%%Page picture is a detail from ''Trapped in the Labyrinth'' by Guy Gentry,
%%an illustration for ''Call of Cthulhu: Arkham Edition''
%%source: http://www.epilogue.net/cgi/database/art/view.pl?id=71539
[[quoteright:273:[[TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Ghouls_labyrinth_sm.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:273:[[Creator/HPLovecraft Modeling for Mr. Pickman]]]]

->''They are neither man nor woman\\
They are neither brute nor human\\
They are Ghouls''
-->-- '''Creator/EdgarAllanPoe'''

Much like [[AllTrollsAreDifferent trolls]], ghouls are one of the least consistently portrayed creatures in fiction, partly because the phrases "ghoul" and "ghoulish" are poorly defined terms that can refer to anything or anybody interested in the macabre and morbid, giving writers the ability to name almost any cannibalistic, flesh-eating or just creepy monster after them.

Besides being creatures associated with death, [[ImAHumanitarian cannibalism]], and degeneracy, ghouls (as monsters) can come in a plethora of types and subtypes. Some of the more common varieties include;

* [[FleshEatingZombie Zombie Ghouls]] -- Flesh-eating undead, either your standard zombie [[NotUsingTheZedWord by another name]], or a specific zombie derivative. When the two coexist, the ghouls will generally be the more bestial and savage of the two, and more willing to eat rotten flesh. Perhaps the zombie will be subject to magical control, like the old voodoo zombies. Garden-variety [[OurWightsAreDifferent re-animated corpses]] may count as these.
* [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Vampiric Ghouls]] -- Either created by vampires as a [[TheRenfield servant]], or just a relative or offshoot of the standard vampire. They vary from immortal (if twisted) humans to mindless zombie minions to beings more powerful than vampires themselves. See especially the Ghouls supplements for ''TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade''.
* [[Franchise/CthulhuMythos Lovecraftian Ghouls]] -- Ghouls as a living and non-human species, often with distinctive canine muzzle and ears, and with a pale or greenish cast. Other types of ghouls as their own living race do occasionally appear in other media.
* [[{{Mutants}} Mutant Ghouls]] -- Former humans who have been transformed into a [[TheHorde ravenous horde]] of monsters or a barely sentient CannibalClan by TheVirus, [[ILoveNuclearPower radiation]], or being [[TouchedByVorlons touched]] by some EldritchAbomination.
* [[BeastMan Mythic Ghouls]] -- Similar to the Mutant Ghouls, but transformed by magic or divine punishment rather than radiation. Not very common anymore but for a long time one of the most common types. Typically punished for inhuman acts such as greed, murder, or often cannibalism, these former men are still alive, but turned into flesh-eating monsters that typically haunt graveyards. Often growing razor-sharp claws, fangs and/or muzzles, long limbs and a lot of hair. Compare the {{Wendigo}}
* [[OurDemonsAreDifferent Demonic Ghouls]] -- The original ''ghul'' of Arabic lore was a demonic [[YouAreWhoYouEat child-eating shape-shifting]] jinn that inhabited graveyards. Only rarely, however, do ghouls get such a degree of supernatural power in modern fiction.

