Created By: Ezekiel on January 9, 2010
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No Zombie Cannibals

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So you're a zombie. You have your daily routine; shamble, moan, be always on the lookout for human flesh. And when that flesh appears, you and every other zombie in a hundred-mile radius will converge on it in one enormous mass of undeath.

But surely you're not satisfied with that, are you? There's not even close to enough to go around. One human divided among one hundred zombies is less than a meal.

And yet... isn't there still human flesh all around you? After all, the zombies are "human", just a slightly hungrier type of human, and most of the capacity for reason is gone. You still have to eat. Meat is meat. So what's to stop this horde from feeding on itself?

Ultimately, there is no reason; it just plain doesn't happen, and is left at that. We can only say for sure that there are No Zombie Cannibals. When you have zombies that are still technically alive, there's no perfectly sensical explanation.

Now might be a good time to point out that there actually are cannibal zombies in zombie lore; they're called "ghouls".
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • January 8, 2010
    berr
    I like No Zombie Cannibals better, it flows.
  • January 8, 2010
    berr
    Indexed under There Are No Indexes.
  • January 8, 2010
    berr
    Possible explanation: The Virus wants to infect other creatures, so directs "the infected" to hunger only for live human flesh, much like certain species of parasites that direct the behavior of their hosts.
  • January 8, 2010
    Ezekiel
    Right, well then, I'm launching it.

    I think this might be one of those things that's so ubiquitous, it would probably be better to just list aversions.
  • January 8, 2010
    Tannhaeuser
    I don't think "ghouls" were originally thought of as reanimated corpses--just eaters of human flesh, dead or alive. I believe they were not even necessarily corporeal beings in the original Middle Eastern legends.
  • January 8, 2010
    Ezekiel
    ...odd, I know I read something about this somewhere, but I can't figure out where. If you want to change it, go ahead, but I'm personally leaving it alone for now.
  • January 9, 2010
    bigboy
    When The Virus creates zombies that are still technically alive, there's no perfectly sensical explanation. It's more logical if the zombies are animated through magic

    you know that slapdash 'it's magic' aptitude is starting to get to me but I get off topic...

    Dam, I was about to make a ykttw call zombiemunism about zombies never infighting, but it guess the O.P. beat me to the punch

  • January 9, 2010
    Vree
    Er, I don't think the complaint this is about is justified, because fresh meat and decaying meat are totally different and you can't feed off the latter. Basically the first word anyone uses when describing them is "rotting", from which we can safely deduce that their flesh is way past the expiry date. Funnily enough that would be the point where I would make the distinction with ghouls who are tipically described as necrophages primarily feeding on the long dead: they will rob crypts or dig up the dead, which flesh-eating zombies never do. In fact in several stories zombies leave old corpses alone and only feed off the recently dead.

    (On that note, would zombies bother with hunting down people ifthey could just set up a camp in a cemetary and live like kings?)

    So Yeah. I'd discard this.

    If you wanna use it, I'd suggest Zombies Are Not Scavengers.
  • January 9, 2010
    Vree
    No Zombie Scavengers, alternatively.
  • January 9, 2010
    random surfer
    Marvel Zombies mentions this in the first issue - apparently they tried it and it just doesn't satisfy the requirement for human flesh.
  • January 9, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi

    I agree with the troper who said The Virus is responsible for zombies only wanting the flesh of the living. All they do is shamble when they've got no human flesh.

  • January 9, 2010
    Ezekiel
    Vree, Bigboy, you've both missed the point spectacularly... and managed to enter the same section of Completely Missing The Point from opposite angles, at that.

    Vree, the idea that The Virus creates zombies from rotting corpses is rather illogical. No virus would be able to manipulate a body that has decayed past the point where, if immediately revived, it would be able to move under its own power. See also "Zombieland".

