Zombie Warfare Preparation: Types of Zombies

Updated on July 31, 2019
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Christopher Peruzzi is surviving a zombie apocalypse. He is the author of "The Undead Rose" in the "Once Upon An Apocalypse" anthology.


What is a Zombie?

The term "zombie" gets tossed around carelessly in many different mediums. Facing a zombie is bad enough. If you discover you're fighting some kind of mindless automation that was not created "naturally", you may have some trouble disposing it.

What you need to know for your survival may depend on what type of zombie you're facing.

How you deal with a zombie will largely depend on how it was created and how it behaves.

You have a question?  You in the front?
You have a question? You in the front?

Types of Zombies

There are at least six types of zombies. Some of which are similar in how they were made and others are not really zombies as we know them.

While it is certainly hard to stand calmly and catalog one of these stink bags as they lumber towards you, identifying one could be the difference between life, death, or joining the ranks of the undead.

The trick would be to know the signs. There is a world of difference between a rabid "rage" running zombie and a voodoo zombie. One is looking to rip out your spleen because it was the thing to do and the other is untiring cheap labor created by a voodoo priest.

The same could be said about the levels of contagion from a zombie with a virus and one created by a radiation accident. A radiation zombie might just stop working for no reason while a virus zombie will keep going until the right parts just rot off of him.

Know the differences.

Old zombie versus freshly made
Old zombie versus freshly made

Virus Zombies Type 1

A virus zombie is one that was created by a contagious unknown disease communicable by known and unknown means. These are the zombies that we have seen on the television show, The Walking Dead. These zombies are not intelligent and operate purely on instinct as their craving for living human flesh is all that drives them.

It is unknown whether the virus that creates one of the undead is transmitted by a bite or a scratch from a zombie. What is known is that this virus is widely communicable and is spread through unknown means. Regardless of whether a person is attacked by a zombie, upon the natural or incidental death of what may appear to be an uninfected person, that person will reanimate as a zombie. What we also know is that a bite or a scratch from any zombie will cause sickness and death to anyone.

There is a possibility that these are two different viruses. One kills. One reanimates.

These zombies can be killed by either destroying the brain or by decapitation. Fire and bullets will not destroy these creatures. They do not feel pain and their muscles will continue to operate despite the fact that they have no circulatory system to re oxygenate their muscles and vital organs.

Some zombies are just incidental after death
Some zombies are just incidental after death

Virus Zombies Type 2

This virus zombie can only be created through the bite or a scratch from an existing zombie. Unlike the first type of virus zombie, a person can remain human and uninfected if they simply avoiding a zombie attack. These are the zombies that were written about by Max Brooks in his novel World War Z and the Zombie Survival Guide.

Like the Virus Type 1 Zombies, they can be killed either by decapitation or destroying the brain.

Just because zombies walk together doesn't mean they're friends
Just because zombies walk together doesn't mean they're friends

Radiation Zombies

It was theorized in Night of the Living Dead that through the exposure of unknown radiation brought back by a space probe that the recently deceased began returning from the dead. While one victim of a zombie bite reanimated, it was never confirmed whether her reanimation was due to the bite or whether reanimation occurred regardless. These are the zombies as imagined by George Romero. What can be said about their intelligence is that many who have fallen to reanimation have been found performing many of the tasks they'd done in life. Whether this has anything to do with intelligence or possibly instinctual as the brain had been "hard coded" by doing a series of tasks repetitively, is unknown.

These zombies crave human flesh and can be terminated by disposing of the brain through decapitation or other conventional means.

They're coming to get you, Barbara
They're coming to get you, Barbara

Intelligent Zombies

Somehow life functions have stopped within this type of zombie. Yet, there is an intelligence that remains within the dead host. These living dead creatures have been seen in Death Becomes Her. This type of faux immortality is not immortality at all as their circulatory system and body functions have ceased and the body has begun to break down. These zombies are not contagious rather they have the same albeit somewhat skewed intelligence regarding their existence. They may not be dangerous. However, should you require to terminate them for any reason, it may be impossible as no part of the body is supporting life. Total cremation may be the only way to dispose of such a force, however, the effect of such a procedure is unknown.

That hole's going to be hard to patch
That hole's going to be hard to patch

Fast "Rage" Zombies

As seen in the movie 28 Days Later. These are the victims of the Rage virus. This is a contagion that does not kill the host but destroys their intelligence. They are extremely dangerous as they will spread their virus and are very fast. Unlike traditional zombies, they are capable of running and climbing. Any amount of body fluid exchange will spread the virus to another host within minutes.

Their lives may be terminated by traditional virus zombie methods (i.e. - decapitation and destruction of the brain).

WATCH OUT! These guys run fast!
WATCH OUT! These guys run fast!

Voodoo Zombies

These animated corpses have been brought back to life through mystical means. The actual name "zombie" is a derivative of the African or Haitian Creole "nzumbe". In the absence of actual magic, Voodoo zombies are actually alive, albeit under hypnosis or under pharmacological stimulus. Traditionally, they do not respond to external stimuli and have no intelligence.

Voodoo priests use these things as cheap labor. No rest for the wicked.

Should a zombie be animated through mystical means and actually be a dead corpse, defenders will have no choice than to COMPLETELY DESTROY THE BODY. It could be possible for a decapitated magical zombie to continue to attack. The best recommendation is that you disable the body by removing its limbs and making it immobile. Once done, dispose of the body through cremation or any other means that will utterly destroy the automation.

These zombies are not contagious.

Should a zombie be a living human under hypnosis, they can be killed through any conventional means. Please bear in mind that such attacks may need to be qualified as self defense as the attacker is a living human being subject to the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else.

You'd think that after you die you'd get to rest in peace. Voodoo priests will put you to work.
You'd think that after you die you'd get to rest in peace. Voodoo priests will put you to work.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of how the zombie was made, you are usually facing an automation. If the automation was created by natural means then natural means will work to bring it down. However, should you be facing an automation brought about by supernatural means, you will need to either employ supernatural means of your own through a knowledgeable practitioner or through your own scrupulous (and most likely rushed) research regarding such an opponent.

Either way, I wish you luck.

© 2012 Christopher Peruzzi


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