{DISCUSSION} Zombies: The Weakest Link

Note: Next month is supernatural month! All discussions in October will be about supernatural creatures in celebration of Halloween!

Zombies: The Weakest Link

Zombies. The Undead. The Walking Dead. The Living Dead. Whatever you wanna call them, they’re supernatural creatures that have died and, by some arbitrary means, are still able to move as if they were alive. Basically, reanimated corpses with nothing but an insatiable urge to devour brains (and yet many series don’t even have them eat brains… >.>) And perhaps it’s this ambiguity that feeds my distaste for them. (‘Feeds’. Get it? :p)

That, and the serious number of inconsistencies within zombie lore. Granted, there are multiple genres and mediums that utilize zombies, but even within the same genre or medium, the lore is different. Whatever you believe, whatever genre you read in, whatever world you prefer, there are some serious discrepancies among origin, creation/spread, and destruction. None of the books, none of the series, none of the movies seem to follow the same logic for any of this. Nor do they keep to the same page about how new zombies are made. Let me explain.

ORIGIN

I mean, where do zombies come from? Well, this depends on the lore and the genre of the story. For example, a paranormal/fantasy-based story will use witchcraft for zombies. However, these usually are limited to a few individual persons and doesn’t result in a plague or horde.

Yet, the science fiction/apocalypse genres are known for their raging, world-eating zombie apocalypses. Even here, though, there are discrepancies for their origins. I’ve heard some absolutely absurd sources such as ingestion of expired food. -.- (<– judgement face) Or the more likely, overly scientific version of a biological weapon gone awry and released into the general populace(H20/air borne/vaccines). From there all it takes is a bite (or more accurately a transfer of zombie saliva to human blood which creates more zombies[if you follow traditional lore]).

CREATION/SPREAD

  1. Zombie comes to ‘life’.
  2. Zombie craves brains(because this is basically the point of a zombie’s existence).
  3. Zombie attacks human and eats brains.
  4. Brainless human can’t become zombie because killing the brain is how one kills… a… zombie… >.> Wait…

Do you see what I’m saying? So what is it that makes new zombies? Is it an airborne pathogen that has actually infected us all and only takes over when we ‘die'(such as in ‘Z Nation‘). Or is it in a zombies saliva and we become zombies if we’re infected by a bite (not to the brain?)

Still, if all it takes is a transfer of saliva to blood and a full-body infection, are we sure they can even be called ‘Undead’? There’s no guarantee that the humans die before they’re turned. Given the lack of verified death before the zombies turn, how can we actually verify the zombies aren’t simply a mindless human who’s still alive with a virus running through their bodies? Like mad cow disease? Are they still zombies? Or is this a whole different supernatural species altogether?

*Sidetracked! Back to topic!*

EXAMPLES

And if zombies only crave brains(as classic lore demands), why’re they always munching on everything but the brain! I mean, in the TV show ‘Z Nation‘ the zombies bit Murphy eight times… in the torso… >.> Later in the series, they bite people’s necks. I’ve never once seen them actually bite a person’s head and try to eat the brains.

Another great example of this is in ‘Zombieland‘ where the zombies are seen eating ankles, torsos, and even drinking the bone marrow of their victims. But not the brain. Never the brain.

DOESN’T ADD UP

But wait, I’m still confused. These people who are being feasted on by zombies (with their brains still in tact) are now dead. Whether it’s an airborne pathogen or saliva infection, shouldn’t they suddenly be all like ‘Poof! I’m a zombie! Stop eating me! Let’s go find more humans to eat!’ But that just leads to them biting more humans and turning them into zombies. So, the zombies aren’t actually really eating anyone because everyone they bite turns into zombies… >.>

It doesn’t make any sense. Unless you’re about to tell me that the person stays dead and doesn’t turn into a zombie if the zombie eats (insert random organ here) before the zombie virus/pathogen/whatever turns the dead person into a zombie. Because that’s BS! Zombies are shot in EVERY place possible and still stay alive(minus the brain). Zombies are chopped in half and still stay alive. They don’t need hearts, livers, kidneys, stomachs, gall bladders, lungs (though they make an awful lot of gasping and moaning sounds), intestine, or any other organ. They only need intact brains to stay ‘alive’. So, why doesn’t EVERY person turn into a zombie? How do some of them actually die before going Z?

