Sunday, September 28, 2014

Just how accurate are the undead in 'The Walking Dead?'


Considering The Walking Dead is a show about a bunch of people being pursued across the smashed landscape of post-apocalyptic America by hopeless swarms of reanimated corpses, you'd probably assume that "technical accuracy" wouldn't be high up on the producers' list of priorities. 
However, practicalities of zombie-ism aside, the show's executive producer, Greg Nicotero, has resorted to some terrifying methods to ensure that all of the shambling ghouls decompose in a realistic way.

Nicotero, who claims to have done extensive research into the various stages of corpse decomposition (presumably in his basement), has the show's makeup team pay special attention to how the zombies' skin has been affected by heat and dehydration, considering that unlike the show's target audience, the undead hordes spend most of their time outside.
Thanks to The Walking Dead's crazy devotion to nightmarish details, the show's prosthetics are also constantly evolving to reflect the gradual decomposition of the zombies as the series progresses. For instance, in the first season, the zombies were relatively fresh-faced (for undead monsters):

As the episodes go on, however, those faces steadily become more disfigured, with the zombies' eyes sinking in and their skin pulling back to tighten around their horrible skulls:

Season 2
Season 3
Season 4

Additionally, compare these zombie kills in the first two seasons to the ones in season three and four. Notice how later in the series, eliminated zombies fall apart as if they were made out of mashed potatoes and soggy toilet paper, because that's what would happen to six-month-old dead bodies that had been baking out in the humid Georgia heat. 
So the next time you hear somebody criticizing The Walking Dead for having characters that don't evolve, feel free to correct them. The zombies totally evolve. It's just the humans that don't develop in any meaningful way.

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