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    Default ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?


    Okay so I have spent a LOT of time thinking about zombies. Various ways in which to fight them, how that plan would change now that I have a son, various ways zombies could come into being and so on. And one of the questions that I have never really found my answer to is this:
    Which is better the cursed zombie or the infected zombie?
    Both undoubtably have their strengths.
    Which one do you guys think is the better/more scary and why?


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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    Infected zombie is scarier. It can be more easily transmitted (great, you knocked his head off. Did you scrape your knuckle doing it? Yes? Everyone, please welcome our newest member of Club Ded). It also for me raises all kinds of horrible questions about what moment the victim loses consciousness and the like. Curses imply certain traits which, for me, render the zombies less scary. For one thing, cursed zombies in fiction are often a one time raise, not infectious (I know there's other interpretations out there, but that's one I've seen a lot). For another, I find magic-kill + possession by deliberate malice a lot cleaner than having my muscles used as puppets by an opportunistic parasite by sheer chance. It's part of my nature, but I don't have so much trouble with the idea of being killed as I do with just dying. My 2 cp.
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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    Infected become ridiculous and unworkable in both directions if you actually think about them, because of blood mist and physics.

    Thus, curse works better, because at least it's being up front about it.

    All dead things rise and become almost like fleshy T-1000s, slowly reforming after having their brains splattered against the wall. The only recourse is to separate the head from the body and secure it so that it can't reattach.

    All the while they're moaning. Forever.

    Old people and sick people amongst survivors are constantly monitored/have their bodies largely destroyed before death so they're easier to deal with when the inevitable occurs.

    Pretty dark and scary.
    Last edited by Coidzor; 2011-10-28 at 01:29 AM.
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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    Cursed zombies are more realistic.
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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    Quote Originally Posted by missmvicious View Post

    Okay so I have spent a LOT of time thinking about zombies. Various ways in which to fight them, how that plan would change now that I have a son, various ways zombies could come into being and so on. And one of the questions that I have never really found my answer to is this:
    Which is better the cursed zombie or the infected zombie?
    Both undoubtably have their strengths.
    Which one do you guys think is the better/more scary and why?


    Depends on your point of view I guess. Infected are the more problematic to deal with. If it's a viral infection you have major, major problems, but there is always the remote possibility of a cure someday, and it means they aren't really undead. It would quickly circle the globe, but you could hope the disease eventually kills them if you can hold out long enough. Then it's a race to find a cure.


    Cursed means you're dealing with the supernatural. You'll have less zombies because you need a Bocor to make them, and there are only so many of them limiting the problem to that area. But if you want to put the zombies to rest you have to hold them down, fill their mouth with salt, and sew their lips shut. Also Voodoo is real, and there are Loas who actively dislike the living. Humanity has an active supernatural enemy. Good luck with that.
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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    cursed zombies tend to be overly arbitrary in how they work/spread/etc. and more often than not, the way the magic works, or where it comes from, is never addressed.
    leaving the whole reason for zombies as "cuz we needed zombies"

    also, involving a magic system means there should be an opposing force. so wtf? wheres the holy cleric turning undead on these things?

    infections have basic rules everyone gets, and creates neat social situations.
    Last edited by thubby; 2011-10-28 at 04:25 AM.
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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    Quote Originally Posted by thubby View Post
    leaving the whole reason for zombies as "cuz we needed zombies"
    That's kind of always the reason for zombies in any work of fiction. Besides, the why of zombies is pretty much irrelevant even if it's an infection.
    Last edited by Coidzor; 2011-10-28 at 04:27 AM.
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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    I think thubby sums it up nicely.
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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coidzor View Post
    Infected become ridiculous and unworkable in both directions if you actually think about them, because of blood mist and physics.
    If the virus/parasite is concentrated in the saliva, it might require a direct bite to transmit, but then fingernail scratches and the like wouldn't matter much. But yeah, that always bugs me about close kills- sooner or later a speck of gore is going to lodge itself in some uninfected nostril or open mouth. You'd have to kill from at least several yards away, preferably with a face-mask.

    What I always find weird about zombies is that, despite giving very visible signs of physical decomposition, they seem very resistant to rotting completely. I mean, if the curse/virus prevented tissue decay, it should prevent it outright (aside, perhaps, from pallor/dehydration.) If they're not supernatural, how do they keep moving around for months and months without feeding? There's a basic problem with thermodynamics there.

