I don’t know about you but, personally, there’s 2 things in life I love: My family and Zombies!!!

I happen to be completely obsessed with the genre. With both the good submissions and the bad. Today, I want to address a conversation that has arisen, and grown more heated, in the Zombie loving community over the last 6 years… ever since Zach Snyder’s awesome remake of the much loved cult classic Dawn of the Dead. The question is this: Which Zombie is better… the Romero creeper? Or the Snyder sprinter? To help me out, Marc from Go, See, Talk ( a great blog, by the way) has come on to help me debate the issue.

Romero: The man, the myth, the legend.

Before we dive in, I’d like to sidetrack for a moment and address which we would be more likely to encounter should a real Zombie attack ever actually take place. The genesis behind Romero’s idea for his Zombies, that move at turtle speed, was that they would move like that due to the onset of rigor mortis. The definition of which is a chemical change in the muscles after death, causing the limbs of the corpse to become stiff (Latin rigor) and difficult to move or manipulate.

The flaw in this logic is that rigor mortis commences after about 3 hours, reaches maximum stiffness after 12 hours, and gradually dissipates until approximately 72 hours after death. So, should a Zombie outbreak ever actually occur, the amount of stiffening taking place in the corpse would vary depending on time of death… not to mention that the level of decomposition that had overtaken the corpse would have a profound effect as well. So, the truth of the matter is, in the real world, we would probably encounter both.

However, that’s not our concern here today. We only care which one is more awesome. To present one half of this argument, I present Marc from Go, See, Talk with his half of the argument. Here it is…



While George Romero is the Stan Lee of the Zombie genre (hey they even kinda look similar), he is undeniably The Architect, ergo, what he says goes:) Personally, I am, as my lead-in moniker denotes, “A Purist”. It can be quite a tough pill to swallow watching (let alone liking) Zombies running fast…or at all. I think variations on a theme are interesting and helpful to the genre but I always come back to core values which I, like other Zombie fans out there, hold to…namely “Zombies don’t RUN”. Period. True, I admit Olympic Sprinter Zombies (OSZs for short) are slightly more frightening initially, but all Zombie attacks end the same. So, where as our host has covered the “plausible medical” angle of the Zombies’ speed, I’ll now cite my reasons why old-school stumbling, bumbling slow moving Zombies (SMZs for short) are the better Zombies in the genre.
A slow zombie, to me, complicates any situation (or attack) in many ways. I believe simply the approach of Zombies have a nearly incapacitating and hypnotizing effect on the living. In this respect, what they lack in speed they still make up for with their surreal “Fright-Factor”. From the standpoint that as a Zombie staggers toward a person, the mind of the would-be victim reels, as if to ask “what the hell is going on??” The closer the Zombie gets, the more the person comes to grip with the situation. The victim is now almost frozen in panic and horrified while thinking “holy shit this is happening, what do I do, what do I do?!?” This is all complicated by further indecision brought about by an incalculable variation of the number of approaching Zombies as well as the ability to either fortify or defend him of herself. Finally, it is even more exacerbated if the Zombie approaching is a friend or loved one. It almost inhibits the “fight or flight” instinct within our bodies more to a nearly paralyzing level. It’s a complex string of events that while may be just minutes and seconds, it can probably feel like a lot longer. Finally, if we were ever in the situations we’ve seen in the movie, would we be as quick thinking as we believe ourselves to be while critiquing the film we’re watching? My guess would be no.
But to me, that’s the beauty and brilliance of the old-school Zombies. In many ways those SMZs create slow burn situations. Prolonging the attack can be more terrifying because it’s like a drawn out demise or torture. Almost like being run over by a steam roller, or (perfect cut to a Romero film) think of that ineffective fireworks scene in Land of the Dead. In the film, a number ill-fated humans who have no way of escape are about to feast dejour for the creeping SMZs. Now that’s a decidedly different take on the term “they’ve got us cornered.” 😛 With fast moving Zombies, the kill is just as imminent but there’s (what I think is) a bright side to the situation. Being killed by a OSZ will be done with and over soon (likened to being mauled by a Lion I would imagine). But in an SMZ attack, it’s like watching paint dry…while they’re eating you! Also the SMZs are like quick-sand. If you’re surrounded by 1 to 5, sure, odds are you can get away. But anything more than that, slow or fast, thats 6 biting 100+ pound Zombies pushing (maybe dog-piling) and fighting for first dibbs on you. The more there are, the more screwed you are and the less likely you’re going to fend them off. 
It is true that slow moving Zombies are laughed at, seem very non-threatening and can be easily disposed of, but to me they’re very much like fire. Regardless of their lacking speed and dexterity, they are very dangerous and you really have to respect them. If not, they can and will, in fact, bite you. Then you’ll die and thus add to the great circle of Zombie life…it’s a lose-lose scenario. SMZs can be dealt with (or avoided if you want to save on ammo) very easily but again the success rate is only based on those two variables: 1.) the number of the approaching Zead and 2.) your ability to fortify or defend yourself. One issue that is probably the scariest of all is the longer you live, the more likely you’ll find yourself facing larger and larger zombie hordes…remember that quicksand analogy above? Staying put is a good choice but, as evidenced in dialog from Night of the Living Dead…if they get in, there’s got to be a way out. They may not be smart but they’ve got numbers on their side.
As many people in this world love a Zombie film, a great many believe “Slow is the way to Go”. But no matter what your opinion is, I bet, after seeing either Dawn of the Dead, that you never look at going to the mall the same way again. I sure as hell don’t. 🙂


