Zombie Cliche Lookout: Don’t Agitate the Zombies
Zombies aren’t exactly known for their incredible tracking abilities. Like the living, they have to rely on imperfect senses, and in many cases their senses are even worse off thanks to injury and decay. That said, they’re typically not devoid of all senses. How zombies find victims tends to change a bit from story to story, but sight and sound seem to be the most common, with smell a distant second. As a perfect counter-example, look no further than the clickers from The Last of Us, who were blind and found prey through sound alone.
If you can break the zombies’ line of sight, your chance to escape increases. Of course, those chances don’t increase that much if you’re trapped inside a building and the zombie knows you’re in there and is perfectly content to wait you out. Regardless, beating the pursuit is important, but can be easily outdone should someone in your group clumsily knock over a pile of cans, or something like that.
About this Episode:
Kids are loud. They can’t even help it. Even when they think they’re being quiet, odds are they’re screaming. I’ve got two of my own, and I’d hate to have to try to keep them quiet through a zombie siege.
Discussion Question: How Do Zombies Hunt?
Since there aren’t any real rules for zombies – both a strength and a weakness of the genre in my mind – every writer is free to change things up. In fact, they’re often encouraged to do so. If you were to write a zombie survival story, how would you want your zombies to track down prey?
I’m pretty simple, myself. I think they should act like living people as much as possible, which often means a dependence on sight foremost, with all the other senses that simply to enhance what they can see. Now, if they can’t see anything, then they’ll certainly follow their ears or noses.