Monday, 14 July 2014
Review: The Zombie Film by Alain Silver and James Ursini
Publisher: Limelight Editions
Format: Large paperback
Released: April 17th, 2014
The Zombie Film is the most comprehensive examination of the zombie film genre to date. With a detailed filmography of over 400 movies stretching back to the genre's earliest days, it begins with such classics as White Zombie (1932). The Zombie Film features over 500 illustrations and entertaining sidebars on such subjects as zombie literature, zombie myth and history, zombie comics, and literary sources, such as H. P. Lovecraft and Richard Matheson.
Zombies in pop culture are huge right now, thanks in part to the massive success of TV show The Walking Dead. Zombies have always been around but suddenly they're as mainstream as vampires and werewolves, and they're definitely enjoying their time in the limelight. The Zombie Film is a giant compendium of a book covering every zombie film I've ever heard of (and many more that I haven't) along with select TV shows and video games.
The Zombie Film begins with a look at zombies in myth, history, literature and popular culture. It then goes in to include sections on postwar zombies, zombies through the decades, female zombies and post-modern zombies. Obviously these are just a handful of chapters you an expect to find in this book, but they just so happen to be my stand-out sections. This book covers everything - I have a soft spot for the Resident Evil films so it's great to see them get some page space, and I was very excited to see Buffy briefly appear along with a full page picture of my all-time favourite I Am Legend book cover!
This book is absolutely packed with photographs of zombie films, some of which are just brilliant. There's also a lot of text commentary throughout, which is written well and is easy to read, almost like having a conversation with a fellow zombie fan. It employs quite a personal approach rather than reading like a textbook, and the level of research the authors must have undertaken is astounding. I'm sure there must be one or two errors hidden somewhere but my zombie film knowledge isn't expert enough to spot any.
If you want to know more about the walking, rotting dead then The Zombie Film is everything you could ever need. I can't think of a single film that has been omitted, it's as up to date as World War Z and is absolutely jam-packed with delightfully disgusting, bloody images of all your favourite zombies. I loved reading it and improving my zombie film knowledge, and the best part is a section about George Romero and how Richard Matheson's I Am Legend was the key inspiration for his zombie films. There's information here I've never read before and, for me, that alone is worth owning this amazing book!