Friday, August 14, 2015

The Evolution of Zombies

Last weekend, my husband and I watched Extinction (2015).

It wasn’t terrible, but it had some issues. The biggest was that it drove my husband nuts that the zombies evolved to survive in a winter wonderland without hair. There were a few other problems too—mainly with the characters not being the sharpest tools in the shed—but on the whole it was a good movie. I enjoyed it. And since zombies are fictional, anyone can make up anything they want about them.

It got me thinking about the evolution of zombies through time and how they’ve changed to be scarier. The first change they went through was from slow, shambling zombies in Night of the Living Dead to fast in 28 Days Later.

This totally changed the genre. Not only did zombies have numbers on their side, but now they had speed. They had been difficult to deal with when they were slow, now they were ridiculous scary and hard to take down.

In World War Z, not only were they fast but they exhibited some intelligence. They were able to sense when a host was infected with a life-threatening disease and view them an unviable for passing on whatever made them zombies.

This isn’t the first time zombies have shown intelligence. In Day of the Dead, Bub is able to remember certain aspects of his human life and by the end of the film, he remembers how to use a gun to get revenge.

Extinction proposes another step in the evolutionary chain. It’s not a perfect step, but it’s a start. And it makes me wonder where the zombie genre is going to go. Will zombies become even more intelligent? Will they become faster? Will they gain strength and become superzombies?

In the next zombie book I’m working on (not actually at the moment, but soon), I have some evolved zombies. It’s really fun to explore the possibilities. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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