Vampire gentlemen and zombie beasts: a rendering of true monstrosity

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Date: May 2013
From: Gothic Studies(Vol. 15, Issue 1)
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Document Type: Article
Length: 5,198 words

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Many vampires in popular fiction have developed a conscience that mitigates their monstrosity and makes them objects of human love and admiration. With the advent of the reformed vampire, Western culture has, perhaps, lost an icon of true horror. As the vampire has become increasingly humanized and sympathetic, the zombie has stepped up to take its place. Zombies remind us that we will soon be decomposing flesh; the zombie horde embodies fear of loss of self and individuality; zombies expose the dark side of mass consumer culture; and zombies highlight the fragility of human identity in an advanced, globalised society.

Keywords: vampires, zombies, undead, globalisation, George Romero, The Walking Dead, Twilight, True Blood

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In a 2009 Time article, Lev Grossman explores the puzzling appeal of the 'hideous and mindless' zombie versus the 'good-looking and sophisticated' vampire. (1) Despite its apparent disadvantages, Grossman argues, the zombie has challenged the vampire's 'It monster' status. (2) This reversal has occurred as vampires have lost much of the edge that once defined their monstrosity; no longer terrifyingly parasitic, vampires are often (sym)pathetic, or even palliative. As Natalie Wilson notes, today's vampire is 'a lonely immortal longing for love, family, and approval'. (3) Many vampires have developed a conscience that has led them to eschew human blood, and this reformed vampire needs a counterpart who will look and feed like a monster. The zombie meets this need, voicing anxieties that many contemporary vampire narratives silence. The zombie has surpassed the vampire as a source of horror and revulsion because the vampire has become so 'civilised' that it needs an alter ego to bear the burden of true monstrosity.

Traditionally, audiences have associated vampires with horror. However, if we apply Ramsey Campbell's assertion that the business of horror fiction is 'showing the audience things they've avoided seeing', we would likely classify much of today's popular vampire fiction elsewhere. (4) Ken Gelder's view that horror 'can disturb in some ways, and console in others' better describes the 'new' vampirism, but perhaps James Twitchell's notion that horror seeks to 'conserve culture and protect the individual' best describes the performance of sympathetic vampires. (5) While vampires have become less terrifying, they have demonstrated their versatility with their rise as heroes and the emergence of the vampire romance. Most zombie fiction, however, remains more closely tied to the horror tradition described by Campbell.

The evolution of vampire and zombie narratives reveals their sensitivity to cultural changes. Nina Auerbach's view of vampires as 'personifications of their age' emphasises their adaptive ability, while Gregory Waller views tales of vampires and zombies as evolving versions of the story of the confrontation between the living and the undead, a story whose retelling 'always involves variation as well as standardization, innovation as well as convention'. (6) Our study, too, will focus on conservation and innovation. Specifically, we view the horror genre as a system in which value is conserved--that is, the genre will meet a certain terror 'quota' at any given time, using available resources to satisfy audience demand--and in which a 'deficit' in the vampire subgenre has been offset through innovation in the zombie subgenre. We view narrative adaptations in the two subgenres as mutually informing developments within a single larger system; thus, we will explore developments in vampire and zombie fiction that, taken together, illustrate the diverging directions of these two monsters.

Unequally undead

Although both vampires and zombies are reanimated corpses, they engage audiences differently: the zombie incites fear, while the sympathetic vampire incites desire. This dichotomy is a relatively recent development; early literary vampires, though often seductive, were subversive, menacing figures. Dracula, for example, has been viewed as a figure of various threats to Victorian values and society: to Stephen Arata, Dracula depicts the 'nightmare of reverse colonisation', while to Waller, Dracula documents 'the struggle between the values of a selfless, unified community and the destructive excesses of egotistical individualism'. (7) Dracula and vampires like him embody the fear of destabilised humanity by threatening the borders of our existence. They not only promise death, but also threaten how we understand ourselves and our world.

