Sunday, 10 April 2011
Zombies! by Jovanka Vuckovic
To quote the blurb on the back of the book "ZOMBIES! An Illustrated History of the Undead is the first book to take a long, putrefying look at the entire zombie phenomenon. From origins in Haitian voodoo zombie folklore and the literature of Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, the undead begin to seep through the pulp magazines and silent cinema of the early twentieth century and on to classic 1970s and eighties undead flicks like Lucio Fulci's Zombie and George A. Romero's legendary Dawn of the Dead."
"Written by famed horror expert Jovanka Vuckovic, and featuring an exclusive foreword by Romero himself, ZOMBIES! brings you all this and more, coming right up to date with movies like Zombieland and [Rec], the new wave of zombie novels, The Walking Dead comic book and TV show, and even zombie walks. Despite numerous attempts to assign the rotting corpses permanently to their graves, there is no end in sight to our thirst for the horror and drama the undead provide. ZOMBIES! is a fascinating and visually arresting roam through a still-vital sub-genre"
What attracted me to this hardbacked tome (apart from the fact that it was about zombies!) was the depth of its coverage. The majority of the book's 176 pages is taken up with a comprehensive look at zombies on film. Then follows chapters on zombie novels, computer games, comics, TV shows and even zombie walks, which are growing in popularity. I had a lot of fun mentally ticking off which flims I'd seen and which books and comics I'd read. Jovanka has an easy to read writing style and she clearly knows her subject. Also, she's not afraid to call a bad film a turkey. She appeared as a zombie extra in Zach Snyder's remake of Dawn of the Dead but does not have a high opinion of the film, much prefering the original. I totally agreed with her. It was also nice to see how up to date her film reviews were. Not only that, but she also mentions numerous zombie films to look out for later this year and in 2012. It is well illustrated, mainly in colour, although obviously not for those films shot in black and white.
So, is this an essential purchase? I guess that all depends on your budget and how big a fan of the whole zombie genre you are. To be honest, I guess most zombie fans who follow my blog will decide this is not worth buying and I can understand why they'd think that. Just think of how many figures you could buy for the price of this book. For me, this was a must-have buy. I learnt an awful lot from this book, even though I already know a great deal about the subject. If the study of zombies ever crops up on a school curriculum this would be an essential text book for Zombies 101. It is a hard-backed book published by Ilex and costs £17.99. I can highly recommend it.