Zombies are everywhere.
Not literally. That would be worrisome (I have a zombie apocalypse plan, do you?). They’re all over pop culture right now, though. The Walking Dead continues to eat up ratings on AMC and this weekend Brad Pitt’s expensive and troubled World War Z hit theaters. Whether you liked the movie or not (I thought it was a a pretty peppy apocalypse tale, with three acts that don’t seem to fit together), you certainly noticed how freaking fast the zombies were. They run! They jump! They climb all over each other to get over walls! They head butt! They are generally unlike many zombies you’ve encountered before.
And really, every zombie movie, TV show, book, and comic has its own rules. So to help you keep all the zombies and their abilities straight, here’s a guide to a couple of the more famous versions. (Mild spoilers below)
World War Z (film)
Fast or Slow? Very, very fast. They sprint! They climb! They head-butt excessively. Which seems so counter-intuitive. But maybe zombies don’t have a whole lot of intuiton.
Viral? Yes, unknown origin. They’re saving that for the Zequel.
Bite to infected in…12 seconds, with some variation
Called zombies? Yes, but reluctantly. A more accurate term may be “pale and bloody video game characters” because that’s what they look like.
How do you kill them? Slightly unclear in the movie. Head shots seem to work but burning seems to be the only sure-way.
Scariness? Very, very litte. There’s some genuine fear in the first act of the movie but that’s before you really see any of these guys. In large numbers they really look like video game animation, and in small numbers they’re too easy to defeat. 2/10
Grossness? They’re not very decomposed or bloody. And they’re blood is weirdly black. 3/10
The Walking Dead
Fast or Slow? Relatively slow, but dangerous in a herd
Viral? Yes, but (spoiler) we’re all infected
Bite to infected in…Bites take a while to kill you but once you’re dead it’s pretty instantaneous
Called zombies? Nope. Walkers, biters, the dead, lame-brains, geeks etc. They’re very creative in this dystopia.
How do you kill them? Destroy the brain. In the most disgusting way possible. I recommend any type of blunt weapon to the head repeatedly, for maximum blood splatter.
Scariness? Not very. After an episode or two it’s easy to become desensitized. Which is sad for humanity and good for zombies. 3/10
Grossness? Really, really nasty. They ooze and crack and bleed and move while their entrails are hanging out. The show is way more disgusting than it is scary. 11/10
28 Days Later (& 28 Weeks Later)
Dead? Technically not. Living infected with “Rage.” Some would say that makes them not actually zombies. It also makes the characters have to kill living people.
Fast or Slow? Pretty darn fast
Viral? Yup, “Rage” virus from some freed lab chimps, which is either a commentary on medical testing or meddling animal rights activists. Either way, don’t let it get in your eyes, man.
Bite to infected in…10-20 seconds
Called zombies? No,”Infected”
How do you kill them? Anything fatal to humans because they’re still alive. But goodness are they resilient.Even to molotov cocktails.
Scariness? Fast zombies are particularly apt for this day and age. And the red eye is very terrifying, especially on a priest in a church. 8/10
Grossness? They vomit a lot of blood. 8/10
Romero Zombies (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead)
Dead? Yes, hence the titles.
Fast or Slow? Slow, like it should be.
Viral? Yes, unknown origin (hints that it’s radiation)
Bite to infected in…Die within 3 days of a bite, all dead reanimate shortly after they die
Called zombies? No. In the Night of the Living Dead radio broadcast they call them “ghouls.” Mostly just “they.” As in, “They’re coming to get you, Barbra.”
How do you kill them? Destroy the brain
Scariness? May seems lame to some now but bonus points for the original scares. 8/10
Grossness? Slightly less gross in black and white. 6/10
So, which zombies would you rather face in the apocalypse? I’m a big Walking Dead fan and have planned for that particular apocalypse. The fast zombies are way harder to fight.