See also: OurGoblinsAreDifferent, OurZombiesAreDifferent, OurVampiresAreDifferent, {{Mutants}}, TheMorlocks, {{Wendigo}}.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In the anime/manga series ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'', ghouls are zombie-like creatures that are created when a vampire drains the blood of someone who is [[VirginPower not a virgin]]. If fatally wounded, they instantly crumble to dust. They are under the control of the vampire who bites them, eat human flesh, and are ''just'' intelligent enough to use firearms but little else.
* In ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}'', "ghoul" is a stage of turning into a vampire, between the mindless "living dead" (a zombie, for all intents and purposes) and a full-fledged vampire.
* In ''Manga/RosarioToVampire'' OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent Tsukune is temporarily able to become a vampire and defend himself if his girlfriend's [[SuperpoweredEvilSide Superpowered Badass Side]] injects him with her blood. However, she warns him that there may be side effects to this -- and as it turns out, one possible side effect is transformation into a ghoul. [[spoiler:Normally, ghouls are violently insane, but if their power is [[PowerLimiter properly bound]], they can retain their human personalities. They're almost as powerful as vampires, and lack vampiric [[WeaksauceWeakness weaknesses]], so they're potentially the most dangerous monsters of all.]] Notably, [[spoiler:the leader of the villains in season 1 is a ghoul as well, and [[ShadowArchetype was once very much like Tsukune]]. He despises monsters for nearly destroying his sanity, and he wants to see the barrier come down so that a new war will start and many monsters will die in it.]]
* In ''Manga/BlueExorcist'', Ghouls are lesser demons possessing the corpses of human and animals.
* The ghouls of ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'' are essentially superhumans with an [[HorrorHunger insatiable]] need for human flesh. They look exactly like normal humans, but possess heightened senses, superior physical abilities, a HealingFactor, a retractable predatory limb that often resembles tentacles or energy wings, and a GameFace with [[BlackEyesOfEvil black sclera]] and [[RedEyesTakeWarning red pupils]]. Just like humans, they range from monstrous psychopaths to gentle pacifists and everything in between. But since the only thing they can eat is human (or Ghoul) flesh, they are hunted by humans and live in fear of being discovered. The series focuses on an ordinary human transformed into a HalfHumanHybrid as a result of an organ transplant, something once thought impossible. [[spoiler: The BigBad turns out to be a natural HalfHumanHybrid, as it is possible for a human woman and a male Ghoul to have children if she eats human flesh during her pregnancy]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Similar to how many plots would end with, or feature prominently, a [[FurAgainstFang vampire / werewolf confrontation]], a number of stories from various horror comics published in the '50s, '60s, and '70s depicted a natural rivalry between humanoid, flesh-eating ghouls and their blood-drinking vampire competitors. As the modern pop culture perception of the "Romero zombie" became commonplace, however, such depictions quickly fell out of vogue.
* "Nightmare Merchant", a story from ''Strange Fantasy'' (a pre-[[UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode Code]] horror comic) depicted a cooperative relationship between vampires and ghouls, with the ghoulish "bloodman" delivering bottled blood to suburban vampires, like a milkman.
-->"Vampires pay him for blood by giving him the bodies of victims! V-victims -- l-like... US!!"
* While he's never called a ghoul, Buzzard from ''ComicBook/TheGoon'' is a "reverse zombie" -- an immortal (living) gunslinger that must eat the flesh of the dead -- including zombies -- to survive. He was created when an evil sorceror unthinkingly cast a zombie-raising spell on a living human rather than a corpse.
* In the ''ComicBook/{{Fables}}'' spin-off miniseries ''Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love'', Literature/{{Cinderella}} and Literature/{{Aladdin}} face off against ghoul henchmen. These ghouls are the ones from the original Arabic myth: huge, superstrong shapeshifters.
* In ''ComicBook/LeRoiCyclope'', ghouls are a race of friendly, living creatures who feast on the dead.
* German poet Robert Gernhardt takes the inconsistency thing UpToEleven, his cartoon translating loosely as "They are ghouls - they kill without a sound - but in private, they party hard."

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Some ghouls and ghasts hang around the ruined city on the Plains of Death in ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached''. The Hunter tells the four not to let themselves be touched by them, as their touch causes paralysis, so they're right out of the [[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons AD&D Monster Manual]]. Ringo, [[MindOverMatter who beats the crap out of them from a safe distance]], says they feel like "squishy rotten meat."
* ''Fanfic/RosarioVampireBrightestDarkness'' has an in-universe example with Tsukune's [[SuperpoweredEvilSide ghoul]]. While most ghouls are little more than mindless beasts, Tsukune's ghoul is mentioned to [[JekyllAndHyde represent his dark side]] and thus has its own personality, allowing it to [[ItCanThink think and plan]]. At one point, it actually infects Kokoa with a portion of its essence as a contingency plan; the others are completely taken aback that it was even capable of infecting others, as no other ghoul has been able to, or at least had the mental capacity to think of doing so.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/{{Blade}}'': Sometimes when a vampire infects someone, it goes wrong and creates a sentient zombie-type ghoul instead. Said ghouls are stated to eat ''anything'', including vampires.
* The ''Film/IAmLegend'' film has "Darkseekers", aggressive and light-sensitive humans mutated by a cancer cure, who are essentially mutant ghouls.
* In the original ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead1968'', [[NotUsingTheZWord the word "zombie" wasn't used]]; instead the reanimated corpses were called "ghouls".
* ''Film/VampireInBrooklyn'': The eponymous vampire makes a ghoul servant out of a man by making him drink his blood. [[spoiler:The ghoul turns into a vampire by wearing his then-destroyed master's ring]].
* "Film/TheBabadook" is listed as a ghoul on Wikipedia[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_monster_movies]] and would be of the demonic ghoul sort, only without the graveyards and it'summoned from a pop-up book.

