Can The Undead Smell You?

The Walking Dead is progressing nicely and I’m enjoying the desperate adventures of Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes and his rag-tag group of survivors. I was talking about The Walking Dead on a forum the other day, however, and it occurred to me that the series might be breaking its own rules. This doesn’t stop me enjoying the series but the zombies do seem to be behaving differently in different seasons. In Season 1, Rick and several survivors escaped from a zombie swarm by hacking apart a corpse and draping rotting flesh over themselves as they shambled away. This, of course, reminded me of the excellent scene in Shaun of the Dead where the group take an amateur dramatics course in how to walk and moan, like a zombie. When it starts raining on the funk-covered Rick, the deputy sheriff is plunged immediately into peril because the zombies can now smell him. In Season 2, however, the zombies seem to have lost this ability. Rick and the survivors can hide under cars when hordes of zombies shuffle past and they remain undetected. Ducking below bushes and hiding behind corners seems enough to keep Shane safe from mobs of the undead in a high school.

AMV, the company that produces The Walking Dead, advertised a set of rules that they were using for their zombies before airing the first season. How do they match up to what we see zombies doing in the (still excellent) series?

Zombie Rule #1: Ability to run is based on the amount of time a zombie has been undead, and how much decay has set in.

Zombie Rule #2: Zombies decay but at a much slower rate than humans, and it's still possible to differentiate between young and old zombies.

Zombie Rule #3: Zombies are like lions: if they've eaten, you can walk by them without fear, but a pack of hungry zombies will attack you.

Zombie Rule #4: The quickest speed of any zombie is a shambling run. see Night of the Living Dead. NO sprinters exist.

Zombie Rule #5: Zombies are not dexterous. They cannot pick up or use any items more complex than a rock or a stick.

Zombie Rule #6: Zombies have poor eyesight but they do have a strong sense of smell.

Zombie Rule #7: Zombies cannot speak but can communicate by pack mentality. The herd tends to move together if they sight food.

Zombie Rule #8: There is no overt recognition of people or places, there is a sense of familiarity that can dictate where a zombie moves.

Zombie Rule #9: There's no known cause of the zombie mutation, but it's suspected to be a virus or infection.

Zombie Rule #10: Once you're bitten you'll die and reanimate as a walker. How long it takes is related to the nature your bite.

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