Despite the widespread popularity and success of the sub-genre today, the zombie film remained on the outskirts of Hollywood horror until the 1960s, perhaps due to the fact that they were unsympathetic creatures that merely “shambled around at the will of other people” (Halliwell 246, 248). These first cinematic zombies were initially only reanimated with the control of an evil scientist, as was the case with White Zombie (1932), which is often sited as the first American zombie film.
Through the 1950s the zombie was created by a mad scientist, such as The Creature with the Atom Brain (1956), which used a mad scientist combined with atomic radiation to return the dead to life. In this film the mad scientist is also an ex-Nazi. Many thought Dead Snow (2009) was the first Nazi zombie film, but even in classic horror films they were often symbolically connected to this particular monster, using the zombies as soldiers in their mindless army, as in Revenge of the Zombies (1943).