~ George Romero
George Romero may have introduced the living dead to modern popular culture, but did you know that zombies have also been researched, scientifically? In the early 1980's, Canadian anthropologist Wade Davis researched zombies in Haiti in search of a scientific explanation for the undead. He studied natural neurotoxins found in Haitian zombie powder, including puffer fish venom, tetrodotoxin. He claimed that a combination of zombie powder and Voodoo sorcery rituals were used to enslave , or zombify, people as a form of punishment. Wade wrote two books about his research, Serpent and the Rainbow, and Passage of Darkness, which is generally considered to be the more scientific of the two books. You can read a review and synopsis of Passage of Darkness here:
One of my favorite zombie movies (other than Romero's films) is I Walked with a Zombie. (1943)
|Kyra, about 5 years after playing Karen Cooper, flesh eating zombie child.|
Steve Schlozman's book The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Zombie Apocalypse has been film optioned by none other than George Romero, and his zombie science curriculum has been creatively adapted by Texas Instruments, as part of innovative STEM program, The Stem Behind Hollywood.
Steve answers the simple question, Why Zombies? with considerable eloquence and wit, in an interview we just did. You can check out his musings here.
Oh sure, there are dozens of zombie movies and tv series out there. Some of them are quite good and feature compelling dystopian scenarios, beyond the blood, gore, and mayhem. But personally, I like the old classics. You know, the movies where messed up people walk slowly towards you, dead, but not dead.
And just in case any of you need to be reminded just what a great flick "Night of the Living Dead" is, or you just need a good dose of zombie terror before you drift off to sleep on this cold winter night.