Know Thy Enemies

Photo: Greg Nicotero/Courtesy of AMC (Slow zombie head); Getty Images (Fast zombie body); Pariah Films/The Kobal Collection (Fast zombie head); Lorimar/The Kobal Collection (Talking zombie head)

  The Slow Undead Zombie
a.k.a. the George A. Romero Zombie The Fast-Living Zombie
a.k.a. the 28 Days Later Zombie The Talking Unkillable Zombie
a.k.a. the Return of the Living Dead Zombie How to Kill One These zombies are slow, exhibiting stiff rigor mortis, and can only be killed by destroying the brain. With Romero zombies (named after the Night of the Living Dead director), you don’t have to be bitten to become a zombie. You just have to die. So if someone around you dies, destroy their brain, just to be safe. As in The Walking Dead, this zombie may hunt by sense of smell, so you can cover yourself in zombie guts and walk among them relatively safely. Some are distracted by fireworks and/or bright, shiny things in the sky. This is an extremely useful trick. They’re fast because they’re still alive and have just been infected with a virus, which means you don’t necessarily have to destroy their brain. You can actually kill them in any number of ways, like locking them in a room so they starve to death or die of dehydration. As long as you can outrun them in their initial assault and get somewhere safe, you have a much better chance of long-term survival. The biggest thing with these zombies is to avoid other people—you don’t want to be in a crowd. The infection can sweep through a crowd in seconds. Basically, there’s no way to kill a Return of the Living Dead zombie. What’s worse, if you set it on fire, you’re probably only spreading the infection. Zombie-ism lives in every cell, meaning if you cut off a zombie’s hand, it will continue to come after you. These are pretty smart and can talk. In Return of the Living Dead—either part one or two—they chop off the head of a zombie, and the head keeps saying: “Brains, brains.” So don’t be fooled when someone rings your doorbell and says they’re delivering pizza when you didn’t order any pizza! As Seen In Night of the Living Dead (1968) by George A. Romero
—“The zombie as we understand it today was born in 1968.”

The Walking Dead (2010)
—“Classic Romero zombies.”

Resident Evil (2002)

The “wandering sickness” in Things to Come (1936), screenplay by H. G. Wells

Shaun of the Dead (2004)
—“Shaun zombies hunt by sense of sight, so practice your zombie walk.”

Dawn of the Dead (2004)
—“In the remake of the [1978] Romero movie, they actually made the zombies fast, but they were also undead.”

Land of the Dead (2005) by George A. Romero 28 Days Later (2003)
— “Danny Boyle’s fast zombies were the biggest innovation in the modern zombie since Night of the Living Dead.”

28 Weeks Later (2007)

Zombieland (2009)

Zombie Autopsies (2011)
— “Unfortunately, the ZA infection is airborne, so wear a mask, and avoid being anywhere near other people like your life depends on it.” The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

That’s Not Your Mommy Anymore (2011)
— “The Mommy zombie makes quick work of all the adults on the planet and then focuses especially on eating all the remaining children.”

Know Thy Enemies