War and Social Upheaval Cause Spikes in Zombie Movie Production

Posted on November 13, 2008 

War and Social Upheaval Cause Spikes in Zombie Movie Production

There’s been a huge spike in the production of zombie movies lately, and many of them seem to be inspired by war. Everything from 28 Days Later to Zombie Strippers make explicit reference to wartime, as did seminal 1968 zombie flick Night of the Living Dead. Is there really a connection between zombie movies and social unrest? We decided to do some research and find out. The result? We’ve got a line graph showing the number of zombie movies coming out in the West each year since 1910 — and there are definite spikes during certain years, which always seem to happen eerily close to historical events involving war or social upheaval.

Mostly we’ve focused on movies from the U.S. and Europe, and we’ve included the living dead among zombies — so mummies are included, but vampires and ghosts aren’t. Obviously as you look at this chart, you have to correct somewhat for the fact that more movies are being made as we get closer to the present, and (more importantly) there are better records of those movies with better tagging. So it’s easier to research movies with zombies in them if you’re looking at productions from the 1980s onward. In addition, there’s been a huge boom in indie and low-budget horror movies over the past ten years, and that undoubtedly accounts somewhat for the giant spike you see during the last 8 years or so.

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