Haiti, Horror and The Zombie Complex
Distributed for Strange Attractor Press
Tracking the zombie from Hollywood back to its origins in the voodoo folklore of Haiti.
There are zombies among us! From the rotting hordes of TV's The Walking Dead to the blockbuster nightmares of World War Z and 28 Days Later, our popular culture is overrun with the ravenous undead.
But where do these strange creatures come from, and what peculiar tales of mesmerism, freemasonry, pig sacrifice and revolution would they tell if they could talk?
Artist and writer John Cussans tracks the zombie from Hollywood back to its origins in the voodoo folklore of Haiti, a Caribbean island with a history that is a strange composite of fact and fantasy in the long struggle for independence from colonial intrusion.
Turning a keen eye on the way Haiti has provoked mysterious images in the popular culture of the twentieth century, Cussans asks how the sensational imaginings of William Seabrook, Graham Greene, and Wes Craven, among others, have served to inform impressions of the country on the world stage, and in turn, how these representations might have influenced the way that Haiti formulates an image of itself.
Cussans weaves fascinating stories from the most significant moments of the country's past, through the slave uprisings of the Bois Caïman in the eighteenth century to Papa Doc Duvalier's reign of terror in the 1960s and beyond.
At once a visceral analysis of dubious racial myth, pop-cultural history and philosophical provocation, Undead Uprising asks how ecstatic ritual, voodoo possession, zombie labourers, and meddling spirits have come to meld Haiti's f national identity for better or worse.