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Night of the Living Dead&


Night of the Living Dead&


Night of the Living Dead heavily influenced later iterations of the “zombie apocalypse” plot. In many cases, later stories reused the tropes established by Romero’s film. In other cases, new creators deliberately tried to reimagine their zombies in contrast to Romero’s living dead.

???? Watch the following clip from Marc Forster’s World War Z (US, 2013). The film depicts a “zombie apocalypse” in which an infectious disease leads to an outbreak of zombie-ism that spreads across the globe, threatening to wipe out mankind. This scene shows the first outbreak of zombies in the United States. 

As you watch, consider:

  • What characterizes the “zombie”, as it is depicted in this film? How do these zombies compare to Romero’s living dead? If you are familiar with other depictions of zombies in literature, film, or art, how does this depiction compare? 
  • Based on the characteristics given to the zombie, what do you think is the symbolic significance of this figure? If the zombie is a fantastical embodiment of real-world anxieties and fears, what might these be?
  • What about the way the uninfected humans respond to the zombie threat? Why do you think they are depicted in this way? Do you think their depiction is realistic? What does their depiction tell us about our understanding of and beliefs concerning human nature?
Do you notice some ways in which these zombies share traits with the living dead, and some in which these zombies have been reimagined?

Your next assignment will be an exercise comparing and contrasting these representations of zombies, while exploring the layers of symbolism zombies carry for us.

You may have seen some examples of these “anatomy of” memes, where people break down and label various traits or characteristics of an object, animal, type of person, etc.


Create an “Anatomy of a Zombie” chart that labels some characteristics of the zombies in Night of the Living Dead and World War Z, including at least one trait they have in common, and at least 3 traits totalWith each trait you label, include a brief statement about the symbolism of that trait; for example, don’t just label “Rotting limbs”, but “Rotting limbs, reminds the audience of their own mortality.”


You can choose to create the Anatomy of a Zombie Victim chart that breaks down what traits lead to someone being attacked by zombies in each of these stories, and what those weaknesses, vulnerabilities, or negative character traits might symbolize for us. Again, you should include at least 3 traits total, with at least one shared in common by the figures from both films.

At the bottom of this page, you will find attachments you can use as templates for your anatomy charts. You have the option to download either a PDF or JPG file. You can add your annotations using a PDF editor (like Acrobat or Preview), an image editor (like Photoshop or Google Draw); you can also insert the JPG image into a Word, Pages or Google doc (set the image layout to “Behind Text” so you can type over it). You can also print the PDF and add your annotations by hand, then take a photo of your finished chart.

Note: If you do the zombie victim chart, you don’t need to limit your comments to those that apply to Barbra — she’s just there to represent all the victims in the film.