When someone says “zombies” everyone knows exactly what monster the person is talking about. Zombies are fictional creatures that are the most known monsters that are categorized as the “undead” in the horror and fantasy genres of story-telling. Zombies are reanimated corpses through various different methods; i.e. infection, radiation, or possibly scientific accidents. It is no secret that zombies are a terrifying concept with their mindless urge to consume the living with no remorse. Anyone from the origin of this folklore up to present day can agree that zombies are terrifying and are glad they are only fictitious monsters.
Since the Late 1500’s the human race has been fascinated by zombies in different aspects of life. A scholarly article titled “Zombies—A Pop Culture Resource for Public Health Awareness” written by Melissa Nasiruddin, Monique Halabi, Alexander Dao, Kyle Chen, and Brandon Brown in 2013, states, “Although zombies are currently an integral part of our popular culture, our morbid fascination with the walking dead spans several centuries. Historians and anthropologists trace the origin of zombies to the folklore of several tribes in western Africa, from Ghana to Nigeria (1,2). During the slave trade of the late 1500s through the 1800s, persons from these regions were spirited away from their homes to till the plantations of the Caribbean and the European colonies, bringing with them the voodoo culture of magic and spells.”
Today, there are many different types of zombies in fictitious works of media like movies, T.V. shows, and even video games. Not all zombies are the same; some are fast and violent and some are slow moving and quiet. Although there are different species of zombies, the vast majority has the same goal, and that is to eat the flesh of the living to survive. The top three species of zombies we will be looking at are from different media sources; The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, and Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies. These zombie types will be compared to the “Walkers” in The Walking Dead by the infection method, speed/abilities, and how scary they are due to the T.V. show being the most popular zombie thriller in today’s society.
The Walking Dead is an AMC television series that has been on the air since October 31, 2010 and has been known world-wide since. The characters of the show refer to the zombies in the show as “Walkers” and they are slow moving. The only way to kill these Walkers is to inflict a lot of damage to the brain to officially kill them. The most interesting thing about the infection in this television series is that everyone does in fact have the virus, in addition, the only two ways to become a Walker is to be bitten by one or is to die from any other cause and the victim is destined to become reanimated as one. The television show never actually gave a specific reason on how the infection started but “a lot of theorists believe that everyone was simultaneously infected and it just started to manifest into a reanimating disease after the infected perished of natural causes. This also implies there had to have been a fact acting airborne contamination method to infect the population.” (Grubbs 2015). On top of this theory many others firmly believe that the infection was spread through water due to hints in the how on how two individual characters were near water when introduced to the show and when those two meet, the camera is focusing on the water they are drinking in a diner.
Walkers in this show are slow moving due to them being actually dead. Slow moving zombies do not require to feed off of flesh or to hunt anything. The only thing they require is to have their brain intact. Since the entire anatomy is decomposing the digestive system is rendered completely useless so the “food” they eat serves no purpose and only gets forced out of the rectal area as new flesh comes into the body. Walkers are decomposing hunters and that is the scariest part about them, they do not require hunting you down and eating you alive, they do it for no reason whatsoever. A website called “zombie.wikia.com” puts it as “zombies are technically dead predators who are totally independent from physiological needs of any kind. They feel no pain, need nothing to fuel their bodies, and require only their intact brain to exist.” The reason for Walkers eating human flesh and only human flesh and no other mammals is still unknown to the public.
28 Days Later
28 Days Later is a movie that premiered in 2002 and is about Great Britain a month after it has been infected by the “rage virus”. This virus is highly contagious and is spread through blood, saliva, or any bodily fluid for that matter. The rage virus takes over its host within 10-20 seconds after exposure unlike The Walking Dead’s Walkers to which the host is already infected whilst still being alive. “28dayslater.wikia.com” states that after exposure this virus causes constant violent spasms and internal hemorrhaging which turns into bleeding through every orifice on the host’s body. The reasoning behind its name is because it causes it’s host to become a rage infested very murderous monster who’s one goal is to eat the living at any cost. The scariest part about this species of zombie is that they are very fast and very dangerous when near. They have no trace of their formal self which leads them to have no empathy or sympathy towards its victims. Meaning if your own mother, lover, or brother gets infected, they don’t know you and want to kill you viciously and relentlessly before consuming your flesh. In addition to terrifying, it is also a little heartbreaking to put into perspective. The “downfall” to this monster is that since they in fact do need to feed and if they don’t they will eventually die of starvation as well as if enough time passes, they will eventually become disinterested in self-preservation and die out regardless. Although they seem to be mindless, the infected seem to have somewhat of intelligence in regards to tracking down its victims in complex ways of hunting making survivors have a very difficult experience hiding from the infected.
Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies
Call of Duty is a very popular video game series well known around the world. The game has three main game modes; the campaign, multiplayer, and the famous Nazi Zombies mode. Nazi Zombies was first released in the game Call of Duty: World at War in 2008 as a mini game you can play with your friends and has been an extra to the game since. The main storyline to this game takes place in 1939 as the world is being threatened by Hitler and his Army, simultaneously, a scientist by the name of Dr. Maxis was working with his team called “Group 935” was working on developing technology with an element they had found called Element 115 found in meteors from outer space (callofduty.wikia). Eventually after a lot of drama between the head scientists over the credit of who successfully created teleportation, Element 115 began killing anyone who came in contact with it and turning them into unresponsive zombies. This lead to the scientists opening a new branch of research to use the zombies as an advantage in the war.
