By Los Angeles Zombie Girl – Vicki Woods
This time of year our Sunday evenings are sadly walker free. With Fear the Walking Dead not returning until August and The Walking Dead still a million miles away in October what are walker lovers to do? Well I decided to survey some TWD fans and find out their Top 20 Walkers from the first 6 seasons of The Walking Dead! You actually get a few more because I had quite a few ties.
Number 20: Sophia and Merle
Sophia and Merle were not gross or crazy looking walkers. The reason they both made the list was because they made us cry. When we saw Sophia stagger out of the barn back at Hershel’s, in Season 2 Ep. 1 there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Rick’s team spent a good portion of Season 1 looking for Carol’s little girl and when the worst case scenario happened, we all cried, along with the rest of the cast, for Carol’s loss. Now Merle was a different story. As a character we all hated Merle. Daryl’s older brother was a mean bully and we were glad to see him disappear in Season 1. When we found him again at the Governor’s, in Season 3 meaner than ever, we disliked him even more. But when Daryl, our tough Daryl, stabs walker Merle in the head and then cries over his brother in Episode 15, well that was one seriously emotional scene.
Number 19: Atlanta Suit Walker
The Atlanta Suit Walker from Season 1 is KNB EFX’s own Joe Giles. Joe is a make-up artist there and is affectionately called Patient Zero by Greg Nicotero, because his look is the one they based all the walker looks on. Joe has been a walker in lots of episodes, but his iconic Atlanta Suit Walker has remained a fan favorite.
Number 18: Church Lady Walker and friends
The Church Lady is still dressed up pretty nice. This walker from Season 5 was a “friend” of Father Gabriel’s and we see how guilty he is when her rotted body and others, pop out of the water in the flooded food pantry. Bad Father Gabriel! Apparently he locked all these innocent people in the food pantry and left them to die.
Number 17: Riot Gear Walker and Wedding Ring Walker
I think the reason these two Season 3 walkers go together is they both are about Maggie and Glen. When Maggie learns how to take out the Riot Gear Walkers, who were undead prison guards, the glee that she shows was definitely infectious for everyone watching. When Glen decides he wants to propose to Maggie, a female walker lost two fingers and her wedding ring in the name of love. We never saw an actual wedding, but by Season 4 they were referring to each other as husband and wife. How romantic can you get?
Number 16: Deer Eating Walker and Autopsy Walker
The amazingly cool Deer Eating Walker was played by Greg Nicotero himself. While not the only cameo he does in the series, this walker in Season 1, Ep. 3 is always a favorite and makes it on most lists. Another favorite that keeps coming back is Autopsy Walker from Season 2. When Daryl and Rick decide to cut a walker open to see if it ate Sophia, we all get a medical school lesson.
Number 15: Tongue Hanging Out Walker
The Tongue Hanging Out Walker in Season 1 Ep. 4 was a Greg Nicotero tribute to a famous zombie in George Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” Dr. Tongue. This walker is pretty gross. No kisses for her.
Number 14: Michone’s Walkers
When we first see Michone and her armless, jawless walkers in Season 2, Ep. 13 it’s a pretty intense sight. Her idea was simple. If you are surrounded by walkers that can’t hurt you, the others will leave you alone. Luckily for the gang, she finally gave the walkers up to have some real human friends to hang out with.
Number 13: Swamp Walker
In Season 2 Carl was a mixed up kid. Not sure who to trust, or who was going to be his Dad, he acted like a bratty kid. In Episode 11 he finds a walker who seems stuck in a swamp, and throws rocks at it. When he finds out it was still dangerous, he chickens out on shooting it and runs away. Later that night the same walker comes along and kills Dale. Way to go Carl!
Number 12: Penny Blake and Bunny Slippers Walker
Penny Blake was the Governors daughter. In Season 3 he kept her in a closet, and fed her, Just a little bit insane! Brushing her hair does not look like too much fun. Michone eventually took care of this little walker. The Little Girl in the Bunny Slippers from Season 1 Ep. 1 was the one that made us all jump and realize The Walking Dead was a show to be reckoned with! They just shot a kid walker! Actually for the record, little girls don’t really seem to have a chance on this show.
Number 11: Sewer Walkers and Metal Head
Lauren Cohen who plays Maggie, has a personal favorite- the Season 6 Sewer Walkers. These melting gooey walkers probably smelled really bad! She and Aaron run into them in the sewers while looking for a way out of Alexandria. These colorful creatures were the softest and squishiest walkers of them all. Metal Head is a walker Eugene runs into while showing Abraham where they could make bullets. Great idea! Finally, Eugene redeemed himself after all the lying he did.
Number 10: Cherokee Rose/Wrightson Walker
Never heard of a Wrightson Walker? Well according to Greg Nicotero, Bernie Wrightson is a fantasy, illustrator and comic book artist extraordinaire and he pioneered the zombie drawing art form. This moss covered, nose missing, stomach removed, skeleton in Season 6 Ep. 6 is a tribute to this important artist for the genre. He also is a tribute to Daryl’s story as told to Carol about the Cherokee Rose. Notice the flower on the walker’s um… lapel?
