Fast or Slow?

Which type of zombie do you prefer? The quick ones, like you see in the remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD or 28 DAYS LATER, or the slow, plodding, shambling original style, as defined by George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD or Fulci’s ZOMBI? You can trace the latter version back to the Bela Lugosi classic WHITE ZOMBIE; ironically, all the walking dead in that particular film were Caucasian, and this despite the setting being the island of Haiti. At least they didn’t resort to the unpalatable practice of having white actors appear in blackface. There may be even earlier depictions of shambling zombies in film, but none come to mind at the moment.

I will confess that the iteration of the zombie I find most frightening, however, which is to say the most EFFECTIVE, since zombies never scare me, as Horror movies in general never scare me—this happens when you’re always rooting for the monster—is the more realistic one, the one wherein the zombie is not even necessarily dead, but brain dead. The kind you might encounter FOR REAL in Haiti; the sort depicted in movies like I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE and, to an extent, THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW. To be transformed into such a pitiable creature, or to be menaced by one, those are things that could actually happen. To me, that makes them far freakier than the zombies of Hollywood.