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elbanditoroso's avatar

Some questions about zombies. [Please note - I am not a zombie fan at all, but I want to understand some small piece of their lore]?

Asked by elbanditoroso (22758points) July 29th, 2012

Disclaimer again: I’m not a zombie buff, but I sort of want to understand what the zombie ‘ethic’ is. Sort of curious about the folklore.

1) Do zombies work in groups? In the movies, they appear to be roughly grouped, but never cohesively. Is this for cinematic reasons, or is there a nesting instinct?

2) Is there a zombie leader (master)? How does he/she get to that position?

3) Are women zombies considered equal in all ways to mail zombies?

4) Do zombies ever fight with each other?

5) Is there such a thing as a young zombie? In the movies, zombies are all teens or adults. Can there be baby zombies?

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11 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

1) This is a matter of some debate- see question here on fluther

2) See above.

3) Um, I guess so. I have never considered gender stereotypes in this context.

4) No. They will wrestle over entrails.

5) Yes. You don’t see them due to camera angles and slow top speed.

filmfann's avatar

I believe a group of Zombies is known as a swarm, or a hive.

ragingloli's avatar

1. They will do whatever the writer wants them to do.
2. If the writer wants there to be a zombie leader, then there will be.
3. Depends on what the writer wants.
4. If the writer wants them to fight each other, they will.
5. If the writer is brave enough to write it, then yes.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

Playing Dead Space will inform you.

josie's avatar

Actually, I have come face to face with real zombies here on Earth. They live in the ME. They work in small groups, they have a leader, they disdain women, they fight with each other constantly, and some of them are children, who have been recruited to do dirty work for grown up zombies. They can be killed by an M4 or a Hellfire missle or lots of other stuff. They are worse than the zombies you are asking about.

laurenkem's avatar

I’m not a zombie fan in general, but I must admit I love 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later – those movies really got into my head about what I would do if such a thing were to happen.

Of course, they weren’t zombies, per se, I guess – they were infected with the “Rage” virus.

wonderingwhy's avatar

1) work, to me, implies an individually coordinated effort, that’s typically considered beyond the ability of your average zombie. Basic commands, ok, planning the results of those commands – not so much. (ex night of the living dead – not much in the way of coordinated group effort more in the way of mass chomping)

2) there can be, typical selection seems to be either through brute force or by virtue of being the most cunning/intelligent, or perhaps just being in charge before you died. (think Herzog from dead snow)

3) in general yes all are equal in undeath (they racked up a decent body count in zombie strippers); though I suppose one could debate the benefits/detractors of being generally smaller in stature compared to male zombies. Occasionally they seem to have a greater likelihood of a recognitive spark than their male counterparts.

4) oh yes, particularly over choice morsels though generally not to the, ahem, death. (many a flick, though I can’t think of a good ex off the top of my head)

5) sure thing, just because you don’t see them a lot doesn’t mean they aren’t lurking near by just waiting to chew off your feet! (night of the living dead – though she wasn’t that young if I recall correctly; does the kid from pet cemetery count? maybe wicked little things?)

ucme's avatar

1: Only on “crochet tuesdays”, evenings mostly.
2: Debatable, but vegetarians are not usually considered viable candidates.
3: Yes, “fembies” are far superior to postmen/mail zombies.
4: Over trivial matters like who gets first use of moisturisers/hair products.
5: There can, but they’re a bugger to breastfeed, mothers tend to suffer from localised nipple blistering.

funkdaddy's avatar

I think @Symbeline is going to hit you with her entire Zombie Lore and Culture – 1945 to the Present final thesis

Dropping knowledge.

Berserker's avatar

Disclaimer, I’m a zombie fan, not an expert. Based on what I believe to be wildly acceptable when it comes to zombies, and especially since the premise of the questions seems to situate itself around classic movie zombies…I’ll go from there. I’m using the classic zombie approach, as it’s going to make it simple to answer what I think this question is looking at. (if not though, let me know otherwise)

1) Do zombies work in groups? In the movies, they appear to be roughly grouped, but never cohesively. Is this for cinematic reasons, or is there a nesting instinct?

