Zombie Films Essay
George A. Romero’s living dead films constitutes the most significant reservoir of popular zombie culture in existence. Romero’s films are rich with social and political commentary and are as notable for their unique view of contemporary American culture as they are for their gore and guts. Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later marks the most significant turn in the modern zombie genre, this time toward a twenty-first century concern with contagion and outbreak. What’s next in the genre? We’ve seen representations of zombies in television in shows like The Walking Dead, and they’ve proliferated in cinema as well, in films like Train to Busan, Dawn of the Dead (the remake), The Battery, Warm Bodies, Shaun of the Dead, Juan of the Dead, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Dead Snow, Life After Beth, Get Out, Zombieland, Pontypool, Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, The Girl With All the Gifts, The Dead, etc… We’re starting this unit by reviewing what I am referring to here as “the classics” of the modern zombie genre: Romero’s first two films and also Boyle’s film. This will give us a good sense of what the zombie genre is about. But your assignment will be to tell us where it’s headed now. Zombie Films Essay Specifically, you will select one of the more contemporary zombie films from the list above (or another one if approved by the instructor), and, using your understanding of one of the three earlier films, make a claim about what has changed between that earlier film and the more contemporary film. In short, this is a comparison/contrast exercise that is also and at the same time, an argument paper. Examining the earlier “classic” zombie film and the more recent contemporary film, your assignment is to make a strong, arguable claim about the meaning of the zombie now. Moreover, you’re going to do a lot of research in the zombie genre, thus giving you an opportunity to ground your claim in the broader zombie discussions taking place nationwide. Step 1. Pick one of the three films we’ve analyzed together in class (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, or 28 Days Later) and then pick one of the contemporary films listed above to focus on. Zombie Films Essay
That means that you’ll have two films total–one of the “classics” and one of the more contemporary films. It will be up to you to choose which films you want to analyze, AND to find a way to view the contemporary film. Once you’ve chosen the two films you want to compare, you should try to make an arguable claim about what that film is doing in the zombie genre, how it’s changing our expectations or understanding of what zombies are. At this stage in the game, your argument will be called a “working thesis” because it will stand in the place of your final thesis. It isn’t a thesis you have to absolutely stick to, but it’s a starting point for your work. You may want to change some things up, as you write and research, but for now, that thesis will give you some direction. Basically, what you have is a placeholder thesis that may or may not look like the final product. A NOTE on Step 1: It is necessary to focus your argument on one particular topic, or area of interest. So, for instance, you might want to discuss the way that female characters are treated in Night of the Living Dead and how they’re treated in Zombieland. This would allow you to make a concrete claim about the relationship between the two films (women are treated as hysterics in Romero’s first film, while in Zombieland they are treated in a different way) and then use that as a stepping stone to making a claim about the genre as a whole. (Zombie films still tend to focus on male leads, but they do seem to understand more fundamentally the importance of female characters. Whether they treat women as hysterics or love interests, they rarely see women as complex beings). You get the idea. Step 2. Conduct research. You should try to find everything you can about A). the films you’re writing about, B). the zombie genre and/or the horror genre, and C). the topic you’re focusing on. For the purposes of this class, that will primarily be materials that you search for on the HCC library website and in the library itself. Step 3. Looking ahead, once you’ve done your research and found out what’s out there about your topic, you should go back to your “working thesis” and revise it to be more reflective of the knowledge you’ve gained through research. Remember that you are joining a conversation, so you want to make sure your argument is unique, but also acknowledges the work that’s out there. It may be informed by the things you’ve read, but it should be something that would surprise even the author of your favorite secondary source. As you write, your thesis may still change or grow to reflect the ideas within your paper. Zombie Films Essay Conversely, you should also look to tailor your writing within the paper to your thesis. A good paper is always in the process of either articulating the thesis or supporting it. Step 4. As you write in support of your thesis, employ the following basic steps of analysis: –Look for notable patterns or points of contrast in the films related to your chosen topic and point them out in your essay. You may find patterns in the behavior of the characters, in the ways the scenes are filmed and assembled, in the narrative logic of the film or in the themes that the film deals with. Here’s an example of what I mean: Let’s say I’m interested in writing my paper about the role of science or scientists in Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and the contemporary film, The Girl With All the Gifts. Zombie Films Essay If I want to do this comparison, I’ll probably analyze the scenes from Night of the Living Dead in which the scientists are interviewed on television about the cause of the outbreak and I’ll be likely to compare them to the scenes in The Girl With All the Gifts when the scientists are most prominently featured. You get the idea–focus on the scenes in the films that are most relevant to your topic. Step 5. Finally, as you develop your argument, remember to use your secondary materials to help you make your argument. These materials MUST be quoted or cited within your essay. Usually, you should cite secondary material in the middle of a paragraph. This way, your voice leads and guides the paragraph, and you have the opportunity to comment on or elaborate on the quotation after you’ve cited it. Quotes at the beginning or ending of paragraphs detract from the development of your own voice as a writer and should be avoided. Requirements: Final Paper of at least 2000 words, typed, double spaced, Times New Roman 12 or Calibri 11 font, citation of one of the three films we’ll discuss in class and at least five secondary sources, proper MLA formatting throughout, including in-text citation and a works cited page. The essay should be written in the standard research essay format, with an introduction and thesis in the first paragraph, several body paragraphs that support your thesis with analysis and research and at the end, a conclusion. I’ll included an essay outline in the next module to help you remember what the essay should look like. Use it. Finally, just a note here on the secondary material. It should all come from the HCC library or, if you’re also attending another college/university, their library system is fine, too. you may use historical sources, contemporary sources, sources that discuss film genres, sources that discuss the films themselves, sources that deal with an issue in the films, etc… That’s up to you.
Zombie Films Essay