Saturday, January 8, 2011

"Romero" Zombie Case Study

The man who brought zombies to popularity is George A. Romero. There was another who helped with this feat that no one ever remembers his name is John A. Russo, and for the very first “Romero” zombies I would like to extend a thank you to both of these men. After the release of “Night of the Living Dead” the two split over difference in vision. George A. Romero went on to created the “Dead Series” and Mr. Russo went on to create the “Return of the Living Dead Series” for this I would like to slap him, but that is a difference in opinion. And none of that is necessary I just want to make the record clear of the origins of the “Romero” zombies. Now I will go on to describe the “Romero” zombies and there relation as well as difference from other zombies as well as its impact on the zombie world.

In 1968 “Night of the Living Dead” was released and the world was changed forever. By no means was it the first zombie movie however it was the first to reach the general public as a hit movie. Other films tried to reach these heights but none were ever as popular and most zombies films from earlier were about more voodoo like zombies. So the thought of flesh eating ghouls roaming the country side was now in the public mind. Taken as purely pop culture, no one would think these creatures real. But years later George A. Romero released “Dawn of the Dead” this brought back the thought of zombie to the general public. At this point we learned a little bit more about the "Romero" zombies.

1. They didn’t just want to eat humans. They would eat anything but each other.
2. They were capable of using basic tools such as rocks to bludgeon.
3. They were afraid of fire for unknown reasons possible the instinct to “survive”.
4. They could learn over long periods of time. As shown by the zombie trying to use guns.
5. They retained something of their former selves as seen by coming back to the mall.

With “Dawn of the Dead” we learned of the possibility of people turning on each other. Though touched upon in the first one it was just brought on by a need for survival as opposed to just pure mental breakdown or even exploiting a situation. With “Dawn of the Dead” we saw people willfully take advantage of others and murder not only for personal gain but entertainment. This brings to mind the thought of psychopaths, which will be further investigated with the “Dead Rising” case study.

With the later release of “Day of the Dead" we see that the zombies have changed even further as the crushing grip of a government instillation. Martial law was in state and the laboratory became a military zone. But we also see the possibly domestication of the undead as well as what appeared to be genuine emotion from the undead subject known as “Bub”. Bub is a very special case of zombie advancement. He was able to remember things from his former life as well as the ability to learn and retain the new as well as old knowledge. But during all these revelations we also see more of the way the zombie apocalypse could and will affect people both in negative as well as positive ways. The sacrifice of one of the military crew turned from a mutually assured destruction end to a cleansing of the laboratory. Bub the now educated zombie was free to spread his lessons to his fellow zombies and Captain Rhodes was eradicated.

Later Romero films would touch on subjects such as living in an undead world where the undead population vastly outnumbers the living and where becoming a zombie is not only common place but inevitability. In “Land of the Dead” we see that the undead are no longer searching for the living but are really just trying to “live” peacefully and find their place in the world. With “Diary of the Dead” as opposed to seeing the “life” of the undead we see more of the ways the undead put a strain on personal life for people just trying to survive. We see not only elements of wanting to help the species but a sickening look in ourselves to see that we are all just looking for more and more gruesome entertainments. As of this date I have yet to have a chance to analyze the latest of the “Dead series” titled "Survival of the Dead" so until I do I cannot give a full explanation of what I have seen in it but, the director has stated that all the others have had deeper meanings to them and that this one is… “a western.”

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