Crawling off the Screen: An Ethnography of Live Action Zombie Events in the United States
Myers, Heather M.
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CitationMyers, Heather M. 2011. Crawling off the Screen: An Ethnography of Live Action Zombie Events in the United States. Master's thesis, Harvard University, Extension School.
AbstractThis study examines phenomena of live action zombie events in American culture. Throughout history cultures have used tales of horror to address their fears in safe environments, and we continue this trend today. The zombie however, goes beyond such horror tales moving off the screen into live action events that allow us to confront and disarm our modern fears. It is my belief that zombie themed live action events have arisen due to the zombie's ability to adapt to, and serve as metaphors, for specific socio-cultural fears. These events allow participants to confront those fears in a more immediate and intimate manner than could previously be done by viewing zombie films. Through the use of participant observation, media analysis, and survey results this project examines the historical and modern trends in zombie media, and the role of live action zombie events. As American culture moves from decade to decade so too has the zombie, adjusting to the specific fears of each generation, as well as addressing deeper more ingrained socio-cultural fears. The increased fear caused in recent decades by terrorist attacks, new untreatable diseases, nuclear power and biological warfare has created a steep increase in the amount of zombie media created and a desire to confront these fears in a more realistic way. This need has spawned the creation of live action zombie events which range from large scale flash mobs to intense live action roll-playing games, or LARPs. Allowing participants to disarm their anxieties by dressing up as zombies for fun, or confront their fears by trying to survive in a simulated zombie invasion.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367517
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