Rather, the lack thereof. So zombies want to eat the flesh (or specifically the Braaaains!) of the living, that's all fine and dandy, but what exactly happens to all the meat they eat? They probably don't need it for calories to move around, and they're never seen puking it up or completely digesting it out. Zombie metabolisms Just Bug Me.
The splatter horror fan in me would love to see the subversion of this: a bunch of zombies with their stomach's having exploded out from over-eating, and the flesh of their new victims falling out of their exposed stomachs! (No, I don't take therapy, why do you ask?)
That's exactly what happens in The Zombie Survival Guide. Zombies eat and eat until their stomachs fissure, and then they walk around with fissured stomachs.
It also happens in Marvel Zombies, with Zombie Hulk's stomach contents after gorging himself being more than he can contain once he changes back into the human-sized Zombie Banner. The result is... messy.
Speaking of, vampire poop. (This is exactly why this troper has her vampires who overeat have a gag reflex trigger to throw up. Unpleasant to ponder.)
Since vampires are on a purely liquid diet, they logically wouldn't have poo, just urine.
I'm afraid it's much worse than that. Barring magical intervention, vampires will have permanent diarrhoea.
Vampires are magic. Solved.
That's not the most boggling thing about an all blood diet. It's the fact that vampires can live quite normally on it. Blood isn't nutritious enough for something as large as a person, but these things get tons of energy and enough material to regenerate injuries.
See above. Vampires are magic.
In response to the vampire poop question, I attempt to answer that in all three of the vampire stories I have, each one answered slightly differently. In two of them, vampires aren't actually "dead", but are immortal creatures. In the first, Vatican Knight, vampires require blood as more of a "nutritional supplement" to keep them energetic, but don't require it to live and can eat normal food. They poop, but it's sometimes slightly red-tinged. In another, If I Was Your Vampire(placeholder title), vampires require blood to live(needing less as they get older, but still needing it) and see human food as junk food. They tend to absorb the blood into their bodies rather than digest it. In the third, the vampires are walking corpses with an intense craving for blood, but they are unable to digest it due to having a necrotic digestive system. The blood either runs through the digestive tract and out of it's anus, or coagulates in the stomach and builds up as the vampire drinks until it simply explodes. Granted, the latter is my attempt to make vampires as un-sexy as possible. Sorry if this counts as natter or whatever, I'm new to the game. Feel free to delete this.
The fact that so many mostly intact zombies are out there tends to indicate that all they do is bite people to death. They don't really eat what they kill.
Which begs the question as to why they bite in the first place. Seriously, what is the point of an instinct that dictates you to just walk around and pointlessly gnaw on people, then walk off?
Contagion. It's not usually the zombie that needs to survive, but whatever is living in the blood/saliva.
I remember seeing a video somewhere of... a cave cricket that got partially destroyed/sliced in half, and then, worms started boiling out of the halves. Someone commented on the video that those worms were actually in control of the cricket, in an attempt to get the cricket eaten, so the worms could spread...
To answer the first response to this question, They don't walk off. The People they bite manage to get away before they are completley devoured.
The doctor in Day of the Dead asks the same question, after gruesomely proving that the zombies don't eat their victims and aren't really motivated by hunger (he removed a zombie's whole digestive system, to see if it'd have any effect on its behavior). He speculated that it's just an aggressive, predatory instinct that's taken over the brain.
If the zombie in question is the result of a parasitic or symbiotic microorganism taking over the body, then the food can be burned up when the microorganism reproduces. Waste could be removed then by microorganisms dying and shedding off at an increased rate, sort of like skin cells on caffeine.
Do rabid animals eat their kills? Alternatively, zombies may have a way to sense exactly when a person dies. They don't attack dead prey, otherwise the zombies would turn on each other. So they bite and tear the person as they gorge themselves, and then the instant the person is dead, they are left alone. It doesn't take much ripping to kill a person, which is why zombies always have chunks of their flesh missing, but are otherwise more or less intact.
