September 12, 2010

Zombies? She's Got' Em...

Welcome to Week of The Living Dead, here at The Mountains of Instead! Over the next seven days prepare to educate yourself on all things zombie via reviews, discussion posts, music and one exciting international give away. Be warned, not all of these posts are for the faint-hearted, young or easily offended but they are all hugely entertaining and probably also life-saving. To start, we are kicking off with some zombie categorisation - because before you enter a Week of The Living Dead, you better know your monsters:

You may think you know your zombies, but do you really?  Adele, aka the awesome Persnickety Snark is here to educate us all...

I have never been a huge zombie fan. I can sit and laugh at the hilariousness of Shaun of the Dead for hours but I never really subscribed to the scary factor that zombies are supposed to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck and scare the bejesus out of you.

I have seen 28 Days, I have been given enough material to find them scary but I just don’t buy into it. Why? I don’t see it happening. Apparently zombies can be created in one of two ways 1) ...”created by voodoo resulting in a spell-bound near dead state” and 2)”... cannibal creatures created by scientific experimentation of strange chemicals on living humans”. I can buy witches, dystopian societies and vampires but for some reason zombies seem too farfetched for me. I realise this makes me a big, fat hypocrite.

Sya asked if I could write a post about zombies and I thought about writing about zombies as boyfriends but that was taken. For the record the reason I couldn’t stand Generation Dead (Daniel Waters) was I could see no way in which a zombie would be desirable as a friend or someone to kiss. None. Then I thought I would write about how I would survive a zombie apocalypse but that was gone already too. That’s okay, my theory was pretty simple and would have resulted in a paragraph long post.
So I thought I would discuss the different types of zombies we've seen on page and on screen. In educating myself, perhaps I am educating you?

According to Monstrous there are four main types of zombies that you should know about:

1. Functional zombies
This is the zombie that wanders around as a non-conscious system that resembles a human but isn’t. Basically it’s a techno-human like you’d see in Terminator movies. I can’t remember seeing a functional zombie in YA but admittedly my zombie knowledge isn’t great. I actually don’t think technology and zombies belong in the same sentence and thus this category should be void.

2. Philosophical zombies
You can’t tell this kind of zombie apart from a normal human except it’s devoid of consciousness and experience. It’s mindless in the conscious sense. You might have known someone who went to high school with you that was a bite away from being it.

3. Hollywood zombies
Many zombies we see in YA are actually variations on this type of zombification. This category encapsulates the Viral Zombie in which a person gets bitten or scratched, then dies and awakens with memory loss and a personality shift. Fast Moving Zombie which has most recently been seen in Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth series. These zombies are super speedy predators that are animal-like in their hunting methods. They smell, hear and zero in on a trail. The Parasite Zombie is when a human is hijacked by a parasite/alien aka Stephanie Meyer’s Host. Lastly there is the Radioactive Zombie which is a human who has been impaired by radiation – brain damage, deformations or mutations.

4. Voodoo Zombies
Zombification via voodoo, the religion derived from Haiti in the West Indies.

Having slowly worked my way through the zombie categories I realise that many YA authors take their cue from Hollywood rather than the classic tales of zombification. That we’ve personified zombies to a degree that makes them extremely flawed humans instead of unrecognisable beast like entities. I think I prefer it old school.

Zombies shouldn’t have feelings.
Zombies shouldn’t be able to run fast.
Zombies should walk slowly with weird gaits until someone beheads them or runs them over with a truck.
I am a simple gal with simple tastes.

What I am going to leave you with is a question. Can we, as a collection YA reading body, think of examples of YA that represent each category?  


Donna said...

I ninja'd zombie boyfriends from Adele! My articles all about the heinous flaws of zombie love so I hope you approve when it's posted! But this was great, Adele! I'm with you. Zombies are decaying corpses. They should not be desirable. They should also not be super speedy. It kind of goes against the whole muscle atrophy/disintegration thing.

The only zombie YA that I've read that I can remember is Generation Dead and I thought it was ridiculous. Aside from the fact that it was preachy as hell from the author's viewpoint, it had zombie boyfriends and girlfriends. I go into why that's all sorts of awful in my own post but ugh. Vampires are bad enough. At least they're not rotting.

asamum said...

What an amazing & super informative zombie post. I love it. Awesomeness Adele & Sya :D
I will be dreaming about the different types of zombies tonight. If I have nightmares I am going to blame the 2 of you :D