Wednesday, April 6, 2011

REVIEW: The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia by Peter Dendle


    Zombies are cautionary forms of humankind's most universally cherished ideal—life after death. Often ragged, unkempt, ill-spoken, rotting individuals, zombies (or the post-dead) seem socially awkward in comparison to the more popular and more aristocratic, undead, like Count Dracula and his peers. And so, the humble zombie remains, for the most part, unappreciated and unacknowledged—until now. No longer will films devoted to them be buried in the last pages of horror movie guides.

    The exhumation of zombie films from obscurity is accomplished in terrifying detail in The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia. The first exhaustive overview of the subject, this book evaluates over 200 movies from 16 countries over a 65-year period starting from the early 1930s. It mostly treats feature-length films, covering everything from large studio productions to backyard videography, but also touches on memorable episodes of television series and miscellaneous shorts. Lengthy entries point out interesting or innovative features of the zombie portrayal in each movie, while an introduction traces the evolution of the genre and interprets the broader significance of the zombie in contemporary Western mythology. Productions credits, a brief plot summary, and alternate titles accompany each entry.

    About the Author

    Peter Dendle is an associate professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, Mont Alto. He lives in Gettysburg.

    Check him out on Wikipedia

    My Thoughts

    Let's face it: I love zombies! Zombie movies, zombie books, whatever. They're just "fun"! So when I saw that I'd won The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia through Library Thing's Early Reviewers, I thought "What fun!"

    I wasn't sure what to expect, but figured it was probably your standard-type of movie listing book. Just a list of movies, year released, actors, and quick synopsis.

    What I found instead was a bit more than that. The book begins with an in-depth Introduction, whereby the author explains his fascination with zombies, and then walks you through the anatomy of a zombie movie by era. For example, "The Early Film Zombie (1932-1952)" and "The Stabilizing of the Contemporary Zombie Mythos (1966-present)".

    The bulk of the book is an alphabetical listing of zombie movies released 1932-1998. Each movie is listed with the Director, Producers, Screenplay Writer, Cast, and date of release, followed by the author's review and impressions of each movie.

    The book ends with some additional lists and index. Appendix A is a listing by year, and Appendix B is a listing by Country. The one thing that has me perplexed is why the movie listing by year only goes up to 1998?

    This seems to be a thorough listing of zombie movies from 1932-1998, and I look forward to taking the time working my way through each and every movie available from my Netflix list! Well done, Mr. Dendle!

    My Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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