In contrast, today's 'new' vampire obeys human laws, respects Western society's norms, and shares its values. The Cullens of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series and vampires like them are heirs to a tradition of vampiric reform. Such vampires do not wish to destabilise, but to conserve. For example, Nick Knight of the TV series Forever Knight respects humanity, drinks only animal blood, and seeks a cure for his vampirism; he is more a superhero with special powers, which he uses to help people. (8) Before Nick Knight, Dark Shadows introduced Barnabas Collins, arguably the first sympathetic vampire. (9) Originally, his character was envisioned as a traditional vampire, but the writers later--and very successfully--burdened him with a troubled conscience to 'breathe life' into the series. (10)

It is, perhaps, no coincidence that soon thereafter George Romero created the modern zombie in Night of the Living Dead (1968). Perhaps his transformation of the vampires of Richard Matheson's I Am Legend (1954), the film's inspiration, into flesh-eating 'ghouls' was an early sign that vampires were becoming less frightening. With the advent of sympathetic vampires--so popular today that traditional villainous vampires are nearly extinct--the audience's craving for a real monster remained unsated. While today's vampires are still, technically, walking corpses, they lack the reality of a corpse; they are pristine, perfectly preserved, and sexually potent. Few zombies exhibit these attributes.

The zombie vividly defines what Julia Kristeva has termed the abject: 'The corpse ... is death infecting life, from which one does not protect oneself as from an object.' (11) As Kyle Bishop has noted, abjection 'can be visually represented ... by betwixt-and-between conditions, such as the zombies' unnatural state between animation and decay'. (12) The zombie reminds us that we will soon be rotting flesh without thought or control. We fear this, yet it fascinates us--a key source of the appeal of horror, which makes us look at what we avoid seeing and provides a cathartic purgation of fear. (13) This aversion/attraction impulse applies well to audience consumption of zombie fiction, less readily to the appeal of today's vampire fiction.

The zombie has become increasingly abject, menacing, and pervasive. Early zombies, in Haitian folklore and its African roots, were reanimated corpses that were used primarily as slaves. They neither threatened the living nor ate human flesh; in fact, in William Seabrook's account of his experiences in Haiti, zombies are 'like people asleep with their eyes open, staring, but seeing nothing'. (14) The menacing zombie of today can be traced to George Romero's innovation; as Kim Paffenroth notes, Night of the Living Dead (1968) 'has defined the zombie genre since its release.' (15) Later zombies may move more quickly, as in the '28' films, or vary in other ways from Romero's 'ghouls', but the most popular and well-known zombie productions are generally indebted to Romero's work. (16) The 'Living Dead' franchise, the '28' films cited above, and AMC's The Walking Dead highlight issues that have created the growing gulf separating zombies from vampires. (17) Indeed, recent developments suggest that Auerbach's notion of the vampire as a special cultural production that 'feeds on his age distinctively because he embodies that age' is now even more applicable to its less glamourous undead cousin. (18)

The body: vampire fantasies, zombie nightmares

Zombie bodies and vampire bodies inhabit opposite ends of the undead spectrum. As vampires have become upholders of human social codes, their hard, muscular form has come to connote social and political stability. Zombies, in contrast, threaten stability and security not only through their menace to life, but through their very bodies, a stark image of disintegration and harbinger of a crumbling civilisation. Zombie narratives 'demonstrate how easily our bodies, our homes, our cities, our country, and our universe can be invaded'. (19) Indeed, Romero and other filmmakers seem to revel in depicting zombies as 'not only dead but also openly ... decomposing on the screen'. (20)

In contrast, today's vampires typically express everlasting youth, beauty, and vitality, denying the corruption of the grave. The Cullens of the Twilight series, for example, are 'more Greek god than revivified corpse'. (21) Screen characterisations of vampires showcase an idealised form: Stefan and Damon Salvatore (played by Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder) of The Vampire Diaries, True Blood's Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) and Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), and others are models of popular physical ideals. (22) While such depictions obviously satisfy the marketing requirements of the entertainment industry, they also respond to a seeming epidemic of body dysmorphic disorder and an obsessive fear of ageing that have plagued Western culture in recent years, particularly among the young people who constitute the target audience for much vampire fiction. In the USA, nearly 219,000 people between thirteen and nineteen years of age had cosmetic procedures in 2010, while a 2009 British study revealed that half of females aged sixteen to twenty-one 'would consider cosmetic surgery to make themselves thinner or prettier'. (23) The cultural anxiety reflected in these statistics is resolved in vampire fiction, such as the Twilight series. Haunted by the contrast between her 'ordinary' face and the beauty of her vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen, protagonist Bella Swan voices readers' insecurities. Her fear of ageing--expressed in nightmares in which she sees herself as an old woman next to still-youthful Edward--is resolved in her transformation into a vampire of 'dizzying beauty'. (24) New-millennium vampires like Edward Cullen are consummate plastic surgeons whose work guarantees eternal youth.