[YAWN] I would like to thank Marc for basically winning my argument for me. 🙂

Here’s what I think:

First off, I’ll just say that Night of the Living Dead (which, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved) never made much sense to me. If Zombies move so slow and are so weak that you could just run by them or knock them to the ground when they got close, why the hell would you hole up in a house??? I mean, the only way they pose a threat by moving like turtles is if a couple thousand of them surround you… which is exactly what will happen if you HOLE UP IN A HOUSE!!! Why not get with a group, find an RV, drive in shifts and stay on the move… this, of course, being just one of countless other options open to you if you’re trying to survive an attack from SMZ’s (as my opponent would have you call them). An option you do not have when facing Sprinters!

To further prove why the SMZ’s, are so lame, let’s stick with Night of the Living Dead. Sure, to make Dawn of the Dead, Romero conveniently kept the outbreak alive and thriving. However, at the end of Night, the threat had basically been contained… by a small militia of rednecks with their own personal fire arms, no less. How lame is that? That’s not scary… and when I watch a Zombie flick, I want to be scared!

Enter Zack Snyder with balls to the wall, hit the bricks, hauling ass Zombie. Now, these things are frackin’ scary! They also gave the long beloved genre a much needed shot in the arm… inspiring countless imitators just like the original did. The only bad thing is this brought all the purists, like my boy Marc, out of the woodwork screaming, “BLASPHEMY!!!” A charge, I say, that comes with falsely fueled fervor.

It comes down to this… if Snyder had remained true to Romero’s vision of Zombies, the purists and non-fans alike would be yelling, “BORING!!!” Assuming, of course, they force the word out through the might of their collective yawn. Let’s be honest, we have all become ADD. Video Games, GPS, iTunes, Tivo, Porn readily available at the click of a mouse (Thank You, God)… we have become immune as a society to the building of tension and the “slow burn” (Please don’t leave comments about this last sentence to show that you’re the exception that proves the rule). We need everything these days fast, hard, loud and in our faces. And that is exactly what the modern day “Hauling Ass” Zombie provides.

Admit it… the Zombie you want to see in your movies is the Zombie you hope you’d never see in real life. Not the one that stumbles around like me after a sixer of Stone Ruination India Pale Ale… ooh… I need a drink… let’s wrap this up!

So, dear readers, I leave it you. Which is better? You can leave your comments below. I’d also highly recommend stopping by Marc‘s site where he has a poll set up on the matter at hand. You can find it by clicking on the banner below!

That’s it for now, Z-Heads.

Please feel free to leave your comments below. Feel free to rip me a new one! I never edit any of the comments. Remember, this was meant to be an interactive site, as much as I love the sound of my own voice.

You can also sign up to get this blog via e-mail at the top of the page. And, as always, if you like this site, TELL A FRIEND!

Check back Thursday when our new post will be up. I’m also going to try and keep the mid-week (Wednesday) posts going in the future so stay tuned. Have a great week and remember… SHOOT FOR THE HEAD!!!


