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Joining the Horde: The Radicalization(?

) of the Zombie Narrative

Sara Steinberger December 22nd, 2011

If the pantheon of horror film monsters were sitting in a school cafeteria, we would find the zombie sitting at a table alone. Unlike their fellow humanoidsvampires and werewolves, for instancezombies possess no super powers, intelligence, or good grooming habits. Even their invincibility is a curse; the longer they live, the more they rot. Yet, in the past ten years the zombie has been encoded with radical qualities not awarded to any other monster. Their function in postapocalypse narratives seems especially radical. In these texts, one apocalypse is not enough to discourage the re-assertion of white, patriarchal, capitalist control. Increasingly, we require a second wave of zombies (sometimes colluding with living humans) to attack settlements in which repressive binaric systems are being re-created. In this paper, I define the oppositions that the zombie narrative addresses as us/them, subject/object and inside/outside. Additionally, I analyze a group of texts Land of the Dead, 28 Weeks Later, and The Walking Deadin which those binaries are collapsed (if only briefly). The problem presented by the zombie narrative is our inability to imagine life beyond the collapse of capitalism. The solution is to join the zombie horde. Bloody Footprints: Eighty Years of Zombie Films Before I discuss the revolutionary turn the zombie genre has taken in the past decade, a brief discussion of its history is warranted. By showing how the zombie films have changed over the past eighty years, I hope to illustrate how the genre might be working toward some sort of solution necessitated by the problem of its origin. I have plotted the major phases of the zombie genre by identifying three films widely-accepted as seminal: White Zombie (1932), Night of the Living Dead (1968), and 28 Days Later (2002). Though these evolutionary fits and starts occur decades apart, I suggest we think of them as the first twitches of a new beast about to rise from the grave. White Zombie introduced the living dead to the cinema, but it was not conceived from the ether. The American appetite had already been whet by lurid dispatches from Haiti describing a dark place populated by voodoo priests and their shuffling thralls. In Kyle Bishops analysis of White Zombie as an imperialist fantasy, he identifies William Seabrooks book The Magic Island (1929) as one of the texts that introduced America to the voodoo zombie.1 Seabrook, an ethnographer, claimed to have encountered zombies in Haiti, whom he described as plodding like brutes, like automatons . . . The eyes were the worst . . . like the eyes of a dead man.2 That these zombies were both mindless and black undoubtedly contributed to their appeal; they were the perfect slaves. In fact, only the actors with the darkest skin were originally cast as zombies. Less than fifteen years before Seabrooks sensational depiction of the zombie, the United States had invaded Haiti. Indeed, US troops were still an occupying force at the time of White Zombies release.3 The occupation was a source of embarrassment for the United States, which could not seem to find a way to extract itself gracefully. Perhaps as a result of that frustration, the white protagonists in White Zombie find themselves trapped in an exotic hell, threatened with assimilation into a pagan culture. The male lead rescues his bewitched fianc by pushing everyone but her including those just freed from the zombie curse!over the edge of a cliff. The first zombie film is undoubtedly an imperialist fantasy in which Haiti was finally mastered, and this troubling legacy of all-out violence against the Other is White Zombies most significant contribution to the genre. This first incarnation of the zombie was not particularly fruitful. As overt racism grew less socially acceptable (albeit no less endemic) fewer zombie films were made. It took George Romeros Night of the Living Dead to reinvent the genre. Instead of zombie slaves, who could be returned to consciousness by the death of their master, the ghouls in NOTLD were deadreally deadand

Kyle Bishop, "The Sub-Subaltern Monster: Imperialist Hegemony and the Cinematic Voodoo Zombie," The Journal of American Culture, 31, no. 2 (2008), pg 141. 2 Ibid., 143. 3 Ibid., 142.

clawed their way out of graves dug in American soil. Furthermore, while the films protagonist was black, all the zombies were white. As for the zombies new allegorical function, Romero has emphatically insisted that they represent an unspecific threat:
I dont care what they are. I dont care where they came from. They could be any disaster. They could be an earthquake, a hurricane, whatever. They dont represent, in my mind, anything except a global change of some kind. And the stories are about how people respond or fail to respond to this. Thats really all theyve ever represented to me . . . [In] the original I Am Legend, thats what I thought that book was about. Theres this global change and theres one guy holding out saying, wait a minute, Im still a human. Hes wrong. Go ahead. Join them. Youll live forever!4

