PSU Professor: TV show boosts zombie popularity - KOAM TV 7

PSU Professor: TV show boosts zombie popularity



Professor: TV show boosts zombie popularity

Zombies have always been Jamie McDaniel’s favorite monsters. These days, with zombies doing everything from selling wireless plans on television to running charity races in communities across the U.S., it appears they have become pretty popular with millions of other Americans, as well.

McDaniel, an assistant professor in Pittsburg State University’s English Department, said zombies have been part of literature for a long time, but have enjoyed a recent surge in popularity.

“That’s probably because of the popularity of (the television series) “The Walking Dead,” McDaniel said. “The creators of that show do a very good job of telling a compelling story -- so much so that the zombies become almost an after-thought.”

McDaniel said “The Walking Dead” and similar tales cause viewers to ask themselves how they would respond to a mass casualty.

“It resonates with viewers because the cause of a zombie apocalypse is something that seems possible in the same way that an outbreak of untreatable bird flu or some other disease is possible,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel said one of his favorite movies is “Night of the Living Dead,” by American film director and writer George Romero. That 1968 film is the basis for our modern conception of zombies, he said.

Computer-generated animation and modern technology have had a tremendous impact, but the success or failure of a zombie film still turns on the quality of the story, he said.

People expect to see zombies on Halloween -- most under 4-feet tall and carrying a sack of candy -- but McDaniel said that in the world of literature and film, these durable monsters roll out all year long.

He won’t be around for that special night because he is scheduled to present a paper on “Phenomenon,” an Italian film, at an academic horror conference in Greece on Halloween. The conference will pull together academics from social sciences, film and literature from around the world.

Despite the conference theme, the scariest part of the trip could be the flight, McDaniel said.

“I’m not too fond of takeoff,” McDaniel said, “but once we get into the air, I’ll be fine.”

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