Greg Nicotero was born to bring Robert Kirkman’s walkers to life on the small screen.

As a professional makeup artist, Nicotero started working on films like Day of the Dead and Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2 before The Walking Dead. Not only is he in charge of the makeup, but he’s also an executive producer and one of the show’s directors.

Overall, the makeup specialist has been given some freedom on the show to design the walkers however he sees fit. Within that freedom, he’s taken some liberties and tossed in a few Easter eggs for die-hard horror fans. Some of these bones resemble the same films that inspired the creator, Robert Kirkman when writing the series.

Homage to Horror’s Best Zombies

Rather than adding recognizable stars to the show, The Walking Dead has chosen to include zombie cameos instead. Nicotero continues to thrill viewers by including homages to his favorite horror films and favorite zombies.

Walking Dead Salutes | Photo Courtesy Dread CentralWalking Dead Salutes | Photo Courtesy Dread Central

Some of these undead Easter eggs include a walker missing the lower jaw. It would appear that her lower jaw had been ripped away, leaving the tongue to hang free. As one of the more memorable walkers, this Season 1, Episode 4 walker honored one of Nicotero’s first jobs on set: George Romero’s Day of the Dead.

Nicotero is credited as being Tom Savini’s assistant on the film. That day, way back when, Savini developed the original hanging tongue, now known as Dr. Tongue, which was the first zombie revealed in Day of the Dead.

Walking Dead Salutes | Photo Courtesy Dread CentralWalking Dead Salutes | Photo Courtesy Dread Central

On another occasion where The Walking Dead honored a classic film, Nicotero revealed one of the most iconic zombies from the original, Dawn of the Dead. In Season 3, Episode 5, this walker was a version of Stephen “Flyboy” Andrews, where he appears in a scene where Merle is forced to fight for his life within the Governor’s walker-fighting, gladiator arena.

Walking Dead Salutes | Photo Courtesy Dread CentralWalking Dead Salutes | Photo Courtesy Dread Central

In another chilling moment, when viewers were allowed to see within the Governor’s walker-head-museum, this linked with Ben Gardner’s head in the Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. In the film, Gardner’s head comes out of the hull within the sunken boat.

Walking Dead Salutes | Photo Courtesy Dread CentralWalking Dead Salutes | Photo Courtesy Dread Central

In Season 3, Episode 15, Nicotero directs ‘This Sorrowful Life.’ Daryl is forced to kill his walker brother, Earl. Before this scene, however, we see Merle in a car where he blasts the radio to draw the attention of the nearby walkers. One of the walkers looks a great deal like the “Plaid Shirt Zombie” from Dawn of the Dead. Both Jaws and Dawn of the Dead were major influences for Nicotero.

Walking Dead Salutes | Photo Courtesy Dread CentralWalking Dead Salutes | Photo Courtesy Dread Central

Again, in the mid-season finale of the fourth season, the walker that bites the neck of the Governor’s daughter, Meghan looks a lot like the biter named Tarman in Return of the Living Dead. The scene also honors Lucio Fulci’s film Zombie, where a dirty, maggot-filled walker is trying to rise from the ground.

As the new season takes off, be sure to stay tuned for other future zombie homages as its obvious that Nicotero will continue to deliver these Easter eggs for die-hard fans of horror classics.