What do zombies eat?
Seems like a pretty obvious question with an easy answer right?
After all, zombies eat brains, don’t they?
No, actually they don’t. Somehow the feeding habits of our favorite monsters have gotten a bit mixed up over the years. Up until the Return of the Living Dead in 1985 zombies didn’t eat brains at all. In the early 30’s, 40’s and 50’s zombies were simply mindless victims who had been altered by voodoo magic and often used as some sort of slaves.
In the 60’s Romero’s zombies came to life so to speak and feasted on the FLESH of the living. In his series, zombies eat people and only people. Or at least they did until he gave us Survival of the Dead in which we find zombies eating horses. That image of the flesh eating zombie survived until the 80’s.
From that point on the idea of zombies as brain eaters has widely persisted in the cultural context. It’s just what they do. And there’s no turning back. With 17 solid years of zombies as flesh eaters between 1968 and 1985 and nearly thirty years since Return of the Living Dead came out, the brain eaters have won the day.
Or have they?
See the simple truth is that even brain eaters eat flesh. There’s just no way around it. Every single zombie movie depicts zombies eating flesh. Even the ones where the zombies go for people’s brains show them chowing down on some good old fashioned human meat. They go for the guts, the necks, legs, arms whatever they can get their hands on. In some cases we see one zombie chowing down on the brain while others go for the guts and the body. It’s highly unusual for brain eaters not to go for the body as well.
So, given the fact that flesh eaters came first, and brain eaters eat flesh, it looks like the scale is actually tipped in favor of the flesh eaters. So when someone asks you what zombies eat next time, tell them they eat people! Brains, flesh and all!