4 times Greg Nicotero snuck tribute walkers into The Walking Dead

the walking dead

Image via @gnicotero: Nose and torso designed by John Wheaton at KNB @thewalkingdeadamc make up applied by Kevin Wasner

With The Walking Dead finishing up it’s seventh season recently, we wanted to dive deep and look into the zombie tributes and easter eggs that Greg Nicotero (Head of the FX Department) and his crew have sneakily incorporated into many of the episodes. For those who do spot it, it will no doubt evoke a warm, fuzzy feeling of nostalgia as they bring characters from your favourite horror movies back from the dead. Many of these cameos are so quick, that they are often missed. As Ferris Bueller once said, “If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Consequently, we’ve done our best to give you a bit of a closer look at some of our favourites. Perhaps it will add that little special something when you rewatch the episodes.

“I put them in because I love doing them for us. You do thousands of make-ups and to have an opportunity to recreate a make-up or a character that you just loved, that inspired you, it’s sort of my nerd-version of paying back.” – Greg Nicotero


the walking dead

S07E09 // Day of the Dead – Dr. Tongue

Greg Nicotero got his start in the fx business alongside Tom Savini in George Romero’s Day of the Dead. It’s no surprise then that he paid tribute to his early days this season by recreating a version of Dr. Tongue, the first zombie from that infamous title scene. You can also catch a closer glimpse of his recreation on his Instagram (@gnicotero). 


the walking dead

S04E09 // An American Werewolf in London – Jack

During the mid-season premiere of Season 4, a familiar face popped up. Fans set the forums ablaze, screenshotting and proclaiming the cameo they happened to catch. Nicotero set out to create the re-animated corpse of Jack Goodman as his tribute to Rick Baker and the work done on An American Werewolf in London. Sculpted ever so skilfully by Norman Cabrera, it’s a shame we didn’t get to see a glimpse more of it.


the walking dead

S06E06 // Bernie Wrightson – The Swamp Thing

One of the more beautiful zombies of the series was inspired by comic and horror legend Bernie Wrightson and the character that he co-created, The Swamp Thing. After that, they also dedicated the recent season 7 finale to him after his passing on March 18. “In Episode 6 of Season 6 of The Walking Dead, “Always Accountable,” one of the walkers featured in the episode was intended as a tribute to Wrightson’s art. Executive producer, director, and special effects make-up artist Greg Nicotero based the zombie’s design off of Wrightson’s Swamp Thing character.” (Romper)


the walking dead

S03E05 // Dawn of the Dead – Flyboy

During Season 3, Merle Dixon comes face to face with a few flesh eaters in the Governor’s fighting arena and if you look closely, one of those zombies looks a hell of a lot like Steven ‘Flyboy’ Andrews from the original Dawn of the Dead. It’s become a favourite of Nicotero’s and was thrown in as an easter egg while he was directing the episode.

All ‘The Walking Dead’ images are property of AMC / BTS Shots via @gnicotero on instagram.