* One folklore story about the origins of ghouls goes: the originals were the students of a powerful sage who, envious of the sage's favorite student, murdered the favorite, then cooked and ate the body to hide it. When the students returned, the sage asked the students where the favorite was. When the students lied, the sage caused the favorite to speak, from the stomachs of the students that had eaten him. Angered, the sage cast them out, and cursed them into becoming ghouls, forced forever to be monsters that ate the dead and dwelt in darkness, as well as giving ghouls a weakness: any ghoul who devours a tongue dies a slow, agonizing death.
* ''Less'' creepy example: In the folktale of "The Ghul's Daughter", a ghul shows mercy to a human girl whose family have been murdered, and gives her some of his powers. An OlderThanPrint subversion of AlwaysChaoticEvil?
* In Arabian legends from which they originate, ghouls typically belong to two different groups: evil djinns that eat human corpses, and mostly ordinary humans who for some reason lust the flesh of the dead.

* In a ''Literature/GiveYourselfGoosebumps'' book, one of the people trapped forever at the Carnival of Horrors claims to be a "ghoul" rather than a "ghost."
* Ghouls in the ''Literature/FightingFantasy'' universe are rotting {{Flesh Eating Zombie}}s with the power to paralyse their victims. ''Fighting Fantasy'' uses the word "zombie" to refer specifically to {{Voodoo Zombie}}s.
* ''Literature/LoneWolf'':
** The Zaaryx ghouls from the book ''The Cauldron of Fear'' are emaciated flesh-eating undead, although still smart enough to use rusty weapons. One of them, however, is more mutated than the other and has dangerous PsychicPowers, apparently the result of the dead body it was formed with wearing a [[AmplifierArtifact Psychic]] {{Ring|OfPower}}.
** ''The Master of Darkness'' features Helgedad Ghouls, bloated humanoids with wicked claws and eyes sewed shut, the result of some Darklord experiment. Though never human to begin with, they're probably undead too, but it's hard to tell for sure since it's in a part of the book were pulling out the Sommerswerd (an [[WeaponOfXSlaying undead slayer]]) is unsafe.