Despite Romeros insistence, NOTLD and its sequels have reasonably been read as texts that address specific cultural problems: race and gender relations, ideological warfare, and rampant consumerism to name the most popular. Also, even though Romero has explained that Duane Jones (the black actor cast as Ben) was not chosen for his skin color, Bens untimely death at the hands of an all-white posse carries with it disturbing historical connotations.5 Regardless, NOTLD is responsible for the zombie genre as we know it. Although this second cycle of zombie films was more robust than the first, most films after NOTLD veered more toward exploitation and splatter or, in the case of Lucio Fulcis Zombi 2 and Wes Cravens The Serpent and the Rainbow, revisited the voodoo zombie. As as if by some generational force, 28 Days Later revived the genre in 2002 by shocking audiences with fast zombies infected with a rage virus. Though fast zombies had appeared before, this was the first time they were meant to be taken seriously. Like NOTLD, the films cultural critiques (involving medical research, media, and military authority) were overt. However, 28DL extended the zombies function of standing for something with the new ability to begin doing things. In contrast to earlier narratives, todays zombie texts show a globe consumed by the agile infected. Obviously, these narratives become more popular the further we travel down the path to economic and environmental devastation, but I suggest that another reason for the genres popularity is the zombies ability to collapse the binaric systems on which the capitalist superstructure thrives. Following, I discuss how zombies break down the opposition between us/them, subject/object, and inside/outside. Us/Them: Embracing the Other Although the zombie genres racist and xenophobic commentary has been sublimated, a shallow analysis of any zombie film reveals an us versus them mentality that operates on the same (colonial) logic. The fear of the black man has become conflated with fear of a larger Other that includes all permutations of the disenfranchised human. Masses of zombies almost always emerge from inner cities and even the whitest zombies skin darkens under layers of dried blood and decay. In a macabre re-enactment of white flight, the best hope for a peaceful life during a zombie outbreak always lies in isolated suburban or rural settings. At the very least, survival depends on finding a home or business and barring the doors to keep them outside. Gerry Canavan suggests that the zombies are us metaphor is incorrect. After all, we never imagine ourselves as zombies: zombies are always other people, which is to say they are Other people, which is to say they . . . are not quite people at all.6 If we view zombies as manifestations of race and class paranoia, then the zombie narrative is perhaps not just a criticism of capitalism but,

George Romero, interview by Mariana McConnell, "Interview: George A. Romero On Diary Of The Dead," February 14, 2008. 5 George Romero, interview by Alex Ben Block, "Filming Night of the Living Dead," George A. Romero: Interviews, 1972. pg 8. 6 Gerry Canavan, "We Are the Walking Dead: Race, Time, and Survival in Zombie Narrative," Extrapolation, 51, no. 3 (2010), pg 432.