    I reckon 28 Days Later handled the 'scientifically plausible' zombie best- the victims aren't actually dead, just afflicted with super-rabies, a single drop of blood is enough for transmission, and they starve to death inside a few weeks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coidzor View Post
    That's kind of always the reason for zombies in any work of fiction. Besides, the why of zombies is pretty much irrelevant even if it's an infection.
    the why is hugely important. and every story should have in-universe reasons for things happening as a matter of course.

    28 days later is an outbreak and the world reacts as such. quarantine protocols, doctors get real important real fast, and the populace gets isolationist because people bring the risk of infection.

    with magic zombies, the things are just a weapon. it breaks down into a military affair. there's someone causing this, and we need to go pump them full of lead.
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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    Personally, I think infection zombies are more frightening (and, depending on how you handwave it, can be quasi-pseudo-realistic-esque - for example, super rabies), because it's more understandable. Wait, that seems self-contradictory. Human beings understand diseases, whether viral, bacterial, parasitical, whatever. The jump from "we know this thing and are in control" to "we know this thing and are not in control" (to the eventual "we know this thing and AAARGHGETITOFFME") is what terrifies me.

    If there are curse zombies, it has to be a sudden everything-that-dies kind of curse. Sort of like in the backstory to Ferren and the Angel, or that Silverclawshift campaign about Hallowe'en. Anyway, if it's anything less, it just needs too much suspension of disbelief.

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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    Quote Originally Posted by thubby View Post
    with magic zombies, the things are just a weapon. it breaks down into a military affair. there's someone causing this, and we need to go pump them full of lead.
    If you're talking about a large-scale impersonal army of the anonymous dead, yeah, that tends to be a problem. But raising the dead *can* be more like summoning and binding demons- a faustian pact involving a certain amount of quid-pro-quo. And when the deal in question is with a dead person who has old friends, relations, and enemies among the living... then things can get very very interesting on a local level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by llamamushroom View Post
    Personally, I think infection zombies are more frightening (and, depending on how you handwave it, can be quasi-pseudo-realistic-esque - for example, super rabies), because it's more understandable. Wait, that seems self-contradictory. Human beings understand diseases, whether viral, bacterial, parasitical, whatever. The jump from "we know this thing and are in control" to "we know this thing and are not in control" (to the eventual "we know this thing and AAARGHGETITOFFME") is what terrifies me.
    Ooh, speaking of which- did anybody else see Contagion recently? Good film. The MEV virus had a couple of advantages, though, compared with zombie outbreaks- relatively low mortality, airborne or surface transmission, and somewhat less incentive to apply shotguns to the infected.

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    Last edited by Carry2; 2011-10-28 at 05:00 AM.

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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    I would think the Infected would pose the greater risk, just because of the sheer amount of them you'll come across at any one point in time. However, in small groups, or even 1v1 battles, a Cursed zombie would be much nastier to deal with, they tend to have strength far and beyond what a normal zombie has, and often has a modicum of intelligence left inside of it(or restored to it, whatever).

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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    Quote Originally Posted by thubby View Post
    the why is hugely important. and every story should have in-universe reasons for things happening as a matter of course.
    Zombieland. Explain how the Why is important there, and hugely so. Because if you're claiming every story should, you've got a lot of room for your position to be made untenable with

    Quote Originally Posted by thubby View Post
    with magic zombies, the things are just a weapon. it breaks down into a military affair. there's someone causing this, and we need to go pump them full of lead.
    You mean like in Night of the Living Dead or others where Hell was just full or there similarly was an impersonal force rather than a human actor masterminding a scheme? Because I rather doubt the capability of humans to just go down there and pump the metaphysical keepers of the dead full of lead so that they'll take more vacancies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    I reckon 28 Days Later handled the 'scientifically plausible' zombie best- the victims aren't actually dead, just afflicted with super-rabies, a single drop of blood is enough for transmission, and they starve to death inside a few weeks.
    Indeed, then got ruined by the sequel. The only real problem is that things like 28 Days Later run into questions of What Measure Is A Zombie.
    Last edited by Coidzor; 2011-10-28 at 05:27 AM.
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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coidzor View Post
    Infected become ridiculous and unworkable in both directions if you actually think about them, because of blood mist and physics.

    Thus, curse works better, because at least it's being up front about it.

