The Walking Stench

Fans The Walking Dead have been following their favourite characters since 2010 when episode one was first screened. Since then we’ve all been on a journey filled with terror, sorrow, anger, hope and zombie guts.

But the fatigue that the ardent audience may experience at the end of each episode is nothing compared to the exhaustion that the characters would be feeling (if it were real).
You may have watched and wondered what it would be like to fight alongside Rick, Michonne and company. You may have questioned whether you would have the guts to risk your life for theirs? Could you survive on little to no food in such a meciless world? And also… What the hell would they all smell like?!

Something stinks about The Walking Dead

As gritty as it is, you can’t help but question certain things that seem a little too perfect in this apocalyptic landscape. Why Carol’s hair always the same length? How does Maggie keep her teeth so sparkly white? And how often does Glenn have to take a break from zombie crushing to have a good wet shave?

These problems aside, we couldn’t help but wonder what the characters would smell like in the flesh, so we called in specialist ‘smellologist’ Vince Langford to give his professional opinion on the subject. We made Vince watch some episodes of the show and give us the benefit of his 15 years of experience in the smelling game.

The Walking Stench smell experiments
“Definitely Rick’s pubes.”

How would they smell?

Rick Grimes


“Grimes by name, grimey by nature.

rick grimes smells smell
“Hand over your deoderant. NOW!”
Rick’s main problem would be his perspiration. He’s often seen in soaked t-shirts displaying tell-tale signs of profuse sweating which would undoubtedly have an affect on his odour. You wouldn’t have to get too close to this man before you could smell the hard times that he’s been through and given his size and amount of body hair, I suspect that his scent would be reminiscent of strong onions cooking in animal fat. His armpits and bottom crack would be the worst affected areas”.

Daryl Dixon

Stale clothing

Daryl Dixon smells walking dead
“Shhhh. A bit of wee just came out.”
“The thing that troubles me most about Daryl Dixon is that he never seems to change his clothes. Add to this the fact that he also perspires a good deal and spends a lot of his time getting dirty and you’ve got a bacterial playground in his undergarments.
Although Daryl is a favourite among female viewers of The Walking Dead, they would probably be a little put off if they met him in person as his odour would resemble that of a vagrant. One could assume that Daryl would of smell strongly of cheese with a sweet and unmistakeable undertone of urea. No doubt his close scrapes with the undead would have forced out a squirt or two into his trousers. Trousers which have thus far gone unwashed”.


Smelly feet

“Michonne generally suffers from the same problems faced by the rest of the group

Michonne smells
These boots are made for stinkin’.
with lack of laundry and hygene products. Contrary to popular belief, dreadlocks do not ‘clean themselves’ so her hair could be a source of bad smells, particularly in the warmer months.
However, it’s her leather boots that I decided to focus on in my study. They’re clearly very tired and have done a lot of walking (often with zombies on tow) and I wouldn’t like to be the person that has to smell what comes out of them at the end of a long day pacing the streets. It’s highly likely that warm moisture would have caused fungal growth creating a scent often likened to malt vinegar. They, like Daryl would also be likely to smell of cheese. Very strong, pungent, vinegary cheese”.


Bad breath

Maggie: “You keep your mouth down there mister”
“On the outside Glen looks to be one of the cleaner members of The Walking Dead crew. He is clean cut and often changes his outfit. However, I suspect that beneath that clean exterior lurks a foul perfume in the form of halitosis.
During his stay in the prison he suffered from an illness that almost killed him, one that would have caused him to vomit, and that vomit would have corroded his tooth enamel. Without a toothbrush to hand his mouth will soon have taken on the bouquet of a rotting pork sandwich. The likelihood of the bacteria causing issues such as cavities and absesses would be high, resulting in his breath becoming a festering emanation of puss, blood and decaying food matter.
It’s no wonder that Maggie is the only person that really goes near him. Perhaps she suffers from anosmia (loss of sense of smell)”.

That’s all for our exclusive analysis of your favourite Walking Dead characters for now. Thankfully we can watch them all from the relatively odorless comfort of our own homes very soon. The new season starts on AMC tonight in the US and tomorrow night on FX in the UK.


Tom Atkinson

Tom is one of the editors at Love Horror. He has been watching horror for a worryingly long time, starting on the Universal Monsters and progressing through the Carpenter classics. He has a soft-spot for eighties horror.More

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