Undead or Infected Zombies?

By Zombie Hunter Sam

undead or infected

Undead or infected? Horror movie puritanism or scientific reality? Discussion and debate surrounds not which makes a better film, but which is more likely to happen. You can blame science. The zombie outbreak will most likely be the result of some experiment gone wrong, an adaptive virus, or horrible pathogen. Save a giant UFO hiding behind a comet that animates dead bodies instead of trucks and electric knives, many of us will die by actual, angry, infected humans.

Some possible, semi-grounded in science explanaitons, as offered by Cracked.com:

  • Brain parasites  – i.e. Toxoplasma gondii, or Naegleria fowleri.
  • Neurotoxins – (Tetrodotoxin, though this just induces a coma-like, non threatening state).
  • Adaptaive and aggressive rabies strain or other neurotropic virus  (resulting in aggressive and contagious rabies like symptoms).
  • Neurogenesis (recreation and reanimation of brain cells).
  • Nanobots (though not a traditional infection, imagine a Terminator like apiocalypse, only with hundreds of thousands of self-replicating, human hating machines).
  • Immortal cells – i.e. Helacyton gartleri cancer cells which do not die.

There won’t be reanimated corpses. If you survive the infection, you will be murdering alive, and perhaps conscious humans.

mr t knows zombies

Mr. T is half right. There will be no reanimated corpses. Muscle movement depends upon Adenosine Triphosphate, which depends on flowing, oxygenated blood. Yet Mr. T. overlooks one essential fact: ATP is still be produced by very much alive, maddened and sickened humans. These humans may run fast or slow, but they won’t be dead.

For some horror and zombie purists, no “infected” or fast zombie is a true zombie, they insist only the George Romero Night of the Living Dead slow moving reanimated corpses are actual zombies. These purists often claim the fast running new Dawn of the Dead undead are a new invention and should be left to die. The opposing and newer Danny Boyle 28 Days Later school says zombies are fast running, “rage” virus infected, living humans, and differentiates so by calling them “infected” instead of “zombies”. Unfortunately, the Romero zombie (with a possible exception for voodoo) is only a zombie of film. The virus or disease infected zombie is much more probable. However, the undead and fast running, leaping, Boomer, Smoker, Witch, Tank or Hunter zombies must remain in Left 4 Dead and Resident Evil.

Your zombies will be very much alive, and they will be maddened and they will probably not feel or be aware of pain. They could seek you out, potentially in groups, though solitary or unmindful of other infected is also possible. They will not want to eat your brains, they will only want to viciously attack and bite anything that gets near them. Imagine the cross between a rabid wolverine and a violent, knife weilding psychopath. That’s your zombie, and he or she will be contagious. Headhsots will certainly bring them down, as will multiple center of mass shots, but they will take many bullets before they are terminated.

You’ll need to worry about the people who don’t know they are harbingers of the virus, carriers of disease, or bringers of parasties. Who in your party can you trust? Did that bite really break the skin? Taking care of hordes of the undead may sound like fun, but mom won’t be dead. She’s still your mom. And dad didn’t tell you yet, but she’s pregnant with your baby sister. Are you sure you’re up to this?

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Filed Under: Reanimation · Science · Sickness · Undead

44 million infected

  • 1 Josh Aug 16, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Good article. It’s kind of beating a dead horse, but still decent. Although I love Romero Zombies, The Infected are a lot more intimidating, and kind of disturbingly, a lot more likely. In fact, probable.

  • 2 logan Aug 16, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    infected zombies are soooooooo much more convenient, you can kill them like a human, so grenades and mines become effective, thanks goodness for logical reasoning- infected are much more likely!

  • 3 logan Aug 16, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    well, if you are worried about if that bite broke his skin, hack him to death with a knife like in 28 days later! that will certainly take care of him, but you risk getting the infected blood in your eyes!…if a a baby in the womb is infected, and close to birth, will the woman give birth and have an evil, zombie baby? that would be creepy….of course, the mother would probably not feed him, and she would have a dead baby dragging from and umbilical co- ok, im gonna stop before that image makes me puke.

  • 4 Sam Aug 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Quite the imagination there. But yes — in this instance, grenades would be useful. However, they are hard to come by, expensive, and not very practical. A firearm can be used in far more situaitons, such as hunting food, breeching doors, or as a distraction or signaling device. A grenade in the hands of someone untrained is an accident waiting to happen, you wouldn’t want to put yourself or your party in more danger.

