Zombie Culture Incorporated into Classrooms

Kyle Behnke kbehn697@uwsp.edu

Just when you thought there might be a new movie, comic or television show fad, the undead slowly stagers into the spotlight again.

In the last few years, zombies have taken the helm in every category of media including television and theatrical movies.

With the show “The Walking Dead” becoming more popular in the last couple of years, it seems zombies have made a comeback.

Zombies became popular in the late 1960s with the movie “Night of the Living Dead,” directed by George A. Romero. Over time these moaning, limping undead have captured our interest and become a part of pop culture.

“They are not just in movies, they are all through popular culture,” said Leslie DeBauche, professor of Media Studies.

DeBauche also provides a scope in which we can look at how zombies got to this popular iconic status.

“One thing that I think makes zombie movies and zombie lure interesting is the level of specificity about what zombies do, who zombies are, where they came from and how you kill them,” DeBauche said.

Others have different views as to why zombies are such a popular topic in recent years.

“I like zombies because they are kind of funny, they are slow and you could probably kill it but people are scared of them,” said Jessica Chavarin, a University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point junior.

Another student assessment of the undead falls on the opposite side of the scale.

“I think they are always scary. No matter who you are you always have this fear of the dead coming back to life. It always makes a good story,” said Jeanette Colombe, a UWSP sophomore.

Not only do zombies make for good stories, but they make for good teaching material as well.

DeBauche is teaching the Division of Communication capstone class next spring revolving around zombie culture. She has decided to have the class write, cast, shoot and edit a short zombie film to a piece of music provided by composer Charlie Barnett.

“Capstone literally means the stone that lays on the top of a grave, held up by other stones,” DeBauche said. “Capstone courses are meant to tap all of the things that you have learned in your years in college, then it gives you a problem to solve by using all the things.”

The short film will be presented on April 23 with the UWSP Orchestra providing live accompaniment of Barnett’s score.? 

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