I’m of the mind that zombies aren’t even aware of one another’s presence. The only register themselves as obstacles. Say for example a zombie is feasting on some intestines; a starving zombie will come by and make a grab for said intestines. It will yank and pull on them…but it will never try to hit the zombie that’s holding them. Like it doesn’t even know that something is holding the guts.
Many times you see zombies do peculiar things; climb ladders, open doors, smash windows. It has understood what it needs to do to get at food, albeit on a very primitive level, of course. A lot of movies show zombies slightly and briefly rekindle their former human selves; but their survival instinct, in what they have become, is much too strong and direct to allow for any real evolution to ever occur. A zombie will never get passed the survival instinct that fuels it, and a big part of said instinct is to register the living as nourishment, and that’s it. Even if zombies may have the potential to slightly evolve, they will never be able to do it on their own, and human intervention is a futile attempt at best.

But there are many things that go against my theory. Bub from Day of the Dead was slightly domesticated, and showed ’‘emotions’’ for his master. (a living human, not to be confused with sub question number two)
The zombies in Dawn of the Dead followed Zombie Flyboy to where his friends were hidden, and they all followed him. He somehow got all their attention, and they followed. He was a fresh zombie however, and his brain was perhaps a tad more functional than an older zombie’s brain. This, however, does not really explain the behavior of the other zombies.
Max Brooks, the author of the Zombie Survival Guide seems to believe that zombies can indeed work together though.
He suggests that a zombie’s wail is meant to inform all other zombies around that a human is nearby. The zombie will moan and scream if it detects a human, either by sight or smell, and the others will process this information and act on it.

I personally don’t buy that though, and until Brooks mentioned it, I never saw it happen anywhere. What I mostly observe, is that a zombie will either hunt alone, or they do so in packs, but they only hunt in packs because all of them are drawn to the same thing, living people, or indications that living people might be around. (loud noises, flashes of light) It’s logical then, that they would all head in that direction. I’ve seen movies where zombies learn how to use firearms and even speak, but for the most part, zombies do not work in groups.

2) Is there a zombie leader (master)? How does he/she get to that position?

Usually not. Whether they’re the classic zombie or the runner, they don’t have a leader. They exist usually because of some virus, a curse or the like. One zombie cannot become the leader of other zombies.
However, it’s interesting to not that in the fantasy genre, (think Dungeons & Dragons and the like) a magician, like a necromancer, can indeed raise corpses, animate them and use them for his or her bidding. The zombies, or corpses, (as in fantasy they usually serve as mere foot soldiers and don’t bite anyone, or if they do, the undeath curse does not transmit to the victim) are usually manipulated though, and don’t ’‘willingly serve’’ anything or anyone. In these scenarios, a corpse is not even aware of what’s happening. Much like actual movie zombies.
It should be noted though, that a lot of comedy themed zombie movies sometimes have zombie leaders, or at least, zombies who show capabilities which contrast the rest of their kind.

3) Are women zombies considered equal in all ways to mail zombies?

Usually. I can’t think of any exception, other than comedy or zombie films that make up elements of their own, which otherwise don’t exist in the genre. A few female zombies are sometimes a little faster and seemingly more aggressive than the male zombies, or rather, more ’‘hyper’’, but I would have to attribute this to physique. A zombie’s motor skills heavily depend on that. Women are usually smaller than men, so they can be a bit faster. However, this shouldn’t be taken as any kind of rule, since there are also many fast and hyper male zombies, and there are a lot of slow female zombies. That is, if this is what you meant.

4) Do zombies ever fight with each other?

Only over food. As I suggest in the first answer, they only concentrate on the food, rather than their ’‘opponent’’. They might stumble over one another, and when they’re in their ’‘repose phase’’ (right after feeding) they might grab shiny objects out of one another’s hands…but they won’t ever fight in any way which suggests that one registers the presence of the other.

5) Is there such a thing as a young zombie? In the movies, zombies are all teens or adults. Can there be baby zombies?

Yes, it’s simple too; a human child is a living human, and if they get bitten by a zombie, they suffer the same fate as anyone else. A lot of George Romero zombie flicks actually show children zombies. For obvious reasons however, kid zombies aren’t ever going to be a big thing in zombie movies. Mind you, I’ve never actually seen baby zombies, but there are children zombies, for sure. Babies could become zombies too, but they probably wouldn’t be very dangerous, unless you were really asking for it.

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