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Zombies Take Over MAD This Summer

Film Series “Zombo Italiano” Brings to Life Popular Italian Zombie Cinema from 1972 to 1985, Presented in Conjunction with Exhibition Dead or Alive.

New York, NY (February 23, 2010)

Italian zombie cinema comes alive at the Museum of  Arts and Design this summer in its latest film series, running from July 8 through July 29. At once gruesome and poetic, the 10 films showcased in “Zombo Italiano: The Italian Zombie Film Movement” underscore the prolific visions and technical achievements of noted Italian directors—including Lucio Fulci, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and George A. Romero—who pushed the boundaries of low-culture through pioneering special effects to deal with the body at its most material. Presented in conjunction with MAD special exhibition Dead or Alive, which explores how contemporary artists incorporate once-living materials in their work, the series marks the first time a cultural institution has highlighted the under-recognized Italian zombie film movement, emphasizing the zombie’s role as a profound symbol of nature and humanity.

The MAD Theater will screen 10 characteristic works, including:
Dawn of the Dead (1979), directed by George A. Romero, crammed with social critiques of capitalism and consumerism and innovative horror and gore, which became the definitive blueprint for the modern zombie genre;
Demons (1985), directed by Lamberto Bava, the son of Italian horror master Mario Bava, which served as Italy’s entry into the 1980s punk rock zombie canon, with a score featuring works by Billy Idol and Mötley Crüe, and spawned five sequels;
Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974), directed by Jorge Grau, a ground-breaking merging of the zombie genre with a critique of technology’s effect on the natural world;
Pigsty (1969), directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini, two tales of forbidden flesh and unruly appetites woven into a biting critique of modern society, and considered by some to be the Italian master’s most intriguing film;
Zombie 2 (1979), directed by Lucio Fulci, featuring the infamous “zombie vs. shark” scene, which along with other “eye gags” made Fulci a legend of the genre.

“These films have too often been dismissed as low-culture trash for their gore, ghoulish humor, and punk scores,” says Jake Yuzna, the manager of MAD’s public programs. “By taking the monstrous aspects of nature and humanity as their raw material, these film directors created savage commentaries on class, society, and existence itself, yet only recently have they been acknowledged for altering the cinematic landscape and mass culture.”

This new wave of horror films emerged in the 1970s following a difficult period in modern Italian history, during which the country endured a long economic crisis, social unrest, and political terrorism. The movement’s bleak, apocalyptic vision can be seen as a response to the tumultuous state of Italian society. Although Italy’s renewed prosperity and political stability killed off Zombie cinema in the ‘90s, it has been reanimated by a worldwide proliferation of Zombie flash mobs, pub crawls, comics, video games, novels, and films. “Zombo Italiano” provides unique insight into the little known origins of the pop culture iconography, giving new life to some of the genre’s most quintessential films.

Movie tickets are: $10 general admission, $7 for students with valid ID or with Zombie make-up. Please note that discount for Zombie make-up is available in person only. The MAD Theater is located on the below street level of MAD at 2 Columbus Circle at 59th Street. For more information about the series, go to  

The Museum of Arts and Design explores the intersection of art, design, and technique in the visual arts today. Its focus is on contemporary creativity and the ways in which artists and
designers transform materials through processes ranging from the handmade to cutting-edge technologies.

The Museum’s exhibition program explores and illuminates issues and ideas, highlights ingenuity and craftsmanship, and celebrates the limitless potential of materials and methods when employed by visionary artists. MAD’s permanent collection is global in scope and concentrates on art, craft, and design from 1950 to the present day.

Education is central to the Museum’s mission. Its dynamic new facility features classrooms and studios for master classes, seminars, and workshops for students, families and adults. Three open artist studios engage visitors in the creative processes of artists at work and enhance the exhibition programs. Lectures, films, performances and symposia related to the Museum’s collection and topical subjects affecting the worlds of contemporary art, design, and technique are held in the building’s 143-seat auditorium.

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