more specifically, an examination of the social consequences of the collapse of capitalism. However, Canavan argues that the zombie narrative can be dangerous because it repackages the colonial race war in a way that is ideologically safer than less-sublimated genres.7 Zombies, after all, are beings that we feel no remorse about killing. We never attack them; They attack us (like animals, savages, or cannibals) with their arms and mouths; we attack them back with horses, tanks, and guns.8 Indeed, many zombie texts evoke a frontier setting, with a few brave survivors holding back waves of attackers. The return to the frontier, according to Sarah Trimble, is the result of a patriarchal survivalist fantasy, in which the collapse of the social state leads to the justification for the security state.9 With the lines so clearly drawn between us and them, and emboldened by the threat of extinction, the (white) man can reclaim his glory days. We see this fantasy embodied in Major West (Christopher Eccleston) in 28 Days Later. The answer to infection promised over the radio turns out to be Major West and his soldiers hiding inside a fortified mansion, containing a black futureless zombie tied up in the courtyard and some pretty dresses waiting for humanitys future mothers.10 Such reassertion of patriarchal control rarely succeeds for good reason; for it to thrive would be the real horror. Of course, there are other enemies in the zombie narrative: human outsiders who pose some sort of threat (real or imagined) to the survivors. Encountering another group of humans during a zombie apocalypse is rarely a good thing. Unsure if the others are infected or ill-willed, one clan of survivors often quarantines, kills, or avoids altogether the other. Weapons, food, and women must be guarded with care. Yet, no amount of caution ever seems to save the living few. From a postcolonial perspective, the survivors inability to withstand the onslaught of outsiders both living and dead is not a bad thing, because breaking down the us/them opposition is important. What is problematic, however, is the way in which texts force us to identify with the resistant survivors. The only way to fix the problem is to either exaggerate the ways in which resistance is futile or allow viewers to identify with the zombie horde. Subject/Object: Killing the Self The next step in the radicalization of the zombie narrative is the denunciation of the Self. We see ourselves active, conscious subjects and others as passive, unconscious objects. In other words, some sort of membrane exists between the Self and everything else, and we have the tendency to violently defend this barrier. The zombie genre, unsurprisingly, is fertile ground for post- and transhuman theory. Sarah Juliet Lauro and Karen Embry explore how the zombies irreconcilable body challenges the limited dialectical model of subject versus object. In order to become posthuman, they argue, we must become the antisubject.11 Before we consider what a text in which the subject is vanquished might look like, I want to examine their argument more fully. Zombies have no concept of self or property; in fact, they easily part with pieces of their own bodies. They do not protect their kind, because they have no concept of belonging. Their only discernable purpose (for we cannot really call it a goal) is to attack living humans: metaphorically, to obliterate the subject. Ultimately, we fear zombies not because they will kill us, but because we fear being transformed and becoming just another zombie in the swarm.12 It is somehow harder to
7 8

Ibid., pg 439. Ibid., pg 442. 9 Sarah Trimble, "(White) Rage: Affect, Neoliberalism, and the Family in 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later1," The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, no. 32 (2010), pg 299. 10 Ibid., pg 305. 11 Sarah Juliet Lauro, and Karen Embry, "A Zombie Manifesto: The Nonhuman Condition in the Era of Advanced Capitalism," boundary 2, 35, no. 1 (2008), pg 87. 12 Ibid., pg 89.

surrender our selves than our lives. One of the most tired tropes in the zombie narrative is an infected human committing suicide or begging other survivors to kill her/him; I don't want to be one of those things, walking around without a soul.13 Interestingly, we can already conceive of occupying a body that is both living and dead, but our acceptance of such an arrangement is highly qualified. The desirable living/dead body combines man with machine, and is found in both sci-fi narratives and the cochlear implants, pacemakers, and subdermal RFID tags increasingly found in our daily lives. However, the problem with the cyborg is that it still leaves room for the fantasy of being able to afford a body that is different (and always better) than others. Due to the cyborgs capitalist appeal, it is incredibly popular across mediums; games like Eidos Montreals massive hit Deus Ex: Human Revolution, for example, make difficult missions achievable by placing customized modifications onto/into the protagonists body.14 Like vampires, the cyborg offers us something easily recognizable as more than what we already have. However, we recoil in horror when confronted with the zombie, whose only promise is absolute decay. While this decay is horrific, it also breaks down the humanist constructions of mind, self, and the sanctity of the individual that imprison us.15 Zombies render the subject/object binary obsolete because they are simultaneously alive and dead. And, as Lauro and Embry also point out, even the distinction between good and bad is broken down because such concepts only exist within human consciousness.16 Thus, the zombie challenges the very notion of morality, or even for standing for any particular moral position. Inside/Out: Destroying the Home Some of the most distinctive features of present-day metropolitan areas are the large swaths of suburban sprawl in which the messy heterogeneity of the inner city gives way to a sequestered sameness. While these communities are clearly attractive to a great number of people, they can also be seen as the ultimate embodiment of the alienating effects of private ownership. The suburban home is neatly separated from the one next to it, then from the busy roads that connect it to the city and, finally, from the city itself (which is full of Them, incidentally). Nowhere is the inside/out binary so massively visualized. Tyson Lewis and Daniel Cho argue that an alienating effect is present in many modern homes; that, in late capitalism, the home has become "un-homely" because the myth of its liberating powers contradicts the reality of its repressive effects.17 Lewis and Cho explore how we might escape the uncanny home by contrasting Theodor Adorno's "melancholic" ethics with Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari's "schizophrenic" solution. Adorno acknowledges that the home reinforces the inside/outside binary, which forms part of the bourgeois sense of individuality. His solution is to "remain homeless in one's home," which entails staying within it but cutting all sense of attachment to the things it represents.18 In short, Adorno chooses to haunt the haunted house. Conversely, Deleuze and Guattari attempt to resolve the issue by advocating the "ludic postmodern nomadism of pure homelessness," in which humans reject entirely the notion of ownership of property and move between a series of "plateaus" without building
Although some variant of this line can be heard in almost any zombie film, it was culled from 2002s Resident Evil (Anderson). 14 Joystiq, "Deus Ex: Human Revolution sales show who will dominate in the cyborg future. As of November 2011, 2.18 million copies of the game have been sold (at ~$60.00 per unit!). 15 Sarah Juliet Lauro and Karen Embry, "A Zombie Manifesto: The Nonhuman Condition in the Era of Advanced Capitalism," boundary 2, 35, no. 1 (2008), pg 93 16 Ibid, pg 106 17 Tyson Lewis and Daniel Cho, "Home Is Where the Neurosis Is: A Topography of the Spatial Unconscious," Cultural Critique, no. 64 (2006). pg 69. 18 Ibid., pg 82.

