A standout amongst the most fertile movies as of late has been one that has existed around eighty five years, that of zombie movies. After a huge period in which few of these films were produced, the success of Night Of The Living Dead revived the genre. Around the turn of the century, this type of horror film made a resurgence and has become, along with vampire films, probably the most popular of horror film genres. This subject matter has remained common in film, and in recent years has branched out into science fiction, comedy, romance and thrillers.
The first film of this type is usually considered to be White Zombie, released in 1932, and dealing with the original zombie concept, that of corpses reanimated by Haitian witch doctors. The early version of this type of monster were people drugged by a bokor, or Haitian witch doctor, who would then be buried and reanimated as slaves of the bokor.
After the success of White Zombie, a sequel, Revolt of the Zombies, was released in 1936, but did not fare well at the box office. Although the genre was now in the public eye, this type of film continued to be made, but only occasionally. In 1959, Plan Nine From Outer Space, considered by many to be the worst film ever made, featured reanimated corpses.
The genre was reimagined and reinvigorated by the release of Night Of The Living Dead, by George Romero, which was cited for its graphic content, but was successful enough to spawn many imitations and sequels. Mr. Romero has made five direct sequels, and several other films that deal with the living dead. The original has been remade, colorized and a 3D version was released in 2006.
Night Of The Living Dead affected the entire horror movie genre, influencing slasher films and causing a resurgence of films featuring reanimated corpses. The film also established many of the characteristic plot devices of undead films, such as their lumbering gait, their hunger for flesh, and especially brains, and the idea of the zombie apocalypse.
This genre has remained active, but in recent years, it has revived, with changes to the basic concept. The film 28 Days Later, directed by Danny Boyle, featured more energetic living corpses, and continued underlying themes established by Romero of societal dysfunction and collapse. This was followed by a sequel, and the genre continued to expand.
In 2004, a remake of Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead, and comedy films, exemplified by Shaun Of The Dead, began to be released. Some comedy films had been made previously, but were generally low budget. In the early years of the twenty first century, the genre grew to the point where films with higher production values and more recognizable actors were featured in them.
In the last decade, zombie movies have been released that cross into other categories, including science fiction themed films that have expanded on the basic premise. Many comedy films have featured the undead, and other films have included them as subplots. With the rise of vampire themed romance films, similar films involving living corpses have also been produced.