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Profs and Pints DC presents: “Thoughts of the Undead,” with William Egginton, professor of humanities and director of the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
The streets are crawling with them. For at least the last decade, it has been hard to turn on a TV in the evening or walk city streets on nights around Halloween without being overrun by zombies, vampires, or specters from beyond the grave. Their cultural prevalence has grown exponentially in recent years, and it shows no sign of abating. Why are our lives so filled with the dead? Or, better put, why do our dead insist on staying alive?
Come learn more about this phenomenon from William Egginton, a scholar of horror in literature and popular culture. Professor Egginton, who has captivated Profs and Pints audiences with his discussions of Krampus and other Christmas nightmares, will be delivering the perfect talk for the start of the Halloween season, a headshot that leaves you with a better understanding of both the dead and undead.
Covering a wide selection of movies, TV series, and books, Professor Egginton will discuss how modern zombies evolved from prior manifestations of the walking dead. He’ll talk about how these shambling, mindless brain-munchers—as opposed to the Caribbean sort produced by voodoo masters—were conjured into existence by George Romero’s low-budget gore fest Night of the Living Dead, which premiered in 1968, a pivotal year of social and political upheaval. He’ll also discuss vampires, the sexy, speedy cousins of zombies, and why they have a special relationship to modern capitalism.
All of these, along with the spirits of the departed that have haunted such recent successful franchises as Paranormal Activity and The Conjuring, offer acute insights into our social and existential condition and teach us something about what we fear, what we are doing to our planet, and how we treat each other. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, or $13 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.The Bier Baron will be requiring event attendees to purchase a minimum of two items, which can be food or beverages, including soft drinks.)
Image: Children on a 2007 “zombie walk” in Edmonton, Alberta. Photo by Mark Marek Photography / Wikimedia Commons.