anything of permanence.19 But Lewis and Cho are satisfied with neither Adorno's idea of ethical "squatting" in our own homes nor Deleuze and Guattari's call to homelessness. Their solution is, instead, lies in the "dirty city." In a dirty city, there is no distinction between inside and outside. We can experience this liminal space by walking down the street, where inner and outer dialectically bleed into one another.20 The key to a dirty city is the rejection of ownership, which excludes the possibility of the home as an alienating force: "The dirty home is a home that is ironically cleansed of the anxieties toward the past, permeability, the present, and the uncanny. As such, the dirty home necessitates a radical 'desubjectification' that in itself produces a new uncertainty within the homeowner-the possibility of the future.21 The idea of indeterminate space also emerges in Jeff Mays concept of the blank space, which results from the destruction of hegemonic and ideological spatial codifications, such as public/private and inside/outside.22 May examines the bodies-cities relationship; as the bodies within a city change, so do its structures. In the case of the zombie narrative, the bodies within a city become undead and, therefore, unconcerned with owning private property or the distinction between inside and outside. Thus, the zombies render the space they occupy blank, which May argues creates a potential for these spaces to become anything.23 The zombie film allows us imagine not just breaking down the walls of the home, but to explore different modes of dwelling after subjectdriven infrastructure is reconceptualized. Signs of (Un)Life

Land of the Dead (Romero 2005) In Land of the Dead, a group of humans have settled in downtown Pittsburgh, separated from the zombie-infested areas by two rivers and a huge electric fence. Despite the safety this settlement offers, it is controlled by the maniacal Paul Kaufmann (Dennis Hopper) who has created a quasifeudal society in which the richest citizens live in the luxurious Fiddler's Green tower and everyone
Ibid., pg 71, 84. Ibid., pg 86. 21 Ibid., pg 87. 22 Jeff May, "Zombie geographies and the undead city," Social & Cultural Geography, 11, no. 3 (2010). pg 286. 23 Ibid., pg 293.
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else lives in poverty below.24 The film follows Riley Denbo (Simon Baker), engineer of Kaufmans armored war-truck Dead Reckoning, and his second-in-command, Cholo (John Leguizamo). Denbo wants to strike out on his own, while Cholo desperately wants to live in Fiddlers Green. It quickly becomes apparent that Kaufmans administration systematically denies each man the chance to achieve his goals, while barring undesirables from entering at all. Cholo steals Dead Reckoning in an attempt to blow up Fiddlers Green, Denbo and his team try to stop him from killing innocent bystanders, and the zombies (led by Big Daddy, pictured above) cross the river and infiltrate the city. The converging interests of all three groups of protagonists combine to destroy the settlement. One sequence in the film literalizes their solidarity in a particularly pleasing manner. In the screenshots below, we first see a shot of the zombies before they plunge into the river. Next, we cut to Cholo in Dead Reckoning on his way to attack Fiddlers Green. We cut from Cholos hands on the missile console directly to Denbos fingers and a handheld tracking device. As Denbo and his team try to cut off Cholo and take Dead Reckoning from him, a shot of them driving up a hill dissolves into a shot of the water right before the zombies rise from it and begin their march toward Fiddlers Green:

