Airs Friday, Oct. 30 at 9 p.m. – PBS is celebrating Halloween with the launch of “Exhumed: A History of Zombies”, a new special presented by PBS Digital Studios’ popular series MONSTRUM.
“Exhumed: A History of Zombies” is written and presented by MONSTRUM’s Dr. Emily Zarka. She’ll take audiences deep into the lore of the zombie throughout American history, examining zombie legends and tales to share what these creatures reveal about shifts in society, history and our deepest anxieties. “Exhumed: A History of Zombies” also provides unique insight into America’s dark past of slavery and foreign occupation, as well as modern-day uncertainties about pandemics and bioterrorism.
“We can learn a lot about our culture by exploring the monsters we invent,” said Zarka.“Looking at the portrayal of zombies over the past two centuries, we can witness the evolving issues and anxieties Americans have faced.”
In the special, Zarka interviews experts, spiritual practitioners and academics, uncovering the historical roots of zombie folklore, including African spiritual practices, the Transatlantic slave trade, and Haitian Vodou and Voodoo beliefs. She also explores popular culture to witness how the monster has evolved to reflect different eras of American history as it became a staple of films, television and video games. Zombie stories over the decades represented a range of fears, including nuclear weapons, overpopulation and political uprisings.