Nearly Dead: A St. Pete Zombie Tale

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Necro and the Zombie Nation: St. Pete , Zombie Nation , Zombies. Hope to see lots of folks out and about this weekend for a ton of zombie-themed fun! Share this: Facebook Twitter Email. Like this: Like Loading Jim permalink. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public. By the time Dawn of the Dead was released in the cultural tide had shifted completely, and Romero had essentially reinvented the zombie for American audiences.

But the zombie myth is far older and more rooted in history than the blinkered arc of American pop culture suggests. It first appeared in Haiti in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the country was known as Saint-Domingue and ruled by France, which hauled in African slaves to work on sugar plantations.

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Slavery in Saint-Domingue under the French was extremely brutal: Half of the slaves brought in from Africa were worked to death within a few years, which only led to the capture and import of more. In the hundreds of years since, the zombie myth has been widely appropriated by American pop culture in a way that whitewashes its origins—and turns the undead into a platform for escapist fantasy.

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The original brains-eating fiend was a slave not to the flesh of others but to his own. The myth evolved slightly and was folded into the Voodoo religion, with Haitians believing zombies were corpses reanimated by shamans and voodoo priests. Sorcerers, known as bokor , used their bewitched undead as free labor or to carry out nefarious tasks. This was the post-colonialism zombie, the emblem of a nation haunted by the legacy of slavery and ever wary of its reinstitution.

A codified set of tropes is the perfect place to play around with expectations and catch an audience off-guard. Digging through the history of the zombie comedy, one discovers a mirroring effect: The movies that play the brainless hordes for laughs tend to adapt and evolve alongside the movies that mine them for screams.

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Romero and John A. Specifically, they want braaiiinnsssss. Lovecraft movie, Re-Animator. The story follows unhinged medical student Herbert West, who develops a formula to put life back into the dead — to horrific ends.

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The underground classic leans into exploitation, aiming its gross-out effects and pervy-ness directly at cult film fandom. Seven years later, New Zealand upstart Peter Jackson ever heard of him?

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Teaming with his future Lord of the Rings effects guru, Richard Taylor, Jackson douses the screen and his actors in blood, guts, and viscera to the point of absurdity. The joy in the film comes from just how creative the carnage can be.

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The genius of Braindead is how long that sequence goes on for and how many insane kills are built into it. The early aughts were a boom time for zombies, funny and not. Before then, zombies were largely relegated to the horror section of video stores.

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The Romero movies were considered classics, but in terms of modern zombies, culturally all we had were the Resident Evil games, poised to become their own strangely successful film franchise.