A popular theory for the existence of Zombies, perhaps the most popular theory, is a virus - some microscopic disease that people contract, turning them into ravenous ghouls. Once a person is infected by the previously unknown virus - the unlucky victim being given the wonderful title of "Patient Zero" -, that person spreads the disease to others, usually through saliva entering another person's bloodstream - the characteristic bite from a Zombie. The virus spreads more and more, growing exponentially - 2 infect 4 which then infect 8 which then infect 16 and so on. Assuming there are 6.8 billion people on the planet and ignoring all inconvenient geographic issues and incubation periods (the time between infection and becoming a Zombie), it would take only a mere 38 days to turn the entire human population of Earth into the living dead.
However, what if the spreading of this virus, this contagion, is not based on physical contact between two people? What if it does not depend on proximity of living hosts at all, distributing itself in other ways? As it happens, I'm not the only curious soul pondering this question.
Back in 2012, I saw a highly original, very low-budget Zombie movie (on the horror channel no less) that took the concept of a Zombie virus and pushed it's colonisation of the globe in an entirely different direction to the regular human to human transfer. The movie was called Pontypool - unbeknownst to me, quite the cult hit that, for anyone looking for a new take on the Zombie genre, I highly recommended. The movie takes the form of a radio show, callers phoning in with details of spontaneous acts of aggression and unfathomable mob-behaviour. As the callers and Internet bloggers keep the reports flooding in, they give more and more detailed accounts of the terrible affliction rampaging through the small Canadian town - all the while, your brain subconsciously painting a vivid picture of the Zombie infection spreading throughout the streets.
The infection was not spread through saliva, bites or scratches but instead by spoken words - just plain phrases from the English language. Somehow, certain words had become infected, tainted by evil, and, when spoken, would effectively "fill up" the speaker's mind - they simply could not think about anything else. Reactions and the will to survive, stuff people do on instinct was still there - the Zombies in this movie were still living, breathing humans with regular emotions. They were just "stuck" on a thought - complex behaviours such as taking a dog for a walk, buying groceries, deciding whether it is wrong to try to eat your neighbours and forming meaningful sentences were out of the question. To me, this is terrifying. It is a subtle, underlying terror that can easily be missed when viewing the movie. It is not until you actually think it through, taking the whole contagion and applying it to a single life, do you release just how horrific the scenario is.
You start your day normally, regular as can be, eating breakfast, having a shower, going to work - maybe travelling by train, packed with commuters. Sooner or later, you speak, and, without knowing it or even having the slightest hint of caution, you use an infected word. That's it, your freewill is over, the singular English word you muttered so fleetingly, perhaps just a triviality of conversation, is your last ever thought. You are still, in effect, the same caring, fun-loving person you always were - you haven't mutated in any way or been stricken by a terminal illness. You just can't do anything to show you are still "in there", to warn people that you may cause them harm, endlessly drifting through life until your body can no longer function, no goal, no peace from the same redundant thought coursing through your brain.
© Tom Clark | Made using Pivot Animator
However, claw yourself out from the pit of darkness that this article has mysteriously plunged into - that is only the introduction to my main (and probably overdue) point.
It seems my words - the hundreds of lines of linear code used to develop this site, the short reviews of Zombie games, movies and books, the collection of not-often viewed pictures and the tortuously well worded articles - have had a similar (although hopefully, less terrifying) effect on visitors. So much so in fact, that people are asking to join the site, to venture by my side, on the epic quest through the quagmire of inaccuracy, shifting-through the steaming swamps of failure, stalwartly entering the glistening temples of perfection and finally, bones aching with exhaustion, reaching the desired land - a collation of everything "Zombie" in one massive, brain-chomping Resource of the Dead.
As unexpected as this offer of kinship was, it is well-received - the task being too monumental for one man alone, even a custodian of the dead such as myself. I toiled day and night, writing more code and rubbing magic-ointment into the seams of the all-knowing databases behind-the-scenes, in desperate attempt to welcome these weary travellers to the world of The Dead Times.
Now, the solution has been formed, the die cast. The Dead Times is open, the locks of obscurity broken down, anyone can pen application to become a member, spreading their knowledge of the living dead through the unseen mythical universe of the World Wide Web. However, there are three strict rules to which any would-be member must adhere:
The first rule: You must talk about The Dead Times.
The second rule: Similar to the first rule but this time in italics, you must talk about The Dead Times.
The third rule: Until proven otherwise, Zombies exist. Do not try to prove to non-believers that Zombies exist - there is little hope of freeing closed minds.
Think you can handle these three rules? Ready to join our triumphant band of brigands? One already has - see his profile on our Members page linked to in the footer. Pledge your allegiance on the Contact page by sending me a message and I will consider your application with vigour.
The Dead Times has opened it's doors. Now, after swearing allegiance, you can join me on my epic journey collating Zombie material into a single resource and spreading knowledge of the living dead to all who would listen.