The way the film overtly links the protagonists is important, because it is the exchange between the three groups in which binaries are disturbed. Us/Them: When Denbo has a chance to kill the zombies after the bloodbath is over, he decides to let them go because "they're just looking for a place to go, just like us. With the elite wiped out, the us/them distinction is nullified. Subject/Object: On his way to confront Kaufman, Cholo is bitten by a zombie but decides to transform because he always wanted to see how the other half lives. Cholos willingness to turn (at the cost of Self) is rebellious. Inside/Out: The zombies tear down every structure that exists between them and Fiddlers Green, but Cholo leaves a crucial opening for them when he hijacks Dead Reckoning. A benefit of watching a Romero film is that he is unsubtle. In the Making Of feature on the DVD, Romero says that when Dennis Hopper proposed playing Kaufman as Donald Rumsfeld, he responded thats exactly where Im goingthis is the Bush administration!25 And, as Adam Lowenstein notes, the class divisions in LOTD mimic our own:
As is customary in a Romero film, LOTD is full of significant names. Fiddlers Green, for example, refers to a an idealized afterlife in which a fiddler never stops playing joyful music (which actually sounds pretty terrible, but I digress). Another not-so-hidden references in the film lie in the preacher/revolutionarys name: Mulligan. In a game, a mulligan is a do-over for an ungifted player, and what else is LOTD but a do-over for humans that did not get it right the first time? 25 Bacon, Jim (producer). "Undead Again, The Making of Land of the Dead," Land of the Dead, DVD.

At the top is Kaufman (Dennis Hopper), the rich, white overlord of a high-rise compound called Fiddlers Green where the wealthy can live in hermetically sealed luxury apart from the apocalyptic world below. The middle class includes people who work for Kaufman or subsist on the scraps he tosses, a mixed bag of soldiers, servants, and poor citizens from a variety of ethnic backgrounds that eke out an existence below Fiddlers Green. The middle class is protected from zombie encroachment by natural and military barriers, but they cannot hope to rise to the class status of Fiddlers Green residents. Of course, this means that the underclass is a mass of zombies, whom even most of the middle class refuse to recognize as anything more than dangerous animals.26

What is so compelling about LOTD, then, is not just the destruction of a corrupt social and economic system but the complete social leveling that occurs once the smoke has cleared; there is no more us versus them, humans have willingly turned zombie, and a blank space has emerged in which the potential for new social arrangements exists. 28 Weeks Later (Fresnadillo 2007) The problem with 28 Days Later is that it ends happily.27 Lauro and Embry point out that what little rebellion occurred in 28DL was qualified. In the films climax, Jim releases Mailer (the black zombie that the soldiers have chained in the courtyard), who then attacks his former comrades. Mailers rampage, along with the escape of Selena (a black woman), thus constitutes a symbolic slave rebellion. However, Lauro and Embry argue that the zombie body is sacrificed to save the last humans, and at the end of the film we get the sense . . . that everythinghumanity, government, and most likely capitalismhas survived the attack."28 Because no real change is actually effected, the return to normalcy in 28 Days Later creates the need for its sequel. 28 Weeks Later picks up with an American-led NATO force attempting to re-populate London by defending a fortified Green Zone. Outside, the zombies have died of starvation and England is littered with corpses. Don (Robert Carlyle), who abandoned his wife during the zombie outbreak, is now the districts caretaker. He welcomes back his two children, Tammy (Imogen Poots) and Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton): the first children to be admitted back into England. Seeking memories of their mother, Tammy and Andy sneak out of the Green Zone and return to their home. Here, Andy finds their mother hiding in the attic. When she is taken back to the Green Zone, we discover that she has a natural resistance to the rage virus. However, Don breaks in and kisses her, becomes infected, and sparks an outbreak. For the rest of the film, Major Ross (Rose Byrne), a medical officer, and Sergeant Doyle (Jeremy Renner), a sniper, try to evacuate the children because Andy has inherited traits from his virus-resistant mother. Although 28 Weeks Later is an overt critique of the American occupation of Iraq, I want to stay focused on binaric disruption. Where can we locate the rebellion in this film? Tammy and Andy are the most obvious revolutionaries. Their escape from the ultra-modern, sterile, and heavily-guarded Green Zone is a result of their desire to return to the family home: once a place of meaning. However, as Lewis and Cho have warned us, the bourgeois home is a haunted place and, here, Tammy and Andy encounter the literal ghost of their mother. Like her children, she must have sought the home by instinct only to find it a dead and meaningless place. The convergence of mother and children, all three seeking meaning, brings about the apocalypse.


