I want to change things up a little bit with this article and for a change, talk about a classic horror movie.
If you were to run a search for Best Zombie Movies on most reputable search engines, you can almost guarantee that the movie 28 days Later and its sequel 28 Weeks Later are going to be somewhere on that list.
This is where the internet has it soo wrong. 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later are “not” zombie movies, and this is why..
One of the earliest mentions of Zombies comes from the poem “The Legends of Gilgamesh” written around 2100 B.C. in the Akkadian language, when Ishtar, Queen of the Nether world threatens to unleash her zombie armies on the land of the living unless the gatekeeper opens the gates to the Nether world saying..
“Gatekeeper, open your gate! Open your gate that I may enter!
If you do not open the gate to let me enter, I shall break the door, I shall wrench the lock, I shall smash the door posts, I shall force the doors.
I shall bring up the dead to consume the living, I shall make the dead outnumber the living”.
Later, in Haiti folklore we hear of voodoo priests called Bokors, these people were called upon by villagers to deal with that one annoying villager that everybody knows.
The Bokor would administer something called a Coupe deparde which is said to be a powder that you would give orally, the main ingredient is Tetrodotoxin a deadly poison which comes from the porcupine fish.
Once the poison has been given, the recipient would fall into a coma and for all intense and purposes be looked on as dead, and therefore buried.
Much later the Bokor will return to the grave and recover the body, which, no longer in a coma like state woild be totally under the control of the Bokor.
It was Haiti zombie folklore which inspired Victor Halperin when he created the first ever zombie movie in 1932 called White Zombie. Later zombie movies always followed the same pattern where the zombie was always under the control of a voodoo priest or a vampire.
That was until 1968 when George A Romero broke the mold and released “Night of the Living Dead”. This was the first movie where zombies were not under control of anyone and were basically free roaming.
OK so, up until this point, The Legends of Gilgamesh, Haiti folklore and zombie movies, all have one thing in common, and that is that the human died before being turned into a zombie.
Getting back to 28 Days Later and its sequel 28 Weeks Later, the infected were infected by the Rage Virus, they never died.
Spoiler time. if you havnt seen 28 Days Later you might want to plug your ears or Do Not Read The Following Paragraph!
In the beginning of the film 28 Days later we see a group of animal rights activists break into a laboratory where animal experimentation takes place, one of the animals that they release is infected with the Rage virus, this animal then attacks the activist who let it out of the cage, the activist goes into an epileptic type fit before going on to attack the other people in the group, this is how the Rage virus spread outside of the lab.
At no point did anybody die and because they didn’t die there is no way for the zombie virus, no matter what you call it take over the brain and turn that person into a zombie.
In 28 Weeks Later which is the sequel to 28 Days Later, someone is also heard saying that most of the infected have died out and starved to death, zombies don’t feel the need to eat, they don’t need to eat because they are Dead. The only reason zombies have the urge to bite, (if we were to go with the theory set out by Max Brooks in his book The Zombie Survival Guide) is to enable the virus to infect and take control of a new host…. and that is why 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later are Not, zombie films.
The same or a similar argument can be made about the film with the little monkey, “OutBreak” where the protagonists are infected, they are not dead.
All that being said, I will admit, 28 Days later is still in my top 10 best horror movies collection and I do still go back to watch it time and again.