Okay, the idea of zombies crawling from the earth, stinking and falling apart, stumbling around in a bid to eat our brains sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?
George Romero brought zombies to the fore with his 60s, 70s and 80s undead extravanganzas, in which masses of dead rose from their graves and turned ordinary people into walking, mumbling rotting shadows of themselves.
Since then a glut of zombie movies have hit the big screens. Resident Evil: Afterlife (based on Capcom’s epic Resident Evil games) starring Mila Jovovich as a rogue infectee with super powers has gone some way to sexing up the zombie genre, taking Romero’s old school “something fell from the sky and turned everyone into zombies” formula and giving it a more scientifically believable basis.
Some years back British blockbusters 28 Days Later and it’s follow up 28 Weeks Later stepped away from zombie tradition by using a hybrid virus based on Rabies and Ebola causing people to become crazed lunatics. The film shows blood transference as the carrier and the reason the infection spread so rapidly.
Since then the gaming community has enjoyed such fare as Left4dead 1& 2 in which you play the role of a survivor in a zombie apocalypse where the festering horrors sprint at you en masse, spray bile all over you, pin you down so the hordes can munch on you and one super beast even throws cars at you. Very unfriendly.
AMC have added to the zombie ranks with Walking Dead, a show that looks set to have the drooling zombie fans of the nation on the edges of their seats.
In the wake of such a popularity shift some scientists have researched the possible causes of zombie symptoms and one study called The Truth Behind Zombies, to be screened by National Geographic, discusses a very feasible cause.
They have calculated that a hybrid of rabies and influenza would cause a zombie epidemic that would sweep the country in a very short time. Rabies can lead to people and animals becoming crazed and violent (as depicted in the film Quarantine). Rabies can actually take up to a year to become prevalent in a sufferer which contradicts the rapid transformation so often seen in freshly savaged zombie victims.
Scientists are however sticking with the super rabies virus theory by saying that the virus can evolve and it could, in time, mean that the incubation period would reduce sufficiently to cause rapid deterioration in its host.
They add that when combined with influenza you would have an airborne contagion that would spread so rapidly, most people would become shuffling, shoe gazing brain eaters in a matter of a few days.
Throw in a sprinkle of the afore mentioned Ebola virus which causes internal bleeding and an eventual, explosive and bloody death, and you have yourself a winning formula for a zombie holocaust.
Let us know your thoughts about zombies, or tell us how you’d cope with a zombie outbreak by leaving a comment.
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