: the unhallowed dead of the modern project drag in the pathos of their loss and the violence of the force that made them, their sheets and chains.”[6] Most importantly, they force us to see them—the shadows of our sins. Read more

Posted on June 23, 2020

Horror Fans, Don’t Call the Cops!

Sara McCartney

What do you think of when you think of the police? Do you think of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and many more Black people who should be alive today? Do you think of the brutal police responses that have interrupted peaceful protests around the nation?[1] Do you think of your favorite television show? Entertainment, from buddy cop movies to gritty thrillers to police procedurals to detective dramas, have shaped our perception of law enforcement, sometimes under the direction of actual precincts.[2] And if you’re following the news, the incongruency between the real-life police and their fictional equivalents is impossible to ignore.

One of the reasons I love horror is because it’s very good at not taking the status quo for granted. The best horror unmoors us from our assumptions about the world. As calls to abolish the police enter the American mainstream, it’s time for us to rethink our familiar narratives about cops, and that’s where horror comes in, because the cops you’ll find in horror movies aren’t quite what you’ll see in Law and Order.

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Night of the living dead
Posted on May 6, 2020

Night of the Living Dead ™ – Remix (Review)

Guest Post

Premiering in early 2020, with a successful UK tour cut short by theatre closures in the wake of COVID-19, Night of the Living Dead™ – Remix is the latest production by imitating the dog. As a performance collective, imitating the dog are known for their breadth – from stagings of comic serials to musical theatre, and from adaptions of classical novels, including Heart of Darkness (2018), to Cold War spy dramas. Now, turning to a darker Americana aesthetic, their new ‘remix’ of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) is a striking new entry to the imitating the dog catalogue.

stage scene of zombies

Photography Credit: Ed Waring

The original Night of the Living Dead was a ground-breaking take on a horror icon which dates back to Golden Age Hollywood cinema. Beginning with Victor Halperin’s voodoo-themed The White Zombie (1932), the zombie evolved through war-time 1940s films, including the Nazi-themed King of the Zombies (Jean Yarbrough, 1941), and through 1950s imaginings of speculative nuclear wars, including Creature With the Atom Brain (Edward L. Cahn, 1955). Romero’s landmark film shook off the zombie’s supernatural origins and transformed it into a living and visceral threat which turned the spotlight onto profound injustices at the heart of US society. 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

Night of the Living Dead, Get Out
Posted on October 29, 2018

Get Out and the Subversion of the American Zombie

Guest Post

Much has already been said about the connections between George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1960) and Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017). Critics have so far, however, missed a vitally important thread between the two: they’re both zombie films.

Jordan Peele is pretty open about the connections between these two films. In an interview with the New York Times, he describes Night of the Living Dead as one of the major inspirations for Get Out, and traces a number of links between Night of the Living Dead’s protagonist, Ben (Duane Jones), and Get Out’s Chris (Daniel Kaluuya).

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