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Important Questions About Zombies

First zombie in Night of the Living Dead

Everyone loves zombies right? Those adorable, shuffling corpses always bring a smile to my face but they are something of an enigma. How much do we really know about the undead? It's about time we addressed some of those important questions that are plaguing horror fans everywhere. Romero invented them so we're going to use his conception of zombies as our main reference point. If your question isn't answered here, don't panic, don't gnaw off any fingers or vomit with fury, simply email us and ask, or find us on Facebook or Twitter @EatHorror and we'll furnish you with the knowledge you seek or die trying.

What do zombies eat?

They seem to be consumed with a hunger for living human flesh. They'll probably settle for any living animal though. Some zombie films, mainly the spoof series The Return of the Living Dead, focussed on brains, but actually zombies seem happy to eat any part of a living creature. As long as it's alive they'll chow down with gusto.

If a vegetarian becomes a zombie do they still eat people?

Yes. I don't think vegetarian beliefs persist after death and zombies seem to be entirely driven by their desire to eat people. I've never seen a zombie eating a carrot. Let's face it most vegetarians struggle to walk past a bacon roll so there's no way they'd resist taking a bite out of you if they were undead.

Why don't zombies eat each other?

Because they're dead. That seems to be the rule - if it's alive then eat it, if it's dead then leave it alone. I think that's why zombies don't tend to clear their plates, so to speak, once their victim dies they no longer look so tasty and the zombie loses interest.

Do zombies poo?

I know this one has been keeping you awake nights. Well they do eat, some of them eat loads and you'd imagine you'd see a lot more fat zombies if they weren't processing all that flesh. No one poops in the movies so that's not a real indication of whether or not zombies do. I'm going to say yes they do, but I doubt they wipe afterwards. On second thoughts maybe not because zombies that are just upper torsos still eat people.

Zombie gathering in Shaun of the Dead

Are zombies immortal?

I reckon they could go on indefinitely if they had a plentiful supply of human flesh and they really look after themselves. I'm assuming that, since they're dead, they are basically rotting all the time, but eating flesh somehow slows or reverses that. So you can kill them by destroying the brain and maybe you can starve them out - once they rot sufficiently it's game over (I don't go in for the whole animated skeleton thing), but given ideal conditions I think they'd live a long time. Probably not forever though, so they aren't really immortal.

Can zombies learn new skills?

They certainly have a memory of things they could do when they were alive, but if you tried to teach a zombie to drive, for example, I suspect you'd be in for a frustrating time. On the other hand some of them have basic understanding so you could probably teach simple things - how to shoot a gun, unlock a door, play Angry Birds. It depends on the zombie, an exceptional zombie can probably pick up all sorts of new skills but most of them are as dim as your average reality TV star.

Can an animal become a zombie?

You don't see too many animal zombies in the movies. Whatever the virus or trigger is for the undead maybe it just affects humans. You can imagine a zombie dog or cat easily enough (in fact there are zombie dogs in Resident Evil) but a zombie cow or sheep? I think not.

If I eat a zombie will I become a zombie?

If you can eat a zombie without being bitten then you're still going to become a zombie and you're an idiot. Why are you eating a zombie? If we can catch mad cow disease from beef or bird flu from undercooked chicken then I reckon you'd get infected if you ate a zombie.

Bub the zombie from Day of the Dead

What about having sex with a zombie?

Nasty, but let's face it some people would, and it has popped up in more than one movie. You'd probably best wear protection otherwise I think you could catch something nastier than an STD.

How do zombies detect the living?

They can hear idiots talking loudly or firing off guns from miles away and they can presumably also see, at least until their eyesight gives out or they are blinded by some desperate survivor. They don't breathe so smell seems unlikely and they are bound to stink worse than you since they are slowly rotting. Up close they can tell you apart from another zombie because you're warm.

Who is the most famous zombie?

You might think Bub from Day of the Dead, he's the zombie Dr. Logan experiments on and teaches some basic bits and pieces. Many people suggest Frankenstein but is he really a zombie? He is made from bits of dead people but reanimated with electricity and he doesn't seem to have any need to eat flesh. How about Jesus? Too controversial? How about Jason Voorhees? Nah, he's some other kind of supernatural monster. Let's stick with Bub.

We'll add more as they occur or when you ask them.

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