content by

Paula R. Stiles

Historical Zombies: Mummies, The Odyssey, and Beyond

Whenever I hear horror fans talk about zombies and vampires, I’m dismayed at the absolute geek-certainty with which they promote the Romero zombie and the Stoker vampire as the only “true” variants of revenants (dead brought back to some kind of life). Yet neither story accurately reflects the historical record. Revenants are a much more varied and much more vaguely-defined group of monsters than either Romero or Stoker has given us. Romero’s cannibalistic zombies are more like medieval European vampires (but without the religious undertones; I’ll get to that in a bit) while Stoker’s vampires are more like traditional, Caribbean-style zombies who are slaves to their “maker.” There’s a lot more overlap than fans think.

[Let’s look at three famous ancient and medieval types]

Series: Zombie Week