Zombie Name Generator
Are you a member of the recently deceased? Do you have a hungering for brains? Does shuffling around in the post-apocalyptic streets sound like a fantastic idea? If so, it's time to let out a groan and shamble towards your destiny with our zombie name generator!
The word 'zombie' originally developed in West Africa, and apparently came from the separate Kongo words 'nzambi', meaning 'god', and 'zumbi', meaning fetish. In African and Haitian folklore, a zombie is someone who has been revived from death by a Bokor, or Vodou priest. This person remains under the spell of the Bokor, without any will of their own, and they are usually the victim of drugs that have put them in an easily influenced state of mind control. These drugs can also initially create a lethargic coma that closely resembles death, leading to the folklore belief that the Bokor actually has control over life and death.
This concept of 'zombies' first gained popular attention during the USA's occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934. A number of case histories of so-called zombie activity emerged during this time, and while some of them were undoubtedly influenced by rumour and hearsay, the profile of the cases led to the writing of The Magic Island by William Seabrook, a book that ignited interest in Vodou culture and the idea of the zombie. This quickly translated into popular culture, with the film White Zombie arriving in 1932, featuring then-horror-superstar Bela Lugosi, and the idea of the zombie as a mind-controlled, recently deceased lumbering terror began to grow both in films and in the horror fiction of magazines like Weird Tales.
Zombies continued to occasionally appear in Hollywood films, most notably in the 1943 cult classic I Walked With A Zombie, directed by Jacques Tourneur, and to less acclaimed effect in Ed Wood's legendarily terrible 1959 science fiction clunker Plan 9 from Outer Space. By the beginning of the 1960s, however, zombies were becoming more of a fleeting presence in pop culture, not quite showing the staying power of Universal Studios monsters like Frankenstein's Monster or the Wolf Man – but a micro-budgeted independent horror film in 1968 ended up changing this, and transforming the entire concept of the zombie.
George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead never once actually mentions the word 'zombie' – its horde of shambling, undead killers are referred to as 'ghouls', and are actually closer to the idea of a 'revenant' – but the unexpectedly huge success of the movie and its critical reception resulted in the word being associated with deathly pale walking corpses with a hunger for humans. By the time of Romero's sequel Dawn of the Dead in 1978, the word zombie was now fully associated with his weirdly tragic creatures, and the film also broadened out the idea of zombies to represent the growing tide of American consumerism. This more satirical edge to the zombie gave the concept even more heft, and the idea began turning up more and more in horror films throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
It was in the 2000s, however, with the 2002 release of the horror film 28 Days Later, that the 'new wave' of zombie post-apocalyptic thrillers truly took hold of modern pop culture. While 28 Days Later doesn't technically qualify as a zombie movie – the threat is thanks to a 'rage virus' – it utilises the visual language and concepts of earlier movies in some clear homages, and showed a clear resonance with post-millennial fears, especially in the wake of 9-11. This success was closely followed by Zack Snyder's acclaimed remake of Dawn of the Dead in 2004, and soon zombie movies were appearing so frequently that they now qualify as their own subgenre.
The biggest influence on the current zombie trend actually arrived in 2003, when a black-and-white zombie comic was first published by Image Comics. The Walking Dead gained serious acclaim on its first appearance, but nobody quite expected it to turn into such a sales juggernaut and to run for years, notching up over 150 issues with no signs of slowing down. This has been helped massively by the success of the Walking Dead TV series, which first aired in 2010 and has spent much of its life gaining massive success and acclaim, while also spawning a spin-off series, Fear the Walking Dead, in 2015. While recent viewing figures suggest that the show's success may not last forever, the tidal wave of interest in zombies that has been set off by The Walking Dead and the multitude of movies, TV shows and novels exploring the zombie phenomenon suggest that these shambling, undead horrors will be haunting our collective imagination for many years to come.
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