Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

phillip sipiora


28 days later, george romero, non zombie films, post 9/11, zombie


This dissertation explores a body of films produced after the events of 9/11, and while examining this specific point of departure, the author presents the argument on the vast cultural relevancy of the omnipresent zombie. These films are interrogative and complex, offering the viewing audience a rich tapestry of interwoven meanings. Furthermore, the author suggests that the zombie trope has, in fact, left the genre altogether, reinserted into a style of films he labels as "non-zombie appropriation." Chapter 1 introduces the zombie genre as both part of the larger horror genre aesthetic and as its' own legitimate subgenre. The zombie has a rich cinematic history, going back more than seven decades; heretofore, the last decade continues to see an unabated release of the viewing world's favorite creature. Chapter 2 examines 28 Days Later and the sequel 28 Weeks Later as critical films functioning as works that refocus the zombie for the twenty-first century. As no serious discussion of filmic zombies can occur without the immeasurable significance of George A. Romero, chapter 3 concentrates on the auteur reclaiming a genre he helped to invent with his films Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead. These two works show a director that refuses to rest on his laurels by encoding these films with rich post-9/11 concerns. In chapter 4, the examination of the disparate films Equilbruim and The Happening discuss the utilization of non-zombie appropriations, films with no discernible zombies, but for all intents and purpose, imitate that specific narrative. By way of conclusion, chapter 5 continues the non-zombie trope with the abstract (and indeed postmodern) They Came Back. The chapter ends with an augmentation of the framework and with other concerns for the argument. This dissertation should be of interest to both horror scholarship overall and zombie films in particular. It aims to provide a refined reading of a significant body of works and add to the current and critical legitimization to this important style of cinematic artistry.