Who's to say that zombies don't simply crap in their pants?
One point here: assuming we're dealing with actual dead zombies it's likely any internal process not needed for running, biting, clawing and other zombie related activities isn't working. So they won't crap since their anus isn't working.
In universes where zombies crave brains and are completely non-intelligent, how come they go around saying "braaaiins" when speech is a highly non-intuitive action? If they can make the connection between the object of their desire (cranial material) and the sound "breynz", they should exhibit substantially smarter behaviour, and be able to say other words/phrases as well. For that matter, how come we only see English-speaking zombies? Wouldn't a large metropolitan area at least have multilingual districts? You shouldn't just be hearing "braains", but also "cerveeuux", and whatever it is in other languages.
On veut juste vous bouffer le cerveau?
The first, and so far as I know, the only series where they say "braaaaaiins" is the Return of the Living Dead movies, and those zombies are intelligent and capable of conversation. They only groan "brains" because, when the anesthetic effect that eating brains has on them wears off, they go mad with the pain of rotting alive until they've eaten another brain. The idea that zombies as a whole especially crave brains and groan the word aloud is just a horror genre Beam Me Up, Scotty!.
As for the second part, I'm not exactly from the "Big City," but most of the people I overhear speak English, with the occasional Spanish or German mixed in, so it's not a far stretch to say most of the zombies simply spoke English in life.
"Brains" is really easy to say, it just slurrs out the mouth. "Cerveux" or "Gehirne" requires more tounge-work.
Maybe they do not even want brains, it's just what the sound they make sounds like?
This one a bit odd, since very, very few zombies say anything, brains or otherwise. They just groan.
Alright, so a zombie is basically a human corpse brought to life, even though the corpse in question is supposed to be dead. However, if all the tissues are reanimated, that includes the brain. So basically, a newly converted zombie should act just like they did in life, albeit undead. But, but, when an organism is dead, the immune system stops functioning, and cells begin to decay and die. Even better, even if the zombie in question has tissue regeneration capabilities, neurons in the brain do not grow back once they die. So what you may end up with is someone who acts like normal at first after their zombiefication, but as the years go on and aging and decay take their effect on the body, turn more into the stereotypical brain-eating zombie. Creepy, no?
This is how it was played in "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies", pretty much word for word.
A lot of the more deeply explained parasite/disease zombies that wake up after death and shuffle around trying to bit people have the brain completely replaced, or the parasite directly controlling the body. Some stories do have zombies that do what is described above, with the main issue being the lack of a soul making them PURE EEEVILL!
This is one of the things that bugged me in Return of the Living Dead, which has a couple of nearly completely skeletal zombies. Is there even any brain matter left for the Trioxin gas to affect?
Yeah, zombie skeleton was probably just thrown in for the scary factor. Otherwise, the Trioxin might actually regenerate the dead tissue. Look at the page picture from The Dead Have Eyes, there is no way the eyes should last intact long after everything else to decayed... including the muscles necessary to dig out of a grave.
In most stories that have the zombie infection spread by a bite, these bites always break the skin. With a hundred percent certainty, if you're bitten, you're infected. This kinda bugs me. Zombies come from former humans, and don't have any modifications, except for brain damage, don't feel pain, etc. Humans have all flat teeth, except the canines, but those aren't that sharp. How do zombie teeth puncture the skin so easily? They don't have fangs or anything like vampires do, so what gives?
I chalk it up to "Zombie Strength". Even if it's no more than hysterical human, take away the "biting is bad" compunction in a rational (living) person and... you can get deep bites. * cough* Of course, we could run an experiment using (sanitized) cow's legs or something to see just how deep a human bite can go. For Science!!
I agree. I've read somewhere, that zombies' muscles are extra strong, but their most powerful muscles are those of jaw.
That, and unlike with humans, there is no pain or muscle fatigue to reduce the effectiveness of the bite. It's just press down at full force until their teeth connect on the other side.
