Salon features article by Juliana Lamy, author of YOU WERE WATCHING FROM THE SAND, on the Haitian zombie and its origins!

For all that they are meant to – and do – induce a skin-prickling alarm, the fungal zombies that populate HBO’s “The Last of Us” rely on a stunning optical extravagance that announces them as devices of fantasy. In a bout of poeticism suited to its subject matter, “The Last of Us” has revivified the zombie for fans of serialized horror, attaching it to new origins rooted in biochemistry, a new temporal setting that reimagines the past 20 years as dystopic, and something not-so-new – the preoccupation of much of American zombie media with the dissolution of primarily white suburbs and cities. “The Last of Us” is the latest zombie-horror TV showthat allows us to look out on to the marked, magnetic topography of imaginative fiction, but it further distances pop-culture audiences from the distinctly Black source material to which it owes its inspiration – the Haitian zonbi. For many of the Haitians who believe in the existence of zonbi, these figures are as immediate, as personal, as death’s other aspects.