These zombies aren’t like any other zombie though, they only want to kill. The zombies do not care about eating their pray but just to end their life. The best way to kill these zombies is to still damage the brain. The infection method is the strangest one due to it being a foreign element from outer space that kills anyone who comes in contact with it. These zombies are used as killing machines and nothing else. They were accidentally created and manufactured from aliens and used by Nazi Germany, hence the term “Nazi Zombies”. I’d have to say that these zombies have to be the least scary of the three due to them not having the absolute need to eat you, it takes away from the whole purpose of the is ideal monster that is the zombie.
Although these zombies were being compared to Walkers, they don’t seem to be as scary as the zombies in 28 Days Later. The only notable advantage the walkers have over most species of zombies is their potential to live forever. Meanwhile in 28 Days Later, the infected not only need to feed off of you but they do it in such a violent and unsavory way they most definitely are scarier than Walkers and Nazi Zombies. Although, I do not believe that zombies need any improvement or editing due to there being so many different species, infection methods, and advantages it keeps the playing field fair due to everyone being different from the next.
Zombies can be tied into Theses 3 & 5. In Theses 3, it says, “The Monster is the Harbinger of Category Crisis” meaning, “it refuses easy categorization” (Theses 3) due to its many species, infection, need to feed. Etc. It also related to “the monster’s very existence is a rebuke to boundary and enclosure.” No one can keep a zombie in captivity let alone keep them enclosed. Finally for Theses 3, the monsters externally incoherent bodies resist attempts to include them in any systematic structuralism.
Theses 5 states, “The Monster Polices the Border of the possible”. This perfectly ties to zombies due to zombies being consequences of scientific exploration taken too far. It states “The giants of Patagonia, the dragons of Orient, and the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park together declare that curiosity is more often punished than rewarded.” Meaning that if humans step out of their scientific boundaries just enough, they could potentially ruin the world, and zombies could be used as another example of this due to them most of the time being created by humans or have had humans somewhere in their creation.
Attached is a video game trailer for Dead Island 2 and shows the turning process from human to zombie. (Also because it’s fun to watch.)
Grubbs, Jefferson. “’FTWD’ May Have Already Answered All Our Zombie Qs.” Bustle, Bustle, 23 Mar. 2018, http://www.bustle.com/articles/107067-how-did-the-zombie-virus-start-on-fear-the-walking-dead-the-pilot-may-have-answered.
This source was used to give information on how the infection started in The Walking Dead T.V show. The show never revealed exactly how the infection began but many theorists believe they have the answer. I included the theories in the essay to show the infection method in the walkers. This source isn’t as reliable as I would like but it’s the best thing to get the point across since there is no facts leaked from the producers.
“Differences Between Surviving Fast and Slow Zombies.” Zombiepedia, zombie.wikia.com/wiki/Differences_Between_Surviving_Fast_and_Slow_Zombies.
This source helps show the differences between fast and slow zombies differing from species to species. I incorporate it to show which zombie does what in regards to ability and hunting techniques. This site is dedicated to shedding light on specific zombie species as well as “survival” of an apocalypse.
“28 Days Later… (2002).” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/title/tt0289043/.
This source was used to give accurate information on the movie 28 Days Later. As well as describing the plot of the film as well as release date. IMDb is used by many film critics and fans due to its reliability and dedication to the film industry.
The Infected.” 28 Days Later Wiki, 28dayslater.wikia.com/wiki/The_Infected.
This source gives information on the infected in the movie 28 Days Later. It gives accurate information on the rage virus and how it affects the host. I used it to give perspective on the differences of zombies used in this essay. This is a fan based website but it is used by dedicated fans to show the differences in zombies.
“Nazi Zombies.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Apr. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_zombies.
I used Wikipedia to define the “Nazi Zombie”. It shows what they are and what game they originate from. I showed how they got infected as well as the backstory on why they were created for a certain purpose. I would have doubted the source but due to prior knowledge on the backstory of the Nazi Zombies story line I knew it to be accurate.
“Zombies (Treyarch)/Story.” Call of Duty Wiki, callofduty.wikia.com/wiki/Zombies_(Treyarch)/Story.
This is additional information on the backstory of the Nazi Zombies video game. I used it to back the story and show where the zombies came from and how they got infected from foreign elements to this planet. This source was personally deemed reliable due to prior knowledge on this specific species of zombie.
“Zombies-A Pop Culture Resource for Public Health Awareness – Volume 19, Number 5-May 2013 – Emerging Infectious Disease Journal – CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 Apr. 2013, wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/5/ad-1905_article.
This source shows where zombies originated from and the obsession humans have on the topic. It also shows how people have been actually looking for the voodoo to reanimate corpses. I used this source to show where the original term zombie came from as well as how long it has been around. This source is very reliable because it was written by the CDC and is a govt. website
IGNentertainment. YouTube, YouTube, 9 June 2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSxCKuEBQEI.
This is a video game trailer for “Dead Island 2” and it shows the transformation process from human to zombie. I used it to show a visual representation on the transformation as well as connect it to two of the zombie species in my essay. It is a reliable source because It was released by IGN and was not fan made.