Instead of offering the fantasy of an everlasting makeover, the zombie is a painful reminder of physical infirmity. The Walking Dead makes this point vividly in the episode titled 'Vatos', in which protagonist Rick Grimes encounters a group of survivors who have taken refuge in a nursing home, where they are caring for elderly survivors. (25) The images of the patients, visibly nearing the end of life's journey, remind viewers of physical decay and mortality and invite comparison with the undead. This incident highlights not only fear of ageing and death, but the horror of a fate worse than both: eternity in a corrupt body--a body that is partially decomposed, often dismembered or mutilated, or in various other ways rendered even more abject than mere death alone would accomplish. As medical and technological advancements lengthen lifespans without promising lifelong health and mental acuity, imprisonment within a decaying body has become an increasingly powerful metaphor.

In his study of zombie cinema, Jamie Russell comments, '[George] Romero never lets us forget that this [Night of the Living Dead] is a film about the body. Or, to be more accurate, the horror of the body.' (26) Later filmmakers have pushed this vision to new extremes. Bishop remarks, for example, that 'the defining hallmark of the Italian zombie cycle became excessive violence and ultra-realistic gore'. (27)

In this trend, too, zombies and vampires have participated in contrary ways. Whereas vampires make death pretty, zombies reveal the ugliest human truth: we are piles of matter that consume and excrete other piles of matter. Zombies, like the mortally wounded body of Snowden in Joseph Heller's Catch-22, show us this truth by literally spilling their guts: 'Man was matter, that was Snowden's secret. The spirit gone, man is garbage.' (28)

Self and consciousness: vampire individuals, zombie bugs

The dissolution of the human spirit has been a key source of horror in zombie fiction since its origins. The folkloric zombie was a mindless corpse resuscitated through sorcery and enslaved. Today's zombies typically come in hordes, but generally still lack will, consciousness, and individuality; they constitute a collective body that acts without thought or understanding.

In contrast, vampires uphold human notions of Self. In today's vampire fiction, the individual may be corrupted, but never lost. As Sarah Lauro and Karen Embry note, the vampire 'seems always very definitely to retain its individuality'. (29) Indeed, today's vampirism is often depicted as an intensification of individuality; for example, the vampire Stefan Salvatore remarks that when people become vampires 'their natural behaviors' tend to be 'amplified'. (30) Today's vampires offer a romanticised view of monstrosity in which Self transcends death and people are eternally unique.

In contrast, the zombie dismantles individuality. Horrifying through their sheer numbers, zombies are 'a literalization of what has already happened' in our mechanised, depersonalised, consumer-powered age--'the death of the individual that continues to lumber forward'. (31) For its transformation from the harmless puppet of folklore to mass menace, the zombie is indebted to the simple mathematics of one of George Romero's innovations: the multiplication of zombies. Zombies reflect the fear of degeneration to a swarm. The idea that humanity cannot be meaningfully distinguished from the insect kingdom is strikingly conveyed in the closing scene of the first episode of The Walking Dead; as the camera slowly pans out on a group of zombies feeding on a horse while another group tries to break into the tank in which Rick Grimes is hiding, they eventually become mere specks, indistinguishable from ants swarming over a food source. (32) With nearly seven billion people crowding the face of the planet, this image is hard to avoid. (33)

Indeed, the zombie's denial of unique human identities may be its most chilling feat. By degrading man from master to meal, the zombie claims for itself the special position at the top of the food chain to which many humans believe they are biblically and biologically entitled. Reformed vampires deferentially affirm that entitlement; by feeding on the same animals that humans eat, they acknowledge human priority. While such vampires may form close relationships with humans, zombies no longer recognise humans as named individuals. Conversely, humans may recognise former family members and friends in the zombie horde, but their names no longer apply. This uncanny dissonance is seen in the grisly 'reunion' of siblings Barbra and Johnny in Night of the Living Dead: Johnny might look almost the same as he did before his death, but he is no longer Johnny; he is a mindless ghoul who has returned to feast on his (former) sister. As names lose their meaning, so do the terms that defined human relationships: brother, sister, friend. Apocalyptic narratives come in many varieties, but only the zombie apocalypse, through its outright reversal of the Adamic prerogative of naming and its equation of human flesh with other types of meat, doesn't just end the world as we know it--it effectively overrides the work of the Creation.

