When debating the merits of various types of zombies in film, traditionalists often say, “I like Romero zombies.” or, “Romero zombies are the only true zombies.”  But what exactly is a Romero zombie, and would anyone making that argument continue to do so if they really knew?

Let’s look at two of George A. Romero’s classic zombie movies for the answer:

Night of the Living Dead (1968) – Zombies don’t moan, but are instead deathly silent.  They can run short distances, open car doors, and a child zombie even kills her mother by stabbing her with a garden tool, not biting.

Day of the Dead (1985) –  Zombies can be trained to do simple tasks, listen to and enjoy music, and a domesticated zombie even picks up and uses a firearm against an evil human.

Going further, Romero’s more recent films show zombies communicating with one another, working as a team, developing advanced combat strategies, and using the cover of night to silently attack their target.

So the next time someone tells you they only like Romero zombies, find out if they actually mean a creature that can think, evolve, learn, use weapons, live in peace, enjoy sophisticated pleasures, make no sound at all, and have excellent fine motor skills.  Chances are it isn’t.



  1. Shout out for High school of the dead zombies wooooooo

  2. Romero Zombies will always be the best

  3. Well i think they should be slow… so if there ever is a zombie attack i can get away alive…. for the moment lol and they should be slow because a zombies body is dead and rotting away, therefor it should be going slow and it should be weak. i think the fast, strong, learning zombies are more to scare us in movies.

  4. I think the new standard is set by Max Brooks, myself. So maybe it should be the “Brooks zombie”? However, I think most people are referring to Dawn of the Dead’s zombies (and even the NOTLD remake’s) as Romero zombies — even though I agree with the article. The first film was kind of a stumbling first step into the mythos, since they had no clear idea exactly what they wanted to do with the film at first. Then with Day and Land the zombies almost regained humanity — still, for me, much preferred to the “infected” or running zombies.

    • I’m totally going to agree with you on that one. As much as the Romero zombies are the classic. Max brooks reset the standard and actually made zombies out to be more a virus and non thinking unstoppable killing machine only interested in consuming flesh for sustenance that will never truly come. It’s kind of more interesting that “Brooks Zombies” are just something that spreads out and just more acurately and scientifically explained better than just simply having people come back to life after they are only shot or die of natural causes. It makes a disease the culpurit. Which is actually far more scary and alot more interesting. But I also agree with you on the infected as well.

  5. Yes, you are right – in my experience people who compare “Romero zombies” to “28 days later zombies”, “Left4Dead zombies” etc. simply refer to the old shambling vs. running problem. Most of them have mobs of zombies mulling outside a Mall in their mind, and they definitely miss the finer points of “Romero zombies”. To them, zombies like Bub are “an exception to the Rule”. Well, how can Bub be an exception from the definition of “Romero zombies” if he is one of the most famous ones in the first place?

  6. What we see on the movies, and what will be in real life, is another thing. The chances are we will see as many different zombies, as there are synapse in the brain. It would seem that the virus has a direct impact on the brain, and what it does, and what it does not remember. For example: Motor function memmory, reasoning, etc. Though these functions have clearly been corrupted by the virus. ie. the zombie walks, but not as good, the zombie hunts but not as efficiantly, the zombie knows how to use certain functions from its passed memory. The memories are there!

    How and why, certain memory functions are remembered, while others are lost is the mystery of the virus. It is quite possible that memory for speech, along with other memories for reasoning and skills; will work just as well as their walking skills. Why? Because a zombie doesn’t have to learn how to walk. It already knows!

    Yes, things may be very different!

  7. Romero Zombies are my favorite!

  8. i want em dumb slow and silent.

  9. Actually, that is EXACTLY what I like about the Romero zombies. They were an evolving creature that did start as shambling monsters and got even more scary.

    I did not like the instant “running, screaming” zombies you see in Dawn2.0 or even L4D. Not what made them scary. At all.

  10. Yeah, Romero’s always been kinda silly. I think the more preferable term people are looking for is something along the lines of a “Resident Evil Zombie”. But even then, the more recent RE zombies have been less zombies and more plaguers. But at least, in the first couple RE games, it fit.

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