  • 5 logan Aug 17, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    hahahaha, yes i agree with you sam, some stupid person who pulls the pin and trys to “cook” it and ends up blowing himslef into oblivion would not be useful in a survival group, but if you know how to handle them, use them. the knowledge of how to make pipebombs or homade explosive would be very useful in this situation…incindeary bullets would be useful for a zombie apoc.. let me get this straught- Incindeary bullets are basiacally bullets that explode on contact, or are on fire the whole time? if that were true, missing or over-penetration could be deadly if you were fighting zeds where there were stacks of dry hay or flammable stuff….flammable shot for shotguns shells, etc…so, wait..the aa-12 fires explosive slugs, right?

    though, hunting with grenade or mines make sure the thing is killed when it hits them, but not much left for human use after that…”where’d the deer go?” “You name it”

  • 6 Niko Aug 18, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    “Dad, your infected!” Definetly not a good thing. Infected people would also probaly have the same abilities as humans (If not better) so yah… I
    want the undead to eat the scientist first cuase I enjoy cuaghing up blood

  • 7 Johnny Aug 19, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Have you guys seen this?

    A mathematical study of Zombie infection

    Nice site by the way.

  • 8 Sam Aug 19, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Thanks Johnny, I’m glad my readers are so astute! I changed your link to point to my article.

  • 9 ZKA_LT Aug 21, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Hey Sam, love the article, I definitely agree about the infected being more likely “Zombies” as for the Romero zombies being the original should I point out that a movie involving infected people attacking and infected other people, was made 8 years before Dawn Of The Dead came out, and only 3 years after night, so people have thought of them being possibilities has been around since 1971.

  • 10 Sam Aug 21, 2009 at 10:33 am

    ZKA: Which movie are you referring to?

  • 11 prophet Aug 21, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    By God! I thought we could look up to Mr. T. But now he’s trying to tell us that zombies can’t happen? He’s gonna get us all killed. That’s like George Bush saying we CAN trust him. It’s a lie. By the way, I stand on the “Infected” side of the debate. Oh and Mr. T, Max Brooks is not a [REDACTED]; he’s a genius.

  • 12 ZKA_LT Aug 22, 2009 at 3:45 am

    I completely forgot to add the movie, but the first infected “zombie” movie, was 1971’s “Omega Man” it was remade in 2008 I believe and called “I Am Legend” but its the same thing. Prophet, Max Brooks is far from a genius, he did have some good points in the survival guide, but he is also rather idiotic in many of his views.

  • 13 logan Aug 22, 2009 at 8:21 am

    yah..whover posted that mr. t thing..can we keep of the “f-[REDACTED]-t” kind of stuff when posting articles like this one? the way sam redacts f bombs and stuff, i’d say that he thinks little kids visit this site. he apparently no problem with displaying “f-[REDACTED]-t” to little kids though, even though there will be some that go- “hey mommy, what’s this word?” and there will be parents who will be apalled….c’mon whover posted that, is it that hard nowadays too keep from bashing Gay and Lesbian people in everything you say? well, since everybody’s tellign about dreams at somtime or other, i can tell you guys that i had a dream about a convoy including the members of the miniseries taken, was driving through an area infested w/ zombies, from a hospital that was being evacuated. the grand finale was a big Clive barker’s jericho weird made up fight…well, i guess that’s no suprise, considering i have played l4d and clive barker’s jericho recently, and have finished “taken” recently. weird dream, but a good one

  • 14 Sam Aug 22, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Thanks for your comments guys. I posted the Mr. T. pic just as I found it somewhere on the Internets *cough-4chan-cough*. But, I’m redacting more derogatory names and words from the comments now as I’d prefer the search engines not get the wrong impression of my site.

    ZKA: Thanks, I’ve seen a some of Omega “From my cold dead hands!” Man, and I Am Legend. Zombie-esque movies at best. I have not read the book.

  • 15 prophet Aug 23, 2009 at 1:49 am

    I apologize to you logan and ZKA.

    And most of all to you Sam. Can you forgive me??

  • 16 logan Aug 23, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    umm, nothing to be forgiven for, prophet, but i accept it.

  • 17 ZKA_LT Aug 26, 2009 at 6:20 am

    Yes yes I know they aren’t zombies in the sense of 28 Weeks or 28 Days being “zombies” but the infected follow the same basic design, as those “zombies” in the fact that they were infected by a retro-rabies strain that was hidden unknowingly in the cure for cancer. I realize they aren’t the same thing, but the idea has been around for awhile now. So anyone who believes in the infected forms, remember that they really are a possibility.

    Prophet ~ No worries, you did nothing to warrant apologizing

  • 18 prophet Aug 27, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    thanks, guys. check out my comments about the 2012 apocalypse. i shared some of my knowledge there.

  • 19 logan Aug 28, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    how do you register on this site?