ZOMBIE DECAY

Disregarding how people become zombies or what part of humans the zombies eat, there is a new phenomenon in zombie pop culture we need to address: zombie decay. While zombies are undead, they’re literally rotting flesh. They fall apart. Their skin slides off. They lose limbs left and right. After a while, the elements will wear on these zombies, which leaves… nothing.

So… how long does the zombie apocalypse last for? It can’t be forever. Zombies aren’t immortal, right? They’re still subject to natural bacteria slowly eating away at their dead cells (yum yum :p). Following that, wouldn’t we eventually reach a point where the original horde of zombies is… gone?

Now, we’re still likely to see new zombies popping up based on the form of creation (such as virus infection activated upon death), but wouldn’t the population dwindle? Wouldn’t it become sustainable? Wouldn’t we reach an equilibrium with the zombie population in which it’s small enough that we could actually return to normal society? I dunno. It seems plausible to me. Yet, no one really ever talks about it, except for in ‘28 Weeks Later‘.

INCONSISTENCIES

Frankly, there are just too many inconsistencies for me to accept zombies as actual, threatening supernatural creatures. Not only that, but they’re pathetic. They’re literally the most pathetic supernatural threat. Even ghosts have more power than zombies.

For example, zombies chase people. Sure, they run fast, but in most lore they can’t open doors, they can’t talk, they aren’t intelligent (obviously), they can’t climb. They’re just mindless, eating machines. How is that really a threat? Following that logic, velociraptors are more threatening than zombies… and they’re extinct!

Perhaps I should stop my spiel before I hurt someone’s feelings (or make them see the light about zombies :p). Rather, let’s hear your thoughts. Do you like zombies? Why do you think they are (or aren’t) threatening?

What do you think about zombies?
Let me know in the comments below what you think about zombies.


And check out my discussion from last week:
“Negative Reviews”

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36 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} Zombies: The Weakest Link

  1. But, but, but… THE WALKING DEAD rocks!!! Also, I thought ‘Z Nation’ was one of the worst zombie movies around. I actually think living in a post apocalyptic zombie land could be fun… Just raid a few stores, then hole up and read every book I wanted for FREE from the abandoned books stores and libraries.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ‘Z Nation’ is a tv show, but yes. It’s pretty bad. And I don’t watch Walking Dead because I don’t find zombies to be interesting. There’s too little to work with and the plot becomes repetitious.

      Good luck with that ‘holing up’ thing because you know a) survival, b) food, c) bookstores tend to be in cities, which tend to be populated by zombies…. Yeah…

      Liked by 1 person

                    1. The roof. Ya gonna pole vault to the next roof and pray the zombies neither hear nor see ya?
                      And I’m just being practical. Cities are bad news in any apocalypse.
                      And what happens when all that processed food runs out in your other buildings?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Dude. It’s an apocalypse. You have no gasoline. -.- Even if you did somehow manage to find gasoline, your Uhaul would make so much noise all the zombies in five miles would come runn- limping after you.

                      P.s. I’m training for the Hunger Games. Screw the olympics.

                      Like

  2. This is a greet discussion. Like Carlalouise89, I have to agree that we’ve simply moved beyond the brain eating monsters. And supernatural creatures evolve in our mythology over time. Case in point: Nosferatu 1923 versus the Twilight films.

    Witchcraft is the more ‘believable’ version of zombies, since it has more in common with the beginning of this whole zombie craze which is voodo.

    Addressing the zombies not being fast, intelligent, etc.. While there are variations out there, this is true. However, as it’s pointed out in various books, its because they’re so slow and such that they frequently get underestimated. In this race of human/hare versus turtle/zombie, if the human stops to rest because they assume they’re safe, they get eaten. Plus, whilst you might KNOW that zombies are slow and stupid, try facing down a horde of the slavering undead and keeping all your senses intact. I personally would probably pee myself, run stupidly until exhaustion, collapse in a hopeless ball, and be zombie noms by dawn.

    In regards to them being abnormally powerful – every book I’ve read that actually addresses this does it in a way that makes perfect sense to me. They’re NOT abnormally powerful at all. They’re just not hampered by their body’s self-protection systems. Living humans go “oh, I can’t do x because I know I’m not a capable of it. I will get hurt.” A zombie doesn’t have those innate protections in place anymore, and just does it. When you aren’t hampered by your brain’s protection systems, you can do a lot more than you normally would. (Adrenalin car lifting, anyone?)

    The eating thing makes absolutely no sense, I agree.

