In an unusual overlap of my real life and my horror-blogging self, a good friend of mine recently hosted a Q&A with author John Cussans about his book Undead Uprising: Haiti, Horror and the Zombie Complex at Nottingham Contemporary. I seized the opportunity to attend and find out a little more about the book.
Undead Uprising addresses the racist and xenophobic portrayals of Haiti in film and literature, specifically through the concept of the zombie. Cussans investigates the truth behind such depictions, and how representations of this kind have contributed to the image of Haiti as a ‘place of primitive superstition’.
Key films addressed in Undead Uprising include White Zombie, I Walked with a Zombie, Live and Let Die, and The Serpent and the Rainbow. It also addresses the move away from the Haitian zombie trope, after Night of the Living Dead and the re-imagined Romero zombie.
Interestingly, it was raised that the front cover of the book itself seems to represent a number of the stereotypes that Cussans highlights within its pages. There was a pragmatic reasoning behind this – in essence, the publishers thought it would sell better – but Cussans also noted that his target audience was not so much fellow academics, but rather horror movie fans, who might benefit from this insight into the racial stereotypes that the ‘zombie complex’ is based upon, and who might well ignore the old adage and judge the book by it’s cover. So, guilty as charged and challenge accepted – watch this space for a review of Undead Uprising in due course!
For now, to read a little more about Cussans and Undead Uprising, I’d recommend this article from Diabolique Magazine: https://diaboliquemagazine.com/haitian-horrors-john-cussans-discusses-upcoming-miskatonic-institute-talk-exclusive-trailer/