Book of the Dead: The Complete History of Zombie Cinema
Published by FAB Press, 2005. 319 pages
Re-Issued by Titan Books, 2014. 376 pages
By Jamie Russell
There are tons of film books on the zombie sub-genre. When this title was first released in 2005, The Walking Dead TV show was still 5 years away from hitting the airwaves. Since that time, books on the zombie culture have flooded the fandom like walkers a Pittsburgh shopping mall. So when this title first came out in 2005, it was long overdue. Finally, someone had taken a very serious look into this sub-genre. But while zombies became really popular in the ’80s, from Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and Fulci’s Zombie, they have been around a lot longer than some might realize. That is where this book comes in.
Russell does an excellent job uncovering the beginnings of this sub-genre, that actually started in written ‘travel and exploration guides”, some more sensational than anything else. But it gives a great history and background of how this whole thing started…with voodoo. Then that’s where Hollywood came in. By the time the ’60s were coming to a close, a filmmaker from Pittsburgh took them off in another direction, and once the late ’70s/early ’80s bite down on it, it went to a whole new level.
Simply put, this book is a must for any horror fan’s library. It is the best history lesson on the zombie sub-genre that I have read. Even if you’re not a fan of the more gory Italian zombie flicks, the book still covers the early titles like White Zombie and I Walked with a Zombie, and plenty more to keep you happy and informed.
In 2014, Titan Books released an updated and revised edition, adding a few titles that had been left out in the first edition, like the 1966 Nazi zombie film The Frozen Dead, as well as adding information about the films that had been released from the book’s original publication to 2013. There is also a film guide at the of the book that makes a great checklist for fans wanting to expand their Watch List!