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Zombie Film - How To Improvise

Zombie movies"They’re coming to get you, Barbara."
—Night of the Living Dead


Any movie where the dead rise up in zombie form. Especially when, in large numbers, they terrorize (and eat) the living.


  • Often very gory even on a low budget.
  • Zombies often need to eat (living) human flesh.
  • Once the zombie thing has started, anyone who dies returns as a zombie. Being bitten will kill you slowly but you are not a zombie until you have died.
  • You cannot return anyone to being living. Zombies are dead and any resemblance to someone once living, is purely superficial, although you can, if you are very lucky, appeal to the feint memory of their living selves.
  • Killing them usually involves removing their heads or destroying the brain. However sometimes, zombie limbs will still try to get you. In this case burning them is usually required. Other times breaking the spell or other controlling mechanism is what is needed.
  • Causes are often not clear, but the old favorites are disease, radiation, alien control and mystical powers (especially voodoo).
  • > Very bleak, including the endings.


Where Anywhere. Early zombie movies were often set on remote islands. In later movies usually starting in rural areas, especially around remote farms, and spreading towards cities. Shopping malls are popular as are cellars.
When Since 1960s. The first Zombie movies in the 30-40s were not apocalyptic but dealt with people raised from the dead by voodoo, usually only in small numbers.
Who Ordinary people.
Zombies. These are people, once alive but now dead and somehow returned to animation. They are in various stages of decay and it is very common for them to lose bits or for there to be clear holes straight through them.
What Zombies digging way out of graves; staggering around in search of flesh; dragging down and eating living humans en masse; having head removed.
In Dawn of the Dead, we see that zombies do retain a little memory of their living days and gravitate towards the places they used to hang out, such as shopping malls. Humans running, falling over, screaming, being eaten, being dragged through windows by dozens of arms, throwing things at the heads of zombies.
Radio and TV warnings and indications of mass confusion and panic.

Examples (from Amazon)

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