Zombie Characters

A few days ago, I watched World War Z—again. This movie will not go away, will it? I remember thinking how quickly humans had turned into zombies. The bite. The convulsing. The white eyes. The shreaking. And the cycle continues. I’d noticed this before, but never really analyzed it in depth. Not something I’m about to do either. I suppose that’s a good thing since it means the story kept me entertained enough for me not to wonder about these silly little nuances in character design.

R from the movie Warm Bodies
R from the movie Warm Bodies

In past posts, I’ve used Monday Mayhem as a springboard for fleshing out (pun intended) new concepts in the zombie genre in order to understand what makes a good story regarding the undead creatures. Because that’s what they really are—creatures. Anything that’s not human is inhuman. I think we can classify zombies as inhuman. Wouldn’t you say? Anyway, after a quick survey of my past posts, I realized I’d omitted one key topic that would come in handy in any zombie discussion. Who are the zombie characters I’ve grown most fond of during my fascination with all things undead?

I’m not going to limit this to a single character, but I would think a type of zombie would also constitute a character. Wouldn’t you think? Nonetheless, let’s see how it goes then you can tell me if it makes sense or not.

R—I’d written about Warm Bodies‘ R once before, yet I always seem to feel I haven’t done justice to this character. He’s a zombie with a heart who falls in love with a girl who just as rather put a bullet in her head than spend the afternoon with the undead. Why do I like him? He’s vulnerable and displays childlike qualities. He wants to learn and wants to teach. He’s a monster who becomes more human as the story progresses.

406 from the movie Zombieland
406 from the movie Zombieland

406—Known as the girl from apartment 406. In my opinion, she is Zombieland’s most interesting undead character. Played by the beautiful Amber Heard, 406 makes her appearance early in the movie and with a quick resolve, makes an impression on the audience. Her advances toward Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) are anything but sensual. When she tries to take a bite out of him, he knows better and the mad dash begins. Fun fact about 406? Even though infected with the zombie virus, she’s still as attractive as ever.

28 Days Later Zombies—Some of most malevolent zombies make 28 Days Later a zombie lover’s delight. They’re fast. They’re tough. They’re strong. These true creatures of the undead bite, kill, and eat. They’re ferocious, crashing through windows and tearing apart doors. No matter the circumstances, if the armies weren’t there, they’d decimate an entire city, which they’ve done before. How else to describe the devastation they cause?

Shaun of the Dead Zombies—They happen to be my favorite zombies of all. They’re slow, dim-witted and sometimes hilarious. How else can I describe Shaun of the Dead zombies? When victims throw vinyl records at these misfits and survive, you know we have real winners here. The best way to distract them from eating you is to act as a tour guide in order to steer them away from friends by appearing as the only tasty snack they ought to consider as their only option to consume.

I wanted to talk about a number of other characters including those in World War Z, but then we’d be here all day. I’m sure you’d appreciate a shorter post with fewer characters and an opportunity to add your own, than a longer one with a gamut of zombies to read about. Perhaps one day I’ll explore the whole zombie universe, but that day isn’t here yet. For now, have a go adding your favorites and see how far you can take it.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Which characters haven’t I mentioned that you like? What makes them memorable?

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15 thoughts on “Zombie Characters

  1. I really like Amy Dryer (In The Flesh), but of course I’ve still only seen the first three episodes (need to catch up!).

    I did like R, though, he was a very sweet zombie. 🙂

    Although I’ve never seen him classified as a zombie, I will count him, as he comes back from the dead – Gage from “Pet Sematary”. Yes, I know you can argue that Gage never came back, just his body possessed by some spirit, but then again, hardly any zombies are ever what they were alive (apart from R). Pet Sematary was the first horror film I ever saw, and I’ve been hooked since.

  2. I have yet to see Warm Bodies, though I’ve heard it’s a great movie. I really like the zombies from Shaun of the Dead too. I also like the zombies from the Resident Evil series, they seem to evolve (with the help of Umbrella, of course) from shuffling, mindless eating machines to quick, mutated creatures.

  3. Even being an ardent zombie fan didn’t stop me from hating both Warm Bodies and WWZ, both are absolute shish trying to tap into the current bandwagon.
    No one has even mentioned one of the best zombie characters of all time, Bub from Romero’s Day of the Dead, nor another great character from the brilliant “reanimator”, the disembodied doctor Hill. Let’s also not forget Billy Conelly’s Fido from the movie of the same name.
    I’ll admit to having a soft spot for the zombie character of julie in return of the living dead 3, but wouldn’t want to date her!
    All in all, there are loads of over looked undead characters, the latest barrage of zombie related material is pretty poor fare compared to the classics!

  4. I just watched Zombieland last night and boy are those zombies fast! This is a huge difference compared to the Walking Dead zombies. I didn’t like the Warm Bodies zombies because I didn’t find them believable…ha! I like my zombies scary. How come there aren’t ever any dogs in these shows/movies? Are they all dead or does no one really care about dogs?

  5. R (Warm Bodies) and the Shaun of the Dead zombies are my favourites. The zombies in Night of the Creeps are less dominant, therefore hardly worth a mention.
    If Charlotte Gerber’s ‘I Dream of Zombies’ is ever filmed, this might actually create another favourite zombie film.

  6. R has a special place in my heart (maybe for his tenderness and admiration for Julie, and maybe because I love a fun take on a Romeo & Juliet story–or maybe both). 🙂 I have yet to see World War Z, but maybe I will consider it (I’m not a Brad Pitt fan…).

  7. “…fleshing out (pun intended) new concepts in the zombie genre in order to understand what makes a good story…”

    Well, we seem to have a great deal of metaphorical undead walking among us, so one thing that makes zombies so appealing is that you have the right, no the duty, to demolish them, unlike our real life “zombies” that must be patiently tolerated.

  8. It took me three days to watch World War Z. I like Walking Dead because the Zombies follow the movie rules. Since Boris Karloff was The Mummy, dead/living people walk slow. Minus having their arms extended, like The Mummy. Romero changed it a little in the 2nd installment of Dawn of the Dead, I believe. But World War Z, rationalized how it could happen, a bite, like rabies. SO, when odd things started happening in Z, I turned it off and waited til the next day. OVERALL, it was good. But odd jumps and obvious scenes deleted. The little boy Brad Pitt “adopted” – did I miss what happened to the family? Anyway, good article. Brad has developed into a fine actor since his 21 Jump Street TV appearance.

  9. It also seems that in Shaun of the Dead you can play video games with the zombies, so definitely keeping a games console handy for the zombie apocalypse

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