When Jamie Russell wrote Book of the Dead: The Complete History of Zombie Cinema, we had yet to cycle into the current zombie craze. The book has been updated and revised, and Russell gave an interview to HuffPo that was turned into an extensive list of interesting facets of the zombie movie genre. Here’s a snippet on how malleable this kind of monster is:
The zombie myth regularly updates and adapts to the times. Whatever we're most deeply afraid of, the zombie can embody with their reanimated bodies.
R: "What's interesting about the zombie myth is just how much it evolves. If you go back to the original Haitian myth, the fear of the zombie isn't so much a fear of death, it's a fear that death might not be a release from slavery. The worst thing as a slave is imagining, 'After my death I might still be reanimated to continue working in the cane fields, that there is no escape.' And that changes once [the myth] comes to America and that idea of the zombie then becoming an image of death itself is something very powerful."
Although the zombie originally started as a fear of eternal slavery, the zombie can constantly update to take on contemporary issues.
R: "It's a very malleable and flexible monster. It's very good at reflecting. Horror is generally very good at reflecting the kind of anxieties and fears of the audience that's watching it at the time. [But] the zombie in particular, as it evolves so much over time, really reflecting different fears in different eras in really interesting ways. So certainly for the original readers of 'The Magic Island' it was very much a fascination in fear about Haiti, this island that america at the time had invaded and was occupying and it was a military occupation. For those early stories it was that. Later it became American race relations in society ... What I love about this monster, is that it is very good barometer of the times in which the movies are being produced."
Despite the list title and format, the article is more like a condensed history, full of facts, anecdotes, and analysis. Read the whole thing at HuffPo.