  • 20 Sam Aug 29, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Registration is currently unavailable; I’m still working the kinks out.

  • 21 logan Aug 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    ah, ok, thanks sam.

  • 22 mike Oct 21, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    was watching an episode of csi, where this sweet old lady snaps and attacks, then bites one of the investigaters then dies later. they also find several inmates who acted the same way before ultimatly expiring. the only link was a tattoo and body mod shop, turns out the owner of the shop was an ex coroner and patholigist, he was taking samples of rabies from bats and making it faster and more infective, to what end im not sure as i missed the ending, what im getting at is if someone wanted to they could really make somthing nasty with the right now how.

  • 23 Orange glint Oct 24, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    If the zombies were fast alot more ppl would die =/. maybe id live if I made it to kansas fast enough (kansas is the best zombie survival state, no one lives there). If they were slow id live life as a blast.

  • 24 Spotte Nov 5, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    what if the “Z-virus” (for lack of a better name) could only spread like AIDS or HIV through direct contact with an open wound or sex (but who would really do that with a zombie…seriously). what if thats why they bite people, to make an open wound to “bleed” in? they might not be able to jump or move fast but they are some smart mo fos. like if a zombie “sneezed”on you, you wouldnt get infected because theres no place for the virus to go…… but say you hopped a barbed wire fence and got cut and stuff and a zombie “hugged” you, with all the blood from the zombie decaying and what not you would get infected because of direct contact with your blood

    its just a theory you can agree or not but this is what i think

  • 25 josho123 Nov 6, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    that is a good point spotte

  • 26 mike Nov 6, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    well yeah thats how rabies works it lives in saliva, blood, and other bodily fluids.

  • 27 Toofer010 Nov 16, 2009 at 9:26 am

    I still like the idea of the dead coming back alive. I’d like to see my grandma again even if I did have to bust a cap in her ass.

  • 28 mike Nov 28, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    if its a mutated rabies virus, what other animals wil be affected? rabies already makes dogs act violent. we could have a real issue of infected dogs, if we had a faster acting more virulent virus.

    which would be more dangerous? infected dogs? or infected people?

  • 29 logan Nov 29, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    uh oh
    rabid hampsters
    oh noes!!

  • 30 Unknown Diamondz Dec 29, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Really good article here. I watched 28 days & 28 weeks later they were just having zombie-like behaviour because they were infected, they just wanted to kill.
    “The opposing and newer Danny Boyle 28 Days Later school says zombies are fast running, “rage” virus infected, living humans, and differentiates so by calling them “infected” instead of “zombies””.

    “They will not want to eat your brains, they will only want to viciously attack and bite anything that gets near them.”
    But in the films they want to actually kill or infect the survivors not because they were near them,basically because they just had this hatred, or possibly just wanted to kill.
    So, is it possible for real “zombies” or “infected” to want to kill you just becuase they want to?
    Even if your nowhere near them.

  • 31 Orange glint Dec 31, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Mr t thinks hes cool because he knows freshman biology

  • 32 josho123 Jan 2, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    i [know] right

  • 33 Joe Mar 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    The only POSSIBLE way a zombie infection could occur is detailed in I Am Legend (movie at least… I haven’t gotten around to reading the book)
    The disease would have to be an airborne virus.
    Why? because otherwise the disease COULD NOT POSSIBLY infect enough people over large enough distance. Natural immunity would be the only hope of initial survival. Any physically transmitting disease would quickly be supressed by the military using CDC tactics. The common misconception about the military failing in a physical-transmission z-apoc is due to the belief that standard military tactics would be used. Mike (above) mentioned that people were close to creating a workable zombie virus using rabies as a base. Let me link ya to the wiki for rabies
    Now then. Rabies is so extrordinarially far from the desired outcome that it could not be used in the production of a zombie plague. Let me list a few things:
    1.The period between infection and the first flu-like symptoms is normally two to twelve weeks
    The problem with this? Nearly this whole time the infected person can be tested for rabies using a simple procedure.
    2.Once the rabies virus reaches the central nervous system and symptoms begin to show, the infection is effectively untreatable and usually fatal within days
    The problem with this? Obvious, you want your zombies to live longer than a week, preferably several years.
    3.the vast majority of human rabies cases (approximately 97%) come from dog bites
    The problem with this? well, it’s transmission by bite only (ol’ skool zombie purists rejoice I guess)
    4. an inability to speak or swallow are typical during the later stages of the disease
    The problem with this? You want a zombie to be able to eat, or it starves / has no reason to attack humans (hunger would be the most obvious reason)
    5. a vaccine was developed in 1885
    You know how we innoculated people to stop smallpox? cowpox. I’ll leave it to you to figure out the similarities.