An interesting aside: The Walking Dead has one bite = infected zombies, but one character rendered the zombie of a loved one safe to be around by removing all the teeth. It still tries to eat him, but being both a little girl and toothless she's pretty much harmless. On that note, Ewww!
Also, even normal living humans have caused a lot of damage with their teeth, like biting off ears/fingers/rapist's genitals/etc. Humans are capable of some amazing things when properly motivated, so the same thing goes for a zombie.
It does beg the question of just how they are able to get to the brain so quickly though. The skull is supposed to be pretty tough.
Again, you're talking about basically one film (series) (and one videogame) out of all the films that have been made. And in that film, the zombies were phenomenally strong.
Fast Zombie Hate
It bugs me whenever I get online and see countless forums/videos/stamps/articles/etc. screaming and ranting about how fast zombies are universally less scary than slow zombies, and the only explanations they seem to give are either really vauge and artsy-fartsy cop-out arguments like "They represent the futility of creeping mortality" or things that only make sense within the context of a particular film, like "People are so petty that they ignore the zombies to squabble". Maybe I'm weird, but in order for something to honestly scare me(not just worry or disillusion me), I have to picture that thing coming after me. Now tell me, which one would have me shitting my pants and praying to a God I suddenly want to believe in: A stiff, rotting, shambling mess that looks and sounds like a mentally retarded homeless person and can be outrun by a toddler? Or a spirnting, snarling fiend screaming like a banshee and spraying blood out of it's mouth as it relentlessly hunts you down at top speeds? Anybody who says they would rather take on the rabid bastards in Zombieland than the comically non-threatening twitching mannequins in Dawn of the Dead are either full of shit or too crazy to see the reason in my argument. Like I said though, I can see how the slow Romero zombies can cause worry after the fact(Key word: after), but if you want the heart-pounding scares and endorphin-releasing panic that horror films are supposed to provide, then why discount the runners?
Fast zombies are A) Pointless and B) A Distraction from the artistic intent
Pointless because their speed and 'liveliness' makes them seem, well not dead. You might as well have troops of chimpanzees on PCP running around ripping people apart, or hyper-rabies a la 28 Days Later causing people to run around insanely. Take for example the 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead (2004) and the 'fast' zombies within. They move very quickly, very fluidly, running and swinging and climbing in such a vital and familiar fashion that they register as human. When the camera sees them, they are always moving fast or the camera is, with very few lingering shots of them that reveal visual details of their death. The antagonist hordes could have been Rage-infected and it wouldn't have made a bit of difference. Even the fact that people you knew are coming back was hamstrung by the zombie speed - Ana's husband is made a zombie in the first ten minutes but neither she nor the audience has time to dwell on it before the running pell-mell action begins.
Distracting because the entire point of a zombie as an antagonist is that Death is inevitable. A bloated, stinking corpse that hungers for that which it is not, Life, represents a concrete manifestation or agent of Death. The slow, incessant, steady march and the fact that there is always more of the horde reflects on the fact that Death can only be postponed, never avoided. You can put up walls, patrol 24/7, shine all your guns, but in the end you will turn. The slowness is important, it reflects the march of time as well as giving both characters and the audience time to think beyond RUNRUNRUN. If the camera and the zombie moves too fast we can't see that they are a corpse, you can't differentiate between zombie and rabies-infected-PCP-freak when they're sprinting. When the beloved friend or lover dies and hops up to chase us, we can't agonize over what they've become, reflect on the time spent together - all we can do is react. The adrenaline reaction of just running for one's life can be exciting, but it can be replicated with crazed chimps - the slow, shambolic horror of an inescapable death is a much more mature theme that only a select group of antagonists can provide.
As a final point, I take umbrage to the 'vague and artsy-fartsy' remark. Its anti-intellectual and fallacious. You may not like art, nor appreciate the underlying concepts that are used to define and build movies, books, and other entertainment, but that does not mean that your ignorance is truth.
