Victorian values: necrophilia and the nineteenth century in zombie films

Harmes, Marcus (2014) Victorian values: necrophilia and the nineteenth century in zombie films. In: Zombies and sexuality: essays on desire and the living dead. Contributions to Zombie Studies . McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, NC. United States, pp. 36-51. ISBN 978-0-7864-7907-8


This essay examines the perverse twist on the ornate mourning rituals offered by zombie films set in the nineteenth century. In actual Victorian society, ornate mourning rituals kept the memories of the dead alive. In these historically set zombie films, the dead themselves come back to life. This essay examines those few but notable films that locate zombies in the nineteenth century and proposes a number of theses about them. Zombie films set in the nineteenth century create a Victorian world where the dead have a clear ontological status: although they are elaborately mourned, the reanimated dead also become objects of sexual lust. That lust has further historical implications. Female bodies were subject to masculine control in Victorian society. Such exertions are iterated in these films via male characters' attempts to subjugate undead female sexuality. The fact that these women are both undead and desired opens up a liminal space that explores popular understand­ings of Victorian sexuality.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2014 Shaka McGlotten and Steve Jones. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Open Access College
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2015 23:23
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2018 07:32
Uncontrolled Keywords: zombies; horror films; sexuality; Victorian England
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media > 190204 Film and Television
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210305 British History
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology

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