Jesus a Zombie?
The idea of the dead walking the earth is as old as man. The most widely read story of all time is about a man risen from the dead, Jesus, the son of god was the original Zombie, but the main difference being the soul of the individual remained in the physical form.
Voodoo Magic Zombies
Vodou has referenced the idea of the walking dead, revived by witchcraft and controlled by a sorcerer. Those zombies are not the flesh eating monsters depicted in modern films. The main purpose of this was to create a slave who would follow your every command. There were early claims, dis proven by medical science about zombies in Haiti again these were said to have been created by voodoo magic.
In the early 19th century the concept became known in written fiction, but it was George A Romero who took the idea of the Haitian Zombie into the Horror Genre, without coining the phrase Zombie, which was referenced by Fans. These zombies were flesh eating monsters, devoid of the personality and soul of the living human, they were slow moving, instinctive creatures which simply had to destroy all living humans.
The most famous quote in reference to Zombies is "When there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth." from the film Dawn of the Dead which used the concept that the living dead were returning due to an infection. There are some references in the Bible to the dead returning to the earth
"And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths."
Remarkably this is very close to the depiction of the first zombie monsters.
The zombie movies of modern culture moved away from the religious and magic concepts, with mild religious references usually depicted by mad preachers. The most used idea of zombies is infection, with so many infections across the globe it is a fear held by many that infection can spread quickly and easily in an ever increasing population. Going back to medieval times and the black plague human history shows the desperate measures we would go to rid ourselves of a deadly virus.
Common themes began to appear, of no physical symptoms until bitten by an infected person, infection only present upon death and short gestation period meaning it spreads quicker than the Human race can enact a defence strategy.
Traditional popular zombies lack any coherent brain function, relying on instinct, slow moving and clumsy they seek to devour any living flesh or Brains. But there was a new invention to come our way, super zombies, fast moving with strength and speed greater than the average living person. This is based on scientific evidence that suggest zombie cloned cells would actually have better strength than their living counterparts, fueling the idea of an infection, most likely leaked from a multi national pharmaceutical company into the population. Popularised by the franchise of Game-Film cross over Resident Evil and the success of Brit-Horror 28 Days Later.
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Where next for the zombie genre to go? The idea has gained massive popular following, huge investment in TV series and films. We can be sure the zombie won't end anytime soon but will continue to evolve to play on the fears of future generations. Beginning in Religion at a time when the majority of western world was religious played on the fears of the day, leaning towards black magic a fear of the time from many White westerners, moving into infection cause zombies a fear brought about by a hugely global media, global commuters and over use of antibiotics and other medicines. To play on fear like any horror genre must, it will mutate further and as society changes so shall the concept of the zombie.