"Essentially, a zombie acts exactly like a virus which has no other purpose than the complete consumption and destruction of the entire human race." - Max Brooks, Author of World War Z
"A zombie feels no fear, it never gets discouraged, it will never stop." - Matt Mogk, Founder of the Zombie Research Society
|Weapons||Zombie Bite, Zombie Hands|
|Activities||Spreading the zombie virus and feeding on humans|
|Battle Status||Lost vs. Vampire|
|Experts||Max Brooks (author of World War Z)|
Matt Mogk (founder of the Zombie Research Society
Zombies, plague-infected ghouls with an instatiable hunger for human flesh;
Versus Vampires, blood-draining demons who kill to live and live to kill.
|Short Range||Zombie Bite|
|Medium Range||Zombie Hands|
Symbol- Biohazard Symbol (Representing the Zombie Virus)
The idea of an undead creature exists in almost every culture in human history, but the word 'zombie' first appeared in Haiti (meaning 'Spirit of the Dead'). Myths of dead corpses coming back to life existed around the world since the earliest recorded myths of mankind, but most have different variations of what a Zombie is. Sometimes, the Zombie has Vampire like powers, speed, strength, personalities, weaknesses, ect. But it is very rare, because traditional zombies are not that way.
The Epic Of Gilgamesh and stories of the goddess Ishtar mention armies of the undead in ways that sound like modern day zombie hordes.
"If thou openest not the gate to let me enter, I will break the door, I will wrench the lock, I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors. I will bring up the dead to eat the living. And the dead will outnumber the living."
The first accounts of zombies come from the Haitian religion of voodoo, itself originating from West African spiritual beliefs. Zombies were said to be people who had incurred the wrath of a bokor, or voodoo priest. The bokor would cast a spell that would kill the victim, then return them to life as an unliving slave of the bokor. Oddly enough, such a belief may actually have some basis in fact. Some scientists have a theory that bokors would use blowfish toxin to put people into a state of suspended animation, making them appear dead. Later, the bokor would dig up the victim and use another drug to revive the person. Some zombies are alleged to have escaped and returned to their former lives.
Frankenstein (1931) was one of the first famous films staring a zombie and Frankenstein's Monster is one of the most famous zombies in the world. This film showed certain attributes of zombies that other films adapted; their fear of fire, superhuman strength, durable body and weakened mental abillities.
White Zombie (1932) was one of the very first zombie films with zombie hordes. Although they are undead and thus resistant to damage like modern zombies, the film focused more on the Hatian origins and the zombies were brainwashed with magic instead of acting on their own. Although not a sucess at the time, the film started the craze of zombie films.
The zombies of modern fiction, like those in the Night of the Living Dead films (1968), are much more sinister. They are actually the reanimated bodies of the deceased who return from the dead with the sole intention of feasting on the flesh or brains of the living. Because they are already dead, they are nearly impossible to destroy, and are able to convert anyone they bite into more zombies. Romero used some of the traits of Hatian Zombies in The Night of the Living Dead. Romero Zombies are dead, but have more obvious rotting than Hatian Zombies. Their lack of intellegence is similar but Hatian Zombies are hypnotised while Romero Zombies are feral. Romero even copied the Hatian Zombies' walking, but the Hatian Zombies gait is from their hyptnotic trance while Romero Zombies are physically weakened from their death and rott. But other attributes like the Zombie Virus, cannibalism, superhuman strength and others were not traits of Hatian Zombies.
Some believe that Night of the Living Dead was an American version of the Italian film The Last Man on Earth (1964), which showed one of the first examples of a zombie virus, though the zombies in this film had vampire-like characteristics also and could use weapons.
The Zombie film The Return of the Living Dead (1985) helped popularize the myth that Zombies liked eating brains. The film Day of the Dead (1985) helped explain many scientific reasoning for the attributes of the Zombies like how they act mentally and how only the brain needs to be intact to keep a Zombie animated.
Today, Zombies are one of the most popular fictional creature in modern culture. They are instantly recognized by most people in the world and have appeared in literally thousands of films and media.
Zombies are controlled by a contagious virus that can spread through the zombie bite or scratching though sometimes the virus is even more contagious, traveling in the air or by touch. The virus kills the human's organs and major areas of the brain but the brain is still alive. The virus is so contagious that it can spawn hordes of zombies. One or two zombies can eventually make hordes that measure in the hundreds or millions. Some hordes are so large that as zombies are getting killed, the bodies and limbs will pile up and form mounds of flesh that become obstacles. Sometimes there will be so much zombie blood that the floor or ground will become slippery or the blood will cary the virus and infect anyone covered in it. Using a machete or other sharp object against zombies might fail as the weapon dulls after killing so many zombies. Other blunt weapons like baseball bats are normally so heavy or require so much force to be lethal that a person using it will tire easily. Guns or projectiles will also run out of ammuntion when against a large enough horde.