* ''The Throne of Bones'' by Brian [=McNaughton=] revolves mainly around ghouls, many of whom are main characters. A mix of Lovecraftian and Mythic ghouls, [=McNaughton=] expands their voracious appetite to sexuality as well as corpse-feeding. Also detailed is the [[spoiler: ability of ghouls to take memories and sensations from the corpses they eat.]] Furthermore, [[spoiler: if a ghoul eats the heart and brain of a person, this transforms the ghoul into an exact duplicate of whoever they have eaten. This makes for some interesting stories, especially if the person the ghoul eats had a strong personality, causing the ghoul to be "stuck" as that person.]]
* The ''Literature/AnitaBlake'' series contains some variety of ghoul. Wiki/TheOtherWiki says they were the result of evil rites being performed in a graveyard, and that they formed animalistic packs.
* In R.L. Stine's ''[[Literature/{{Goosebumps}} Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls]]'', ghouls are depicted as non-corporeal green mists that were humans at one time, and are able to steal bodies.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' has a species of ghouls. They are an intelligent and civilized humanoid race most known for their incredibly refined sense of taste (as in food, not aesthetics). At one point, Carrot was considering getting a ghoul for the Watch forensics department, as long as they promised not to take anything home and eat it.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'' has ghouls, although they are merely harmless, non-sentient humanoid pests that take up residence in wizarding attics. The Weasleys had one living in their attic, which they treat more-or-less as a pet. Becomes useful in ''Deathly Hallows'', when they alter its appearance by magic so it can pass as a ''very'' sick Ron.
* Creator/HPLovecraft, as mentioned above. The greenish pallor, rubbery skin, canine muzzle, pointed ears and hooflike clawed feet are all characteristic. However, even within his stories their portrayal varies.
** In "Pickman's Model", ghouls are depicted as horrible and potentially dangerous canine-humanoids, capable of growing to titanic sizes, who live in a complicated network of underground tunnels and raid graves for food from the bottom up. They also leave their own young as [[ChangelingTale changelings]] in the place of human children. The young ghoul grows up to resemble a human, but retains a ghoulish mindset, while the fate of the human child is vague. Ghouls also apparently have a morbid sense of humor.
** In ''Literature/TheDreamQuestOfUnknownKadath'' ghouls ([[spoiler:now including Mr. Pickman, who has evidently retired from the world of art in favor of the underworld]]) are shown more sympathetically, and they even aid Mr. Carter. The ghouls demonstrate that they can travel between our world and the dreamlands, and that they even ceremonially discard bones from the Crag of the Ghouls into the Vale of Pnath. Later additions to the Franchise/CthulhuMythos have given ghouls their own culture, a [[EldritchAbomination god]] called Mordiggian, priests and temples.
** This contradicts ''Dream-Quest'' which explicitly states that the ghouls have no overlords, and answer to no god. Randolph Carter assumes that this means that the [[EldritchAbomination Other Gods]] wouldn't be able to stop them from reaching the Unknown Kadath; no such luck.
** Mordiggan probably originates from Creator/ClarkAshtonSmith's short story, "The Charnel God", which features a deity by this name served by masked priests who claim right to all dead bodies in their city. They turn out to be creatures very much like Lovecraft's ghouls, and [[spoiler: while they come off as sinister at first, they end up saving the protagonist from evil necromancers]]. Lovecraft and Smith were friends and often borrowed elements from each other's stories (indeed, Lovecraft's stories made occasional references to an ancient Atlantean priest named Klarkash'Ton), so this was most likely a direct reference to Lovecraft's ghouls. Smith's Zothique cycle does not share the setting with Lovecraft's Dreamlands, though.
** Ghasts, a far more deadly species that coexists in the dreamland underworld with ghouls, are described as semi-humanoids with hooves and kangaroo-like legs. Though "ghast" originally was a synonym for "ghost", the word is often used to describe ghouls, or a type of ghoul, in other media, possibly due to HPL's influence.
** Lovecraft also wrote "The Lurking Fear", a story featuring creatures that lay somewhere between this trope and Morlocks. [[spoiler: Specifically, they'd fall into the "Mutant Ghoul" category, being the degenerate CannibalClan descendants of an inbred backwoods family that retreated underground.]]
* In Creator/FritzLeiber's ''Literature/FafhrdAndTheGrayMouser'' stories, ghouls are a humanoid race that just so happen to have transparent skin, muscles, and organs, giving them the appearance of [[DemBones animated skeletons]]... oh, and they just so happen to be cannibals too. Which is because of their own twisted belief that their transparent flesh is a sign of their "enlightened" status and [[WhiteMansBurden they owe it to the "lesser" races to enlighten them as well by transmuting their flesh through digestion]].
* Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Count Saint Germain novels depicts the count as a vampire. His manservant Roger is a ghoul Saint Geramain created in Roman times. Roger is apparently immortal, and stronger than a normal human. His only requirement is that he only eats raw meat. So he buys chickens, cuts it up, and eats it with knife and fork like a civilized person rather than tear at it with his teeth.