    The rotting away thing – depends. In the Resident Evil movies, in World War Z (the book), and in other pieces of lore, its acknowledged that heat and cold do affect the rate of decomposition (mummification/freezing to a stop). It still doesn’t make complete sense, but it is acknowledged.

    There was a bit of a discussion in a documentary about how a zombie virus could actually happen, and really, all we would need is for rabies to become airborne. We’d all be screwed.

    Zombies aren’t really believable supernatural creatures, but how many actually are? What we know doesn’t hold nearly as much fear as what we don’t know, in general.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! First off, thank you for commenting. Second off, thank you for leaving such a long comment. And third off, thank you for agreeing with me on the whole eating thing because that really makes no sense!

      I could understand that varying temperatures would have different effects on the rate of decomposition (I’m a scientist, after all. :p) However, it can’t keep them alive forever. Not to mention, if we’re assuming the decomposition rate is being lowered due to the cold, wouldn’t the zombies mobility be lowered due to the cold, as well? By that, I mean, wouldn’t they move slower? It’s often a piece in zombie fiction that the zombies hate the cold. Why?

      Oh god. The rabies virus going airborne. Yup. That would be pretty detrimental, but I don’t think we’d have zombies vs. humans in that. I’m pretty sure it’d just be the next stage of human evolution because there’d be no humans left if rabies went airborne. :p (Not entirely sure how the rabies vaccine works or, more importantly, how long one would be unaffected by rabies having taken the vaccine. So many questions. o.O)

      And I understand the fact that zombies lack nerve endings and therefore lack pain receptors. But still, assume their leg snaps in half. That zombie ain’t gonna be chasing you as fast as before because he’s missing a damn leg! The broken leg won’t support him forever and it’s not like it’s gonna heal. So just… break all their kneecaps and you’re good, right? :p (new zombie-fighting technique.)

      Ah. But getting in the middle of a zombie horde is probably your fault. Zombie hordes aren’t really the quietest of things and they’re not like little ants you can miss very easily. Most people who find themselves in the middle of zombie hordes are either idiots trying to rescue someone, someone trying to gain an essential survival tool, or really freakin’ oblivious! (don’t sleep in abandoned buildings with only one exit/entrance. -.- Common sense people.)

      While I love science fiction, I also agree with you on the zombies coming from necromancy. It just has fewer loopholes and more structure. I can respect it more, if that makes sense. (p.s. we’re talking about witches later this month. :p)

      Like

      1. In World War Z the zombies freeze over the winter. Thats when everyone goes out to kill them .

        The thing that would screw us with rabies going airborne is that 1. We wouldn’t know for about a month after the initial infection, in which asymptomatic people would be unknowingly spreading the disease willynilly and 2. We have such small amounts of the vaccine on hand. The vaccine also has to be administered before symptoms start, so given the R factor, asymptomatic time…etc. Yes, we would be bloody screwed and fast too.

        I love how you talk about common sense like most people actually have it.LOL.

        This has been an interesting discussion.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Huh. I have not read World War Z so I didn’t realize they freeze over winter. To be honest, this sounds rather comical. :p I would have so much fun just running around with a baseball bat and WHAM! You’re dead! and WHAM! You’re dead! skips to the next zombie Oh! Hi there! Did you want to eat my brains today? Well, sucks to be you! WHAM!

          is a very strange person >.>

          Yes, but there might be like… a few people who have just recently gotten the vaccine and would, therefore, be okay, but vaccines don’t last forever. You know? Like, you have to get updated shots. So, eventually, we’d all be zombified.

          Bahaha! I like to think people still have common sense, but it’s not common anymore. We should really be calling it ‘special sense’. :p

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I love zombie movies!!! Hell, I love anything horror based. But zombies are especially good!
    I think, for the most part, everyone’s moved away from “zombies eating brains” thing. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie in years that include it. I think, though, the creation of zombies (the brain-eating ones) came from the dead rising – so people who were already dead who somehow became infected (sort of like Pet Cemetery or Resident Evil. They didn’t need to be bitten; they just needed to have died).

    I prefer more of the modern-creation of the zombie, but to be honest, I’m with you. It makes very little sense. Movies like (remake version) Day of the Dead confuse the fuck out of me, because while I think it’s awesome (zombies and death and shit!), I don’t get how dying somehow makes the zombies super powerful (they’re able to climb up walls and run really fast and size or injuries don’t really matter).

