As I’m sure you’re aware, zombies are hot right now. Well, I guess technically they’re more likely to be cold, what with being undead and all, but nevertheless, zombies have never been more popular than they are nowadays. Just this past Sunday night, over 17 million people tuned in to watch the fifth season premier of The Walking Dead (it actually beat Sunday Night Football)!
It’s clearly a great time to be a zombie fan. But how much do you really know about zombies or how the whole zombie thing got to be so popular in the first place? Did you know, for instance, that zombies can actually exist? Obviously not the flesh eating, undead variety of zombie, but still just as mindless, shambling, and lacking in fear.
1. The modern conception of a “zombie” comes from a 1929 book called The Magic Island by William Seabrook that detailed his time spent in Haiti. While there, he witnessed what he believed to be the resurrection of a dead man, which he termed a “zombie”. It was later made into a movie called White Zombie starring Bela Lugosi.
2. What Seabrook was most likely referring to was the Haitian Voudou legend of the dead slaves being restored to life by black magic in order to keep them from passing on to the next world and remain in this one as slaves. In 1980, a man claiming to be Clairvius Narcisse was found in a Haitian village. The only problem was that Clairvius Narcisse had died in 1962. He claimed a bokor, or a Voudou sorcerer had brought him back to life.
3. This incident inspired the ethnobotanist Wade Davis to travel to Haiti and investigate the rituals and materials used in Voudou zombification. His studies inspired the 1988 Wes Craven horror film, The Serpent and the Rainbow
4. The zombie that modern audiences have come to know (and love?), the flesh eating, slow moving, mindless predator, originated with the seminal 1968 George Romero film, Night of the Living Dead. Romero is thought to be the “Father of the Modern Zombie” and has produced or directed more zombie related films than any other filmmaker.
5. A widely held misconception about horror movie zombies is that they have an insatiable hunger for “BRAAAIIINNS”. This meme actually originated with the 1985 cult film, The Return of the Living Dead which was based on a novel of the same name by John A. Russo who helped Romero co-create the original Night of the Living Dead.
6. Robert Kirkman, the creator of The Walking Dead comic book (on which the TV show is based) pitched the series to Image Comics by telling them that the zombies would be explained away as having been created by aliens. Once Image OK’d the idea and several issues had been published to enormous sales and critical acclaim, Kirkman admitted that the alien story was misdirection just so he could get the book published. Image had initially said that zombies were too cliched to sustain an ongoing comic series.
7. The 2002 film 28 Days Later is widely believed to be the first “fast zombie” movie. However, zombie aficionados are quick to point out that the “infected” in the movie aren’t actually “zombies”, as they are not undead, but instead inflicted with a bio-engineered “rage virus”. The first modern film to depict “fast zombies” was Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.
So there you have it, folks, a little bit of zombie trivia for ya! Don’t forget to head over to iWin.com to check out, Caribbean Zombie Jewel Double Pack and then perhaps you’ll be inspired to find some other fantastic zombie games to play!