Number 9: Girl in the Trunk Walker
The Season 5 Girl in the Trunk Walker was one of my favorites. This poor young lady in wouldn’t have survived with or without a zombie apocalypse. Maggie finds her in a car they are searching, tied up and gagged in the trunk. No idea where her abductor ended up. Luckily the distraught Maggie didn’t get in the trunk with her. Having literally lost her entire family she was not really in a good place.
Number 8: Walkers on Fire/Burned
Walkers on fire are pretty amazing. With real smoke and flames, all of the charred or burning walkers have been great! I got burned walkers at every point on the list- so I averaged it out to Number 8. We had fires at Hershels’s barn, the prison, the cabin and Terminous where the walkers come out, blackened, flaming and were crazy to see. At the Grove Fire with Lizzie and Mica, the walkers literally smoked and sizzled. And the left over crispy critters in the Season 6 after the forest fire and Alexandria gasoline fire were super cool. Lots of black and red make-up used for these scenes! Fans love burning walkers so much that there is a cool walker fire scene in the new Universal Studios Hollywood Walking Dead Attraction too!
Number 7: Bowling Ball and Napalm Walkers
The Napalm walkers in Season 5 were really epic. In the parking lot of the hospital where the gang was going to save Beth and Carol, they all encounter walkers melted to the ground after what had been an apparent military strike. (Remember when they saw Atlanta bombed in Season 2?) At one point Daryl, always resourceful, picks up a walker head like a bowling ball and uses it as a weapon to take out a bad cop. Go Daryl!
Number 6: Floppy Jaw Walker and RPG Walker
When Alexandria was getting taken over by walkers, Season 6 Ep. 3, the Floppy Jaw Walker was my favorite. Not sure if he could actually bite you, but I wouldn’t get close enough to tell. This was one of my all-time favorite make-ups! In Episode 6 Abraham wanted the weapon that this walker had, but he had to crawl onto almost certain death on a highway overpass, to get it. Die? Not Abraham! He got the weapon and smoked a cigar to boot!
Number 5: Lizzie’s Friend
Lizzie, oh Lizzie, you need to look at the flowers now! Lizzie was one of the characters that could never get their mind wrapped around the walkers being dead, or undead. In Season 4 Ep. 14 she found a buddy in a walker lady and played tag with her. Normal right? A kid needs a friend to play with. Well then she went and killed her own sister. Bye, Bye Lizzie and friend.
Number 4: The Governors Fish Tanks
The Governor was suspected to be crazy all along, but when we get the first glimpse of him sitting in his Walker-Cave filled with aquariums full of heads in Season 3 Ep. 3, we realize that he is totally mad. It’s very unnerving hearing the bubbles and seeing that the heads are still moving. A bit of trivia, if you look closely, one of the heads is from the original “Jaws” movie!
Number 3: Tree Intestines Walker
Tree Intestines Walker from the beginning of Season 6 was both pathetic and amazing. We couldn’t tell if he got himself all tied up or if someone left him that way. But he still managed to grab Carter, a complaining Alexandrian, and bite him right in the face. He was helpful at least.
Number 2: Flare Gun Walker
The Flare Gun Walker from Season 5 Ep. 11 was spectacular! When Rick shoots a flare gun at this walker and it sticks in his eye, well that’s about 4th of July as you can get! We’re talkin’ fireworks. Well done Rick!
Number 1: Bicycle Girl and Well Walker
I thought maybe we would get some new winners with all the great SFX in The Walking Dead, but these walkers are still at the top. Bicycle Girl is from Season 1, Ep. 1. Just half a walker, dragging herself on the ground towards Rick, he starts to see clearly what the world has become. When Rick goes back and takes her out, we see the kind of man he is. Yeah I know that changes quick as his fight gets harder, and his leadership is questioned, but at first there was a lot of compassion in our sheriff. This walker has earned a permanent place for herself in the new TWD attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood. The Well Walker in Season 2 Ep. 4 has stayed a favorite even though it was also from early in the series. An especially gross, bloated kinda guy, he comes completely apart when removed from the well he fell into. Lots of walker slimy goodness and great work from cast and SFX crew.
Special Mention for a couple of my favorites: Tight Squeeze Walker, and Skin off His Back Walker. I guess as a SFX artist I loved these. There are cool videos showing how they did the effects. Tight Squeeze Walker had skin literally tear off his face and chest when he squeezed through a tight space between trucks. Skin of his Back Walker got his skin torn off by Tara, during what didn’t turn out to be a routine supply trip. What can I say, I love this stuff!
Honorable mentions for ones that didn’t make the list but were still Walkers to Remember: RV Walker, Field Walker, Bleeding Eyes Walker, Hanging Walkers, Grown into Tree Walkers, Meghan’s Mud Walkers, Morgan’s Wife, Shane, Eye Popping Walker and I’m sure there are many more.