    Also, like you said, the number one characteristic of a zombie (regardless of whether or not it’s brain focused) is the obsession to eat. There’s only so long a person’s stomach can go without exploding, and I can’t imagine that’d work out well for a decaying piece of meat.

    More so, if I left a piece of steak on the table, how quickly would something get to it? I’m not talking about my dog, Rosie, who would be like “There is a god!”, but insects and ants and flies? How long would it take for that piece of meat to be pulled apart by insects alone? When you think about it, we’re frequently fighting off annoying little insects. Zombie-lore pretty much guarantees that, despite their insatiable need for food, they don’t do much. That’d make them a pretty easy target.

    On top of which … all the animals in the world that would eat the steak. Like, flat out eat it. My dog, for example. Crocodiles. Even snakes (in Australia, we had a snake that ate a crocodile … for reals. ‘Straya) if they’re big enough. Sharks. Lions. Leopards. Jaguars. Wolves. Any meat-eating predator. Birds – eagles and hawks. Crows.

    Then of course one has to assume that, because the zombie is dead, they can’t really see – I mean, they’re often pictured with cloudy eyes – so how aren’t they just walking off somewhere? Like, off a cliff? Into water? Wouldn’t they drown? I mean, they can’t swim, can they?

    I also don’t get how so many people are infected – unless it’s an airborne pathogen, like in Resident Evil, it makes no sense (or the zombies are crazy fast, like in 28 Days Later). For the most part, the zombies are relatively slow. How are people so stupid?

    Also, it seems like people make really dumb decisions, like in World War Z, for example. We find out the zombies are attracted to noise. What do the people in Jerusalem do? START SINGING AND PRAYING WITH A SPEAKER. The helicopters don’t, you know, try and warn anyone about the rise of the zombies. No one says, ‘Hey, this is probably a fucking bad idea.’ Nope. And then the zombies get in.

    Or like in Dawn of the Dead, where they let all the infected people into the shopping centre with them. Ummm, hello? You know that infected people turn into zombies. WHY ARE YOU TAKING PITY ON THEM? Kill the fuckers. Seriously. I don’t get how it’s a hard decision. If it were me, if I was the one bitten and I knew my fate, I would want to die. If I couldn’t take my own life, I’d at least ask someone to do it for me. Turning into a mindless nothing that’s going to eat and kill people, and potentially even people I love and care for, seems so stupid. It’s not worth it to me. It’s like knowing you have terminal cancer and you don’t have long to live – but if you don’t choose euthanasia/suicide, you’re going to take everyone you love with you.

    Also, why does someone always hide it from their loved ones? They’re like, “Oh, I’ve been bitten. I will not tell anyone and put everyone at risk, because I’m a selfish fucktard.” REALLY!?

    Also, I have no idea how the zombies always manage to over power America. Ya’ll have more guns than people, and somehow ya’ll have a problem finding weapons? I mean, come on. Like the South would lose to fucking zombies. Everyone just knows that’s realistic.

    I mean, in Australia, we’d be fucked gun wise. But we have like seven of the world’s deadliest snakes, and god knows how many other fucking animals we manage to survive, so we’d probably survive that way. Plus, it gets so hot here that animals often have to be buried straight away otherwise they bloat and explode (literally) from the heat … so I think we’d win that if it happened during summer.

    Anyway, if you get to the end of this, I guess thanks? I’d have probably given up before now. But I really like zombies, as I’m sure you can obviously tell now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ‘There’s only so long a person’s stomach can go without exploding,’
      Ah but that’s assuming they have stomachs. Perhaps the internal walls deteriorate faster and therefore there are no internal structures for the zombie any longer. Hence, their ability to eat and eat and eat. (God the calories! o.o)

      ‘Zombie-lore pretty much guarantees that, despite their insatiable need for food, they don’t do much.’
      You’re assuming they’re being constantly feasted upon by flies and maggots and what not? That is a good assumption. Honestly, I hadn’t thought of this one before, but it would make sense. After all, they’re dead, decaying, and rotting. Therefore, they’d be a perfect house for such pests. This would, inevitably, speed up the decaying process, as well!
      And because this is decaying matter that we’re talking about, most carnivores actually wouldn’t touch them. Lions. Tigers. Wolves. Bears. They eat fresh carcasses. Not day/week/month-old flesh. Now… vultures on the other hand. They might be attacking these zombies left and right!
      Speaking of animals, have you ever seen a zombie go after an animal? Or is only ever humans? If so, why?! What’s so special about humans that they naturally attract zombies?