Vampire capitalists and zombie proles

As they express diverging views of the Self, vampires and zombies occupy opposing positions within Western capitalist society and elicit contrary responses to it, one based on desire and the (O)ther on disgust. Gelder has observed that Karl Marx himself saw vampirism as a fitting metaphor for capitalism, and as beneficiaries of that system, many of today's vampires enjoy lavish lifestyles that celebrate the alluring consumer ideal that Western capitalist society exalts. (34) Zombies, in contrast, have evolved as disenfranchised victims to reveal the ugly reality of corporate greed.

The connection between vampires and the consumer values on which capitalism thrives is found not only within vampire fiction, but also in real-world advertisements that some vampire narratives have spawned. The vampires that best exemplify avid consumerism are the Twilight Saga's Cullens. This series has inspired advertisements that go far beyond selling T-shirts to promote the screen adaptations of the novels. Edward Cullen most notably sells Volvos, and there are websites devoted to helping fans dress like Edward and Alice Cullen. (35) In a society that has generated many get-rich-quick schemes and instant fame machines such as American Idol, pursuit of the lifestyles of celebrities, even if they are fictional, is a national pastime. From the Cullens' flashy clothes and cars to their palatial home, it is evident that they are living the consumer dream promoted in Western capitalist society. Unlike Dracula, who inhabited a dilapidated castle, these vampires enjoy an opulent lifestyle, and perhaps more importantly, the accoutrements that represent their way of life can be purchased. Instead of feeding off society, vampires have become its pinnacle and its product.

As the Cullens have become not only exemplars of capitalist success but also instruments of it, other vampire fiction has 'bled' into real-world consumerism. To promote the series True Blood, HBO created faux advertisements to 'sell' the synthetic blood Tru Blood. (36) Like the Cullens, many of the vampires of True Blood are good capitalists who have mastered the system and play by its rules. For example, the vampire sheriff Eric Northman owns a popular Shreveport bar, Fangtasia. Eric exhibits the capitalist ideal: he has economic and political clout and seems to enjoy a glamourous lifestyle that reflects his powerful position. Moreover, the series depicts vampire blood as a high-priced commodity that is sold on a black market like other illegal substances, demonstrating the full extent of the vampire's support of capitalism. As much more than simple parasites, vampires own property, they provide employment for others, and their very essence is sold as a drug. This is a departure from the vampires who fed off of previous ages, giving nothing in return.

Whether they are 'outed' like those in True Blood or hiding their nature like those of Twilight, today's vampires uphold the fantasy of plenitude without effort. While it is implied that Eric Northman manages his bar, we rarely see the reality of that work, but only its rewards. This is also true with the Cullens. We occasionally see Carlisle working at the hospital, but even a doctor's salary could not support the Cullen lifestyle. Moreover, the Cullen 'siblings' pass as high-school students, so they are not expected to hold jobs; they simply enjoy the benefits of several lifetimes' worth of wealth accumulation and investment.

As the vampire glorifies reward without work, its zombie counterpart shows work without reward to reveal the harsh reality of capitalism and to denounce the capitalist-master role that many vampires promote. Unlike its vampiric counterpart, the zombie body has no monetary value, and zombies do not work toward any goal beyond the fulfilment of a simple drive. While we see the reality of their 'work' as zombies endlessly chase and feed on humans, there is never satiety, nor any sense of living well. They are the poor, who toil ceaselessly but never have enough; their predation on humans is a demand for the sustenance that has been denied to them. In societies where slavery has been abolished but capitalist exploitation thrives, the havoc wreaked by zombies encodes anxiety about riot and disorder, a warning that oppression breeds insurrection. Whereas vampires offer the hope of the sumptuous existence of our dreams, zombies remind us of the horror of the disillusioned horde.

Globalisation: viral zombies, custodian vampires

Vampires inhabit a distinctive, insular world of prosperity and benevolent capitalism, but the zombie horde is a sharp reminder of the dangers of globalised capitalism. Although audiences may envy the Cullens, they often forget that cultivation of their way of life creates a world of sameness. Zombies spread across borders, erasing human memory and transforming everything in their path into an unthinking, undifferentiated consumer throng.

