When is a zombie not a zombie?

…it sounds like the start of a bad joke doesn’t it?

skirmish outbreak cover I recently reviewed the new Skirmish Outbreak rules, from Radio Dish-Dash for Miniature Wargames magazine (and if you remember, we discussed these with Colin Philips on Episode 149 of the podcast.)

Now, there is one small thing that annoyed me a little about these rules (and yes, you can call me pedantic at this point) – these rules have two different types of zombies. There are the regular, shambling horde (or Zeds) of which we are all familiar from the George A. Romero films through to the The Walking Dead. However, there are also Ragers, which are ‘fast’ zombies – a trope which has become more popular in film and television in recent years in films such as the Dawn of the Dead remake, Resident Evil and the truly terrible World War Z (surely a film to champion the cause of how not to adapt a book, if ever there was one)

However, many sources – including Skirmish Outbreak – claim that the origin of the ‘fast’ zombie was in the film 28 Days later. It’s here that the pedant in me arises – despite several claims to the contrary, Danny Boyle and Alex Garland (the Director and screenwriter for the film) are quite adamant – 28 Days later (and it’s sequel) are not zombie films, but rather post-apocalyptic horror films, much in the same genre as Day of the Triffids. The general populace in 28 Days Later are infected with a virus that induces homicidal rage – but they are NOT zombies – this is why they are able to move at speed -they aren’t dead (and incidentally, how the UK can be repopulated in 28 Weeks later, as the infected have all starved to death – something which the undead zombies cannot do)


The Infected of 28 Days Later vs The Walking Dead – a bit of a difference, don’t you think?


As for fast zombies themselves? I’m not a big fan – whilst you can understand the horror of a fast crazed animal, there is something about a slow, relentless horde that has a horror all of its own. If you want proof, why not pick up World War Z (the book, not the film) and read the account of the Battle of Yonkers.

2 Comments on When is a zombie not a zombie?

  1. I always thought that the idea of ‘fast zombies’ was more the domain of ghouls. Ghouls have been a bit overlooked compared with zombies (although I think I recall seeing them in ‘Solomon Kane’ and ‘I Am Legend’. Lots of largely underused potential.


  2. Hear hear! And second World War Z the book, it’s marvelous and incredibly thrilling…

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