Because their organs are mostly dead to begin with, they can survive mutilations that don't damage the brain, even decapitation. Because their body has physically died, their flesh decays and rots to the bone. Some zombies are so rotten that its possible for normal humans to pull a zombie's arms or head off, though being this close to a zombie barehanded is dangerous. The virus controls the human's brain, making them act like a zombie. Because of this, the only way to kill a zombie is to completely destroy its brain. Few films show zombies able to survive with a damaged brain, but those that are truly immortal and indestructable must be burned or have all their limbs or bodyparts amputated to kill them. This weakened brain makes the zombies feral and mentally retarded but gives them immunity to pain. They feel no fear and will walk towards danger (the traditional Romero zombies are afraid of fire, though others are so fearless even walk through fire despite being weak to it) and will continue to attack its targets until they die. Zombies rarely are able to speak intelegently but are commonly saying "Brains!". Otherwise Zombies would snarl, growl, moan and sometimes roar. Zombies rarely attempt to defend themselves, they don't seak cover when against projectiles and they don't take care of their bodies, making most Zombies filthy, poor health and covered in disease or parasites. Zombies are almost always aggressive and hungry, constantly attacking anything they think is food [like human flesh]. Surprisingly, a zombie would not eat other zombies. Because of this, the hordes a single zombie creates will stay together in an army like fashion and will use swarm intelligence to overwhelm almost any opponent.
The Zombie has superhuman strength not from an increase in muscle mass but because its brain doesn't register pain, allowing the muscles of a zombie to be used at full potential even at the risk of serious self damage. This allows their arms to be to use full human stregth without weakening, allowing them to tear through flesh easily. This also allows them to bite with the force of a large dog (which is how powerful a human bite could possibly be). Also because of this lack of pain, a zombie doesn't physically tire and can walk or fight endlessly until its own body physically falls apart. Traditional Zombies walk very slowly, around 2-4mph due to how damaged their rotting bodies are, weakened motor skills from an infected or undead brain, rigor mortis limiting the Zombie's muscle movement, lack of a heartbeat or vital organs that energize the body, or just because the zombies are physically 'messed up' (though many recent films and games about zombies have shown them to run at human speed to appear more threatening in their depiction, which some people named 'fast zombies'). Their slow speed makes a small horde easy to avoid, it's even possible in some films to weave through a light zombie crowd if the zombies can't attack fast enough.
Zombies can survive in almost any environment and will not slow down in intense heat or cold temperatures (though some environments would quicken the rotting of their flesh). However Zombies are most common near large cities as it is the best place for the zombie virus to spread. Suburbs and rural areas can still have zombies but the horde's numbers would normally be smaller due to the area having less people to infect. Traditional zombies were commonly found in graveyards as those zombies were dead that were burried. In real life, coffins are bolted shut despite the fact that the weight of the dirt alone would prevent the coffin from being openned by a zombie realistically.
The senses of Zombies vary, though most are attracted by sound or loud noises and react to visual movement, possibly having the same sight as a normal person despite obvious discoloring of the eyes. Despite having dead organs, Zombies are able to smell human flesh (in The Return of the Living Dead, Zombies can smell a person's brain from long distances). In the tv series The Walking Dead, Zombies identify humans by their smell, as Zombie flesh is rotten. If a person smells like a corpse, these Zombies cannot identify them as human and mistake them for other Zombies.
When Zombies are not near any humans, they would normally wander around aimlessly and do nothing else (except eating flesh). The Zombie never rests even outside of battle, they will walk constantly throughout the day and night. Some Zombies will wander away from the horde, either a few hundred feet to a few miles. These lone zombies are easier to kill but should be a warning that the horde is still close by.
Another weapon of the zombie isn't even direct, it's the psychological damage it causes to people. The shear size of the horde would cause most people to run away and panic. If a person's family member (child/mother) or close friend has been turned into a zombie, they might not try to kill the zombie due to the drama of it. Because a zombie horde is created by the population of society, it means that society wouldn't function. Rarely will the army be able to help, powerplants would be shutdown without workers, food would have to be hunted or farmed once supplies run out, and rarely will there be anyone else to help you as most people would have become zombies.Thier moan never stops so it could drive some one insane and the smell will cause a human's eyes to water or even make them vomit.
Because so many people turned into zombies, it is hard to tell the difference between humans from zombies as they could look exactly the same at a distance. This has caused many survivors in zombie films to be killed by friendly fire. If a person doesn't realize that zombies exist, they sometimes allow a person to approach them until noticing that they are a zombie. Many have become victims of the zombies by not recognizing that a person has become a zombie until the zombie attacks. The zombie virus might also not show any obvious change in appearance and so people who are turning into zombies can surprise their former human friends.
Identifying a Zombie is sometimes difficult if the Zombie is too young to exhibit rot. Outside of their violent, feral nature and mental retardation, a Zombie would appear similar to a human. However a common trait among Zombies is that most depictions do not show them blinking and their eyes are discolored by the virus or decay. Also Zombies will limp when their body is injured or old, as their bodies cannot regenerate from damage like a normal person and so cannot withstand the everyday injuries one will face. Also, Zombies do not attack other Zombies, instead attacking living humans and sometimes animals. Many Zombies suffer so much brain-damage from the Zombie Virus that they lost longterm memory and cannot identify other people they knew, even their friends and families.
- George Romero initially viewed his undead as Ghouls, and was mostly oblivious to the original Haitian Zombie. Romero only called his undead as Zombies when other people began referring to them as such.
- Norwegians believe in the Draugr, a Viking Zombie that can shapeshift and is superhuman in strength.
- During WWII: Canadians conscripted into the army had the option to volunteer to be deployed overseas or to say in Canada; either as defensive reserves or a non-combatant military occupation. These soldiers who refused to go overseas became called 'Zombies', referring to how the paradoxical nature of the undead reflects these paradoxical soldiers who avoided combat.