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An Incomplete History Of Zombies

Updated on January 16, 2015

A History Of Zombies

Zombies have become a very popular creature in movies over the years. They seem to have an interesting appeal to most people and appear to get more popular as time goes by. These days we know Zombies as being created by some kind of virus or sickness; but if you look back in history it was a very different story. In fact in some parts of the world, people still hold the belief in them as was held over one hundred years ago.

You can trace the origins of Zombies back to West Africa. It was Vodou (now known as Voodoo) that was a sort of Black Magic that brought the prospect of Zombies into play. It was believed a Sorcerer was able to bring a dead person back to life and control them. Since the revived dead person had no will of their own they could be easily controlled to do the bidding of the sorcerer. They believed at this time that feeding salt to Zombies would send them back to their grave.


Black Magic and Zombies in Haiti

Voodoo and Zombies eventually found their way to Haiti. In Haiti, Zombie means "spirit of the dead". The art of black magic was used here as in West Africa and was used to put spells on others. Here it is believed the sorcerers used a powder made from the poison from the Porcupine fish to use on people.

These people could be someone a person no longer wants around and hires the sorcerer to do their black magic on them. This poisonous powder would supposedly make the person appear dead, although their heart rate and breathing was greatly reduced. The seemingly dead person would be buried, and then latter dug up by the sorcerer who would forever have control over this "Zombie". This Zombie would be able to move around but they were considered to be mindless.

This is the Zombie that we started out with in folklore and in the early movies.


Zombies Reach the Big Screen

It was in 1932 that the first Zombie movie made it to the big screen. It was called "White Zombie" and featured the mythology of the Haitian black magic folklore. This movie starred the famous Bela Lugosie (one of the original Draculas) as a rich Haitian businessman who had the husband of a woman he was after turned into a Zombie.

This was the start of a long line of movies that transformed the Zombie from a spellbound individual to world-wide hoards of brain eating monsters. It only took the imagination of writers and directors to get us to where we are now. We can thank George Romero for the first Zombie creation that launched the new franchise of Zombie terror with his "Night of the Living Dead" in 1968.

Is the Evil Dead series considered Zombie movies? Many people think they are.

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George Romero

George Romero
George Romero

Zombies Must Play By The Rules

Now that the film industry had ushered in the new type of Zombie, the rules had to be laid down as to how they would act and how they could be killed. What is generally considered is that the Zombie is mindless, slow and generally harmless unless you are surprised by a Zombie ambush or overrun by hoards of them. Being overrun could mean they have broken through your defense and there was too many to kill before they got you.

Now that brings us to the next question, how do Zombies become Zombies? One could have been exposed to a virus that has overcome earth. The survivors were spared being infected because they have kept out of the way. If bitten by one of these infected Zombies, the victim could be assumed to also become a Zombie and join the hordes of hungry creatures.

Now if bitten only and your brain was not devoured, that makes sense. But what if your brain or the rest of your body was devoured by Zombies, in this case would you just be dead or would you come back as a Zombie? This question brings up the subject of killing Zombies.

It's widely considered that to kill (kill?) a Zombie you have to shoot them in the head or cut their head off. This way you separate their mindless brain from their body. Do Zombies live forever if left alone or do they starve to death if they can't get a human to eat? Questions, Questions!

Everyone has their own list of favorite Zombie movies. Check out this video to see if yours compares. The maker of this video lists Reanimator, do you think this qualifies as a Zombie movie?

Going For The Zombie Kill

When it comes to destroying Zombies, you do not need any special tools or weapons. A gun is the preferred method of killing because you can shoot them from a distance. If they get too close and you do not have a gun, your next choice would be a sword or machete. The longer the blade is the better so you can keep them at arms-length.

For the best and fastest kill shoot them in the head or whack their head off. If you do not do this, they will keep coming at you seeking to make a snack of you. If you have a gun with a scope, you can stand back a couple hundred yards and pick them off.

With all the blood flying around with the zombie killing, you should probably wear some sort of protection. Long sleeve shirt, face shield and gloves at the least. If the zombie’s blood gets in your mouth, will this infect you?

Leave us a comment - If you have the answers to any of my questions please reply. Any other input or info would be appreciated.

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    • Mahogany LM profile image

      Mahogany LM 6 years ago

      Brraaaiinnnnss, yum! :)