    Bigboy, the point that zombies animated through magic not cannibalizing each other is more logical than standard zombies isn't about the magic itself. Actually, that note should probably be removed, since magic zombies don't tend to hunger for flesh, but my point was that magic zombies actually CAN be animated past the point where the flesh is thoroughly corrupted.
  • January 9, 2010
    Vree
    Zeke, I understand that Your Zombies Are Different but can't pick one movie's explanation and act as if all stories used that, nor force your little biological knowledge on this made-up concept. The Virus simply refers to the fact that zombies can make more zombies, not the fact that it should be read as a real-life virus. Really, the fact that I am trying to tell you that most zombies are dead (lol) is a demonstration of your Epic Fail logic on this. So if you put "zombie" in the title and make no effort in the definition either to emphasize that it is a narrow subtype of zombie you speak of then, yeah, it's a misleading article.
  • January 9, 2010
    Mozgwsloiku
    Subverted in Bleach - although they primarily feed on human souls, hollows aren't above hunting each other. And the most powerful of hollows can only 'evolve' through devouring large numbers of their kin.
  • January 9, 2010
    ParaDiddle
    In I Am Legend, the zombies aren't so much dead as they are sick. Their hunger for untainted meat is simply a symptom of the disease. As far as zombies go, this actually makes sense. There's a theory in medicine that says the body craves what it actually needs. Legend's zombies have a craving and sick meat just doesn't fill the need. The horde has low inhibition and a high tolerance for pain, but they can be injured and they can die.

    Think of them as vicious dogs in a pack. The dogs will travel and hunt together, but they don't look at each other as food. Even if the dogs fight amongst themselves, it's for dominance within the pack. In general, feral dogs will become nearly emaciated before looking at their own kind (dead or alive) as a food source.

    Yes, I've put wayyy too much thought into this! Why hasn't anyone asked why some zombies just want to assemble in a formation and dance?
  • January 9, 2010
    Game_Fan
    • The zombies in Marvel Zombies discover, quite graphically, that they all taste horrible.

    • In GURPS: Infinte Worlds the Gotha-zombies will eat anything human, even each other.
  • January 9, 2010
    Camacan
    Please, always launch using launch button below: it removes this thread from YKTTW and attaches it to the article. You might need to ask the admins to fix it up.
  • January 9, 2010
    Ezekiel
    Vree: Undead are not dead as specifically denoted by the use of the prefix "un". I admit I haven't actually read the article on The Virus but if it doesn't pertain to an actual virus, which is the only thing that's really relevant to this discussion, then you must admit that seems like a rather misleading name to give it, mentioning Zombieland was just giving a singular example, I haven't time or inclination to give a thorough explanation of all the reasons it doesn't make logical sense for zombies to be long-dead and rotting individuals and still crave living flesh and I doubt anyone BUT a zombie would, and your last reply was unnecessarily hostile. In other words, shut up. Even if the main drive of the original point isn't perfectly universally valid, and I'm pretty sure it still applies in a large number of cases, the trope has since picked up an additional point: zombie infighting. And finally, your point about how I need to specify that it's about a "narrow" (again, not really the case) subgroup in order to avoid a misleading article is somewhat invalid, as since the beginning the trope proposal has included the line specifying that the biggest problem with this is when the zombies are "still technically alive".

    Camacan: Is there any pressing need to do anything to this discussion before it dies of its own accord?
  • January 9, 2010
    macroscopic
    C'mon now, play nice.

    Zombies are not always rotty, but rotting flesh kinda works for a film visually. It's almost a shorthand for 'zombie' since otherwise it'd just be ordinary cannibal people. I'm pretty sure irises don't rot away within the small window of time it tends to take to get infected. And it usually is within days of being bitten that someone is fully turned.

    Does The Virus rot their flesh quickly after infection? Who knows - it's usually not even addressed. Again, it may be more shorthand than literal rot. There's also like in Marvel Zombies where for reasons already glossed over zombies aren't satisfied by their own kind.

    Also, though the line's blurred in the most recent film version, the creatures in I Am Legend were vampires.
  • January 9, 2010
    Vree
    "Undead are not dead"

    There, I cannot add anything to that. XD A guy who keeps insisting that vampires and ghosts should be treated the same biologically as living people is too stubborn to care.

    No, it's not called undead because they are not dead. Read a book.
  • January 9, 2010
    Ezekiel
    I was actually quoting something there, trying to maintain a small amount of lightheartedness in this for-some-reason Serious Business debate on modern zombie lore, which you should know because it's a link. I can only assume that the fact that you ignored this, as well as my message in its entirety, to simply insult me, means that you have nothing meaningful to say at all and should be disregarded.

    You know, there's a warning when you're editing a trope that senseless rudeness can get you in trouble... shouldn't we have something like that here on YKTTW?
  • January 9, 2010
    DracMonster
    Uh, you're supposed to launch using the launch button down there, not just go make the page. It now has no YKTTW in its discussion page which greatly increases the likelihood of the article being deleted, just a warning.
  • January 9, 2010
    bigboy
    ...okay that minor flame war has died down a bit, so everyone happy with No Zombie Cannibals? it gets the point across.
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