Adam Lowenstein, "Living Dead: Fearful Attractions of Film," Representations, 110, no. 1 (2010), pg 110. IMDB, "28 Days Later FAQ." There are actually eight different endings to the film, but the theatrical/DVD release ends with Jim, Selena, and Hannah alive and about to be rescued. 28 Sarah Juliet Lauro and Karen Embry, "A Zombie Manifesto: The Nonhuman Condition in the Era of Advanced Capitalism," boundary 2, 35, no. 1 (2008), pg 107.


At the end of the film, the children leave England knowing that Andy is infected. Although, like his mother, he has a natural resistance to the virus, he is more than capable of spreading it to others. Unlike the first film, which ends with the indication that the outbreak has not spread beyond England, 28WL ends with a group of the infected running down a subway tunnel. When they emerge onto the streets, we see the Eiffel Tower in the background:

Thus, the post-human Andy (aided by his sister, Major Ross, and Sergeant Doyle) finally brings the virus to its awesome potential: global contagion. But the tone of this final scene is strangely victorious. An explanation of the films ecstatic end may lie in Trimbles suggestion that Andy and Tams mobilization of an alternative affective economyone premised on radical nostalgia, tenderness, and hopeopens up regenerative possibilities that cannot be reduced to the patriarchal fantasy of returning to a mythic and savage past.29 The Walking Dead (Kirkman 2003 - present) Though the television series based on the comic is more widely consumed, I will focus on the source text. The comic begins much like 28 Days Later, with policeman Rick Grimes waking from a coma only to find the dead walking around. For better and certainly for worse, the text follows Rick on his journey through a zombie-infested world. In the introduction to the first trade, Robert Kirkman writes I want The Walking Dead to be a chronicle of Ricks life.30 What that means is the comic

Sarah Trimble, "(White) Rage: Affect, Neoliberalism, and the Family in 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later," The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, no. 32 (2010), pg 318. 30 Kirkman, Robert, The Walking Dead, Volume 1: Days Gone Bye, April 2005, Introduction.

chronicles a white, male authority figure as he leads a group of survivors through seemingly endless waves of decimation. In the first issue, Rick doesnt seem like such a bad guy, but we should be worried when we see him riding off to find his family wearing his uniform and riding a horse, striking the image of Wild West sheriff. Indeed, once he finds his family and the other survivors they have joined with, everyone too-eagerly files behind the man wearing the badge as he leads them to seek shelterin a prison. Though the text is full of instances in which the us/them, subject/object, and inside/outside binaries are ferociously defended, I would like to point to Canavans identification of moments in which living characters challenge them. Both incidents occur while the survivors are barricaded in the prison, otherwise a place where the status quo is re-established. First, Ricks son Carl and the only other child, Sophie, sit looking at the zombies from the other side of the chain-link fence that surrounds the compound. When Carl asks Sophie whether she is scared of them, she responds Mostly I just feel sorry for them. Carl incredulously asks her why and she explains that they look sad. In Sophies response, Canavan identifies a shift from terror of the Other to pity for the Other, which is tentative progress but not quite radical.31 The real radical actor in The Walking Dead, Canavan argues, is Sophies mother, Carol. In the time the survivors have spent inside the prison, Carol catches her boyfriend cheating on her, slits her wrists, is rejected by both of the Grimes when she tries to initiate a polyamorous relationship, and reveals that her exhusband used to hit her.32 When it becomes clear to Carol that neither functioning society nor a post-apocalyptic can offer her meaningful companionship, she walks up to the female zombie the survivors have chained up in the yard and says I think Ill just talk to you from now on. You listen, you dont seem to judge me . . . I really hope you like me.33 She allows the zombie to bite her, which Canavan argues is a truly radical act; Carol commits suicide but we dont live inside a zombie narrative; we live in the real world, where the only zombies to be found are the ones we ourselves have made out of the excluded, the forgotten, the cast-out, and the walled-off.34 Our challenge is to make the leap that Carol did, to engage in acts of self-decentering and self-