Many recent zombie narratives express anxiety about globalisation in terms of infection. The T-Virus in Resident Evil and the Rage virus in 28 Days Later are created by scientists and unleashed through human error. (37) Zombies are thus created through irresponsible science, often in service to corporate (or military) interests. The struggle throughout both films--and their sequels--is to maintain the border between human and monster. There is heavy emphasis on quarantine and containment, under constant threat that borders will be breached--whether literal borders between countries or more figurative borders, like flesh.

In contrast, vampires often protect borders. Hero-vampires like Nick Knight, for example, do not infringe on the careful border that is maintained for human existence. Even the seemingly impervious vampire body reassures audiences that their own borders are safe. These borders may be geographical; for instance, the Cullens honour their treaty with the Quileutes by not crossing onto their land. (38) Other borders are figurative, such as the border between life and death, monster and human. Although a vampire's bite infects its victim, vampire blood is a lifegiving panacea. Both True Blood and The Vampire Diaries, for example, depict vampire blood as a source of renewal and regeneration; human lives are saved through consumption of vampire blood.

In recent zombie narratives, the cause of zombie outbreaks reveals mistrust of multinational interests that know no borders. While zombie origins in earlier films ranged from magic to radiation, today's zombies come from a very specific world--corporations. From the animal testing of 28 Days Later to the activities of the Umbrella Corporation in Resident Evil, zombies are the result of unrestrained, border-crossing capitalism. In these fictional realms, capitalism, the only avenue to a prosperous globalising world, is a pernicious infection. As Jenn Webb and Sam Byrnand state, zombies reveal the consequences of the global spread of capitalism:

   the profit motive overrules virtually all other motives ... in a
   system that comprises tentacles of trade and exchange crisscrossing
   the globe, promising rewards to those who serve the capitalist
   system, and setting in place a blurring of need and desire that
   turns us all into mindless consumers. (39)

While critique of mindless consumerism has a long history in zombie fiction, new-millennium zombies have highlighted the seemingly inevitable result of capitalism practiced on a global scale: a borderless, nationless world that destroys uniqueness and the capacity for independent thought. To perpetuate their success, corporations create a mindless creature 'that performs but two functions: it consumes, and it makes more consumers'. (40)

As borders are erased by such global phenomena as the internet and worldwide media, things that our ancestors prized--such as pride in their culture and heritage --lose their importance in the movement toward a transnational community. However, ties to the past are fundamental to human belief systems; if history and beliefs are lost in a borderless world, perhaps the void will be filled by the consumer drives on which economic globalisation depends. As border-rending forces encourage people to relinquish past values without defining future beliefs, uncertainty about the loss of traditions grows and spreads. Zombie fiction warns that in a world without history, humanity will be assimilated into a global herd without purpose or meaning.

Unlike zombies, vampires savour the past and reject progressive views of the world as they work to uphold the values that were learned when they were human. For example, True Blood's Bill Compton returns to Bon Temps to reclaim and refurbish his former home, while Eric Northman fights to save his two-millenniaold maker, Godric, and kills to recover his father's stolen crown and avenge his murder. These vampires are powerfully invested in the past; they preserve cultural memory as well as a history that spans decades, centuries, or millennia.

Conclusion: living among the undead

Of the many cultural changes of the late twentieth century, perhaps none has shaped vampire evolution more than the growing belief in understanding and accepting difference. From children's stories to psychological thrillers, cultural productions from this era document this trend: Dr Seuss's 'What Was I Scared Of?' (1961), in which a child learns that the 'monster' he fears is just as scared of him as he is of it, taught children to see how the monstrous Other was like them; John Gardner's Grendel (1971) retells the Beowulf tale from the monster's perspective, encouraging readers to understand that which had been feared and vilified; Thomas Harris's Red Dragon (1981) presents a vicious killer as an alienated victim who desperately wants love and acceptance. (41) Monsters, these works argue, are not so different from us: they haven't chosen what they are and, sometimes, we can befriend them. These arguments drove the reconstruction of the vampire--but not the zombie. The zombie's rise in popularity alongside the vampire's reform and humanisation offers compelling evidence of the human need for a genuinely abject monster. Through their separation from their essential monstrosity, vampires who support human institutions and values left a 'horror vacuum' that zombies have filled.

