Okay, watch out, unnecessary zombie-pro coming through.
Let me answer some questions, and/or misleading thoughts here.
The easiest general definition for a zombie is: Any living and/or re-living being controlled by means of a master, or object. This could include: being bound to slave work, flesh, or a new house. See definition for slave.
However, I feel the need to go deeper than that, and flesh out a few things.
: the cliche, slow moving, flesh eating undead. Shoot them in the 'brain' to kill, because they don't feel 'pain' anywhere else.
-Romero shamblers overtime began to gain knowledge of past lives, and regain memory. The usage of normal everyday objects became more useful, and began to have an actual thought process (Day, and Land show this best)
: The scarier and faster upgrade to the shambler. They are more aggressive, and more likely able to kill you. Although more frightening than the shambler, they are more fantastical to the zombie community; as they're not the classic Romero zombie.
-The 28 Days Later 'zombies' are not the normal zombies per'se, but instead normal humans. They never died, nor ever undied. They don't eat flesh, neither. They are simply humans infected with the Rage virus (which is basically "peace control", and ebola mixed together and gone horribly wrong) causing them to beat the hell out of whatever is in their way.
- How they'd be likely to come about: There are many stories/movies/books that give many different situations and answers. Satellites from outer space, comets, viruses, toxins, no more room in hell, 'evil voodoo'. None are 'certain' except to their own pertaining universe.
: are much different than the ones above. They are the more realistic, as well, because they're real. They are not undead, but they still follow one master, and are brought about by a powder from puffer fish (which "kills" a person), and psychoactive drugs which leave the victim with no will of their own. They do not eat the living, and more of slaves to whoever 'raises' them.
um....um...some zombies don't eat animals (Dawn of the Dead--they didn't eat chips the dog)
And some do; Night of the Living Dead, a few put mice in their mouths.
does that mean Frankenstein's monster is just a glorified zombie
Eh. I'd just call him more of a monster. He's got a mind of his own, which tears him away from the zombie definition. I guess an abomination?
also, were the 28 days later rage infectees really zombies or were they just really angry?...
Really, really angry. Take the core chemical that creates rage in the brain, mix it with ebola, and then shove it into your blood stream. That's 28 Days Later for you. Red Slayer is correct in what they say. They should also read the comic book "28 Days Later: Aftermath".
I saw a place that claimed animated skeletons was just zombies that had decomposed so badly there was nothing left but the bones. Is it just me or does that sound ..wrong somehow?
That just sounds foolish. The brain is what keeps them alive.
Would the zombie re-die when its body began to fall apart too badly to keep it moving, or is there something preventing that?
It'd die, as the body is also dead, and over time, rotting.
In the Return of the Living Dead series, the original zombie was sort of, eh, pickled? in Trioxin. Those zombies are HARD to kill, harder than rabid weasels, for sure.
Those zombies were completely insane. Had it not been for RotLD2, we'd have no idea how to kill them, and be utterly destroyed. Except, of course, if we just nuked ourselves.
Uh Hmm.. yeah.. soo.. okay. Later.