  1. Bruce Wayne Says:

    Do I even need to post? SMZ are the best. And I’ll take Bela Lugosi over any of those Twilight kids.

    • Editor in Chief Says:

      should’ve known you’d choose something before circa ’95….older is not better, wayne!!! osz all the way!!

  2. […] at The List. Kai and I have recently collaborated on a post together about this very subject (go check it out, it is really quite good!), so I don’t want to get into our battle very much here. But like I noted in my recent post, […]

  3. SMZ’s all the way. Not a whole lot else to say is there. Even Shaun of the Dead has SMZ’s. Game Set Match.

  4. Fantastic post Kai! Seriously, anyone who has played some zombie (or any monster shooting) video games know the fast one are the scary and dangerous ones. Not only can one be dangerous, be a group of them seriously reduces your chances of survival.

    The slow ones are virtually harmless unless there is massive amount of them and you are surrounded. By themselves, they are easy or (potentially) fun to dispose of. (Crowbar anyone?)

  5. Editor in Chief Says:

    p.s. why ya always gotta talk about porn?!

  6. Paragraph Film Reviews Says:

    If I was in a Zombie survival situation I’d obviously love the slow-moving creepers… But if I’m watching a Zombie flick it’s all about the runners, 100%. The Dawn re-make is one of the best zombie films made… Even Maddox says so! http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=dawn_rules

  7. Hauling Ass. That is all.

  8. Aimee Henkel Says:

    SMZ’s for sure….its just not right any other way..
    I never thought I could read so much on how fast Zombies move…Loving the site Kai-Great job!

  9. The Hauling Ass version certainly makes them a lot more scarier, cause you know you probably won’t be able to get away from them. The slow zombie is just the old-school zombie, that to be brutally honest, just doesn’t add much to films nowadays.

  10. great post guys, and i dont even like Zombie movies..
    i thought Synder did a good job with Dawn of the Dead though. his best movie.

  11. I have grown to fear and feel as though my life is slightly oppressed by an oncoming zombie nation. I was never afraid of zombies until the revamped Dawn Of The Dead (I was pregnant and alone watching it, made me a little wonky), 28 Days Later, and a growing obsession with playing games like Left 4 Dead and Resident Evil. I’ve read Zombies Survival Guide and have just started World War Z. We’ve made plans to use my house as our central location to hold up and battle down, because I know these zombies will be effing fast. Just makes more sense, otherwise we could blow those fuckers up.

    Sometimes when I wake up alone at two or three in the morning to get a drink or do a onesie I want to turn my lights all off in case I make a shadow and a zombie burst threw the window. I also mentally prepare in the middle of the night how I’m going barricade and save my kids if zombies or aliens attack at night. I sleep with a 9mm next to me and a shotgun in my closet, nun chucks, samurai swords, a machete, and sai’s all in my bedroom. I haven’t even started with the athletic equipment that could be utilized as weaponry. I’m ready for battle.


    Sorry, it’s your fault you made me read this when I woke up and think about it too much.

    • haha… I’m the same way. I have hole up plans for not only my house but all my friend’s and the businesses we frequent and can often be caught sizing up a new location the second we walk in… it all stemmed from that movie scaring the shit out of me too… and I’m a big guy and was like 26 at the time… WTF.
      By the way, what’s a “onesie” and why are you doing them in the middle of the nite? hmmm…

  12. First off- OSZ & SMZ (too funny). I’m going with OSZ. Besides the obvious arguments left for us to ponder, let’s face it: we love bigger/badder/faster/freakier and the Sprinters deliver that.

    Watching the remade Dawn (preggo) with Kai’s all-things-zombie enthusiasm clutching at my arm made me a modern zombie fan for life.

    • FYI… Emily is my sister-in-law and she went and saw the remake with me and we were scared for a month… that, among other things, is why she’s awesome… she was there, man!!!
      Love ya, Em.

  13. Well thanks for letting me participate (and lead off the post) Kai…had tons of fun crafting it and think this all came out awesome!

