In the past 10 years, humanity has cowered before an endless horde of zombies. Since “28 Days Later”, 2004’s “Dawn of the Dead”, “Land of the Dead” and Max Brooks’ books, zombies have become the most popular monster of the 21st century. Everyone’s making zombie movies, in India, Pakistan, Taiwan, Japan, Argentina, Cuba and Greece. Everyone’s writing zombie books, from survivalist/prepper adventure epics to gory horror to sci-fi weirdness to the dreaded zom-com.
But what ARE “zombies”? How many different forms of undead and not-really-undead have gone by the zombie name? Jason has put together the ultimate zombie map featuring fast zombies, slow zombies, viral zombies, supernatural zombies, alien-invasion zombies and so many more.
The Map of Zombies is a 24″x36″ poster that takes you on a tour of every imaginable type of zombie in a visual format. Drawn in the style of a vintage medical chart, it identifies over 350 different types of zombies from horror movies, books, video games, comics, manga and TV shows.
This map includes EVERY important (and almost every unimportant) zombie genre work, from Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” to the movies of George Romero and Lucio Fulci, to Kengo Hanazawa’s “I Am a Hero.” Go from point to point on the map and discover the wide world of zombies, broken down by logical categories, like you were a scientist observing zombies in the field! Plus, discover at a glance whether a given book/movie/comic contains:
To paraphrase biologist Colin Tudge in his book “The Variety of Life”, it is clear that zombies, like reptiles or vampires, are a grade (beings sharing common traits) rather than a clade (beings descended from a common ancestor). ‘Zombie gait,’ coming back from the dead, cannibalistic tendencies, singlemindedness — all of these things are “zombie-ish” aspects, but not all zombies have ‘em.
For the Map, I’ve made TVTropes-established zombie-origin divisions such as “parasite zombie’ vs. “revenant zombie” into secondary considerations (although they’re still listed there), and instead divided zombies up by their most core qualities: how do you kill them? and how fast do they move? Are they true, unkillable undead, or can they be killed by getting their brains blasted out — the core post-Romero element of zombie lore, an updating of the vampire’s outdated, superstitious “heart vulnerability” to the modern, hip, cool, ‘scientific’ “brain vulnerability”? -_- For the sake of simplicity, I’ve shunted zombies who can survive a bullet through the brain but might not survive their WHOLE head getting blown off (like the guy in the movie “The Revenant”) into one or the other category. Likewise, the important survival distinction of “can the zombies still control their body when their head has been cut off but not actually blasted to pieces?” has also been hard to specify in the limited space, so for convenience the zombies from, say, “Helldriver” are listed among headshot-killable zombies, rather than the truly undead. In brief: if their severed limbs don’t squirm around on the floor and grab your foot, and you’re in no danger from reanimated killer intestines, they’re headshot zombies.
As you can see, basically, I’ve listed zombies by work (film, book, game, etc.) rather than listing every individual type of zombie within a work. After all, 95% of zombie-related works deal with only a single type of zombie (the main exception being video games), and even in zombie works where there’s multiple types of zombies, they usually spring from the same cause, so we can say that, f’rinstance, the virus in “Resident Evil” is capable of producing human zombies, animal zombies, AND giant mutated monster-zombies. It is the virus that’s the star! In the few cases where a zombie story has multiple types of zombies stemming from multiple causes, I’ve focused on the ‘core’ type of zombie, although in some cases I’ve been able to list the different types in different categories, such as Joan Frances Turner’s “Dust” and “Frail.”
Researching the Map and dividing zombies into one or another category has been fun, and sometimes difficult. The distinction between “fast” and “slow” zombie is another arguable one, but basically, I’ve raised the bar pretty high so that only zombies who can CONSISTENTLY run fast, and have living-human-level physical abilities, are listed as “fast zombies.” So if you are using this Map in the field, for your safety, please assume that any ‘slow’ zombie may be able to shamble at least as fast as “The Walking Dead” zombies, and won’t necessarily be as slow as a Lucio Fulci or George Romero zombie. (It is clear, however, that even among slower zombies, the ones who snarl move faster than the ones who moan.)
You can buy one of these posters for $30 USD right here