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George A Romero’s zombies introduced the zombie as we know it today

This is our first of many Origins episodes, and the first part to Origins: Zombies.  There is so much to learn about zombies that we had to split it up into multiple episodes. Check out our outline of notes below, and stay tuned for Origins: Zombies Part 2

Zombie \ˈzäm-bē\a dead person who is able to move because of magic according to some religions and in stories, movies, etc. (Merriam-Webster)

Date unknown (about 18th Century BC?)

Epic of Gilgamesh – – Ishtar threatens to unleash undead from the Netherworld to eat the living

 

Dates: unknown – present day

Haitian zombies – “Zombi” is also another name of the voodoo snake god Damballah Wedo, of Niger-Congo origin

 

1818

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein sparked the modern concept of undead: vampires and zombies, etc.

 

Late 1800s

Ambrose Bierce and Edgar Allan Poe write undead-themed novels, and although they weren’t specifically zombies, they influenced future authors’ imaginations.

 

1920-1930

H.P. Lovecraft wrote several novelettes about zombies and the undead, including his most popular zombie-related work:  Herbert West-Reanimator

  • Cool Air: (Wikipedia) A doctor keeps himself alive for 18 years after his death by machines and keeping his body cold.
  • Herbert West-Reanimator: (Wikipedia) It featured scientifically reanimated corpses, with animalistic and uncontrollable temperament. Herbert West is the inventor of a special solution, or “reagent”, that can resurrect the dead

 

1950s

Tales from the Crypt featured many stories with zombies, including adaptations of Lovecraft’s stories.

 

1954

Richard Matheson – I Am Legend. This novel later was adapted into a movie in 1964, The Last Man on Earth, and then again in 2007, I Am Legend, and a direct-to-video production in 2007, I Am Omega.

 

1968

Night of the Living Dead – George A. Romero.  Inspired greatly by I Am Legend.

 

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