Zombies are everywhere these days, in shows like The Walking Dead, Hollywood blockbusters like World War Z and I Am Legend and the ambling and shambling undead were one of the most popular Halloween costumes this year.
But it was not always so and a brilliant new book charts the rise of the zombie from Voodoo tradition virtually unknown outside of Haiti and other Caribbean islands to the all-conquering relentless phenomenon they are today.
Robert Luckhurst, Professor of Modern Literature at Birkbeck College, University of London, explores zombie-lore through colonial history, comics, pulp fiction, B-movies, medical records and Hollywood films to examine the rise of the zombie, in his eminently readable Zombies – A Cultural History.
As well as the cultural and almost mass hysteria hunger for zombie fiction, Professor Luckhurst also looks into the facts behind the myth.
Are zombies real?
The author studies Haitian accounts were people are convinced the superstition is very real indeed.
There is the fascinating case of Felicia Felix-Mentor in 1936, who it was claimed had been brought back from the dead and was walking along a dirt track to her father’s house despite allegedly dying in 1907.
It was said her body had been reanimated by the terrifying power of Voodoo.
The 224-page hardback book is a must-read for all zombie fans and is available through Reaktion Books and priced at £16.