Back in my youth amputations were the staple of swashbuckling yarns. The crack of the bone saw, the smell of tar and the sizzle of flesh was all you needed to transport yourself to the Spanish Maine or below decks at Trafalgar.
But along the way, something happened. Suddenly it was happening to all our heroes. Luke Skywalker, Dr Lawrence Gordon, Ashley J. Williams, and even Hiccup. Amputations are cool again.
It doesn’t take a huge leap in logic to see how this could apply to the zombie genre. The occasionally brilliant Last Blood webcomic sums it up in a single page. In a bid to halt zombification, cut out the bitten area. It might work, you’re desperate and you’ve got little to lose.
Of course Romero demonstrated this in Day of the Dead, but it was never determined if it had been successful. Braindead, Marvel Zombies and especially the Walking Dead present amputation as a simple moral choice. You lose a limb, you save a life.
Of course it’s never that easy. How many sterile rooms are left? Doctors would be some of the first groups decimated by the infected. Then there’s blood loss, shock and infection.
On the more practical side you’ve got little to lose and much to gain. Even if they do die and reanimate as a zombie, a zombie missing a limb is a much less terrifying foe.
I mean it’s not really the perfect win/win situation but it’s worth a shot.