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Podcast Episode 96: Zombies For Humanity

Zombies may not have brains but they have big hearts

In this podcast Professor Arnold T. Blumberg looks to films such as George A....

Credit: United Film Distribution Company

Above: In this podcast Professor Arnold T. Blumberg looks to films such as George A. Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" as works of social commentary.

Episode 96: Zombies for Humanity

Zombies may not have any brains but they have big hearts. Doctor of the Dead Arnold T. Blumberg joins Cinema Junkie to discuss zombie films with a social conscience everything from George A. Romero to 'The Walking Dead' and Max Brooks' 'World War Z.' Zombie films even have something to say about this year's presidential election.

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It's time for my annual check up with the Doctor of the Dead. Last year he diagnosed the self-aware zombie, this year he talks about Zombies for Humanity or zombies whose hearts have grown bigger than their brains.

In real life, the Doctor of the Dead is Professor Arnold T. Blumberg of the University of Baltimore. He is also an author and podcaster. Last year for Podcast Episode 59, I spoke with Blumberg about the self-aware zombie, the ones that were dead and knew it. This year the topic under investigation is Zombies for Humanity, that’s right, zombie films that have a social conscience because the best zombies films have never really been about zombies they have been about us and about social issues that plague us.

Zombie films, more than any other group or subdivision of horror, have consistently over the decades returned to themes about social issues be it racism, classicism, or the fundamental issue of what makes us human and the man most responsible for this is George Romero, who we can credit as the father of the modern zombie film and most of its mythology.

“My films are more about what's happening today. My view of what's happening today," Romero told me in a 2008 interview. "The shopping mall inspired 'Dawn of the Dead;' 'Day of the Dead' was about mistrust, people holing up and completely losing trust for each other. 'Land of the Dead' is about the Bush Administration."

On this podcast we will discuss Romero's zombie films as well as look back to the voodoo zombie film and to contemporary TV shows such as "The Walking Dead" and "In the Flesh." We will also discuss Max Brooks' brilliant "World War Z" book as we dig deep into way the zombie film provides the perfect blank canvas for social commentary.

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