Recent zombie films have been fulfilling Kyle Bishop's prediction of the rise of 'sentient and sympathetic ghouls'. (42) A sympathetic zombie protagonist roams the streets of London in Colin (2008), while sentient ghouls are featured in Planet Terror (2007) and other films that endow zombies with speech and other human abilities. (43) Literary zombies have also participated in this trend; for example, the zombie protagonist

of Isaac Marion's Warm Bodies is revitalised by love and brought back into the 'human' fold, while in S. G. Browne's Breathers: A Zombie's Lament, zombies think, speak, and interact in still-human ways, even forming support groups to cope with their undeaths. (44)

With the advent of sentient, sympathetic zombies, the zombie's future is uncertain. We note here simply that we regret the zombie's emerging humanisation, even as we anticipate a corresponding rise in true monstrosity elsewhere in the horror genre. As the zombie has compensated for the vampire's romanticisation and idealisation, surely another monster will come forth, or rise again, to unsettle, disturb, and disorient audiences, as true horror is meant to do.

Angela Tenga

Florida Institute of Technology

Elizabeth Zimmerman

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale


(1) Lev Grossman, 'Zombies Are the New Vampires', Time (online), 9 April 2009, www.,9171,1890384,00.html [accessed 23 November 2012] (para. 5 of 8).

(2) Grossman, 'Zombies Are the New Vampires', para. 2 of 8.

(3) Natalie Wilson, Seduced by Twilight (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011), p. 16.

(4) S. T. Joshi, Ramsey Campbell and Modern Horror Fiction (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2001), p. 20.

(5) Ken Gelder, 'Introduction', in The Horror Reader (London, Routledge, 2000), p. 4; James B. Twitchell, Dreadful Pleasures: An Anatomy of Modern Horror (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 92.

(6) Nina Auerbach, Our Vampires, Ourselves (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), p. 3; Gregory Waller, The Living and the Undead: Slaying Vampires, Exterminating Zombies (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010), p. 8.

(7) Stephen D. Arata, 'Dracula and the Anxiety of Reverse Colonisation', in Bram Stoker, Dracula, ed. Glennis Byron (Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 2000), pp. 119-44 at p. 125; Waller, The Living and the Undead, p. 40.

(8) Forever Knight, created by James D. Parriott and Barney Cohen (Canada: CBS, 1989-1996).

(9) Dark Shadows, created by Dan Curtis (USA: ABC, 1966-1971).

(10) Craig Hamrick, Barnabas and Company (New York: iUniverse Publishing, 2003), p. 4.

(11) Julia Kristeva, The Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, trans. Leon S. Roudiez (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), p. 4.

(12) Kyle Bishop, American Zombie Gothic: The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2010), p. 132.

(13) See Glenn D. Walters, 'Understanding the Popular Appeal of Horror Cinema: An Integrated-Interactive Model', Journal of Media Psychology, 9:2 (2004), 1-35.

(14) W. B. Seabrook, The Magic Island (New York: Literary Guild of America, 1929; repr. New York, Paragon, 1989), p. 97.

(15) Kim Paffenroth, Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero's Visions of Hell on Earth (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2006), p. 1.

(16) Paffenroth lists key characteristics of Romero's 'ghouls' (Gospel of the Living Dead, pp. 2-5) and of later zombie incarnations (pp. 5-6).

(17) The Walking Dead, created Frank Darabont, based on the graphic novels by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard (USA: AMC, 2010-).

(18) Auerbach, Our Vampires, Ourselves, p. 1.

(19) Waller, The Living and the Undead, p. 251.

(20) Bishop, American Zombie Gothic, p. 132.

(21) Wilson, Seduced by Twilight, p. 16.

(22) The Vampire Diaries, created Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, based on the novels by L. J. Smith (USA: CW Network, 2009-); True Blood, created Alan Ball, based on the novels by Charlaine Harris (USA: HBO, 2008-).