    Fact is, rabies is not a suitable base for developing a zombie virus. Mike, as he pointed out, was watching CSI, blatent fiction interested in nothing more that profits. And zombies can REALLY get you profits.
    Long post, eh?

  • 34 CFrigginJ Mar 3, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    There is a new movie coming out called “The Crazies?” or “Crazy People”. I would like your opinion sam i you would. Its about a town that gets infected by a “virus” that takes over the brain and makes people insane, blood thirsty and well just plain crazy! This is what i believe will be a likely outcome of the virus that “i think” shall overcome our great nation.

  • 35 Zombie Hunter Sam Mar 20, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Joe — thanks for your insightful post. Rabies is a possible example, but not the definitive one. If it’s aggressive enough, people will infect each other at a fast rate, though not exponential, as previous infected will die off within a two to three weeks from starvation.

  • 36 mike Mar 20, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    as i stated in previous posts, rabies in its current form is impossible, otherwise it would have happened already. what we are considering is a mutated form of rabies, if you could speed up the incubation period, you would have a very nasty virus. yes there is a vaccine but most people in the world are not vaccinated .
    if you had a faster acting virus, it could spread faster than people could be innoculated, not to mention they dont usually keep large quantities of the vaccine on hand. so if say some government or terrorist organization where to make a faster acting virus, then it would probably spread faster thn they could containit.

  • 37 PurpleEater Mar 22, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Actually, rabies, in some parts of the world, is now so potent that it can be transferred through evaporated bodily fluids, pretty much making it an airborne pathogen.

  • 38 mike Mar 23, 2010 at 10:47 am

    its a good thing the incubation period takes several months. also after a time the host dies so it would be a short lived romp.

  • 39 Callum The Survivor Apr 2, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Joe, having looked at what you said about the military tactics not failing, i have to disagree. By the time the military get to where the infected are, how many people would you say will be infected by that point? Lets say a couple of thousand. Despite the fact that the military in the area are vastly outnumbered, how many of the soldiers do you think would panick? Some would run, some would see them as people and not open fire and the vast majority would take twice as long reloading because they are panicking. They would panick because, despite the fact most of them have been in combat, they are new opponants, they are like a bloodthirsty mob.
    I think that is reason enough why the military would fall.

    Back to the point, infected zombies are very plausible and it is likely that something like the rage virus from the ’28’ films would happen. I looked on a website for 28 days later and it said that the rage virus is related to rabies.

  • 40 thomas Jun 22, 2011 at 8:55 am

    i believe it could be some type of mutated/genetically modified rabies or other virus, maybe with some type of regeneration gene to reanimate the host’s dead tissue to maintain the survival of the pathogen’s species and allow the host to be a type of walking pitri dish, what do you think?

  • 41 Fatman Inc. Jan 25, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    just to point out a fact to everyone, the “infected’ the 28 “series” eventually ended up becoming your classic rotting carcass zombie near the end of the first film. anyone got any theories on that?

  • 42 Lance-E Apr 6, 2012 at 2:29 am

    Reading the comments, I’m seriously not amused.

    The Military Forces, yes, like Callum has stated, they might hold back due to thought of the fact they are civilians, but panicking ? I highly disagree, the Military is a highly trained organization meant to protect your country, why would this organization let their soldiers panic in battle ?

    I suppose some of you did read Max Brook’s Zombie Survival Guide, the base virus being Solanum, Max does bring a point, the virus just “reprograms” the brain for another function, so they don’t act as normal humans and they use ALL their senses, unlike us, which we use our eyes the most and removing that, we are a bunch of helpless twats. Though the “sources” Max writes at the end of his book are … rather hard to believe, a doctor in Jerusalem who studies the human body ? I live in Israel, religion nowadays is rather scarce (Unless you take Jerusalem, still plenty of believers)
    but back then (you know, B.D/A.D and such) they would’ve hanged the doc, as a thought he is rebelling against God.
    Also, if the virus is going to be air-borne, how would it leave it place it came from ? (assuming its a lab, aren’t those places WAY WAY far away from large cities ?) and even if its not going to be air-borne, its only logical that the virus would be taken care of quickly. If any of you are planning on fortifying yourselves in a underground location, floating island, don’t quite care, you’re going to be needing entertainment, I have my own occupation, and that’s writing stories about medieval times.

    Also, why so many of you base the Zombie Apocalypse of movies ?

  • 43 Cody Apr 11, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Lance: i agree purly on the fact that im a vetren myself and i try my best to keep people alive and kill what needs to be killed

  • 44 Unknown Sep 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Mind tainted humans will grow up unaware thier going to kill everyone.

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