Everyone has some impression of a zombie. Usually, shambling, fetid creatures with a penchant for human flesh and vocalizing like a drunken Jello Biafra. All well and good.
But there are so many other zombies and zombie-like critters that escape the eye of the public, so we’ll run through six with an appropriate food-based danger level for each encounter.
6. Slow Zombies: Seen in movies such as “Dawn of the Dead (1979)”, “Resident Evil” series, “Shaun of the Dead”
Basically, the classic; your bread-and-butter zombie, based off of the archetype of George A. Romero’s zombies from films like “Night of the Living Dead,” or “Dawn of the Dead.” Slow, shambling flesh eaters that only maintain the basest traces of humanity and memory. Exceptionally dangerous in groups, comical by themselves. At its basest, symbolic of mindless consumerism and herd mentality coupled with the innate, psychological aversion to corruption and physical violation (a la biting/ consumption of flesh). They’re supposed to be slow, so it’s only by your own guard being let down that is your downfall, not actively the zombies themselves.
Danger Level of One Zombie: One over-cooked TV dinner. Danger Level of Group: Dropping frozen turkey into boiling oil.
5. Fast Zombies: Seen in films such as “Dawn of the Dead (2004)”, “Zombieland”
Basically like the slow zombies, but fast. Like, marathon runner speeds (skip to 1:00). Sort of a fallacy, because with the assumption that zombies are dead, they couldn’t run. It’s sort of like turtles smashing a fence to get to a head of lettuce. Doesn’t happen. Regardless, the speed ramps up the tension considerably while sacrificing what zombies sort of stand for in the process.
Danger Level: Your goose is basically cooked.
4. Infected: Seen in films such as “28 Days Later,” “The Crazies”
Much like the fast zombies, but not actually dead. It’s worthy of mention because many people mistake infected to be zombies, but they are not. In the case of “28 Days Later,” it’s a mutated rabies virus that makes anyone who comes in contact with it violently insane; essentially making mush out of everything in your brain except for the part that makes you feel that particular kind of anger when your flatmate tells you he crashed your car after using your credit card to buy crack from an undercover cop after he pushed your grandmother down the stairs. THAT kind of angry. If one of these infected gets its blood or saliva in your eyes, mouth, or that annoying paper cut from that damn Scantron sheet, it’s game over, man.
Danger Level: Jumping headfirst into a kiddie pool with molten Hot Pockets.
3. Voodoo Zombies: Seen in films like “White Zombie”
Technically the true zombies, they existed long before zombies ate flesh at all. They are people cast under a deep spell by a witch doctor to do their bidding, be it for malevolent, terrorizing purposes or a simple low-level slave worker kind of evil, they are still technically alive, but have no memories, no will of their own, and cannot speak. Their level of threat is as dangerous as their masters command it to be, but only as much as a drugged, mindless person can manage.
Danger Level: Eating pudding slightly past expiration date. You may get sick, but who knows?
2. Indestructible Zombies: Seen in “Return of the Living Dead”
These zombies cannot be stopped. They can run, they cannot be killed, if you burn them their ashes will make everything dead in a several-mile radius come to life hungering for your more squishy bits, and they can talk. Yeah, they talk. They are the ONLY zombies to specifically desire brains. No other type of zombie yearns for brains any more than they yearn for any other part of you.
Danger Level: Just put yourself in the oven and save them the trouble, will you?
1. Sheeple: As seen in “Black Sheep (2007)”
Yeah, this one is about as weird as it gets. Genetically modified sheep that turn you into sheep people when they bite you. Scary, isn’t it? As if the sheer number of sheep that are in New Zealand wasn’t troublesome enough, now you have to worry about them trying to murder you. It’ll take far more than Shari Lewis with a wool sock to make me trust them again.
Danger Level: Like eating black market Haggis. Roll the dice.
So now you can take your new-found knowledge of the zombie arts, and impress your friends until they try to tear you limb-from-limb for their supper. Until then, I’ve got to nail these planks over my monitor. You can never be too safe, you know.