Moyan Zhang


Since the beginning of the new century, Western popular culture has been haunted by a ghost — zombie — which increasingly demonstrates its attraction and potential for interpretation in Hollywood genre film. First of all, at the image level, the image of zombie is a metaphorical representation or symbolic critique of such important concepts as capital, the proletariat, and the subject of consumption under the umbrella of capitalism. These critical values of zombie are closely related to the “negative dialectics” implied in its definition. Therefore, it points to an alternative to the post-human vision of cyborg. Secondly, the commercial success of the zombie film is rooted in the plundering and appropriation of images from former colonies on the one hand, and a compromise with the logic of local consumerism on the other. This holistic process is itself an expression of the problems including postcoloniality in the capitalist world system. A theoretical identification of the local metaphor as well as the holistic allegory presented by the zombie film allows us to understand the main aspects of the capitalist cultural logic that underlie these films as well as their future developments.


zombie, genre film, capitalism, posthuman, postcoloniality

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