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(Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, University of Regina, 2013-01) Ozog, Cassandra Anne; Conway, John F.; Jaffe, JoAnn; Stevens, Andrew; Ruddick, Nicholas
This thesis explores three contemporary zombie films, 28 Days Later (2002), Land of the Dead (2005), and Zombieland (2009), released between the years 2000 and 2010, and provides a sociological analysis of the fears in the films and their relation to the social fears present in North American society during that time period.
What we consume in entertainment is directly related to what we believe, fear, and love in our current social existence. Thus, this paper argues that the rise in popularity of zombie films, and zombies in general, is directly connected to our fears and anxieties as a culture, and that the decade 2000-2010 was one of particularly heightened social fears and apocalyptic anxieties. The theories used in this research demonstrate the cycle where our cultural beliefs and values inform our daily fears and understandings of the world, which are then represented in our entertainment and re-interpreted in our consumption of it. The films are dissected using the theories of film critic Sigfried Kracauer, political economist C.B. MacPherson, and film theorist Kirsten Moana Thompson and a process of qualitative content analysis to identify, analyze, and connect the fears in the films with those in the social climate of the decade studied. This paper argues that the drastic increase in popularity of the zombie at the turn of the millennium directly reflects major fears in the decade: of pandemics, of untrustworthy authority, and of the total collapse of social order. We need to pay special attention to our forms of entertainment, as they speak volumes about the social climate in any particular epoch in our history. We may use what we learn in future research and social analysis.