Do zombies starve?

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Do zombies starve?

Post by someickygreenthing » Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:30 pm

Thi might be a fairly stupid question, but I don't know the answer, so I thought I should probably ask. (There's logic for ya!)
Well, as the title says, I was wondering if a Zombie can starve to death. I'm guessing yes,(why else would they even need to eat in the first place?) but I just wanted your feedback on the subject. Do only some types of zombies starve? If so, which ones? Are there any movies that show zombies starving to death?
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by Lex1785 » Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:54 pm

Actually I would say no. Being as it is "thought" that the motion of "eating" is some sort of natural action for them. And considering that Zombies even with no stomachs will "eat".

Over all look at the biology of it. When you eat, you digest the food into energy. Zombies don't need energy as they never tire. They don't digest food as the organs needed for such are all dead and either eaten themselves or falling apart.

Most books on the subject of Zombies also follow the same thinking in many cases. But.. there is nothing really Cannon saying they have to "eat" to survive that I've found.
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by someickygreenthing » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:24 pm

So they just eat because... they can? There's gotta be something more to it I know it! That's just too simple! and yet, I can't really thing of any other explaination.
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by mystic_1 » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:51 pm

The original Zombies (i.e. as per Haitian Voodoo or West African Vodun) were simply mindless slaves to their master's wishes. They didn't eat people. The movie White Zombie illustrates these. Somewhere along the line, I believe, the zombie mythos collided with the cannibal mythos, which was another popular theme in the 70's. This yielded the Flesh Eating Zombie as per Romero et.al. This made zombies scarier as the image of being consumed is a primal fear among humans.

Most zombie films and books do not raise the question of, what happens if the zombies don't get "enough" to eat, but some do. I don't think there's a clear concensus, in some works zombies can starve, in others they simply go dormant until there's more food available. It also depends on whether you're talking "risen dead" or "infected living" sorts of zombies.

For instance, in the works of Max Brooks, zombies don't starve. In fact they can survive for years submerged in the ocean or frozen in the ice, until more prey becomes available.

In the movies I am Legend* and 28 Days Later, the zombies were infected humans who could, indeed, starve.

In terms of "real-wold zombies" such as carpenter ants infected by the Ophiocordyceps fungus, they are still biological entities that can 'starve' if cut off from their energy sources.

Romero-style zombies don't seem to starve but it seems they can "rot to death". Er, re-death.

So I suppose that "mystically fueled zombies" generally don't starve, but "biologically based zombies" generally can starve.

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* granted, I Am Legend is based on the Vincent Price film The Last Man on Earth which was based on the Charlton Heston film The Omega Man which was based on the Richard Matheson book I Am Legend, in which the antagonists were vampires.
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by Molon Labe » Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:30 pm

someickygreenthing wrote:So they just eat because... they can? There's gotta be something more to it I know it! That's just too simple! and yet, I can't really thing of any other explaination.
I like the virus/parasite theory. As a parasite that alters/controls the dead brain and cortex, the pathogen needs to spread to survive. Once the dead brain is reactivated, the lower thought processes are also reactivated (lower processes being the auto responses such as breathe,eat,move etc.) The parasitically controlled host starts to carry out these actions under the influence of the pathogen. Brain damaged, and knowing no such thing as fatigue or pain, the ghoul continues on in it's pursuit of prey ignoring injury or any semblance of self preservation.

At least that's how I see it.
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by Kelvar » Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:50 pm

In Return of the Living Dead, zombies ate human brains because it was the only way to ease the pain of being dead. So that's why they ate, not because they had to.

(RotLD is hardly cannon, though. It was kind of a dog. :lol: )
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by Gingerbread Man » Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:58 pm

Well, yes. The human body needs energy to function. I don't believe in zombies but to enter the fantasy realm the true walking dead could not exist. The human body just will not function with out blood flowing, hormones doing what they do, etc.
Now let's say it's an infection, then they would have to have some sort of sustenance. The human body can only function well for 1-2 days without water or 3-7 without food. My biggest wonder is how do they survive without water. That much activity and that high of a fever would have to dehydrate them very quickly leading to death or re-undeath. I've never seen a zombie stop at a water fountain.
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by hawk55732 » Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:27 am

My biggest wonder is how do they survive without water. That much activity and that high of a fever would have to dehydrate them very quickly leading to death or re-undeath. I've never seen a zombie stop at a water fountain
I just looked it up and a human brain is comprised of 80 percent water. Maybe thats what they need brains for as well. Since the human body needs water more then food, maybe zombies wouldnt so much starve to death as they would die of thirst?

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Do zombies starve?

Post by ScottAW » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:05 pm

I think a realistic (ha) zombie-esque scenario, virus, whatnot, they will dehydrate or starve. To even be able to move, the body has requirements.

But for movie purposes, of course we ignore all that. We also ignore splattering blood, airborne toxins, and most logic.

