Exhumed: A History Of Zombies
Stream now or tune in Friday, Oct. 30, 2020 at 10 p.m. & Saturday, Oct. 31 at 10 p.m. on KPBS 2 + Oct. 31 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Credit: Courtesy of PBS Digital Studios
Celebrate Halloween with the launch of “Exhumed: A History Of Zombies,” a new special presented by PBS Digital Studios’ popular series MONSTRUM. The one-hour documentary will premiere on Friday, October 30 at 10 p.m.
“Exhumed: A History Of Zombies” is written and presented by MONSTRUM’s Dr. Emily Zarka. She’ll take audiences deep into the lore of the zombie throughout American history, examining zombie legends and tales to share what these creatures reveal about shifts in society, history and our deepest anxieties.
The film also provides unique insight into America’s dark past of slavery and foreign occupation, as well as modern-day uncertainties about pandemics and bioterrorism.
“We can learn a lot about our culture by exploring the monsters we invent,” said Zarka. “Looking at the portrayal of zombies over the past two centuries, we can witness the evolving issues and anxieties Americans have faced.”
In the special, Zarka interviews experts, spiritual practitioners and academics, uncovering the historical roots of zombie folklore, including African spiritual practices, the Transatlantic slave trade, and Haitian Vodou and Voodoo beliefs.
She also explores popular culture to witness how the monster has evolved to reflect different eras of American history as it became a staple of films, television and video games. Zombie stories over the decades represented a range of fears, including nuclear weapons, overpopulation and political uprisings.
The channel's mission is to show how we can better understand ourselves through the art and culture we create, from mythology to movies to design and much more. With dozens of MONSTRUM episodes available, viewers can learn more about their favorite spooky creature, from Dracula to El Chupacabra and the Kraken to the Banshee.
The MONSTRUM digital series includes:
“The Origins of the Zombie, from Haiti to the U.S.” premieres: Wednesday, October 14 on PBS Storied - On the first episode of our three-part special series, we explore the complex history of the zombie—from its origins in the spiritual beliefs of the African diaspora to the development of Vodou in Haiti. Learn how one of the most enduring monsters in popular culture evolved in the midst of slavery, racism and prejudice.
“How Night of the Living Dead Changed Zombies Forever” premieres: Wednesday, October 21 on PBS Storied - One of the most influential movies in the zombie canon is George A. Romero’s 1968 "Night of the Living Dead." We’re examining the impact of the iconic “Romero zombie,” how it took shape in the racially charged civil rights era and why it altered zombie history forever.
“Why Modern-Day Zombies Are So Terrifying” premieres: Wednesday, October 28 on PBS Storied - Most zombies today are fast, strong, travel in hordes and continue to terrify us in new ways. In this final episode of our zombie trilogy, we look into how racism along with current fears of pandemics and bioterrorism in our society significantly change the characteristics of the modern zombie in video games, Hollywood—and beyond.
“Exhumed: A History Of Zombies” premieres: Friday, October 30 at 10 p.m. on KPBS 2 - There are few monsters more recognizable or popular than the zombie. The reanimated corpse has been a staple of folklore, film, literature and popular culture for nearly 200 years. In this new one-hour special, Dr. Emily Zarka, who studies literature and film through the lens of monsters and is the host/writer of PBS’s popular MONSTRUM digital series, will deconstruct some of the most significant moments in zombie popular culture over the last two centuries to reveal what these creatures say about us.
Watch On Your Schedule:
“Exhumed: A History Of Zombies” will be available to stream starting Friday, October 30 on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available for streaming on PBS Documentary Channel via Amazon, and available for purchase via Amazon, Apple and Comcast.
Join The Conversation:
Follow @ZarkaEmily on Twitter.
A Spotzen production for PBS. Brandon Arolfo and Adam Dylewski are the executive producers for PBS; Amanda Fox is executive producer for Spotzen. The program is produced by Amanda Fox and Stephanie Noone and directed by David Schulte.
“We’re excited to bring another PBS Digital Studios success to our broadcast platform,” said Brandon Arolfo, head of PBS Digital Studios. “This ghoulish special will entertain and expand minds with great educational information in the unique way that only PBS can.”
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