Minions are a special class of people. To paraphrase Terry Pratchett, they are the ones who rush into the room ten minutes into the movie or by page 3 of the book to be slaughtered by the hero. They are so far down the social ladder as to be under the ground. They are usually regarded by their superiors (i.e. the chief villain) as being mere cannon fodder to keep the hero busy while he escapes/finishes his evil plot/laughs in the background. They have the constitution of a snowball being chucked into the Grand Canyon and all tend to dress alike; after all, its not like you want to disturb your hero by letting him kill people or anything. You rarely hear any mention of what their health (or life) insurance is like, do they have families, etc.. Another indication of their life quality is seen when the hero, after wading through scores of minions and rolling around in their blood, will finally catch up to the villain and then will refuse to kill him because "he wouldn't stoop to his level" and determines to be the better man by not killing the villain. If the hero was really all concerned about the loss of life and all that, shouldn't he have thought about that before murdering all those fathers, sons, brothers, etc.? At the very least, he should kill the villain so he couldn't hire any more minions for the hero to slaughter.
But more than hero fodder, you can tell who the bad guys of the current era are by what race/uniform/species the minions are. Usually, it's whoever we don't like at the time.
Back in the Wild West days, "Injuns" served the role of cannon fodder. Many a cowboy claims to have killed X men, not counting Injuns, either because there were too many of them or he didn't actually hit any of them. During World War II it was the Nazis, because, after all, how much worse can you get than a Nazi? Nazis managed to claim the role of villain/minions for decades, they were that evil. And easy to hate. Especially in this land of the free and brave and chronically insane, judging someone based on their race was totally uncool. Really.
Soviets have spent some time being minions but it was hard for them to oust the Nazis on the sheer uncoolness factor. And so we come to the modern era where everyone is trying to understand each other and that guy you're shooting at is just fighting for his country, just like you, and we really need to get over this warring idea. Or whatever.
Then someone came up with the perfect minions: ZOMBIES!!!!! They're not alive, they only think on a very animalistic level (if at all), and they manage to be worse than the Nazis in that they're like, impossible to stop, and there's none of this business of being just like us. You know, with blood flowing through their veins and cognitive processes and whatnot. You can kill as many of them as you want without your conscience tallying how many widows and orphans you're making.
Long live the Zombie Minions! In a five-second machine-gunfire way, of course.