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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by robonator » Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:30 am

I agree that it does depend on which zombies we're talking about. Usually the ones that want to actually devour your flesh do so out of pure, mindless, reptilian impulses to feed and reproduce. In this case, accomplishing one goal accomplishes the other. I don't necessarily think that 'eaters' need to, I think that what's left of their brainstems - that primal instinct is compelling them to do so.

The violent, still living infected zombies, or 'killers', do need to feed, as research has shown (28 days/Weeks - I Am Legend). They are living agents hijacked by a virus. In this instance the normal tissues and organs remain functioning, however, it is shown that all conscious thought becomes replaced by the urge to kill. Hyper-aggressiveness means a more active state, which would require a high caloric intake, but since all thought is overpowered by the urge to do violence, I think this brand of zombie would perish from exposure and starvation/dehydration, or even sleep deprivation. Does anyone know if the 28 Days later zombies slept?

Anyway, until Max Brook's texts become official canon, I think we could speculate this into infinity.
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by mystic_1 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:05 am

robonator wrote:I think we could speculate this into infinity... AND BEYOND!.


FTFY. Welcome to the Internet. Dead horses beaten daily.

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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by robonator » Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:51 am

Welcome to the Internet. Dead horses beaten daily.
Oh man I had no idea. :roll:
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by Wayward » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:07 pm

robonator wrote:I agree that it does depend on which zombies we're talking about. Usually the ones that want to actually devour your flesh do so out of pure, mindless, reptilian impulses to feed and reproduce
First I had to worry about them eating me, now I've got to worry about them humping me to death?

But it really depends on the fact that IF Zombies existed. What kind of Zombies would they be. Depending on the type, depends on the need/want to eat or not.

If we're talking about the stereotypical Resident Evil/Dawn Of the Dead(remake)/ I.E. Virus typed Zombies, then no, feeding would not be necessary as the cadaver has already "expired". In all terms YES they can "starve" to death, but not in the term your thinking. No they do not require any nourishment, but as Regular Guy typed, the body does. What most likely happens is that the virus in this state devour's the cells of the host it's in to provide itself the energy it needs. Somehow reactivating the body's muscles and what not.

The 28 Days Later/I am Legend dealio, are really not to be classified as "Zombies" as per definition their already dead, but 28DL shows them as able to starve, meaning that they must be alive, leading to the fact that they are simply infected and not deed. And that in the bonus material, they explain that theres somehow a cure for this neuro-virus. The I am Legend doesn't necessarily state their zombies to begin with.

The process to eat probably comes from the fact that such a virus destroying the brain, and possibly simply the act of being dead for a period of time between undeath, maybe leaves only the portions of the brain wanting to eat
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by JTNieman » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:11 pm

Supernatural? No.

Biological? Yes.

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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by UndeadGaming » Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:56 am

food = energy

energy is needed to function. So I guess yes... If they don't eat to get energy, their body will not be able to move (simple physics)
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by Sealegs » Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:37 pm

In "The Walking Dead" they apparently slow down/stop eventually. Not revealed if it's decomposition or lack of omnomnom. Didn't look terribly decomposed though. [From the graphic novels]
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by craig_o » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:50 pm

I doubt the average lifespan of a zombie is particularly high considering they will break down over time from use and abuse. It's been suggested that bacteria avoids zombified flesh thus slowing decomposition dramatically, but there clearly isn't any repair to the muscle groups or body as a whole... once it's broken, it's broken.
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by Packin' Heat » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:40 am

as others have mentioned, zombies as portrayed in the movies can't biologically happen. A real scenario would be more along the lines of Ragers, and yes, they would starve. I agree that dehydration and physical damage would be a Rager's primary down fall.
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by Zombielawyer » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:46 am

Great question! Great replies!

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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by Spookadelic » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:18 pm

Depends on the mythos, of course.

However, I think supernatural/magic/undead zombies don't eat for the biological need. They eat for some supernatural need, perhaps they derive energy from your life force, essence, soul, etc. I imagine magic zombies never starving per-se but instead growing stronger with every feeding.

The infected non-magic zombies. Yeah they got to eat. However, if they can hibernate, are cold blooded, or both, then perhaps they don't need to eat as often as uninfected people.

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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by shriefie » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:14 pm

Ok, I'm about to get technical here...sorry. Zombies move/stagger/shuffle/run. In order for muscle cells/neurons to fire, they need certain nutrients to do so: calcium, ATP etc. Either they need to eat (brains) or they need to break themselves down to produce these chemicals......might explain why they look so gross so quickly.
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by Molon Labe » Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:47 pm

^^This^^
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by PacmanSurvival » Wed May 11, 2011 12:14 am

I think in the event of a real life zombie type of virus they would starve eventually if they ran out of food source, as they'd most likely be infected by more of a rage/primal virus that runs purely on adrenaline and basic instincts than the zombie of fiction, my vote is the 28 Days Later type of zombie is much more likely than the slow moving shamblers with rotting skin, though it is a nice thought to portray them moving slowly in my mind. :)
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Re: Do zombies starve?

Post by Mannlicher » Sat May 21, 2011 3:46 pm

starve to what? Death? Heck, they are ALREADY dead. :idea:

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