Contributing author Alfredo Torres is an adjunct professor of communications at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA where he wrote his master’s thesis on the metaphoric representation of zombies in the films of George Romero.
Zombies come in two flavors.
I constantly get into arguments with my friends regarding the characteristics of a zombie. Do you have to shoot them in the head to kill them? Do they really only crave brains or do they eat flesh? Are they fast moving or can you outwalk them? These are the burning questions that a lot of zombie fans debate back and forth. And while the scientific arm of the Zombie Research Society has given us a definition of the modern day zombie, the pop culture division’s problems in defining zombies are not that simple.
I have therefore decided to separate the fans into two camps. In baseball, there is a National League and an American League. Both leagues play baseball, but they each have distinctive characteristics that make them their own product and provide them with their own distinct fans. In the realm of zombies, there are the Romeroist (the traditionalist) and the O’Bannist (the progressives).
The Romeroist: These fans believe it was none other than George Romero who set the characteristics of the modern day zombie with his 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead. During this film the zombie was cast as a slow moving, flesh eating ghoul who would stop at nothing to satisfy its desire for flesh. The Romeroist tends to skew older, having been born in a time when the modern day zombie either did not exist or was in its infancy. They believe zombies in pop culture should follow the rules that were set in motion by Romero throughout the original trilogy. These fans are so passionate about those characteristics, they even reject traits that Romero himself adds in the later Dead films (i.e. zombies gaining the ability to communicate as featured in Land of the Dead or zombies eating anything other than human flesh as seen in Survival of the Dead.)
The O’Bannist: They are named after the director of Return of the Living Dead, Dan O’Bannon. This is the film that taught the public that zombies only crave one thing… bbbrrrraaaiinnnssss! The zombie fans that enjoy ghouls with other characteristics attributed to the modern day zombies fall under this heading; even if some of those traits weren’t in the movie itself. O’Bannist tend to be younger, with zombies having always existed as part of popular culture. They like their zombies moving fast, climbing walls, talking and even falling in love. They like Nazi Zombies, infected human zombies, and even zombies who have the ability to become human again.
Romeroist or O’Bannist? Which side of the fence do you fall on? Regardless, don’t ever forget that you are playing baseball, and at the end of the day, you are a zombie fan, and that is what really matters.