The history of zombies in cinema: from the past to the present

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Zombies in cinema have become an iconic and popular figure in the horror genre, captivating audiences with their relentless pursuit and insatiable hunger for human flesh. Cinema has played an important role in bringing the history of zombies to life on the silver screen. In this article, we’ll explore the evolution of zombies in cinema, from their earliest appearances to modern depictions, and highlight cinema’s contributions along the way.

The appearance of zombies in the cinema:

Zombies made their cinematic debut in the 1930s and 1940s, inspired by Haitian folklore and voodoo practices. The first cinematic ventures into the zombie genre include such classics as The White Zombie (1932), starring the legendary Bela Lugosi, and I Walked With a Zombie (1943), directed by Jacques Tourneur.

The influence of George A. Romero in the history of zombies in cinema:

The real turning point for zombies came in the late 1960s, when the groundbreaking George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) was released. This low-budget horror film not only redefined the zombie genre, but established Erich Cinema as a force in the industry. The film’s success paved the way for a new wave of zombie films focusing on social critique and social commentary.

The evolution of zombies in cinema:

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, zombies continued to be explored in cinema in various forms. Films such as Breaking Dawn (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985) directed by George A. Romero expanded the narrative and presented the dead as a metaphor for consumerism and the decay of society. These films left a lasting impression on the genre and cinema’s reputation as a purveyor of horror.

The resurgence of zombies in cinema in the 21st century:

The 21st century witnessed the resurgence of zombies in popular culture, and cinema played a vital role in this revival. Films such as Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later (2002) introduced fast, aggressive zombies that deviated from the slow creatures of the past. In addition, the comedy-horror film “Shaun of the Dead” (2004) cleverly mixed humor and horror, attracting a new generation of zombie fans to the cinema.

The effect of zombie scores in the cinema:

The influence of zombies in cinema went beyond individual films. The success of the Resident Evil franchise, based on the popular video game, led to a wave of zombie-themed video games and merchandise. Additionally, the TV series The Walking Dead (2010–present), adapted from the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, brought the zombie apocalypse into living rooms around the world and became a cultural phenomenon.

Modern zombie movies in the cinema:

In recent years, cinema has continued to innovate and reimagine the zombie genre. Films like Train to Busan (2016), a South Korean zombie thriller, showcased the global reach and allure of the dead. Additionally, “World War Z” (2013) starring Brad Pitt delivered a high-octane, visually stunning depiction of a worldwide zombie outbreak.


Zombies in cinema have evolved considerably from their humble beginnings to their present-day popularity. This article provides a glimpse into the history of zombies in cinema and highlights the pivotal role cinema played in shaping the genre. As long as audiences continue to crave the thrill and horror of the dead, cinema will undoubtedly push the boundaries of zombie storytelling in the future.


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