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"Zombies and Brains", 12th Oct 2017, 6:26 PM #1
kyrtuck

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In a lot of comedic works, zombies have a special taste for eating human brains, right? But where did this originate exactly, because all the zombie movies I've seen have them just be flesh eaters, with no particular favoring for brains.

Killing a zombie by hitting or shooting it in the brain is usually the one sure way to kill it. Did people get its weakness mixed up as its favorite food?
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12th Oct 2017, 6:33 PM #2
PeterVonBrown

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I actually despise zombies. Not being a jerk, it's just NOT my thing. Not scary, not interesting.

But I can't resist a good origin of lore... :)

A quick Google brought up this:

The origins of the "zombies eating brains" trope didn't actually appear in media until well after Romero's film debuted in the 60′s, first being featured in the 1985 movie, Return of the Living Dead.
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12th Oct 2017, 6:36 PM #3
JuicyGrey
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Duh, brains are simply most nutritious part of human body. After it are things like heart, kidneys and bonemarrow, if I recall correctly...
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12th Oct 2017, 6:38 PM #4
FennFeathers

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PeterVonBrown:I actually despise zombies. Not being a jerk, it's just NOT my thing. Not scary, not interesting.

But I can't resist a good origin of lore... :)

A quick Google brought up this:

The origins of the "zombies eating brains" trope didn't actually appear in media until well after Romero's film debuted in the 60′s, first being featured in the 1985 movie, Return of the Living Dead.


I think the point of a zombie movie or zombies in general isn't to frighten us with the zombies but to frighten us with the way our society is...if that makes sense. If you watch zombie movies through time you'll notice that the zombies almost always become a metaphor for societal fears of the time. There's a really great Korean movie called Train to Busan, which zombie lovers will get a lot out of for being full of really creative action and classic awesome zombie stuff...but I think people who hate zombies can totally enjoy it just as much! It's a harrowing journey that's packed full of really hard-hitting emotional scenes and the zombies are barely even talked about.

With regards to the original question, I am lead to believe that it was popularised by one of the original Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors episodes, in which the zombies wanna eat brains. I think that just caught on with the rest of media as a whole, bearing in mind many people that saw the episode were probably kids at the time and hadn't seen the already classic zombies of the last 30 years.
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12th Oct 2017, 6:45 PM #5
PeterVonBrown

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FennFeathers:I think the point of a zombie movie or zombies in general isn't to frighten us with the zombies but to frighten us with the way our society is...if that makes sense. If you watch zombie movies through time you'll notice that the zombies almost always become a metaphor for societal fears of the time.


Oh, that's not lost on me. They just have NO appeal for me. I'd rather watch grass grow. ;)

Also, The Simpsons episode 'Dial "Z" For Zombies' came out in 1992. So they just followed the 1985 movie.
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12th Oct 2017, 7:03 PM #6
MK_Wizard

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Who knows. I have actually done research on zombies to get insight when using them in my writing and I found out many fascinating things. One of them was that their origins are in voodoo and that in the older tales of zombies, they were very much aware, but filled with so much rage that they would kill or destroy anything near them brutally. I guess the eating part was an extension of that violent behaviour because when bserkers would fight, it was not uncommon for them to bite people in battle. With that said, they were not slow either. One good thing about them was that they were not contagious either because their existence came to be through magic not a virus and their weakness was salt because it dries them up. I actually find the original version of the zombie more fascinating and scary than the mindless mainstream ones we see now.
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12th Oct 2017, 7:09 PM #7
kyrtuck

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JuicyGrey:Duh, brains are simply most nutritious part of human body. After it are things like heart, kidneys and bonemarrow, if I recall correctly...



I thought Intestines was where it was at.
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12th Oct 2017, 11:09 PM #8
argylefox

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Zombie fan here. I think there is nothing more harrowing than the thought of someone who was a close friend or loved one suddenly trying to kill you. The emotional toll from that would be incredible. So many movies do it so badly, though.

George Romero's 'Night of the Living Dead' introduced us to zombies being the risen dead. Before that they were voodoo cursed people made into slaves. However, the zombies were silent, and just compelled to consume (used to great effect in the sequel, 'Dawn of the Dead').

It wasn't until 'Return of the Living Dead', which is not a sequel, but the plot is that Romero's movies were based off of real events in the past, had the dead brought to life by a chemical. In that movie, when people die their souls remain in their bodies and they feel it decompose (intensely painful). Eating the brains of the living temporarily relieves them of this horrible feeling, so they become single-minded in going for them, often yelling, "Brains!" in their eagerness.

Romero's works and the Return movies are some of the most copied zombie movies ever, potentially joined by '28 days Later', popularising the fast zombie and the viral zombie.

Hope this cleared things up!
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13th Oct 2017, 12:30 AM #9
DrewSpence

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Great post argyle!
Refresher. Love it.
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13th Oct 2017, 12:39 AM #10
MK_Wizard

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I second that. While I still like the forgotten version of zombies, the backstory is insightful. Thanks, argyle.
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13th Oct 2017, 1:08 AM #11
kyrtuck

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Very well summed up, argylefox
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