Gerry Canavan, "We Are the Walking Dead: Race, Time, and Survival in Zombie Narrative," Extrapolation, 51, no. 3 (2010), pg 449. 32 The first two incidents are well-known, but the third, more subtle, reference to Carols rough past can be found in the seventh trade a few pages before she sacrifices herself (see footnote 29). 33 Kirkman, Robert, The Walking Dead, Volume 7: The Calm Before, 2007, trade offers no page numbers. 34 Gerry Canavan, "We Are the Walking Dead: Race, Time, and Survival in Zombie Narrative," Extrapolation, 51, no. 3 (2010), pg 450.


deprivileging, of self-renunciation.35 Conclusion I end my analysis with a parting example of a world that needs further cleansing. The most alarming passages from World War Z involve neither gore nor pathos but indicate that the world will simply return to the condition it was in before the outbreak occurred. During the texts epilogue, Joe Muhammad concedes that although the war briefly brought people together, once our kids and grandkids grow up in a peaceful and comfortable world, theyll probably go right back to being as selfish and narrow-minded and generally shitty to one another as we were.36 The next interview is with Arthur Sinclair, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. As he flips slabs of steak on a grill he says Confidence, its the fuel that drives the capitalist machine. Our economy can only run if people believe in it . . . Its already starting, slowly but surely. Every day we get a few more registered accounts with American banks, a few more private businesses open up, a few more points on the Dow.37 The comments of each man seem to identify a circular version of history in which the same mistakes are made over and over again. How many sequels will it take to imagine the end of history? While the zombie narrative has a historical tendency to re-create worlds in which divisions between us/them, subject/object, inside/outside are reinforced, the texts of the past decade are earnestly chipping away at these oppositions, even if they only seem partially aware of their revolutionary content. Increasingly, we are asked to identify with zombies, their human sympathizers, and the brave few that willingly cross the barrier between.38

Ibid., pg 450. Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, (Crown Publishing Group, 2006), pg 413. 37 Ibid., pg 414-415. 38 Zombies are also becoming a component of public protest: "'Zombies' Occupy Wall Street." However, it must also be mentioned that people have dressed as zombies to protest the banning of the first-person shooter game Left 4 Dead in Sydney, Australia. The irony of people dressing up as zombies to protest the suppression of a consumer project is not lost on me.


Bibliography Bacon, Jim (producer). Undead Again, The Making of Land of the Dead. Land of the Dead. New Wave Entertainment. 2005. Bishop, Kyle. The Sub-Subaltern Monster: Imperialist Hegemony and the Cinematic Voodoo Zombie. The Journal of American Culture. 31. no. 2 (2008): 141-152. Boyle, Danny. 28 Days Later. Fox Searchlight. 2002. Brooks, Max. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2006. Canavan, Gerry. "'We Are the Walking Dead': Race, Time, and Survival in Zombie Narrative." Extrapolation. 51. no. 3 (2010): 431-453. Fresnadillo, Juan Carlos. 28 Week Later. 20th Century Fox. 2007. Halperin, Victor. White Zombie. United Artists. 2002. Kirkman, Robert. The Walking Dead. Berkeley: Image Comics, Inc., 2003-present. Lauro, Sarah Juliet, and Karen Embry. A Zombie Manifesto: The Nonhuman Condition in the Era of Advanced Capitalism." boundary 2. 35. no. 1 (2008): 86-108. May, Jeff. Zombie geographies and the undead city. Social & Cultural Geography. 11. no. 3 (2010): 285-298. Lowenstein, Adam. Living Dead: Fearful Attractions of Film. Representations. 110. no. 1 (2010): 105-128. Romero, George. Land of the Dead. Universal Pictures. 2005. . Night of the Living Dead. The Walter Reade Organization. 1968. . Interview: George A. Romero On Diary Of The Dead. February 14, 2008. December 21, 2011.. . Filming Night of the Living Dead." George A. Romero: Interviews, 1972: 8-17. December 20, 2011. Trimble, Sarah. "(White) Rage: Affect, Neoliberalism, and the Family in 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later." The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies. no. 32 (2010): 295-322.

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