Rise of Zombies in a Post-September 11th Culture
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This project explores the effect the 9/11 terrorist attacks had on Western culture by looking at zombies in popular culture prior to 9/11 and how the zombie genre has changed to reflect Americans’ fear of another terrorist attack. The presentation examines the cultural role early zombie movies, Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Dawn of the Dead (1978), had upon their releases and how they reflected Western culture’s social anxieties of their time. The next focus is on the September 11th terrorist attacks and the lasting effect they have had on Western culture. The 9/11 attacks are compared to Immanuel Kant’s theories of the sublime and how a society is impacted by such an extreme act of hyper violence. A newer perspective of apocalyptic rhetoric combines Kant’s theories with traditional apocalyptic rhetoric to create a term known as “apocalyptic sublime”. By applying theories on the “apocalyptic sublime” to themes in zombie movies after 9/11, the project relates this comparison to the rise of zombies in popular culture with the movies 28 Days Later (2003) and City of the Dead (2005) to reflect the change in Western culture.