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The Walking Dead and Zombies Go Maintream

The Walking Dead is getting a spinoff in the form of Cobalt. The general plot remains the same. Survivors try to eek out an existence amidst the zombie apocalypse. The difference here is the setting moves to the dangerous urban world of Los Angeles.

The fact that zombie-mania has started once again is surprising. The genre was once dead and buried. Not so ironically, it has returned to life.

George A. Romero established the flesh-eating zombie that can only be killed by destroying the brain in 1968’s seminal Night of the Living Dead. In 1979, Romero crafted a humorous – yet frightening — sequel in the form of Dawn of the Dead. Lucio Fulci’s sleazy Zombie was another box office sensation in 1980. Zombie films eventually faded away circa 1985.

In the old days, the zombie “gut munchers” were successful, but they never were mainstream. They thrived in grindhouse theaters and also on the drive-in circuit that Terry Richardson hit up many times. Why is it the hyper-violent series The Walking Dead mainstream?

Basically, the internet allows for more news to travel about the program. This allows the series to become part of acceptable conversation even though the series is fairly gross. Also, the series airs (and is promoted by) a respectable cable television network.

In terms of numbers, about 10 million people watch The Walking Dead in the U.S. Back in 1979, Dawn of the Dead did about $50 million at the box office. At $3 a ticket, this would be around 16.6 million tickets sold.

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