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Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide Paperback – Oct 1 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (Oct. 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556527705
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556527708
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 2 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #555,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"The definitive guide to zombie movies. . . . A must-read for all zombie scholars!"  —Dan O’Bannon, director, The Return of the Living Dead

"[Kay] knows the genre inside and out."  —Blog of the living dead

"Meaningful and well-researched . . . enjoyable and funny."  —Hartford Courant

"[A] thorough, uproarious guide."  —

"This book is a must-own text written for zombie fans by a zombie fan. If there's such a thing as a zombie scholar, Kay is the dean of the college that annoints them."  —Niagara Gazette

"An obsessively complete guide…(author) has certainly done his homework…highly recommended."  —

"The zombie movie bible."  —

"Something that no self-respecting psychotronic fan should be without." 
Oklahoma Gazette

About the Author

Glenn Kay studied film at Ryerson University and has reviewed films in print and on TV in Canada. He is the coauthor of Disaster Movies and has also worked in the entertainment industry as a voice-over artist.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is the only book you will ever need to own about zombie movies. Ever. All other zombie pale in comparasion. Well written, definitive, funny, clever, makes a great gift. Buy 2.
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Format: Paperback
This is the best and most informative zombie book I have ever come across. I definitely recommend this to any zombie lover.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love how every movie was reviewed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 35 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars comprehensive history and reference guide for zombie movies Oct. 13 2008
By Henry Berry - Published on
Format: Paperback
With a light style, yet with obvious expertise, Kay takes the reader through the highs and lows and the wide middle ground of zombie movies. The highs are when effects invoke the intended emotion (e. g., fear, revulsion), preferably within a sensible narrative. The lows are when effects are inane, useless, and comical, as in a Keystone Cops' skit. This is done with a decade-by-decade review of zombie movies from their beginnings in the 1930s down to the 1990s. Each decade is characterized by a particular, though not exclusionary development. In the 1950s, the "radioactive zombie" reflecting fears relating to the atom bomb made its appearance. In the 1970s, coinciding with multiculturalism, movies with Hispanic and black zombies came onto the scene. The 1931 movies Dracula and Frankenstein are pointed to as the classic, originating zombie movies. But the 1932 White Zombie more directly tied in with the idea of the "zombi" found in the practice of voodoo in Haiti which is the model for the zombie character. The "zombi" was a person whose body was supposedly reanimated by a "bokor," a voodoo priest. This zombi was characterized by "slow mannerisms, low intelligence, and a lack of willpower or soul"; hence the traits of zombie characters in the movies.

The definition of a zombie film cannot be given with finality. Reflecting the current social concern with diseases, recent movies usually seen as zombie movies (e. g., Dawn of the Dead) "have broadened the definition beyond the walking dead to include still-living characters infected with an incurable disease that extinguishes their personalities and turns them into bloodthirsty killers." Throughout the decades, the varied types of zombie movies mirrored both traditional artistic themes and new social developments. A group of automaton-like zombies could stand for a mindless mob against a few freethinking, nonconformist individuals; or an individual zombie could represent the return of a loved one, bringing with it all the psychological conflict
entailed in this for one of a movie's characters. Zombie movies have also been used to critique profligate scientific experiment and environmental destruction.

The author was drawn to zombie movies for their "depth and diversity." Reviews of every zombie movie he could find are in appropriate chapters. Fay's reviews are an extension of his historical, sociological, critical, and humorous text for each decade. The book's not only an entertaining overview of zombie movies, but also a comprehensive, informative reference for selecting zombie movies for viewing.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK Dec 4 2008
By Bob Moreault - Published on
Format: Paperback
Over 300 reviews ! + interviews (ex; Antonella Fulci - Tom Savini and Greg Nicotero) review for zombie movies from the old black and white (white zombie) up to 2008 (George A. Romero's Diary of the dead).Their is even a review for the Micheal Jackson Thriller video and an episode of The Simpsons (treehouse of horror 3) At the end of the book their is a list of the 25 highest-grossing zombie film of all time (night of the comet was number 21 - $14.4 million!!!) plus a list of his 25 all time favorite zombie movies. Great book from a great canadian writer (+ a foreword by Stuart Gordon) and a great cover !
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most comprehensive guide on Zombie Cinema yet available. Dec 8 2008
By James Simpson - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have just purchased this book today at a local Used Bookseller for the reasonable price of 11.98 and have to say it was quite a buy!

Being the film fan I am,and having a special love for Horror,I purchased this book to read more about one of the funnest of it's sub genres.

Absolutely entertaining book that covers the history of this genre from it's inception in the 30s with White Zombie(1932) through today's splatter fests.
I could not believe how many classics were covered in this volume,and it was a pleasant surprise to find an intelligent author who offers valuable criticism,while understanding his audience.

Now,I did not agree with all that Mr.Kay says(He has a top 25 at the end of the book that includes John Carpenter's "Prince of Darkness!)
However his enthusiasm and knowledge of the genre makes up for my minor quibbles,and the interviews that he got for the book were fine and insighful,ranging from Director Stuart Gordon to make-up artist,Greg Nicotero.

