There’s a debate that occurs among zombies fans about whether the undead creatures should be portrayed as fast or slow moving.
The purists claim that since zombies are corpses that have risen from the dead, they can’t move fast. Their bodies are slowly deteriorating, so it’s impossible for them to move with ease or quickness. The danger from these zombies comes from the fact that they are vast in number and have a habit of surrounding their victims.
These zombies are often referred to as “Romero zombies” because they were first introduced in 1968 with George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Since then, they have become the standard for the undead. Those on the slow side of the debate claim that the only true zombies are the Romero zombies.
Fast zombies were first introduced in 2002 in the movie 28 Days Later. They were thought to be more terrifying because they were harder to get away from. But there are some that claim they aren’t true zombies.
Fast zombies gained more popularity with the release of World War Z in 2013. Again, purists claim that these aren’t true zombies.
Honestly, I can see where the argument comes from. After all, in both of these films, they never claim that these creatures are actually dead; they have just become infected with a virus. If the most simple definition of a zombie is a corpse that has been reanimated, they probably don’t fall into the zombie category.
However, part of the reason a zombie is a zombie is because they lose their ability to think and make their own decisions; they are often driven by primal instincts. In the case of most zombie films, that instinct in the desire to feed. Whether that is caused by a virus or space radiation doesn’t really matter.
Personally, I like both the fast zombie and the slow zombie. They both have their place in the zombie narrative, and they both function to scare the crap out of us. However, in my zombie books Life After the Undead and Death to the Undead (coming in February), I stay true to the Romero zombies and make mine slow.
Do you have a preference on whether or not your zombies are fast or slow?