There are a lot of zombie flicks out there, and each one has a slightly different take on the violent, flesh-hungry walking dead. Some are fast and filled with rage, while others are slow and stupid, but they’re all dangerous.
Let’s take a look at some of cinema’s most popular zombies from the “pretty scary” to the “we are all definitely going to die”, looking at zombie characteristics such speed, spread and special abilities. Here’s our ranking of the most popular and iconic zombies.
Shaun of the Dead
Sure, Shaun of the Dead is meant to be comedic, not frightening. But there are zombies in there, and that’s good enough for us.
The zombies in Shaun of the Dead aren’t terribly formidable, as far as cinematic zombies go. For the most part, they’re slow and stupid and the only way they recruit is through biting people, so compared to the zombifying methods from other shows and films, the threat is relatively low. What’s more, they can be more or less fooled by shuffling through a crowd with a half-convincing moan and a vacant expression.
The Walking Dead/Fear The Walking Dead
Zombies — or “walkers,” as they’re called in The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead — are slow and stupid, just like the relatively low-level threats from Shaun of the Dead. That said, anyone who dies in the shows’ screwed up dystopia becomes a walker unless they suffer a catastrophic brain injury, so their forces are legion. In addition, Fear The Walking Dead introduced sea-faring zombies, which changes things a bit. Is nowhere sacred? Nope. Not even the drug den/church.
Night of the Living Dead
The zombies from George Romero’s horror classic Night of the Living Dead are pretty much the basis for the entire zombie genre, even though zombie convention has changed quite a bit since 1968. Zombies from Night of the Living Dead are slow and stupid, but they do show some ability to plan attacks, which makes them extremely dangerous. And, like The Walking Dead series, everyone who dies becomes a zombie.
Dawn of the Dead
We’re going to talk about the Dawn of the Dead remake from 2004 rather than the original, just because we’ve covered Romero zombies above. The remake brought in some new elements to their undead soldiers, particularly in terms of speed. For the most part, Dawn of the Dead zombies are quick in the same way that normal humans would be; a lack of a pulse doesn’t slow them down. They can run and jump and, like most zombies, don’t feel pain, so they don’t stop when they’re tired or hurt, unless it’s some catastrophic injury.
World War Z
This is where shit starts to get seriously scary. World War Z zombies are super fast, super pragmatic, and tend to move in gigantic, terrifying swarms. The infection also spreads and takes hold extremely quickly — it takes less than a minute to go from bitten to full-on zombie, which means that chances to get away from an infected are extremely limited.
There is a way to safeguard yourself from World War Z zombies, it just sucks. A lot. Being sick or elderly or otherwise undesirable prey will do the trick, and WWZ’s solution is infecting the popular masses with Meningitis. Sure, it’s no picnic and a dangerous route to go, but it’s a hell of a lot better than being a zombie.
28 Days Later
The creatures from 28 Days Later top the list, because like the zombies from World War Z, they’re crazy fast, but also super duper angry. It’s important to note that these “zombies” aren’t actually dead — they’re simply totally and completely consumed by the virus they’re hosting. Even so, the Rage Virus makes these killers extremely violent and dangerous, and the time it takes to go from human to raged-out monster is actually even quicker than the turnaround time in WWZ. Naturally, the virus spreads very, very quickly.
These zombies are blinded by rage, but that doesn’t mean theyre entirely stupid. They’re a far cry from the foot-dragging walkers of Shaun of the Dead and outrunning them is going to be tough considering that they, in keeping with zombie tradition, aren’t likely to stop when they get tired or incur minor injuries. So, if you get into a footrace with the zombies from 28 Days Later, your chances of getting out alive are slim to none.