Once barely seen except in in B-rated horror films, now you can’t swing a brain-eating, reanimated cat without hitting a zombie. “The Walking Dead” is the highest rated TV show in the U.S. and is starting its seventh season today.
“If you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse, you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake or terrorist attack.” — U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Ali Khan ina 2012 tongue-in-cheek guide about preparing or the zombie apocalypse. The report can be foun at cdc.gov/phpr/zombies.htm.
In medieval days there were no zombies as we know them now. The undead kept their memories and usually rose from their graves to avenge their names.
Names? Zombie comes from Haitian Creole, zonbi, for animated corpse raised by magical means, such as witchcraft and voodoo.
Voodoo? In 1929, “The Magic Island,” by William Buehler Seabrook, was the first book to bring zombies into Western culture. The book described the adventures of a man in Haiti.
Haiti was featured in “White Zombies,” released in 1932, the first zombie movie.
Movie? Zombies were nominated for an Oscar in the 1942 film “King of the Zombies.” The category was for best music, scoring. The film wasn’t based on World War Z, but WWII.
WWII? In 1942, “Bowery at Midnight” was the first film to have zombies that were craving human flesh and were reanimated corpses. The film starred Bela Lugosi and had little draw.
Draw? The DC comics character Solomon Grundy, a villain first appearing in a 1944 Green Lantern story, was one of the earliest depictions of a zombie in the comics. He was meaner than a junkyard dog.
Dog? In 1946, “The Face of Marble” was the first movie to have a zombie animal — dog zombies rock!
Rock! The English band The Zombies formed in 1962. The band’s hits included “She’s Not There,” “Tell Her No,” and “Time of the Season,” released in 1968.
1968 is the year “Night of the Living Dead,” by George Romero, revolutionized the genre forever. The film shows a radioactive satellite that causes the recently deceased to come back to life as flesh-eating zombies. l Cost to make: $114,000 l Worldwide gross: $30 million Heavily criticized upon release, it has been selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as a film deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”
Significant? How does a 14-minute music video sound? Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” released in 1983, had record-setting sales for video, album and song. The “Thriller” zombies were all fun and games.
Games? The first zombie video games came out in 1984. “Zombie Zombie” was a big hit in Europe. Then in 1996, “Resident Evil” was released. It expanded into several sequels and movies after it became a best-seller.
Best-seller? In 2003, Max Brooks, son of Mel Brooks, topped the New York Times best-seller list with his book, “The Zombie Survival Guide.” Sales were no joke.
Joke? In 2004, “Shaun of the Dead,” known as the first romantic zombie comedy (RomZomCom), was released and made $30 million worldwide.
Worldwide? In 2009, graduate students in Ottawa, Ontario, published the first mathematical investigation of the zombie apocalypse. They state, if an infection breaks out in a city of 500,000 people, we have only three days to survive.
Survive? In 2015, “The Walking Dead” did more than survive as it was the highest watched TV series for views 18-49. It had 14.2 million viewers for the season six finale.