It's also fun to read about his opinions on what constitutes a "zombie" film.
There is a chapter that excludes ghosts,ghouls and Frankenstein's Monster,and he makes a valid point that Friday the 13th's Jason is indeed,a super zombie!

This is a fun read,and an absolute must for the Zombie and Horror fan,particularly in this age of constant DVD releases of several vintage releases,this could be very handy.

A fine read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched and concise Jan. 27 2009
By Tim Janson - Published on
Format: Paperback
Glenn Kay's book touts itself as the ultimate guide to zombie films and it's not too far off with that claim. Kay reviews nearly 300 films in a genre that seems to keep growing every year. It's hard to believe that the living dead have been shambling about onscreen for over seventy-five years, but it's true. Certainly the look, style, and behavior of zombies has changed over the decades from mindless servants to flesh eating ghouls...We have slow-moving zombies and speedster zombies, scary zombies and funny zombies, and Kay does his best to include all of them. He provides a humorous review grade to each film, basically on a scale of one to five but using zombie icons in stead of numbers.

Kay has take a chronological approach to setting up his book rather than alphabetical. By starting at the beginning the reader can see how the genre has developed over the years and Kay earns big points for this. While there may have been borderline zombie films going back to the silent era, the first, true recognized zombie film is White Zombie from 1932. The film starred Bela Lugosi, fresh off of doing Dracula and at the height of his stardom and screen presence. The film has atmosphere that you can cut with a knife. An amazing achievement when you consider it was made for only around $50,000.

In the 1930s and 40s, most zombies that appeared onscreen were of the Haitian/Caribbean, voodoo created variety. They were mindless slaves with glazed over eyes, and were generally played by African American actors. Often times they the subject of as much humor as horror such as in the Bob Home films Ghostbreakers (1940) and in the unintentionally silly King of the Zombies (1941).

The chapters are each dedicated to a different decade and the 40s and 50s are filled with primarily poverty row and insipid SciFi "B" movies. Zombie films would change forever in 1968 with the release of George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead". Suddenly zombies were not just mute slaves but bloodthirsty terrors looking to take a bit out of anyone they could get their hands and teeth on. This was the watershed moment of the zombie film. The Vast majority of the page count begins in the 1970s and carries on to present day. The popularity of home video in the 1980s meant now that films could be made for the home market and never make it to theaters. This decade saw one bad film after another but sprinkled with gems like Day of the Dead, Re-animator, and The Return of the Living Dead.

Kay does his best to unearth every zombie film he could find and I was surprised by how many titles I did not recognize. There's certainly a good reason for that as most of them are rated very poorly but you still have to admire his in-depth research. In fact if anything, I think Kay may have cast his net a little too wide, including some films that are not regarded by most horror fans as zombie films like the Friday the 13th movies, Pet Sematary, and The Crow.

In addition to the coverage of all the films, the book includes interviews with noted horror personalties Antonella Fulci, Greg Nicotero, and Tom Savini. He also gives his list of the twenty-five greatest zombie films and reasons why they are great. Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide is definitely superior to The Book of the Dead, another zombie review guide that came out a couple of years ago. It's more enjoyable to read because of Kay's wit and it's cheaper to boot.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Above & Beyond March 14 2009
By Joshua B. Anderson - Published on
Format: Paperback
My fascination of zombie cinema has no stem. I just enjoy the apocalyptic setting with the band of survivors working to survive, and the bitter struggle with humanity that comes along with battling the undead or "virus infected" (as we have to call some these days.)

I'd always wanted to sit down and study the origins of zombie cinema, but never really had the time to look nor all of the resources I would want to look. Glenn Kay is a lifesaver for he saved me all the time by giving us his ultimate guide.

Beginning with the history of actual zombism (not a word, made it up) in its voo-doo origins then moving forward with the very beginning of zombie cinema moving right on through to Romero's Diary of the Dead, we are treated to just about everything zombie that has been thrown to use on celluloid.

It's not just a standard "who what where when why" book, but Kay is an obvious fan of the subgenre and gives us every bit of information humanly possible from the fan's point of view. With each film given (hundreds of them are there), he has a rating system. There are tons of pictures within the book. I even came across a few films that I remember seeing as a child but could never remember the names of them (Night Life being one of them.) He even goes as far as to include television shows that have dealt with the theme (although he did miss the episode Dead Man's Party from Buffy the Vampire Slayer season three, and one episode of Angel that dealt with the theme). Also included are interviews from make-up artists, directors, and even actors who have portrayed zombies (including himself and the softball zombie from Land of the Dead {which is a fun little interview to read}).

Without a doubt, Kay's Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide is literally THE ultimate guide for everything zombie cinema related. It's release is the perfect time as big and small studios continue to churn out their zombie releases. And just as Kay states in the film, with the surplus of zombie films we are being handed, the subgenre is soon to have a down time. That's fine for it will give Glenn Kay time to catch us up on all things that have happened in that time. I'm definitely one who's hoping he would be up for a volume 2.

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