Agreed. Fast zombies scare me a lot more than slow zombies. But that's just personal preference. What bugs me is that people say that fast zombies aren't zombies at all. Because Romero zombies are slow. And Romero is the God of Zombies or some such nonsense. The man didn't even invent the bloody things, they're from Haitian legend, and going by that, zombies are supposed to be under some sorceror's evil spell. Except I don't here any of the fast haters citing that.
The zombies of Haitian legend are an entirely different animal from modern day movie zombies, related only in name. Romero's Night of the Living Dead did invent the modern idea of a zombie as a mindless, undead flesh-eating creature, though at the time he never thought of them as zombies (ghouls, I believe he called them). Personally, I prefer slow zombies because it's a different sort of terror. Fast zombies are a more jumpy sort of fright, but slow zombies get their effectiveness because slow as they are, there's always more of them, they're always hungry, and they're always coming. You could outrun them, or outfight them, and even slaughter them en masse if you're well equipped, but this, in a way, makes them more effective, as people can lull themselves into a false sense of security before being bloodily reminded that they're still a threat.
Romero did not invent the idea, though he did add in the flesh-eating part. The source of the whole genre, aknowledged by Romero himself, is the original novel of I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. Granted the creatures there are indentfied as vampires, but the idea of a horde of unintelligent, undead horde was there. I'm not insulting Romero, nothing wrong in using influences, certainly not that influence, but Matheson doesn't get his due enough. And Matheson's vampires were no slower than humans, so...
When people think "fast zombies" they usually think 28 Days Later, where the "zombies" actually weren't zombies. That is, they weren't corpses of the dead brought back to life; they were just living people with a really bizarre disease.
Kind of a stupid theory, but I personally think its because the people who hate fast zombies so much want to imagine themselves in a zombie apocalypse, but always want something slow and stupid to fight, not something fast that can actually be a threat
Maybe not stupid, maybe it's a very specific kind of suspension of disbelief where viewers can only imagine themselves in that situation with slow zombies.
It is stupid, and insulting.
If you found that insulting, then you are insulted easily. It's a good theory. One thing a lot of people think in watching a horror movie is "What would I do?" In most horror movies the answer is "Die horribly," but in a zombie movie there might be a different answer. In a slow-zombie situation you have a better chance.
My take on this is that slow zombies only work in certain scenarios. For example, in the Romero films EVERYBODY turns upon death. That means that zombies will always outnumber humans. However, works in which zombies are created through contagion work better with fast zombies because it's believable that a single infected person could transmit the disease to other victims. A single slow-moving zombie isn't much of a threat.
It also might depend on what kind of scare you prefer. Fast zombies are good at causing jump-scares and heart-pounding, but slow zombies are much, much better at psychological horror. Compare barricading the door against an obvious, screaming monster clawing at it, giving you have no time to think ahead, to huddling in the basement and listening to the scraping, dragging footsteps overhead, hearing the moans as these monsters shamble about looking for you, and knowing that even if they don't find you, they will never stop looking, and eventually, at best, you will starve.
Exactly. I like both types of zombies, they do different things. Suggesting one type is wrong or unartistic or whatever is rather petty and elitist. Say you like Buffy and enjoy the vampires in that, does that mean you can't read Dracula? Or watch Let the Right One In? You can enjoy each different type of vampire in their separate fictional universes and the same goes for zombies. As for the idea that fast zombies remove the artistic intent, they really don't. For those suggesting Romero created the genre please remember that he got the idea from Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. The creatures in that were called vampires, though being closer to what we'd call zombies and they were fast and intelligent (well, not very, but more than Romero's zombies). Matheson was making many of the same artistic points that Romero later would, so if that's the kind of film you're after a fast zombie doesn't remove that.
