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Undead Apocalypse

Vampires and Zombies in the 21st Century

Stacey Abbott

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Explores the intersection of the vampire and zombie with 21st Century dystopian and post-apocalyptic cinema

Twenty-first century film and television is overwhelmed with images of the undead. Vampires and zombies have often been seen as oppositional: one alluring, the other repellant; one seductive, the other infectious. With case studies of films like I Am Legend and 28 Days Later, as well as TV programmes like Angel and The Walking Dead, this book challenges these popular assumptions and reveals the increasing interconnection of undead genres. Exploring how the figure of the vampire has been infused with the language of science, disease and apocalypse, while the zombie text has increasingly been influenced by the trope of the ‘reluctant’ vampire, Stacey Abbott shows how both archetypes are actually two sides of the same undead coin. When considered together they present a dystopian, sometimes apocalyptic, vision of twenty-first century existence.

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List of Illustrations
Introduction: Needing to know the plural of apocalypse
1: The Legacy of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend
2: ‘Cancer with a Purpose’: Putting the Vampire Under the Microscope
3: The Second Rising: The Resurgence of the Cinematic Zombie
4: A Very Slow Apocalypse: Zombie TV
5: The Hybrid Hero
6: ‘Be Me’:  I Vampire/ I Zombie
7: How to Survive a Vampire Apocalypse: or, what to do when the vampires are us
Afterword: They Walk Among Us: Vampires and Zombies Popular Culture
TV Guide
Work Cited

About the Author

Stacey Abbott is a Reader in Film and Television Studies at the University of Roehampton. Her research focuses on the horror genre and the gothic in film and television, with a particular specialism in both vampires and zombies.


'By including lesser known gems such as UK miniseries In the Flesh alongside mainstream big-budget movies like World War Z (2013) and cult classics like Night of the Living Dead (1968), Abbott’s careful analysis is sure to introduce even undead aficionados to something new and juicy...A satisfying read from start to finish, the book is also open to those who prefer to dip in, or to read more selectively for texts or tropes. Written clearly, but avoiding excesses of academic obfuscation, it is likely to appeal to serious scholars of these enduring icons, and to fans of some of the many popular and cult texts referred to.'

- Lorna Jowett, Learning on Screen

'Stacey Abbott has long been a renowned expert on vampire cinema, the fantasy worlds of Joss Whedon, and is a pioneer in establishing Horror TV in media and film studies. These fields come together in Undead Apocalypse, which authoritatively maps out a series of compelling contexts for the imbrication of vampires and zombies from Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, via The Walking Dead, to the newly conscious zombies of recent years. The book will be a vital reference point for all scholars of horror but ought to catch lots of fans too with its welcoming, accessible style.'

- Professor Roger Luckhurst, Birkbeck College, London

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