(23) American Society of Plastic Surgeons. '2010 Cosmetic Surgery Age Distribution', Report of the 2010 Plastic Surgery Statistics, available online at www.medpagetoday. com/upload/2011/3/21/1992-2004-Reconstructive-Surgery-Trends-collected-frommember-data-only.pdf [accessed 23 November 2012], p. 14; Rosemary Bennett, 'Half of Secondary School Girls Considering Cosmetic Surgery, Guides Study Finds', The Times (online), 3 November 2009, available online at article1965287.ece [accessed 23 November 2012] (para. 2 of 13).

(24) Stephenie Meyer, New Moon (New York: Little, Brown, 2006), pp. 3-6; Stephenie Meyer, Breaking Dawn (New York: Little, Brown, 2008), p. 405.

(25) 'Vatos', The Walking Dead, 1:4, dir. Johan Renck.

(26) Jamie Russell, Book of the Dead: The Complete History of Zombie Cinema (Godalming, Surrey: FAB Press, 2006), p. 67.

(27) Bishop, American Zombie Gothic, p. 161.

(28) Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961), p. 404.

(29) Sarah Lauro and Karen Embry, 'A Zombie Manifesto: The Nonhuman Condition in the Era of Advanced Capitalism', boundary 2, 35:1 (2008), p. 89n.

(30) 'Bad Moon Rising', The Vampire Diaries, 2:3, dir. Patrick Norris.

(31) Lauro and Embry, 'A Zombie Manifesto', p. 96.

(32) 'Days Gone Bye', The Walking Dead, 1:1, dir. Frank Darabont.

(33) United Nations Population Fund, 'World Population Day 2011: The World at 7 Billion', [accessed 23 November 2012] (para. 2 of 4).

(34) Ken Gelder, Reading the Vampire (London: Routledge, 1994), p. 20.

(35) See, for example, The Cullen Closet, [accessed 23 November 2012]. Volvo's 'What Drives Edward' contest was one of many promotional campaigns that capitalised on the Twilight Saga's popularity (see www. [accessed 23 November 2012]).

(36) See 'Tru Blood Beverage', Grocery & Gourmet Food, com/Tru-Blood-Beverage-24-Pack/dp/B002PDGNDS [accessed 23 November 2012].

(37) Resident Evil, dir. Paul W. S. Anderson (USA: Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2002); 28 Days Later, dir. Danny Boyle (UK: DNA Films, 2003).

(38) Stephenie Meyer, Twilight (New York: Little, Brown, 2005), pp. 124-5.

(39) Jenn Webb and Sam Byrnand, 'Some Kind of Virus: The Zombie as Body and as Trope', Body and Society, 14:2 (2008), p. 90.

(40) Lauro and Embry, 'A Zombie Manifesto', p. 99.

(41) Dr Seuss, [Theodor S. Geisel], 'What Was I Scared Of, in The Sneetches and Other Stories (New York: Random House, 1961), pp. 42-65; John Gardner, Grendel (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971); Thomas Harris, Red Dragon (New York: Putnam, 1981).

(42) Bishop, American Zombie Gothic, p. 160.

(43) Colin, dir. Marc Price (UK: Nowhere Fast Productions, 2008); Planet Terror, dir. Robert Rodriguez (USA: Dimension Films, 2007).

(44) Isaac Marion, Warm Bodies (New York, Atria, 2010); S. G. Browne's Breathers: A Zombie's Lament (New York, Broadway Books, 2009).

Notes on contributors

Angela Tenga gained her doctoral degree from Purdue University and currently teaches courses in literature, history, and popular culture at Florida Institute of Technology. Her research interests include early English literature and the literary monstrous, with emphasis on undead fiction, fictional serial killers, and representations of the medieval in modern popular culture. Her publications include 'Read Only as Directed: Psychology, Intertextuality, and Hyperreality in the Twilight Series' (2011) and 'Reformed Vampires from Forks to Florida' (2011).

Elizabeth Zimmerman is currently a doctoral student at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Her dissertation focuses on nineteenth-century American literature, with a special interest in the American Gothic. She is a graduate of Bowling Green State University where she carried out postgraduate research on vampire literature, leading to an interest in this project. She has also attended several Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association conferences, presenting papers on immortality, evil, and vampire literature.

Address for correspondence

Angela Tenga, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 W University Blvd, Melbourne, FL 32901, USA. Email:

Elizabeth Zimmerman, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, 1220 Lincoln Dr, Carbondale, IL 62901 USA. Email:

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A367421109