* The ghouls of ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' are humanoid beasts that look like someone mixed a baboon with a hyena in their natural form. They have minor shapeshifting powers, just enough to pass as human most of the time. They eat human meat, a LOT of human meat. They also have a HealingFactor, but can be killed by sufficiently bad injuries. [[spoiler: There is also some sort of primitive, supersized, armor-plated mega-ghoul running around. They can completely regenerate after being reduced to the consistency of chunky salsa.]]
* The deep-men of ''Literature/TheReynardCycle'' are [[TheMorlocks cannibalistic albinos who live beneath the earth]]. Southerners call them ghouls. Even ''[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Isengrim]]'' is scared of them.
* ''The Literature/{{Ringworld}} Engineers'' introduces the Ghouls (so named by Louis Wu), a carrion-eating hominid offshoot who are the Ring's garbage collectors, long-range communicators, information brokers and undertakers. Yes, they eat the dead. No, the other races don't object: that's their job. The ghouls are arguably more intelligent than most humanoid species and perfectly willing to follow whatever funerary customs the locals wish, as long as those customs don't render the corpse inedible. They're capable of ''rishathra'' (interspecies sex), though they don't get many volunteers; even aside from the squick factor, most humanoids consider ghouls to have ''extremely'' bad breath.
* In ''Literature/WorldWarZ'', in addition to undead zombies, there are ''living'' humans who have gone mad and convinced themselves that being a zombie is safer than being alive, dipping into this trope. These "quislings" act just like Zombie Ghouls and are still breathing like Mutant Ghouls.
* In ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', it's no coincidence that the BlackSpeech word for "ring wraith" is [=Naz'=]''gul'', though these are actually halfway between ghost and lich.[[note]]''nazg'' is "ring" (cf. the Ring inscription "''Ash nazg durbatulûk...''"); ''(g)ûl'' could be "wraith", or could be a loanword from [[ConLang Sindarin]] ''gul'' meaning "sorcerer" or "sorcery" (cf. a lot of placenames eg. ''Minas Morgul'', "Tower of Black Sorcery"); [[Creator/JRRTolkien Prof. Tolkien]] constructed the Elvish languages in a way that makes it look like old human languages have elvish loanwords in them: hence ''gûl'' becomes Arabic ''ghul'' (wraith, ghoul), and ''gul'' becomes Persian ''gul'' (sorcerer, illusion, from which English ''gull'' as in ''gullible'').[[/note]]
* In the ''Literature/NightHuntress'' series, ghouls are a sister race to vampires, created when a human drinks vampire blood during life and is given a ghoul heart transplant after death. They retain their same personalities. They must eat human flesh on occasion but generally stick to raw meat. They can only be killed by decapitation.
* In ''Literature/TheElricSaga'', ghouls drain the strength of those they touch, possibly the inspiration for ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' ghouls. They are, however, summoned from another world, rather than undead.
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's ''Literature/HourOfTheDragon'' they are humanoid, man-eating forest critters living in northern Argos.
* In ''Literature/TheVampyresOfHollywood'' there is a ghoul, named Ghul, who's an EvilAlbino and the servant of Lilith.
* In ''Literature/TheGraveyardBook'', ghouls are seemingly mischievous, about the size and build of children, but turn out to be very menacing. Every graveyard has a ghoul-gate, which you really ought to stay away from. They live in the underground city of Ghulheim and take their names after the main course of their first meal, including "The Famous Creator/VictorHugo" and "The [[UsefulNotes/HarryTruman 33rd]] [[OurPresidentsAreDifferent President of the United States]]." Since the book is a WholePlotReference to ''Literature/TheJungleBook'', the ghouls effectively take the place of the monkeys (or "bandar-log"), and their scavenged names are modeled on the Disney ''Jungle Book'' film naming the bandar-log's leader "King Louis".
* Jack Prelutsky's children's-poetry book ''Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep'' includes a poem titled "The Ghoul", and combined with Arnold Lobel's illustration it is indeed the stuff of nightmares. You can read it [[http://the-haunted-closet.blogspot.com/2008/09/nightmares-poems-to-disturb-your-sleep.html here]].
* Creatures known as "raveners" fitting the description of ghouls appear briefly in ''Literature/TheMalloreon''. They chase the protagonists for a while but are eventually flee when approaching the seaside. Beldin supposes that it might be because the sea is "the only thing hungrier than they are".
* In ''Literature/TheWarGods'' ghouls were bred from trolls by evil wizards. They are substantially smarter than trolls, living in villages, making stone tools and weapons and breeding livestock and are ''very'' fast and nearly as large (about eight feet tall compared to trolls ten). They retain however trolls viciousness, ravening hunger and capacious breeding capacity.
* In ''Literature/TheCrescentMoonKingdoms'' ghuls are summoned and come in different varieties, and are usually made from various materials such as bone, sand, or water combined with something symbolic of taint such as maggots. The worst are the legendary skin ghuls which are completely immortal and can only be defeated by killing the summoner. Unlike the others, skin ghuls are created by curses from a decapitated head that has been animated with black magic.
* ''Literature/TheCrystal'' has a horde of ghouls attack at the end. [[spoiler: The title PlotDevice is used to help get rid of them.]]
* Lovecraft-style ghouls have appeared in the ''Literature/{{Nightside}}'' and ''Literature/SecretHistories'' novels of Creator/SimonRGreen. They're actually rather friendly creatures for corpse-scavengers, eagerly hiring themselves out to [[ExtremeOmnivore chow down on garbage, slain monster carcasses, toxic waste or anything else]] that the various supernatural beings and factions of the Greenverse [[CleanupCrew need to dispose of]].