Speaking personally, for me the idea of a fast-moving zombie (unless done very well, of course) generally pushes the concept a bit too far past the point where Willing Suspension of Disbelief breaks. Granted, a slow-moving zombie isn't that much more absurd in theory, but the slow-moving nature in many ways reflects the fact that this is still a corpse we're dealing with — it's rotting, it's brain is decaying thus affecting cognitive functions (including how the limbs are operated), rigor mortis is setting in and thus preventing efficient movement, etc. Not that this doesn't produce it's own Fridge Logic, but I can still buy that this is still to all intents and purposes a human corpse that's moving around we're dealing with. But something which is apparently dead but moves around just as swiftly and efficiently, if not more so, than an actual person, without any signs of these issues whatsoever? That stretches it a bit too far for me. They might as well be psychotic living people with an unfortunate skin condition. Not to say it's impossible to address this convincingly, but it does take a bit more work for me.
So you're basically saying that you have to be watching or about reading something that can be explained rationally in order to have Willing Suspension of Disbelief?
This is the guy who posted the original Headscratcher regarding fast zombie hate. First of all, I would like to formally apologize for that "artsy-fartsy" crack. That was a product of momentary anger and I shouldn't have allowed my emotions to cloud my judgement when submitting my grievances. I am very sorry for that. Second, after reading all the discussion on here, I think the reason behind a lot of this hate seems to stem from people's personal opinion on what constitutes a "zombie". To me, a zombie doesn't have to be dead to be classified as a zombie. My personal definition of a zombie is something along the lines of "a creature that was formerly human, and still resembles a human, but was subjected to some change that damaged his/her higher brain functions and made him or her part of a horde that is now hostile towards humanity". Thus it is very loose compared to that of many. I can understand how a fast zombie that is supposed to be dead stretches Willing Suspension of Disbelief because of things like rigor mortis and decay, but I still don't understand the severe anger and hatred some people express at the very idea of zombies moving fast, when realistically-speaking a walking corpse is biologically impossible unless whatever reanimates it is of alien or supernatural origin, in which case the corpses being able to ignore the natural decay they would normally go through in order to move faster would be perfectly acceptable in my mind because logic and realism has already been thrown out the window. I guess it all boils down to personal taste, but it's weird(and a little upsetting) how people can often confuse their personal tastes with objective fact. We really should try for more humility every now and then.
OK, I know this question has been asked to death, I've wondered this in pretty much every zombie movie ever (except for Shaun of the Dead, which was my favorite ending to a zombie movie): If small groups of untrained civilians, usually with old weapons (double barreled shotguns, hunting/bolt action rifles, handguns) kill so many zombies, then why can't the highly trained military with modern weaponry stop the apocalypse. I mean, what exactly is stopping the army from just running over all the zombies in tanks?
Incompetence. In fact, this is the exact reason why they have a lot of trouble fighting the zombies in World War Z: the military is incompetent and using incorrect tactics.
Military leaders getting infected with The Virus is also a huge problem. No matter how great soldiers are trained, they need orders.
Several reasons. 1: The military will be suffering the same panic as civilians, with soldiers abandoning their posts to save their families, dealing with the horror, destruction of their authorities, trying to figure out what they're dealing with, zombie infectees, etc. 2: We see a rag-tag bunch of people kill a bunch of zombies, but the army has to deal with thousands if not millions of the bastards. 3: The army grinds to a halt if not given a steady supply of rubber/fuel/food/etc, which will be difficult to get once things shut down. Basically, find a list of problems a civilian has to deal with, multiply it a few thousand times, and you got the problems the army is facing.
Still, there is absolutely no way that the zombies themselves should be a problem at all. There is next to no threat in fighting them, I mean all you need is a couple of gunships from the damn airforce all the zombie movies seem to forget about, and you can mow down zombies while they have no way of fighting back. Also, there are no "tactics" when it comes to fighting zombies. They are basically just slow, unarmed, stupid, and diseased humans who will wander straight into bullets. I mean zombies aren't exactly hard to find either: its those guys with blood all over their mouths who are going around biting people. Just shoot them. I think zombie movies seriously underestimate how organized and effective the United States military is (though they are not the only movies to do that).