    Thinking about OSZs, I’m sure their knees would give out after constant sprinting. That would cause them to buckle over without the ability to stand anymore. Next, they’d have to crawl toward their prey scraping away their hands and elbows til they were non existent.
    Then, all you’d have to do is walk around (still carefully) and shoot the rolling torsos. War would be over in about 2 weeks:P

    Great pictures by the way…even thought you fluffed your argument with more photos than text;)

    • HEY!!! You ran long so I had to compensate by being short and to the point! 🙂
      You are always welcome to come on and talk about stuff I love Marc… You made a compelling argument but I still say you cheated for enlisting Romero’s help… You are so lucky I lost Zach Snyder’s cell phone number or it woulda been on! 😉

      • Aside from a simply nostalgic or hard core purist point of view, loving and defending SMZs in the wake of OSZs is like defending land lines over cell phones…it’s an uphill battle all the way:(

        So yeah I cheated by calling on the big guns but I had to. It’s like asking a child what he wants for dinner, broccoli or candy?…of course it’s candy because it’s more desirable (though not necessarily good for you). For most people, OSZ over SMZ is a no-brainer (yes, pun was intended) 😛

  14. In fairness, the fact that it took a local militia to temporarily contain the zombies is terrifying to me. Seriously, think about it – the only thing between you and zombies are rednecks.

    I’m a purist at heart. The whole appeal of zombies is the inevitable certainty. You see them coming. You can’t escape. They simply overwhelm you because they never stop – like nature itself, a glacier of terror. And there’s nothing scarier than knowing what’s coming and you can’t stop it.

    As for sprinters, you’re like “Ahh!” and it’s over.

    • It’s like choosing between a marathon or a sprint. Personally, I hate long distance running so I’d rather die quickly if death is certain 🙂

  15. No question…slow-movers. The fact they gather in massive numbers and are hungry for my flesh is scary enough for me!

  16. BRUCERULZ! Says:

    If it wasn’t for 28 DAYS LATER, the whole haul-ass zombie wouldn’t exist. I know they are ‘the infected’ in 28 DAYS, but they were close enough [and many the average person thought they were] to zombies that the world held a collective ‘hmmm, what if?’.
    So don’t blame Snyder for the change, because he only saw the financial opportunity and dove in head-first. Instead, blame the idiotic misconceptions the average american had about 28 DAYS LATER. I cannot count how many times i heard ‘jesus tits! those ZOMBIES move fast!’. God damn, i hate people.

    Oh yeah, slow movers all the way. Fast ‘zombies’ are just humans that are INFECTED.

  17. sarahnsh Says:

    Oh, the Zombie debate. I watched one Zombie movie (can’t remember the name though) late at night and couldn’t stop thinking about Zombies and the whole physics with it. I say infect zombies with a virus which makes them eat other zombies, not live humans, and have the population kill itself with these more high tech zombie movies. I have other ideas and questions with zombies, like how the heck can they eat people when I would think they’re teeth would have fallen out within a short amount of time with their chomping?

    ….And, how can they chew into people’s flesh when our teeth aren’t that sharp and the whole set-up of them just chewing isn’t right. They’d have to bite, and then tear their heads to the side to do any damage. Not just sit there and gnaw, unless if once you turn into a zombie your teeth get sharper but then wouldn’t you be borderline Vampire?

    Uh, yeah, I’ve spent way too much thought on it since I saw that one Zombie movie and have subjected loved ones to my questions. They could careless. But, to answer your question, I see slow moving zombies pretty scary but fast moving ones are crazy scary. But, if it was one fast mover or a bunch of slow movers I’d give it to the mob of slow movers any day.

  18. […] List – This goes out to Kai, my Zombie loving friend at The List. Let me elaborate, he loves Zombie films…not necrophilia. Just wanted to clear […]

  19. […] List – This goes out to Kai, my Zombie loving friend at The List. Let me elaborate, he loves Zombie films…not necrophilia. Just wanted to clear […]

  20. […] with that I’ll ask all you Zead Heads. Do you like the look of this…or does anyone, Kai included, think this is just another zombie property (read snore-fest) to add to the pile?? The Walking […]

  21. Hey Kai, I know you’re an OSZ fan but I saw this and had to tell you…

    This one looks to be the third remake and the second in 3D…wow that’s 2 many numb3rs 4 just 1 sentenc3:) Had you heard about it? Might be fun although repetitive and borderline unnecessary.

  22. […] have this powerhouse ‘zead’ film? Kai, this is one time I’ll side with you on the OSZ variety. Plus when you have long-time Romero collaborator/effects god Tom Savini plus the original cast […]

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