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9 Facts About Zombies
The what's what of Zombie knowledge.
By Joe Oesterle
October 08, 2010
It wasn’t that long ago racial stereotypes were an acceptable staple of Hollywood films. African Americans, Irish, Chinese, Japanese, Italians, Mexicans and many other ethnic groups have had to fight against the way they’ve been portrayed on film. We have progressed as a people over the years, and yet despite our collective evolution, one group, until very recently, still received a clichéd handling from the media; this group is of course, the Zombies.
Luckily through such films as 28 Days Later and the upcoming AMC T.V. series based on the graphic novel, The Walking Dead, Zombies have been given the ability to prove they’re not all a bunch a dim-witted, brain eating, automatons. Only through education can we hope to start acceptance, so forget what you think you know about Zombies, and read on to better understand our undead brethren.
9. ZOMBIE ORIGINS
Zombies originally hail from Haiti. Voodoo sorcerers (or bokors) from the Caribbean are believed to be able to revive the dead with magic potions, powders and incantations. Another popular way to zombify a human is to introduce a powerful psychoactive drug into the bloodstream of the living. In both cases, the Zombie in question becomes an obedient slave to the spellcaster.
Still another option to turn someone into a mindless drooling drone is to sit them in front of TBS for a few hours during a Tyler Perry marathon.
8. ZOMBIE SPEED
Zombies owe a great deal of their popularity to film writer/director George A. Romero, and yet they have also had to deal with his artistic depiction as a universal truth for decades. “The Grandfather of the Zombie” familiarized movie-going audiences to what we Zombophiles refer to as the “Slow Zombie.”
This is not to say that there are no slow Zombies, but there are also many Zombies who could give Michael Vick serious competition in the 40-yard dash. (See 28 Days Later.) Add that to the fact that some Zombies don’t tire out and maybe the Philadelphia Eagles might upgrade to a different type of monster at quarterback next season.
7. ZOMBIE INFECTION
As we have learned, some Zombies are created by voodoo, but most modern day Zombies became that way after being bitten by an already infected Zombie. A hungry Zombie may or may not feast on the living flesh of it’s terrified victim, but it may just go straight for the delicious brains, or perhaps all it meant to do was take a bite of its prey - therefore insuring another member to the ranks of the undead army.
Regardless, one bite that breaks the skin, no matter how tiny, is all it takes for the infection to eventually take over.
Other ways of infection include sharing a drinking glass with a Zombie, not putting the paper down on a toilet seat after a Zombie has used the facility, and having unprotected sex with a Zombie. Just use common sense in these matters.
6. ZOMBIE INTELLIGENCE
The Zombie community has had to fight persecution for years. Perhaps the biggest misconception is that ALL Zombies are witless murderous husks. While there are Zombies that can fairly be painted by that brush, there are still a good amount of modern day Zombies who would prefer to be labeled as plotting, scheming, and even diabolical murderous husks. (See the Evil Dead trilogy or Land of the Dead.)
5. ZOMBIE HYGIENE
To say all Zombies omit a foul odor, while technically true, is patently unjust. In fairness to the undead, they are undead, and that particularly unique character trait does bring about a certain pungent fragrance.
Zombie culture has different priorities than most cultures in which the populace is not undead, and therefore they have never concentrated on the simple day-to-day personal sanitation that many of us take for granted. Shampoos, toothpaste and deodorant have very little if any practical meaning to a Zombie. Their days and nights are busy with the preoccupation of consuming the meat of the living. Generally they have precious little time to splash on even a hint of Axe Cologne for Men.
4. ZOMBIES HAVE RHYTHM
Thanks to the formerly alive King of Pop, Michael Jackson, most of us are aware that Zombies can not only move quickly and in an organized fashion, but in some cases they can also dance and sing. Now to say all Zombies can dance is just as offensive as saying no Zombies can dance, but a quick tour of YouTube will show you the hoofing prowess of many a shadow being.
Feel free to view the fancy footwork in such videos as Jackson’s Thriller, The Zombeatles – A Hard Day’s Night of the Living Dead, and of course the one and only Count Smokula’s, appropriately titled, Zombie.
3. ZOMBIE APPETITE
Why do Zombies eat brains for sustenance?This time the accusatory finger can be pointed directly at Dan O’Bannon for his 1985 film, The Return of the Living Dead. It is in fact in this movie where the very first utterance of the word “brains” can be attributed to a Zombie.
Like liverwurst among the living, brain eating is not for every Zombie, but more an acquired taste. Many are happy to gnaw on calf, or a shoulder, and then there are the occasional Nazi Zombies who have been known to go straight for the groin – a regional delicacy for some German Zombies. (See Dead Snow.)
2. ZOMBIE DECAPITATION
Even if you have managed to decapitate a Zombie, it would be foolhardy to think you are out of harm’s way. There are as many instances of persistent headless Zombies still stalking around blindly as there are disconnected, ravenous Zombie heads, scooting along the floor looking for a morsel of tasty human tissue.
As the armless and footless superhero, Black Panther once noted as he gazed upon the disembodied cranium of the zombified Wasp from the laboratory of Zombie Giant-Man, perhaps Zombie hunger is more psychological than physical. (See the comic book, Marvel Zombies.)
1. ZOMBIE DEATH
As the movie Zombieland taught us, there are many ways to kill a Zombie.
Shotguns, banjos, baseball bats, pianos, hedge clippers, and amusement park mallets can all be used as effective tools in the termination of a Zombie, as long as these weapons are aimed squarely at the head of the targeted Zombie.
Then again, any normal living human being would also find him or herself waking up dead if they were assaulted in a similar manner. The moral of this story? Zombies are people too, or at least they were once, so let’s abandon the rhetoric of hate and let the healing begin.
Joe Oesterle’s latest book, “Weird Hollywood” hits book stores Oct 5. It’s full of urban legends, Hollywood ghosts, roadside attractions, celebrity interviews and he got to sit in the Adam West Batmobile. Follow the book on Twitter: http://twitter.com/WeirdHollywood