Over the weekend, I read Here We Remain, the ninth volume in Robert Kirkman’s comic series The Walking Dead. I’ve been a fan of the series for some time, and have enjoyed the previous 8 volumes. While Here We Remain has all of the intrigue and zombie-killing that fans have come to expect, it also–for the first time that I can remember in The Walking Dead–provides what may be an explanation for why the dead are rising from their graves to feed on the flesh of the living.
I’ll let you discover Kirkman’s (possible) explanation for yourself. However, I think it’s interesting to consider the ways that zombies can come into being in different stories and traditions. Here, I’ll try to make a list:
- Nuclear waste, pollution, or contamination seeps into a local community, turning residents into zombies (Return of the Living Dead, Dance of the Dead)
- Haitian Voodoo drugs turn people into zombies (The Serpent and the Rainbow, White Zombie)
- Haitian Voodoo magic turns people into zombies (King of the Zombies)
- Government/Medical research goes awry, resulting in zombies (Resident Evil, Zombie Strippers, 28 Days Later)
- Aliens somehow contaminate the Earth with zombie-creating stuff (Plan 9 from Outer Space, Zombie Defense Force)
- The Devil/Satan creates zombies for some reason (Trailer Park of Terror, Battle Pope)
- Zombies are constructed scientifically and on purpose by a mad doctor (Bowery at Midnight, Zombie Holocaust)
- A non-Voodoo spell creates zombies (Night of the Living Dorks, The Evil Dead films, the Dungeons & Dragons universe)
- A bite from a sick animal turns people into zombies (Braindead/Dead Alive)
- An ancient curse turns people into zombies (Grey Knight)
- Hybrid/Multiple factors (Fido)
- Unexplained (Dawn of the Dead, Cemetery Man)
I feel like there must be more of these, but I can’t think of any.
Please let me know what zombie-creating methods I’ve left out!