|[Image by Jeremy Keith, CC-BY-2.0]|
Zombies are undead beings, often portrayed as rotting corpses risen from the grave. In legend and folklore they are said to feed off the brains of the living. Lacking their own, they wander mindlessly and clumsily with vacant expressions on their faces, often making a groaning sound.
In the last decade or two, zombies have become increasingly popular and appeared in many paranormal TV shows (The Walking Dead, In the Flesh, Bite Me, Being Human) and films (Shaun of the Dead, Warm Bodies, I am Legend, Degenerates, Dawn of the Dead, Zombieland). Many of these shows imagine a 'zombie apocalypse' in which they take over the world, turning everyone they feast on into zombies too. The outcome is usually bleak, with the remaining humans eventually being turned themselves, as zombies prove very difficult to kill when they are already dead. Zombies have also appeared in a lot of books recently, such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, This is Not a Test, The Rising, World War Z and many more.
In the Flesh
In the Flesh was a one-off drama that aired in the UK (BBC 3). I was gutted when I found out that there were only three hour-long episodes, but it's proved so popular that there are rumours of a second series.The show is set in the time after a zombie apocalypse. Zombies or Partially Deceased Syndrome Suffers (as they prefer to be called), are being kept in treatment centrers where they are medicated and receive counselling, with the hope that they can one day be rehabilitated into society. The main character, Keiren Walker, is such a sweet, sensitive (and strangely attractive) zombie that you can't help feeling sorry for him. He's sent back home to his parents, who do their best to welcome him despite the awkwardness, and his sister, who clearly isn't happy to see him. And she's not the only one. They live in the village of ..., where the .....is still active and 'rotters' aren't exactly accepted. The show has many tragic and dramatic moments, but there's also a lot of humour as well (such as when Kieren has to pretend to eat at mealtimes). Here is the trailer. It's also available to buy on iTunes.
Voldermort animates an army of corpses called Inferi, some of which Dumbledore and Harry encounter in The Half-blood Prince. They are gaunt and skeletal, yet have great physical strength and are immune to bodily damage. They have no free will, and can only do Voldermort's bidding. The best defence against Inferi is fire, as they dislike light and heat, but they are immune to most spells and cannot feel pain.
Zombies are also mentioned briefly in the books and on Pottermore as being native to South America, but it unclear as to whether they are the same thing as Inferi, or are related to them in some way.
A Game of ThronesReanimated corpes (both human and animal) called wights feature in the series. They are creatures raised from the death by the White Walkers to act as their minions. They can be dead for weeks without showing sign of rot or decay as reanimation halts this process, but it cannot reverse damage that has already been done. They have icy blue eyes, like those of their master. They are virtually indestructible-even amputated limbs will still move around on their own, an decapitation is ineffective. Like the Inferi from Harry Potter, they can only be killed with fire. They lack speech and are not particularly intelligent.
Would you survive a zombie apocalypse? What are your survival tips?