It's a little more complicated than that. Soldiers are trained to aim at the center mass: the chest. Largest part, three round burst, the enemy is taken out. These "slow, unarmed, and diseased humans" you mentioned tend to only go down when you destroy the brain, and the average grunt isn't trained that well in sniping such a small target. You also have to remember that not every shot to the head will destroy the brain. People have survived headshots many times in the past. Now imagine a soldier, maybe a rookie or maybe just a freaked out veteran, either way they're encountering a threat that they've never seen before. After the initial shock has been overcome and the enemy's weakness has been discovered(which could take a few weeks of dead soldiers and civilians depending on how Genre Savvy that universe's military is), this soldier is debriefed by his superiors and told that the enemy requires a shot to the head to put it down. So after a few weeks of training to shoot a much smaller and more mobile target(more casualties in that time, obviously), the soldier is finally released into the field. A swarm is shambling toward them, thousands of them. Men, women, children. The soldier takes his shot, and the bullet hits the zombie in the head, but it misses the brain. Now imagine the confusion, the mounting horror, and then the outright fucking panic of this soldier. He's not concerned with doing his job anymore, he's concerned with shitting his pants and getting out alive, because apparently these things are invincible. If the soldiers are all on a com link, and the soldier's comrades can hear him screaming: "I shot one in the head and it didn't die! I shot it in the head! It didn't die!" Just imagine how much they're going to freak the fuck out. They're still human. They feel fear, they get tired, and they panic. A zombie, that mindless shuffling automaton, has no fear. They can't be scared, starved, worn out, angered, or waited out. Zombies are only driven by one basic instinct: Devour. Something like that is no longer a human or an animal, it's now a force of nature, and no matter how hard you try you can't fight a hurricane off when it decides to fuck up your life. You can only defend against it for the moment and hope it passes over you before you have to escape.
And if they're the fast, technically-living zombies like those found in 28 Weeks Later and Left 4 Dead? Those have all the weaknesses of humans. Unfortunately, they also blend in better with a crowd of panicked, screaming humans running toward a military blockade in the hopes that the American military you seem so keen on defending will protect them. When you're a soldier, assigned to protect civilians and neutralize infected, and you have both running at you, covered in blood and screaming bloody murder, how do you decide which ones to shoot? If you don't shoot anybody, you're fucked. If you shoot everyone, you're an incompetent bastard.
However, regardless of my above arguments, I agree with you to an extent. That's why the "zombies" in my story adapt to fight humans more effectively. Some even learn how to use weapons. I was just making a point. The military is not as reliable as they seem in those recruiting commercials, especially not when confronted with an enemy that for all intents and purposes shouldn't even exist.
Several counter-reasons: 1. Soldiers are nowhere near as susceptible to panic as regular civilians. These are men and women trained to march straight into mortal danger without regard for their own safety, and you think they'd devolve into the same screaming terror that every civilian in a zombie movie succumbs to? Nonsense. Zombies are the perfect enemy for any soldier. They're not human, no one wants them around, and they represent a clear and present danger by their very existence. There are no "rules of engagement" when dealing with zombies. They can be killed with absolutely no restraint or moral restrictions. Soldiers would sign up in droves to mow them down with .50 machine guns, blast them with grenade launchers, or crush them under the treads of their tanks. The line of volunteers for zombie-killing duty would wrap around the barracks three times. 2. The fact that it ever gets to the point where there are "thousands" or "millions" of zombies is the whole reason why this bugs me. In real life the military would have stopped the plague before it ever got that far. Never in a million years would a zombie plague be allowed to get that far (at least not in the USA). In order for there to be millions of zombies ranging all over the nation we would have to assume the plague went completely unnoticed for several months or years. No one in the plague zone sent out a call for help, no one from outside entered the plague zone and discovered the zombies, the local/state government didn't declare a state of emergency, and there was no communication or interaction whatsoever between the people inside the plague zone and the people outside it. Even as zombies began spreading out to surrounding areas, no one raised an alarm. No news outlets reported on the deadly plague of walking dead that has just broken out. No one tried to flee the area. This is the ONLY way there could be "thousands if not millions" of zombies walking around before the military bothered to act. Ree-fucking-diculous. 3. Do you even realize how decentralized the military supply structure is? The military gets its supplies from everywhere, not from just a few key areas. The zombies would have to be striking in hundreds, thousands, or millions of locations simultaneously in order to cripple the US military's supply structure. And that would of course require massive numbers of zombies, which brings us back to the previous problem of how the zombie population got so huge without anyone noticing.
