While Halloween 2023 occurred nearly a month ago, no matter the season, many Americans love their horror movies and tales of the grotesque and morbid. Indeed, many popular TV shows include murder mysteries, serial killer documentaries, and zombie apocalypse fighting dramas. Horror movies have been a staple of American cinema since becoming popular in the late 1960s. In the 1970s and 80s, classic films like Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and others were released and today remain popular among many groups of people. While horror movies are intended to provide thrills and scares to an audience in a chilling manner, many are always comforted by the fact that once the film ends, reality returns, and the perceived “danger” illustrated in the horror narrative remains relegated to the fantasy realm upon the television screen. One genre of horror that has been produced in many forms for years is that of zombies and the zombie apocalypse.
The night of the living dead was released in 1968 and is widely regarded by many as one of the first zombie films ever created. Running for only an hour and a half, the film was shot in black and white and directed by George A Romero. Romero only had a very small budget when directing the movie, and purposely chose to film it in black and white to “hide” the imperfections that were inevitable in its production. Despite this, it was a resounding success and redefined the genre.
Unfortunately, it appears that zombies may no longer be only a thing of fantasy. In Yellowstone national park, a disease titled “zombie deer disease” was found in a deer. The disease is reportedly caused by a malformed protein, and causes drooling, listlessness, and eventual death. It impacts the central nervous system. There is no known vaccine, cure, or treatment. It has been found in animals in 31 states.