In the heated zombie debate about fast versus slow, the lines are clearly drawn between fans of what they consider the classic George Romero zombie, and devotees of the new wave of sprinting, living zombies first seen in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later. But what seems to get forever overlooked is that the first representation of a fast, modern zombie on screen dates all the way back to Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead (1968).
In fact, the first ever modern zombie was FAST.
When Bill Hinzman stumbles out from the cemetery shadows in Night of the Living Dead he kills his first victim and then chases the film’s heroine down the road, all the while displaying a speed and dexterity that is in keeping with the most current depictions of zombies. Hinzman starts by battling a fit young man to the death, leaping about like a cage fighter, and then attacks both sides of a car at full sprint.
What’s more, the Hinzman zombie at one point picks up a rock and tries to bash a window in, and even tries to open a car door using the handle. This shows greater awareness and strategic thinking than is seen in 28 Days Later, or any other contemporary zombie film in wide release.
So next time someone asks if you prefer slow of fast zombies, don’t pigeonhole yourself. Say you’re a zombie purist, so you like it all. Slow, fast, smart, dumb, young, old, short, fat, and everything in between.