History of Zombie Movies
When someone says the word ‘Zombie‘ in this day in age you tend to think of rotting corpses walking around eating people. Zombies (at least in film) had nothing to do with cannibalism what so ever in the beginning. The first zombie movie I know anything about was the Bela Lugosi classic titled ‘White Zombie’ in 1932. In that film, the zombies were people under mind control that did the bidding of their master. The Zombies in the earlier days usually went hand in hand with Haitian or African Voodoo and although they could harm you, they wouldn’t eat your brains. The modern flesh-eating zombie originated with George Romero’s 1968 classic ‘Night of the Living Dead’. In that film we see the first glimpses of reanimated corpses returning to life to eat the flesh of the living. From that platform there have been a boat-load of films using that general idea. The more that zombie movies progress, the more we see different types or brands of zombies.
Different Types of Zombies
- The Voodoo Zombie – These poor souls are usually under the spell of a master hypnotist or alchemist. These zombies mindlessly do the bidding of others with no ability to deviate. Although potentially harmful, these zombies DO NOT eat the flesh of the living… That is unless they are told to do so by their master. Since these zombies are living people, you can kill them like any other person which is good news. I wouldn’t mess around with them though as they ignore pain! Some examples of these zombies in movies are White Zombie (1932) and The Serpent and the Rainbow (1985).
- The Slow Flesh Eater – These are the most popular type of zombie. They are reanimated corpses that have returned to life for a variety of reasons. They’re slow due to rigor mortis and decaying muscles and they’re unintelligent due to decaying brain cells. This type of zombie is often referred to as the ‘Romero Zombie’ due to its originator and father of the modern zombie George Romero. These zombies are realistic, their vision is poor and they have extremely limited abilities due to the fact they are dead. A one-on-one fight with one of these zombies isn’t that difficult but the real challenge lies in the circumstances that brought the zombie to you. These zombies are usually the result of an epidemic, sometimes by natural virus, sometimes by materials from space, and sometimes by human engineered bio-weapons. Its not one of these zombies you need to worry about, its the hordes and hordes of zombies behind it that really puts a damper on the whole situation. Killing these zombies is a no-brainer… shoot or pierce the brain or sever the head from the body will destroy the zombie. The disease is spread by an infected person biting you or infected tissue coming in contact with your blood. A bite from these creatures will kill you, and once you die you will return as one of them. Some examples of these zombies are in Night of the Living Dead (1968 and 1990), Shaun of the Dead (2004), and Resident Evil (2002).
- The Fast Zombies – These zombies are much like the Slow Flesh Eaters except for the speed of movement. These zombies may be decaying, but their brains cant send the signals to slow the hell down. These zombies move quickly and have been known to climb things. Unlike their slow counterparts, these zombies can also see better, hear better, and have inexplicably developed a more keen sense of smell. From what these zombies lack in brain power they more than make up for in the ability to catch you and eat you. These zombies are dangerous and you should avoid contact at all costs. Like the slow flesh eaters, these zombies are typically found in hordes. Killing these zombies is simple enough, shoot or pierce the brain or decapitation does the trick. An example of fast zombies is Dawn of the Dead (2004).
- The Holy Shit Zombies – These zombies are running terminators, they are strong, and they can run really fast for a long time. These zombies don’t necessarily die when you shoot them in the head, they will talk on occasion, and they will chase you relentlessly all day, everyday, until the end of days. These zombie outbreaks are hopeless you cannot under any circumstances win the fight. Although sometimes these zombies die from brain trauma, this is not always the case. There are cases where you have to totally dismember the zombie down to the joint because any moving part on that body will come after you. In some instances coming in contact with infected blood will instantaneously turn you into a raging super zombie. Under special circumstances dismemberment and burial of said zombie parts is the only method of disposal but always start with shooting or piercing the brain. If the zombies do not drop when you shoot them in the brain, do not under any circumstances burn them or let them get anywhere near a water supply. Burning them leads to zombie smoke or gas, and infected tissue entering a water supply leads to mass infection. In rare circumstances even dropping a nuclear weapon on an infected town has known to cause a zombie smoke that will enter the atmosphere, collect in rain clouds, and turn into a zombie rain that will infect all it comes in contact with. If you find yourself in this situation just find a gun and shoot yourself in the face. Some examples of Holy Shit zombies are 28 Days Later (2002), 28 Weeks Later (2007), and the ultimate HolyShit zombie film The Return of the Living Dead (1985).
- The Intelligent Flesh Eater – This special type of zombie is an intelligent version of the slow flesh eater. Although slow and not incredibly strong, these zombies have the inexplicable ability to learn in small doses as if saying “give me enough time and I could be just like you”. Granted these zombies couldn’t do your math homework or anything but they can feel emotion and perform simple tasks which is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest. Typically in a given movie with an Intelligent Flesh Eater there is only one or two that has evolved so to speak. The general zombie intelligence consisting of walking randomly around the city in hopes of finding living flesh still applies. The standard means of shooting or piercing the brain applies to these so happy hunting. Examples of these zombies are found in the original Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005), and Survival of the Dead (2009).
What makes Zombie movies so great?
Zombie movies are great because they touch on several things that scare us and also make us think. Zombies are really the most believable movie monsters. Vampires have special powers, they live forever, and they burn in the sunlight, who cares right? If a zombie outbreak happened, zombies will be everywhere… all day, every day, until the end of days. They will be there in the rain, when it’s sunny, and when its snowing. They don’t get tired, they don’t get bored, they only know one thing… They want to feed. You also can’t have a fully working society system with zombies in the mix either. Lawlessness, looting, and the fall of the establishment crumbles in the zombies’ wake. The idea of the anarchy and the collapse of every rule you know is a really crazy thought. It would be like the old frontier days but more dangerous and with less laws. There are no department stores or credit cards. There are no mechanics when your car breaks down, or electricity to power your house. There is no Internet for reading masterpiece articles like this one. Every… thing… you… know… is simply gone. And THAT is a truly horrifying thought. There are a few things you need to do in any zombie outbreak. You need to get supplies, find shelter, and stay with a small group of people.
Zombie Movies Rock!