    All dead things rise and become almost like fleshy T-1000s, slowly reforming after having their brains splattered against the wall. The only recourse is to separate the head from the body and secure it so that it can't reattach.

    All the while they're moaning. Forever.

    Old people and sick people amongst survivors are constantly monitored/have their bodies largely destroyed before death so they're easier to deal with when the inevitable occurs.

    Pretty dark and scary.
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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coidzor View Post
    Zombieland. Explain how the Why is important there, and hugely so. Because if you're claiming every story should, you've got a lot of room for your position to be made untenable with
    its parody. parody plays by a completely different rule set, since being nonsensical is often funny.

    You mean like in Night of the Living Dead or others where Hell was just full or there similarly was an impersonal force rather than a human actor masterminding a scheme? Because I rather doubt the capability of humans to just go down there and pump the metaphysical keepers of the dead full of lead so that they'll take more vacancies.
    that crapsack explanation is a major criticism of the movie, and even then it's the ravings of a mad preacher, not necessarily the truth.
    if it IS some "keeper of the dead" shtick, where are the keepers of the living?
    if there are none, why havent they done this sooner?
    if the afterlife actually is full, why does it make zombies? are the dead possessing bodies? if thats the case, why the hell are they eating people?! i dont know about you, but if i were something resembling alive again, i'd go say hi to the people i knew in life, not start butchering people.
    Last edited by thubby; 2011-10-28 at 06:13 AM.
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    Nanite zombies are best.
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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coidzor View Post
    Infected become ridiculous and unworkable in both directions if you actually think about them, because of blood mist and physics.
    I probably spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about the mechanics of zombie infection, but I think the best bet is a fungal infection attacking the brain. Something like this.

    You even get an excuse to have the infected sprout creepy fungus tendrils.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    I reckon 28 Days Later handled the 'scientifically plausible' zombie best- the victims aren't actually dead, just afflicted with super-rabies, a single drop of blood is enough for transmission, and they starve to death inside a few weeks.
    That bit's always confused me (I haven't seen the film). If they're infected with super-rabies and have reached the later stages of the disease with hyper-aggression, then they'd have trouble swallowing and hence drinking.

    If they can't drink then they should be dead in a matter of days from dehydration, not weeks from starvation.

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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    having just re-watched Zombieland yesterday, it is rather hard to find any kind of zombie really scary.. or to even thinking about it with a serious hat on
    Quote Originally Posted by kpenguin View Post
    Cursed zombies are more realistic.
    not helping... the hat now looks more and more like a top hat with viking horns sticking out of it...
    in fact, the statement is so intrinsecly funny when taken out of context, that I might just go ahead and steal it..or at least quote it. oh, wait, I just did that
    Quote Originally Posted by thubby View Post
    [smart stuff]
    also, involving a magic system means there should be an opposing force. so wtf? wheres the holy cleric turning undead on these things?
    [more smart stuff]
    the rest, I agree with.. but this.. no.
    who said that one kind of magic requires an opposing force to be there to work? physics kinda works that way..magic not necessarily... because it's magic.
    we might like it better when there's some sort of "order and reason" to it..in fact, I do as well.. but that would remove the fear/scare/crapthypants effect once you "get" why what is happening is, in fact, happening..
    so..I'm gonna go with "I believe infection zombies to be a more likely event than magical/cursed zombies.. but the latter would scare me a whole lot more".
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpenguin View Post
    Cursed zombies are more realistic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thubby View Post
    its parody. parody plays by a completely different rule set, since being nonsensical is often funny.
    On the contrary, if it's essential to the base thing, the parody needs to address it to be a proper parody.

    Quote Originally Posted by thubby View Post
    if it IS some "keeper of the dead" shtick, where are the keepers of the living?
    You've never heard of the "The supernatural exists, but only the bad stuff, not the good or neutral stuff" approach to the universe before? Pretty much a staple of things that deal with the occult, as it becomes hard to have devils running around doing as they please for long if they have an opposite opposing force that's either equal or greater in power to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by thubby View Post
    if there are none, why havent they done this sooner?
    Well, that's rather handily handled by it being an arbitrary limit being reached.

    Quote Originally Posted by thubby View Post
    if the afterlife actually is full, why does it make zombies? are the dead possessing bodies? if thats the case, why the hell are they eating people?! i dont know about you, but if i were something resembling alive again, i'd go say hi to the people i knew in life, not start butchering people.
    You mean other than that there's no story in it? As I said, best thing about supernatural zombies is that they're not kidding themselves and patronizing the audience. They're just delivering the zombies.

