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What You Need To Know About The Zombies In Army Of The Dead

Thanks to the Great Zombie Movie Boom, which occurred between the mid 2000s and the early 2010s, the average moviegoer has a pretty solid handle on nature's vibrant spectrum of the undead. You've got your fast zombies, your slow zombies, your brain-eater zombies, and your generally nibbly zombies. There are funny zombies like in Fido and the third act of Shaun of the Dead, and scary zombies like in Shaun of the Dead and the third act of Fido. That unofficial 2008 remake of Day of the Dead even had zombies that walk on ceilings.

If you're a fan of solving problems by destroying their brains or removing their heads, 2021's Army of the Dead is your next best chance to see a new variety of decomposing monster folk. The film offers up an exciting new series of shambling corpses, thanks to Dawn of the Dead director Zack Snyder's return to the world of cadavers that wobble, but won't fall down. Looper attended a recent press event where the acclaimed filmmaker gave fans a hint at what's to come. There, Snyder dropped an intriguing tidbit about the film's fresh take on the decaying post-apocalyptic hordes.

Here's what Snyder said about a scene he filmed on the floor of an unused Atlantic City casino: "We did a lot of action sequences there, and ... it was swarmed with many zombies, during the thing — many Alphas." So, what does that mean?

Army of the Dead put its zombies through boot camp

As it turns out, Alpha has a very specific meaning in this context.

"We have two categories of zombies in the movie," Snyder explained. "Alphas, and then normal shamblers, which, you know, if you've seen a zombie movie, you know what a shambler is. It's like, a normal zombie that kind of moves slowly. And then our Alphas, which are an evolved version of zombies — zombies that have taken another step, and they're much faster, they're kind of ... we treat them kind of like, almost like wolves."

Snyder went on to describe other ways that an Alpha can be differentiated from a standard zombie. They apparently have the ability to solve simple puzzles and perform basic tasks, like opening doors and climbing a lattice. The director expressed his readiness to see zombies take another step in their development, offering up new threats and obstacles. It's bad news for anyone with a pulse and a selfish need to keep their flesh bite-less and un-gouged.

Also of note: "There are zombie horses and things of that nature." 

And just like that, the scene from The Neverending Story where Artax dies became that much more traumatizing. Thanks a lot, Snyder.