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‘The Walking Dead’ Zombie Archetype

[This article touches on the zombies as portrayed in AMC’s series The Walking Dead based on the albeit limited observation of the only two episodes to have aired so far.]

Those who have been watching the Walking Dead might have noticed the zombies are portrayed as slightly different that the usual archetypes. [fairly complete list here]

For the most part the zombie genre is divided into either Slow Zombies or Fast Zombies. The classic Romero zombie is the slow Shambler, hungry for any living flesh (not just brains – that was added to the meme by Return of the Living Dead in 1985). The Shambler is not much of a threat when encountered alone but in groups is very dangerous. Movies like 28 Days gave us the Fast Zombie – the furious, charging fire-and-forget undead missile.

However, the writers of The Walking Dead have taken an approach that is (in my opinion) very novel and engaging.   New Jovian Thunderbolt has a write up on it here (with some good comments, too).

As he puts it, The Walking Dead zombie is an evolution of the classic shambler.  I agree.  The portrayal so far is that each one evidences a slight shadow of the former person the zombie was. I believe it’s a change for the better; it adds to the creepiness, and adds a tug of sadness for the creature from the viewer. No longer is the individual zombie a faceless husk to be merely avoided or put down but a reminder of a life lost.

Until they attack; then it’s headshot time.

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