Best in the Zombie Show

Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.

It probably seems like I am all zombies, all the time. While part of this is true, I also have several other interests that may surprise you.

Right now the world is coming down from one of the biggest sporting events of the year-- the Super Bowl. And they’ve headed right into the Olympics. Soon to follow will be the bracket insanity of March Madness, a large factor in my household when I was growing up, one that (much to my parents’ disappointment, I’m sure) I never really got into.

The whole planet is sporting event crazy, and although I am not the athletic type, there is one sport that I support obsessively every year-- The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which is the second longest consecutive-running annual sporting event in history, second only by one year to the Kentucky Derby. This year marks the 134th show! It is true that my love for dogs far surpasses my love for zombies (sorry zombies of the world), so every year I tune in and cheer on my favorite breeds.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that the dogs at Westminster are not being judged against each other. They are being judged against their own breed standard to find which dog best fits their breed’s description. And even within some of the breeds there are many different varieties. For example, with the dachshund there are three varieties-- smooth coated, long coat, and wire coat. The breed standard is the same for all three, they just have different hair. Another example is the poodle. Three varieties exist in size-- standard, miniature, and toy.

So, you are probably thinking, “Great! But this is ZOMBIE Thursday, not Doggie Thursday. What’s the point?”

The way Westminster and other dog shows view dog breeds is how I like to think of zombies. There are many different breeds and varieties of zombies. Many people argue that some zombies aren’t real zombies for whatever reason. But I say they are. You can’t judge or compare one type of zombie against another when deciding which is the best. Sure, you can have your favorite varieties, but in the end they are all zombies.

Let’s look briefly at some of the different breeds of zombies!

  1. Classic Zombie- This is the zombie that is found in films like Night of the Living Dead. A recently dead body is reanimated through nuclear radiation means. Incapable of speech, their only “thought” is to find a living human and eat them. They can be killed by a shot or blow to the head. Fire is also effective. They display little intelligence or problem solving skills. Two breed varieties seem to exist-- a) Slow moving (shuffle/shamble along, easy to escape from) and b) Fast moving (these dudes can run, and can run at record breaking speeds. A motorized vehicle is recommend for escape)

  2. Viral Zombie- This one can seem very similar to the Classic Zombie, and its breed origins are clearly linked. But unlike the Classic Zombies, these zombies are formed through some sort of virus. They do not have to be a recently deceased individual (although in some varieties, the virus is lethal before total transformation occurs), and the virus is easily transmittable (most often through saliva after being bitten). Breed characteristics and personality are similar to that of the Classic. They are driven to living beings with the intent to kill them and in some varieties, eat them. Varieties include-- a) Solanum (popular theory of Max Brooks, host dies first before virus takes over), b) Rage (as seen in 28 Days Later, host does not die, but virus takes effect immediately), c) Tyrant (also known as T-virus, responsible for mutating its host and able to reanimate dead cells. Made popular in the Resident Evil series.)

  3. C.H.U.D.s- Although a lesser known breed, CHUDs deserve a spot in the zombie world. For those of you who don’t know, a C.H.U.D. is a “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller.” They are formed through the pollution of radioactive toxic waste which turns them into monsters who prey on humans. Found in the sewers and undergrounds of large cities all over the world! Also able to be killed and brought back to life again by unsuspecting teenagers.

  4. Vampiric Zombie- Possibly the original breed standard from which the classic and viral zombies were created. This breed displays photosensitivity, a need for blood, and often a high intelligence and adaptability. You will recognize this breed in things such as I Am Legend (side note-- George Romero has admitted to practically stealing the concept of I Am Legend and used it as inspiration for Night of the Living Dead).

  5. Voodoo Zombie- I covered this one at great length in a previous Zombie Thursday blog, so check it out if you haven’t read that one already! But to recap, a voodoo zombie is a person who falls under the spell of a bokor by being poisoned with a mixture of chemicals that cause a death-like state and later a mindless, hallucinogenic trance. Most often seen in Haiti.

  6. Serial Killer Zombie- This breed is very rare, and in some circles isn’t even recognized as a legitimate breed. The cause of reanimation is usually not the same for any given case, and often is just missing entirely. Several prominent cases have involved lightning. These killers are undeniably killed by whatever means necessary, yet somehow manage to keep coming back. Quite possibly one of the most dangerous breeds as a means of destroying them permanently is unknown. Think of Jason Voorhees and Michael Meyers as a Best of Breed standard.

  7. Zombie Nazi- A recently emerging breed, the Zombie Nazi is quite possibly one of the most fascinating breeds of zombie out there. We all know and will hopefully agree that Nazis are evil, horrible people. The worst examples of the human race. But for some reason when they are turned into zombies.... they are AMAZING. Don’t even argue, you know it’s true. Some great examples of this breed popularity show up in films like Dead Snow and Rob Zombie’s The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. They also appear in the game Call of Duty: World at War.

  8. Zombie Cats- The Zombie Cat is an obvious breed variety of the regular Lolcat (sometimes written as lawlcat). These zombies are most often documented on the “I Can Has Cheezburger” website. Although seemingly hilarious, they pose a deep threat as they can disguise themselves as innocent family pets. No one is really sure what turns Mr. Fluffy into a kitteh that can has brainz, but one thing is certain, you should NOT let your guard down around these tail-toting terrors.

As you can see, there are many different breeds and varieties of zombies, and many more that are just too numerous to mention here! It is far too difficult to compare them against each other... but like the dogs of Westminster, we all have the ones that hold a special place in our hearts. What is your favorite zombie? Who would you want to win ‘Best in Show?’