The Zombie Movie Encyclopediaby Peter J. Dendle
Zombies are cautionary forms of humankind's most universally cherished ideallife after death. Often ragged, unkempt, ill-spoken, rotting individuals, zombies (or the post-dead) seem socially awkward in comparison to the more popular and more aristocratic, undead, like Count Dracula and his peers. And so, the humble zombie remains, for the most part,
Zombies are cautionary forms of humankind's most universally cherished ideallife after death. Often ragged, unkempt, ill-spoken, rotting individuals, zombies (or the post-dead) seem socially awkward in comparison to the more popular and more aristocratic, undead, like Count Dracula and his peers. And so, the humble zombie remains, for the most part, unappreciated and unacknowledgeduntil now. No longer will films devoted to them be buried in the last pages of horror movie guides.
The exhumation of zombie films from obscurity is accomplished in terrifying detail in The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia. The first exhaustive overview of the subject, this book evaluates over 200 movies from 16 countries over a 65-year period starting from the early 1930s. It mostly treats feature-length films, covering everything from large studio productions to backyard videography, but also touches on memorable episodes of television series and miscellaneous shorts. Lengthy entries point out interesting or innovative features of the zombie portrayal in each movie, while an introduction traces the evolution of the genre and interprets the broader significance of the zombie in contemporary Western mythology. Productions credits, a brief plot summary, and alternate titles accompany each entry.
- McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
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- Product dimensions:
- 9.00(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Meet the Author
Peter Dendle is an associate professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, Mont Alto. He lives in Gettysburg.
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Let's face it: I love zombies! Zombie movies, zombie books, whatever. They're just "fun"! So when I saw that I'd won The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia through Library Thing's Early Reviewers, I thought "What fun!" I wasn't sure what to expect, but figured it was probably your standard-type of movie listing book. Just a list of movies, year released, actors, and quick synopsis. What I found instead was a bit more than that. The book begins with an in-depth Introduction, whereby the author explains his fascination with zombies, and then walks you through the anatomy of a zombie movie by era. For example, "The Early Film Zombie (1932-1952)" and "The Stabilizing of the Contemporary Zombie Mythos (1966-present)". The bulk of the book is an alphabetical listing of zombie movies released 1932-1998. Each movie is listed with the Director, Producers, Screenplay Writer, Cast, and date of release, followed by the author's review and impressions of each movie. The book ends with some additional lists and index. Appendix A is a listing by year, and Appendix B is a listing by Country. The one thing that has me perplexed is why the movie listing by year only goes up to 1998? This seems to be a thorough listing of zombie movies from 1932-1998, and I look forward to taking the time working my way through each and every movie available from my Netflix list! Well done, Mr. Dendle!
Dendle gives a brilliant, serious analysis then proceeds to deftly skewer the genre in hilarious vignettes devoted to each film. References to classical literature are juxtaposed with avante garde pop culture gems (i.e. 'pong technology' and Scooby Doo analogies). The slightly crude cover art belies a witty, sophisticated and thoughtful review of the nature of zombies, their reflection on our culture, and the people driven to make art about them. Great for the scholar, great conversation piece in the bathrooms at parties.
This is a first rate book. It's a real hoot! Finally, the poor zombie is raised to his rightful place in cinematic history. But not only is this a thorough review of all zombie films this side of Timbuctoo, but the author works to place them in the context of the development of American pop culture. While Dendle does treat his subject with respect, he does not always take it seriously. He freely admits that many of these films are pretty awful and of dubious artistic merit and loads some of his reviews with witty asides. However, what is important here is the development of the genre - and this Dendle shows brilliantly through a perceptive introduction. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in movies or the development of American pop culture.