Origin of the Species – How to Create a Zombie

When a mummy zombie and a daddy zombie fall in love … wait, that’s not right. Zombies have been slowly growing in popularity since the original Night of the Living Dead movie in 1968, and then exploded in popularity over the past few years. With each generation of moviemakers and storytellers comes a different spin on how zombies are created, which range from dark horror to scarily plausible science-fiction.

Passive victims – Haitian zombies

This is where you get ‘real’ zombies. The origin of zombies stem from African and Haitian voodoo practices that go back to the beginning of the 20th century. According to legend, a Voodoo ‘bokor’ sorcerer traps the soul of a dead person in a bottle, turning that person into a mindless slave for the bokor himself.

Years later, an anthropologist discovered that bokor sorcerers use a powerful toxin to make a person seem clinically dead, and then exhume the body after burial. They use the confused, trance like state of the victim that to convince them that they are a zombie and in the power of the bokor. The concept of zombies was first brought to Europe and America in the 1932 movie White Zombie. Voodoo zombies are very lethargic and quite pathetic, and the practice of creating a zombie through voodoo is now largely non-existent. Not a massive threat.

zombie

Risk of outbreak: 1

Hungry for brains – Romero zombies

George A. Romero’s classic horror Night of the Living Dead brought a new take on the zombie genre. Rather than being victims of magic or toxins, these zombies are the reanimated dead who are pretty hungry for the living. The causes of the zombie outbreak are never fully explained, but the two main theories are that radiation from an exploded space probe caused the dead to rise, or that it’s some form of divine punishment (as said in Dawn of the Dead, “when there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth”).

Theological arguments aside, there are always experiments in different forms of energy and technology that could cause a strange form of radiation poisoning, so this could be a possibility.

Risk of outbreak: 4

 

100m sprinters – Infected humans

Although he didn’t come up with the concept, the faster, more agile zombies were made popular in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later. These zombies are quick, angry and relentless. The popularity of Boyle’s film sparked a big debate about whether or not these actually counted as zombies in the first place.

For starters, these aren’t the living dead but rather humans that have been infected with a rage virus. The infection is a water-borne virus spread through bodily fluids and completely infects a person in under twenty seconds and makes them overcome with murderous aggression. Also, these ‘zombies’ have no desire for human flesh and can possess almost super-human strength, agility and speed.

Unfortunately, this is the most likely possibility of the three. Experiments in genetics and viruses could accidentally breed a zombie virus. The fact that the US Centre for Disease Control has published a Zombie Pandemic survival guide is more than a little concerning.

Risk of outbreak: 8

As likely or as unlikely as they may seem, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for a potential zombie apocalypse. Store a cricket bat under your bed, keep some planks and nails nearby just in case you need to barricade yourself, and stay away from anyone who has so much as a slight cold.

Catherine Halsey is the resident blogger and go-to zombie survival guide for home insurance comparison site Confused.com. Unknown to most of her co-workers, she keeps a zombie escape plan in his desk drawer just in case.

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/randychico/7855015016/

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