Most of my friends probably know I love all things zombie, so I’m not gonna complain much when I’m watching any number of walking-dead/returned- to- life themed shows or movies.
Ooookay, that’s a white lie. Okay, so I’m one of those people who was so sucked in by the Resident Evil games and the multitude of zombie movies that I like to entertain the idea that I wouldn’t become zombie bait on the first day of the apocalypse. It’s not uncommon for me to be watching one of these shows or movies and yelling at the people on the TV, telling them every stupid thing they’re doing.
AMC’s The Walking Dead is no exception. I love the show. It’s a very character-driven take on the usual zombie apocalypse theme; I’d imagine the characters have to have more depth if the show is going to keep viewers interested for more than a couple episodes.
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon is just an added incentive for me to watch The Walking Dead
But these people do some stupid shit! For instance, if you were concerned with a blood borne contagion, why would you stab a zombie through the head (or any other body part for that matter?) An interesting tidbit you may or may not have gleaned from popular crime shows is that when a person stabs another person, there is a high likelihood of the assailant injuring themselves on their own weapon. By all means, why don’t we just invite the infection in?
But anyway, as much as I love my zombie movies, I can’t quite get past this one fundamental flaw in the whole idea of an extended “zombie apocalypse.” In most of these stories, shows, and films, the source of the pandemic usually ends up being traced to a biological or physiological cause, most often a virus of some sort. The creators of these shows want it to seem as if the scenario they are positing could be scientifically possible, if not exactly likely. Bear with me, because this is relevant to the point I’m about to make.
For the zombies to reach such an advanced state of decay, one of two things would have to happen:
1) They have to have risen from the grave a’ la the original Night of the Living Dead
2) They “newly” dead would have to continue to decompose after death, despite the fact that they remained mobile.
“You don’t just wake up looking this good!”
Either way, after decomposition progresses to a certain point, muscle tissue and ligaments are going to break down and locomotion will then be a scientific impossibility. There are a bajillion changes the body goes through postmortem, beginning with autolysis (in the gut) and putrefaction ( microbial growth.) Ultimately, these processes lead to liquefaction and disintegration of the body. Simply put… the very dead no walkee.
Bloating in the abdomen as autolysis occurs and gasses collect in the face, abdominal cavity, and scrotum. This body has spent approximately a week in summer-like conditions.
**I found this photo on the internet, but can speak for its authenticity because this same photo appears in one of my school books for a Forensics class that I had. The information regarding time and conditions of death came directly from that book.
So basically, the zombie apocalypse would really suck for about two weeks, three tops… until everyone started to rot and fall apart… at which point it would probably suck even harder.
You’re welcome. 😉
*Edit: A friend of mine brought up a good point that I need to clarify: A zombie pandemic/plague/whatever could indeed be perpetuated beyond two to three weeks, assuming people continued to be contaminated by contact with either the bodily fluids of the dead bodies or the undead. However, the main thrust of this blog entry is that each individual dead body could not be mobile for an extended period of time once decomposition began to break down the muscles and tissues necessary for locomotion…
I’ve put too much thought into this. Maybe I need a new hobby.