Zombies are humans, animals or any part thereof who have died and have since been reanimated through any of several methods. They have been referred to as the Undead or the Walking Dead. Traditionally, when a human being dies and is resurrected as a zombie, they are no longer a sentient being and lack any semblance of a conscious mind. These creatures are typically driven by pure instinct or an innate primal desire such as hunger or the need to kill. Zombies are often susceptible to psychological suggestion and may be easily manipulated or controlled by those responsible for their reanimation. This is not always the case however, and many zombies have rebelled against their creator over the years.
The creation of a zombie may be conducted through a variety of ways. The earliest methods of zombie creation stem all the way back to ancient Egypt in the form of mummies. Egyptians who had earned the enmity of the Pharaoh or the gods would find themselves executed. Their bodies were wrapped in linen upon death and placed inside of a tomb. In place of the traditional Egyptian prayer ceremonies however, these mummies were instead cursed to return to life as a shambling monster with no other desire but to kill. It was common for Egyptian tomb builders to place a warning upon the sarcophagus, indicating to others what might happen should the tomb of the mummy be disturbed. While mummies may lie inert in their coffins for centuries, it was not uncommon for a thief or archaeologist to discover their remains and, ignoring the warnings, inadvertently bring the mummy back to life, usually at the cost of their own lives.
For the past several centuries, one of the more noted methods of zombie creation stems from the religious voodoo sects of the West Indies as well as some regions of the Southeastern United States. Many zombie creation rites originate from the island of Haiti. In the tenents of the Voodoo religion, a Voodoo priest, known as a Bokor, performs a ritual that brings the body of the recently deceased back to life. Like most zombies, this individual no longer has a will of their own and is submissive to the instruction of the Bokor.
Zombies on TV Edit
Zombies were one of dozens of supernatural entities featured in the ABC gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. In a storyline commonly referred to as the 1897 flashback, one of the main characters, Quentin Collins, is murdered by his wife Jenny and resurrected as a zombie through Gypsy magic. Zombies also appear in a later storyline where two characters witnessed future portents of the year 1994 (the episodes were shot during the early 1970s, making the year 1994 the distant future). In this flash-forward storyline, an evil warlock named Judah Zachary summoned a horde of the undead to destroy the Collins family ancestral home, Collinwood.
The CW Network television series iZombie focuses on the misadventures of a young medical intern named Olivia "Liv" Moore, who is infected by a zombie named Blaine DeBeers at a boat party that ends up becoming a zombie feeding frenzy. Liv dies and is reborn as a zombie, but maintains her personality and intellect, though she suffers a ravishing need to consume human brains. Fortunately for her, her job at the Seattle Medical Examiner's office affords her ample opportunity to sample the local, and recently deceased, cuisine. Unless Liv consumes at least one human brain per month, she will degenerate into the classic shambling monster zombie. One notable aspect that sets iZombie zombies apart from other zombies is that whenever Liv eats a brain, she temporarily gains insight into the life of the deceased; even to the point of picking up some of their skills, mannerisms, memories and personality quirks. This effect wears off on its own, but ceases upon the consumption of another brain, at which point, the entire process starts all over again.
In October of 2010, AMC began airing the first live-action drama series centered exclusively around zombies - The Walking Dead. The series adapts the popular Image Comics comic book series of the same name, written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. The series follows former Sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes as he awakens from a coma only to discover that the world has been overrun by zombies. Making his way to Atlanta, Georgia, he reunites with his wife and son and becomes a member of a camp of survivors, all of whom are struggling to avoid becoming the next meal for the flesh-craving corpses that have infected the city. As is typical of most Romero-inspired ghouls, the undead featured in the series are never referred to as zombies. They are only ever identified as either "walkers" or "geeks".