QUT academics Dr Debra Polson and Dr Tim Milfull are running a public zombie research seminar about the continued popularity of zombies in pop culture. Also pictured from left to right are zombies Darryl Burns, Chris Earl and Andrew Watt.
QUT academics Dr Debra Polson and Dr Tim Milfull are running a public zombie research seminar about the continued popularity of zombies in pop culture. Also pictured from left to right are zombies Darryl Burns, Chris Earl and Andrew Watt. Queensland University of Technology

It's purely academic - what's not to love about zombies?

WHY are the living dead firm-but-fleshy pop-culture favourites?

It's guaranteed to be the meatiest academic discussion you'll ever join.

QUT's Creative Industries Faculty is hosting the Zombie 'Live Feed' on Friday July 19, which will brainstorm answers to the complex question.

Author John Birmingham and UK-based horror expert Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlainn will join QUT academics Dr Debra Polson and Dr Tim Milfull for the research seminar.

Zombiephiles across the nation can watch it over the internet and post real-time questions and comments.

"We'll be exploring why the zombie phenomenon has become such a resilient strain of entertainment,"  said Dr Polson, a game designer and creator of Brisbane's annual 36-hour Zombie Apocalypse role-playing event.

"What are we really afraid of when we talk of zombies - is it the collapsing infrastructures we have come to depend upon; is it how woefully unprepared we are in terms of surviving an apocalypse; or is it the alienation and dehumanisation that zombies represent?"

Dr Tim Milfull, who will chair the research seminar, is a film and television academic with a particular taste for the walking dead.

He has studied most of the more than 500 walking-corpse flicks and series that have been made since White Zombie was released in 1932.

"It's a rich source of inspiration for storytellers," Dr Milfull said.

"Many social issues can and have been explored through the lens of a zombie movie.

"I think zombie movies in particular attract hordes of fans because, beyond the blood and guts and mounting tension, they do a fantastic job of tapping into the empathy audience have for the characters.

"They get the audience thinking about what they would do in that situation, how they'd cope in an apocalypse."

For those expecting to come face-to-face with either lurchers or rage virus victims, Dr Milfull has some tips.

"Go for weapons that inflict blunt-force trauma like baseball bats," he said.

"And keep up your cardio exercises now so you're fit enough to keep on swinging."

The zombie 'live feed' breaks out at 10am on Friday, July 19.

Watch it live at the Creative Industries Faculty's blog site. Join the Twitter conversation using #ResearchZ or send your questions to @CreativeIndust.
 



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