    Because an infection that can be analyzed enough for an info dump enough to please you is really going to take out all of civilization.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    If they can't drink then they should be dead in a matter of days from dehydration, not weeks from starvation.
    Even if they can but have no inclination or instinct to drink they'd still be dying in a matter of days.

    In this regard, the Zombieland zombies are actually a bit better, as they're actually shown scavenging for food in the absence of humans to nom.

    Of course, it still fails the essential question of why the zombies don't eat one another, or at least why it's not only the people who get infected and get away who are turned, anyone they actually catch is just stripped to the bone.

    Quote Originally Posted by dehro View Post
    not helping... the hat now looks more and more like a top hat with viking horns sticking out of it...
    in fact, the statement is so intrinsecly funny when taken out of context, that I might just go ahead and steal it..or at least quote it. oh, wait, I just did that
    Really. You've never before run into all of the many ways that trying to be "scientific" with zombies just ends up contradictory or borked upon examination that the supernatural is the simpler, more straightforward, and more consistent answer?
    Last edited by Coidzor; 2011-10-28 at 06:40 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dehro View Post

    the rest, I agree with.. but this.. no.
    who said that one kind of magic requires an opposing force to be there to work? physics kinda works that way..magic not necessarily... because it's magic.
    if there were an actively malevolent force from beyond mortal reason or some such, you then have to answer why it didnt annihilate us a thousand years ago.
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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    I would probably watch a curse zombie film simply because I'm fed up with viral zombie films that repeat what has been done since I Am Legend (the novel) and Night of the Living Dead. The best zombie fic' is The Black Smurfs though.

    It boils down what message or what "point" the author(s) is (are) trying to make. Because I'm also tired of stories about the Evulz of science, the military-industrial complex and the Guvernment. The latest (official) adaptation of I Am Legend took the cake with having the zombie/mutant infection originating from a cure against cancer.
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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    Quote Originally Posted by H Birchgrove View Post
    The latest (official) adaptation of I Am Legend took the cake with having the zombie/mutant infection originating from a cure against cancer.
    And the British doctor who created it was a Dr. Crippin. Yeah, because that's really going to end well...

    I think that one likely possible Zombie Cause could be biochemical agents, such as DC2 from Planet Terror. Not THAT is a good film!
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    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
    For one thing, cursed zombies in fiction are often a one time raise, not infectious.
    Only if you mean "D&D" when you say "fiction".

    Quote Originally Posted by Bhu View Post
    Cursed means you're dealing with the supernatural. You'll have less zombies because you need a Bocor to make them, and there are only so many of them limiting the problem to that area.
    Who says you need a Bokor to make them? That's like saying you can't have a movie with a green fire-breathing dragon because green dragons don't breathe fire. There are limitless possibilities for supernatural zombies. They don't have to be individually summoned by an evil Afro-Caribbean shaman.

    Quote Originally Posted by thubby View Post
    also, involving a magic system means there should be an opposing force. so wtf? wheres the holy cleric turning undead on these things?
    That's an unsupported and unwarranted assumption. Why does the world need to be so dualistic? Not every setting is (or needs to be) designed like a D&D campaign with "balanced" factions.

    Quote Originally Posted by thubby View Post
    with magic zombies, the things are just a weapon. it breaks down into a military affair. there's someone causing this, and we need to go pump them full of lead.
    That's another unsupported assumption. Sometimes bad things just happen. There doesn't have to be someone behind it.

    Quote Originally Posted by thubby View Post
    if it IS some "keeper of the dead" shtick, where are the keepers of the living?
    Again, why do you assume the world must be a dualistic balance of good and evil? That's completely unnecessary. Look at the Cthulhu Mythos for an enduring fictional setting where there are plenty of bad guys and no good guys to counterbalance them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    That bit's always confused me (I haven't seen the film). If they're infected with super-rabies and have reached the later stages of the disease with hyper-aggression, then they'd have trouble swallowing and hence drinking.

