Challenging Normal: A Linguistic Exploration of Horror & Sci-Fi

With particular attention to 2016’s fan fiction film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, we explore how the discursive construction and imagining of the zombie across science fiction and survival horror reproduces and reflects mainstream conceptions of marginalized peoples. Specifically, we use Critical Discourse Analysis to examine the visual and textual semiotics of a cross-section of contemporary memes (‘Zombie McCain’ and ‘Better Drink My Own Piss’) and films, including In The Flesh (2013), Warm Bodies (2013), and Already Dead (2016). At the same time the zombie is renewed in today’s media as an Other and Noble Savage, in much the same way as the Wild Man and alien before it, some of this new discourse mounts challenges as to the definition of what counts as normal.

This essay is currently a collaborative work in-progress we plan to submit to a peer-reviewed journal.