What defines a zombie?  What can cause a zombie?  Where does the idea of a zombie even come from?

These are the questions that keep me up at night.

So far I have been unable to find any satisfactory answers (Nerds arguing back and forth doesn’t count). So using the power of my glorious sexy brain I’m embarking on an epic quest to define once and for all what a ZOMBIE is and what causes them.

First we need a definition, but we need a more inclusive definition than “If it’s fast, it’s not a zombie.” That’s arbitrary and utterly inadequate for our needs.  We need a definition that gives us a little more freedom of expression.

So here is “Zombie Carter’s Unified theory of Zombiism.”  Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

My Zombie Definition

Main Entry: zom·bie
Variant(s): also zom·bi \ˈzäm-bē\

Function: noun
Etymology: Louisiana Creole or Haitian Creole zonbi, of Bantu origin; akin to Kimbundu nzúmbe ghost
Date: circa 1871

1. A corpse reanimated by various means either supernatural or mundane whose body continues to move despite a lack of normal biological function.
2. A living being stripped of it’s will, humanity, and normal behavior by outside forces either supernatural and mundane.
3. A mixed drink made of several kinds of rum, liqueur, and fruit juice.

Yeah! Now we have something to work with!
I’m excited, not “honeymoon in Vegas”  excited, but still pretty good.  Now we can begin our dark work.

Look, I realize that you all love George Romero, and “Night of the Living Dead” is a super nifty movie.  But Romero DID NOT create the idea of zombies, he brought them into popular culture.

I think we can all agree that he did the world a great service by showing us the “abject horror that awaits us all” and how we’re all going to die painfully.  Also (“Land of the Dead” was less than awesome, just deal with it.)

However, that doesn’t make Romero the “Sole Authority” on Zombies anymore than Bram Stoker is the “Sole Authority” on Vampires (I hate you, Edward Cullen, you glittery jerk).

Now, using our AWESOME new definition on Zombies we may attempt to define ALL of the possible causes of zombiism in as concise a way as possible.

Zombie Subspecies Classification Project

Biological Zombies

  • Pathogens (Viral, Bacterial, Alien.)  “28 Days, Resident Evil”, “World War Z”, “Pontypool,”
  • Parasites/Symbiotes (Fungus, Plants, Alien Spores…. Ect…) “Resident Evil 4 Video Game”, “Half-Life Video Game”, “Slither”, “Night of the Creeps”, “The Puppet Masters”, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”,

Metaphysical Zombies

  • Magic (Black Magic, Curses, Necromancy, Pure willpower/rage) “The Ressurected“, “Undead or Alive”, “Pet Sematary”,
  • Religious (Voodoo, God did it, The Devil did it, Hell’s full, ect…. Fulci’s “City of the Living Dead”, “White Zombie”, “House of the dead”,
  • Supernatural Entities (Possession, Spirits [This can be the original persons spirit or “Something” else], Demons, Vampiric, ect… “REC & REC 2“, The Evil Dead Series, “Dead and Breakfast”, “Creepshow”,)

Note: Hypnosis/mind control has been removed as I could think of no way hypnosis could create zombies that wouldn’t be more accurately covered in a different category… Magic or technology etc.

Chemical Zombies

Chemical zombies are split up according the the “Purpose” of the reanimating chemistry.  Otherwise you might as well lump them all together, but I think there is enough of a difference between them to warrant giving them each a category.

  • Pharmaceutical (These were drugs intended to help humans….. instead…. oh crap! zombies!) (Drugs, the whacki weed, Loritab,) “The Stuff”, Herbert West’s Serum from “The Reanimator”
  • Toxic/Medical Waste (Discarded waste material that spontaneously raises the dead…. somehow) “Tokyo Zombie”, “Night of the living dead 3d”)
  • Chemical side effects (Compounds that create zombies as a side affect) (Trioxin) “Return of the Living Dead” ,  “Planet Terror“,

Technological Zombies

  • Dark Science or Medical Experimentation gone awry. “Phantasm”, “Shock Waves”, “The Dead Pitt”,
  • Nanobots Or Cybernetics “Invaders from Mars”
  • The Constructed “Frankenstien’s Monster”… What? he’s built from Dead bodies, that’s gotta count?)

Energy Zombies

  • Radiation/Electrical “Romero Zombies” a.k.a. “Night of the Living Dead”)
  • Alien Unknown Energy “Plan Nine from outer space”, “Night of the Comet”,

This article will be updated regularly and I will have examples posted soon.  Yeah me!!!