    If they can't drink then they should be dead in a matter of days from dehydration, not weeks from starvation.
    What confused me is why a bunch of hyper-aggression psychotic killers didn't see each other as targets. The explanation offered doesn't address that problem. The rage zombies shouldn't have lived long enough to die of starvation or thirst. Explaining the zombies almost always falls down. Either the explanation limits the things the zombies can do (and thus limits their usefulness as hazards in a zombie movie) OR you use the zombies the way you want and ignore when it clashes with your explanation (and thus distract from the impact you're trying to make).

    Quote Originally Posted by Coidzor View Post
    You've never heard of the "The supernatural exists, but only the bad stuff, not the good or neutral stuff" approach to the universe before?
    Yeah. There's the Cthulhu Mythos that I mentioned above. And also the real world. Philosophers and theologians have been struggling to answer "The Problem of Evil" for thousands of years. (If you haven't heard of it, it's the question "If God exists, is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent, why does he let bad things happen to good people?")

    Quote Originally Posted by thubby View Post
    if there were an actively malevolent force from beyond mortal reason or some such, you then have to answer why it didnt annihilate us a thousand years ago.
    Why do you have to answer that? When a masked serial killer starts chopping up teenagers in a slasher movie, do you feel it's necessary to explain why he didn't kill anybody the year before?

    I've seen a lot of zombie movies. I can't think of a single one that was improved by explaining the origin of the zombies (and quite a few that would have been better if they hadn't mentioned the origin because their explanation was dumb).

    Zombies aren't a puzzle to be solved. Zombies are a natural disaster that you can shoot in the face with a shotgun. You don't need to know why there's a flood/fire/storm/zombie uprising. The important thing is that the disaster is there and you have to deal with it. In a zombie story, the zombies aren't the enemy. The zombies are just an environmental hazard to keep you trapped in the same place with your real enemy: the other survivors. Almost everyone who dies in a zombie movie dies because someone else did something stupid or selfish or petty. The reason that "Night of the Living Dead" or "Dawn of the Dead" are horror while "Zombieland" or "Shaun of the Dead" are comedy is not because the zombies work differently. The difference is in the behavior of the human protagonists. In the horror movies, the people are back-stabbing bastards. In the comedies, the protagonists work together and don't betray each other.

    To paraphrase the Buddha: "When an animated corpse shuffles toward you to devour your flesh, do not ask 'Who was this person in life? Where was he born? Who educated him? Did he have a lover who misses him? What career did he engage in? Did he have any hopes or ambitions that now go unfulfilled? Is he going to eat my brain or my flesh or is he just going to bite me and then ignore me when I become like him?' or any other questions. Those questions do not matter. What is important is that a zombie stands before you now, so shoot it in the head."

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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    Quote Originally Posted by thubby View Post
    if there were an actively malevolent force from beyond mortal reason or some such, you then have to answer why it didnt annihilate us a thousand years ago.
    because it couldn't be arsed? because it was busy sneak-farting at religious gatherings? because it didn't exist before the day it started pouring out zombies? because there isn't a consciousness behind it but just a casuality of random events that collide catastrophically? because we've accidentally woken it up by sacrificing 666 Ipads on a bonfire made of candyfloss?
    Last edited by dehro; 2011-10-28 at 09:20 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpenguin View Post
    Cursed zombies are more realistic.

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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    I agree with Dehro. Just because a being is supernatural and has lots of power doesn't mean he might not still be a lazy jerk. Maybe he always kinda wanted to destroy humanity but just couldn't be bothered to get up off the couch. Then one day he finally got the great idea "hey, wait, why don't I just make a bunch of zombies and have them kill humanity instead!"
    Those who chase fame and fortune will only catch misery and despair. When nothing matters, everything matters equally. If it matters to me, it matters. If it's real to me, it's real.

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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    I don't mean just dnd. I've read a fair number of short stories involving voodoo zombies or guardian spirits that reanimate bodies or the like. Enough that I feel safe in saying infection zombies by their nature are always infectious, whereas magic zombies are merely often so.
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    Default Re: ZOMBIES! Curse or Infection?

    Yes. Infectious zombies are infectious.

    Incidentally, I wasn't kidding about nanite zombies being the best. Nanites kill the host then control the host's body, keeping it alive to search for new hosts to infect. In a way they're similar to the infected zombies, except the infection is technological in nature instead of scientific.

    Also, this opens the way for nanites that are smart enough or controlled enough to create super awesome mega-zomborgs.
    Those who chase fame and fortune will only catch misery and despair. When nothing matters, everything matters equally. If it matters to me, it matters. If it's real to me, it's real.

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