      ‘Wouldn’t they drown?’
      How would they drown if they can’t breathe? It’s been shown in a couple of zombie fictions that they are found in lakes, oil vats, etc. Yet, they continue to ‘live’ because they have no need for air. Granted, they probably can’t swim or anything and so would be lost to the current. But they’d still be ‘alive’ wherever they washed up on shore.

      Also, I don’t know about the being blind thing. There are a lot of mechanics that just don’t work in zombies. If they are dead, they have no muscles. If they have no muscles, they can’t swallow. Yet, they’re eating humans. >.> <.< >.> Something’s missing here.

      Spread of infection actually does have to do with the stupidity of man, but also because of the density of man. If you look at like… 80% of the population or something absurd like that, they’re clustered around large cities. Those large cities have few escape points and no sustainability once humanity falls to the wayside. In other words, everyone in the city would become zombies. Bam. Done. Millions of people zombified. (Same scenario goes for any apocalypse. Reasons to never live IN a city.)

      Okay. Again, humans are dumb. They do stupid things like let people into shopping centers and allow their emotions to bring about the downfall of the human race. -.- To be honest, if I had been bitten, I’d go find the people I hate the most and let myself become a zombie just to turn them into zombies. If I’m gonna suffer in an infinite state of zombification, I’m taking all those bastards with me! But… I’m a horrible person. So… cough

      Yup. People are selfish, too. If you haven’t noticed, the zombie apocalypse shows everything wrong with people nowadays. :/

      But in regards to surviving because of guns. Well… not everyone owns guns. Most people keep them in safes when they have an exorbitant amount (or should.) By the time the zombie gets in, it’s usually too late to grab a gun, find the ammo, load it, and shoot. Not to mention, unless you have a silencer (which civilians usually don’t), you’ve just announced your position to every zombie within like… 5+ miles (depending on the gun). Guns are good for killing, bad for stealth. searches for sniper rifle

      Bahaha! Give up on a discussion about supernatural creatures?! No way! I could discuss this for hours!! And honestly, I do find it interesting that they always show the US falling to the zombies. What? Is it just North America that gets screwed? Did Europe (who has a higher population density than the US) manage to survive? Did Asia? I dun believe that!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Some zombie movies have them eating animals (like I Am Legend, though I didn’t like that movie) but others have them refusing to eat the animals (28 Days Later … they talk about how the horses weren’t affected, and the zombies didn’t go after them).
        True, but one would assume that they still have a stomach … otherwise, there’d have to be some kind of wound on them that indicates they no longer have a stomach? They may be dead, but they’re still a ‘person’, and would function like a person, it would seem? So, there stomach would have to disappear some way, explode, or they’d be like those baby borns where it comes out as you put stuff in … if that makes sense!
        To be honest, while I love zombies and zombie movies … there are a lot of faults with the whole idea. Serious faults that make it a) unrealistic for a zombie apocalypse to ever be a thing and b) no explanation as to HOW it’s a thing, because how do zombies do half of what they do!?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yes. I recall the animals from I Am Legend, but… I dunno. That just doesn’t seem very plausible. I mean, they attack the dog, yeah, but what about those deer running down the street at the beginning of the movie? There would need to be some explanation for the selection, you know? I don’t buy this whole: ‘well, they eat these species, but not these. That’s just how it is.’ Uh-uh! I’m too scientific for that BS.

          Hmm… true. I dunno. The whole stomach thing is very confusing. I hadn’t thought about that one and I can’t think of a single example that ever really discusses it. :/

          Oh man! I know. The plausibility behind zombies and their apocalypse just… isn’t there. I could never believe it. I mean, there are possibilities for zombies to lack pain receptors (medication can do that and I think there are disorders that cause this, as well), but like: super strength (when they’re decomposing), super jumps (when they’re decomposing), and like… everything else is really just not plausible.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. They do eat the deer! Remember, the dog runs into the building, and Will Smith goes to save her? He ends up finding the dead deer – the zombies ate the deer!
            Ha ha ha ha I’ve put way too much thought into how it’s not really possible, in any way.
            I agree … zombies, at the end of the day, are dead. That means they’re decaying. They can only last so long … I’d give them a few months before they were ‘eaten’ by bugs and insects and birds and stuff. Plus, the wounds from other zombies would be too massive, I feel, for the most part.

            Liked by 1 person

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