This is pretty much the reason why most zombie movies either A) are at the start with a group that is isolated or B) after the end when the world is covered by the zombie horde. The best explanation is that the virus was airborne and over a very large area (perhaps global) so it affected a large group before it mutated into the form that is transmitted via fluids. This doesn't really solve the problem as the military would break out all those wonderful toys that would blow zombies up (their brain included) but it would get the zombies a surprise advantage to make it sporting.
I think this falls under Willing Suspension of Disbelief. Sure, in reality a zombie outbreak would probably be taken down by a reasonably competant police force, never mind the military. Even assuming it overruns a village or small town and so we have a few hundred zombies the military should still take it out. But, well, then the film is quite short. It's the same reason people always read the Tome of Eldritch Lore or stay in the house with spectral blood dripping down the walls and so forth. In the real world a lot of horror movies would be over quickly simply by people not being complete idiots. But how is that fun to watch? So for any given Zombie Apocalypse assume the leaders of the military are remarkably stupid and got their men killed somehow then sit back and enjoy the show.
You also have to take into account that for us, it's a zombie movie, and the zombies aren't human. For the people in the movie though (unless there is No Fourth Wall), it's reality, and there are no such thing as zombies. They just see civillians going crazy and biting people. Spreading a plague that nobody has ever seen before, and nobody has ever seen anything like it. And the only way to really wipe out a zombie outbreak is to set up a full quarantine, which are difficult to set up at a moments notice, especially against a disease nobody has ever seen before. Depending on how long it takes for the virus to incubate inside people and how long it takes for symptoms to appear, there could be people already wondering out of the city without even knowing they're infected. Or deliberately escaping after they see what happens to those bitten (they become zombies and/or get shot). The government wouldn't even know how to react at first given that nothing like it has ever happened before, and it was likely to never happen ever.
Oh yeah, remember that time when a guy in Miami started to eat someone and the police officer just stood there without doing anything because he was too frightened? No? It never happened? Oh yeah, I remember; when the cannibal ignored the warning (just liek zombies would), the officer shot him. I believe whether he was familiar to zombies or not had very little to do with his response.
Yeah, the Miami incident is completely irrelevant to anything to do with this trope. First off, that was one isolated case, and involved a very small number of people (the officer, the cannibal, and the victim). Very few variables. Second, that wasn't an actual zombie virus, just some mad man. Meaning, it won't spread. I imagine the scenario would be completely different if there were hundreds of zombies gnawing off people's faces, and you'd have panicked civillians causing mayhem, as well as officers and military who only know to shoot, but not necessarily at whom (no way to know who's a zombie unless they attack). Add to the fact that at first we would probably try rescuing the victims (as they did with this guy) not knowing that there is a virus causing the behavior (such a fact would not be known for awhile, if it ever where to be discovered) and not knowing that one bite dooms the victim to become a zombie. This would mean the hospitals would be packed with injured civillians soon to be zombies. Nobody would know to restrain these people until the first wave or so, and then it'd be too late. And finally, since the Miami incident was just a crazy person, bullets actually worked on him. Granted, it took about six since he wasn't feeling pain, but he still died after being shot. Bullets would have no effect on a zombie unless you were specific enough to hit the head.