Get in the Halloween Spirit with EXHUMED: A HISTORY OF ZOMBIES, October 30 at 10 pm

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 PBS Puts Viewers in the Halloween Spirit with EXHUMED: A HISTORY OF ZOMBIES

 New One-Hour Special, Hosted by Dr. Emily Zarka, Premieres

Friday, October 30 at 10:00 p.m. on PBS

Watch Episodes of the PBS Digital Series MONSTRUM on and YouTube


PBS is celebrating Halloween with the launch of EXHUMED: A HISTORY OF ZOMBIES, a new special presented by PBS Digital Studios’ popular series MONSTRUM. The one-hour documentary will premiere on Friday, October 30 at 10:00 p.m. on PBS, and the PBS Video App.

EXHUMED: A HISTORY OF ZOMBIES is written and presented by MONSTRUM’s Dr. Emily Zarka. She’ll take audiences deep into the lore of the zombie throughout American history, examining zombie legends and tales to share what these creatures reveal about shifts in society, history and our deepest anxieties. EXHUMED: A HISTORY OF ZOMBIES also provides unique insight into America’s dark past of slavery and foreign occupation, as well as modern-day uncertainties about pandemics and bioterrorism.

cartoon hand coming from grave to open book

“We can learn a lot about our culture by exploring the monsters we invent,” said Zarka. “Looking at the portrayal of zombies over the past two centuries, we can witness the evolving issues and anxieties Americans have faced.”

In the special, Zarka interviews experts, spiritual practitioners and academics, uncovering the historical roots of zombie folklore, including African spiritual practices, the Transatlantic slave trade, and Haitian Vodou and Voodoo beliefs. She also explores popular culture to witness how the monster has evolved to reflect different eras of American history as it became a staple of films, television and video games. Zombie stories over the decades represented a range of fears, including nuclear weapons, overpopulation and political uprisings.

“We’re excited to bring another PBS Digital Studios success to our broadcast platform,” said Brandon Arolfo, Head of PBS Digital Studios. “This ghoulish special will entertain and expand minds with great educational information in the unique way that only PBS can.”

Leading into its broadcast special, MONSTRUM will also present three new short-form episodes on PBS Storied, a YouTube channel that’s home to arts and humanities content from PBS Digital Studios. The channel’s mission is to show how we can better understand ourselves through the art and culture we create, from mythology to movies to design and much more. With dozens of MONSTRUM episodes available, viewers can learn more about their favorite spooky creature, from Dracula to El Chupacabra and the Kraken to the Banshee.

EXHUMED: A HISTORY OF ZOMBIES will be available to stream starting Friday, October 30 on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video App, available for streaming on PBS Documentary Channel via Amazon, and available for purchase via Amazon, Apple and Comcast.

For more information on EXHUMED: A HISTORY OF ZOMBIES, the MONSTRUM digital series and PBS Storied, visit and the Storied YouTube Channel. Viewers are also encouraged to engage in online conversation by tagging @PBS and using #MonstrumPBS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


About Emily Zarka, Ph.D., Host of MONSTRUM 

Dr. Emily Zarka earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Literature from Arizona State University, with an emphasis on the Gothic and the British Romantic period. She approaches literature and film through monsters, applying the theory that human history is monster history. She is the writer and host of PBS Digital Studios series MONSTRUM, which looks at complex histories and motivations behind some of the world’s most famous monsters. Her teaching experience includes literature, composition, film and media, and humanities classes. Currently, she is part of the faculties of both Arizona State University and Mesa Community College. Fans are invited  to engage in online conversation about Zarka’s PBS series MONSTRUM by tagging @ZarkaEmily and using #MonstrumPBS on Twitter and Instagram.