* Ghuls in ''Literature/{{Mithgar}}'' are evil creatures under [[GodOfEvil Gyphon's]] domain; whether they're a relative of [[OurOrcsAreDifferent the Spawn]] or a weak form of [[OurDemonsAreDifferent demon]], nobody in-universe is entirely sure. They resemble pale, gaunt humans, and being rather more intelligent than most of Gyphon's creatures, they tend to act as the officers of his armies. Their most distinctive feature is how difficult they are to kill; aside from a handful of {{Achilles Heel}}s (including fire, beheading, and being staked through the heart) they can tank almost any injury and keep going at full strength - and they typically wear metal collars and breastplates in order to reduce the risk of some of these.
* ''Literature/MordantsNeed'' has ghouls that are green, child-like creatures that absorb every living being they touch and multiply by splitting themselves like bacteria.
* The ghouls that appear in Caitlin R Kiernan's ''Threshold'' and ''Low Red Moon'' novels were influenced by Lovecraft. The ghouls are beings with canine-like faces and orange eyes that come from another world through dimensional portals. Capable of interbreeding with humans, they are also experts in sorcery and will kidnap human children to raise as hired agents to do their bidding.
* In Creator/TanithLee's ''Literature/TalesFromTheFlatEarth'', ghouls are powerful supernatural beings that appear as beautiful humans and are incredibly gifted at love-making. They are an evil race and enjoy eating humans as a delicacy. Ghouls were a dying race reduced to a mere handful, since they practice incestuous breeding at the brother and sister level. Ghouls can interbreed with humans though the resulting offspring are weaker than a pure ghoul with succeeding generations further degenerating. The mightiest ghouls are nearly indestructible as no spell or physical force can harm them, a way to defeat one is to shine a light at it and then cut out its shadow. Its supernatural nature makes the shadow a corporeal thing and without a shadow, a ghoul is helpless and can be killed with normal means. The entire race meet their end when they annoy the demon princess, Azhriaz the Night's Daughter, who magically seal them within their city and they turn on each other, succumbing eventually to cannibalism or starvation.
* In ''Literature/TheIronTeeth'' web serial, ghouls are creatures that originate from infected humans. When transformed, ghouls are extremely pale and skinny with black eyes and blood. They retain some degree of intelligence, and use their resemblance to humans in order to infiltrate human settlements and kidnap people in the midst of the night. Their body fluids are contagious, and the only way to prevent infection is the ingestion of garlic and silver.
* Lovecraftian-inspired ghouls are common in the post-Big Uneasy world of ''Literature/DanShambleZombiePI'', although less so than zombies, vampires or werewolves. A trio of ghouls work for the medical examiner, and Dan's building manager and the cook at his usual diner are of this Unnatural type. Although they do crave human flesh, ghouls which have appeared in the series are usually (barring the odd "misplaced" medical specimen) content with human-flavored chicken products marketed for monsters.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Ghouls in ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' are of the Arabian demon variety and take the appearance of the last person they have fed upon. Though to give an actual reason for why they have to be killed (saying that they desecrate human remains would be a bit weak when the Winchesters have to have burned a whole ''cemetery'' by this point) the ones they encounter have started eating living people. Funnily enough the second set of ghouls they encounter are ''also'' perfectly happy to eat the living. What, did a ghoul write an awesome new recipe book for fresh meat in the last few years?
* ''Series/TalesFromTheCrypt'':
** A sleazy reporter becomes dinner for the charitable organization known as the [[FunwithAcronyms Grateful Homeless Outcasts and Unwanted Layaway Society]] while investigating the murders of the city's homeless population in the episode "Mournin' Mess".
** "House of Horror" features some fraternity pledges going into a supposedly haunted house for their final test. The pledgemaster even invited some sorority girls to watch to make potential failure more humiliating. Little did the fraternity realize that they were an all-Ghoul sorority, who eat frat guys as part of their pledging.

* "The Darlings of Lumberland" by Music/TheyMightBeGiants is about ghouls with "cold, dead hand[s]" and "empty hollow sockets [which] freeze the soldiers where they stand."
* Music/AliceCooper's ''Ghouls gone wild''
* The thrash metal band Music/{{Ghoul}} is based around this trope.

* Unsurprisingly, these are a staple in Creator/DataEastPinball's ''Pinball/TalesFromTheCrypt''

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/{{Wrestlicious}} Ghouls Gone Wild, who were really {{in name only}} but the someone couldn't resist the pun. White Magic was a [[HollywoodVoodoo Bokor]] and Wrestling/{{D|affney Unger}}raculetta was a vampire.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The portrayal of the Lovecraftian ghouls in ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu'' varies widely, mirroring the source material. Sometimes they are savage corpse eaters with no redeeming virtues, and other times they are intelligent and even show human emotions and attitudes. The ''Dreamlands'' supplement introduced ghasts.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' has [[LoadsAndLoadsOfRaces quite a few examples]].
** Most editions of ''D&D'' have ghouls who are feral, scavenging undead who are not disinclined to picking on fresh meat if it looks like it'll be good pickings. Their attacks are both poisonous (generally a paralyzing agent to subdue living prey in a hurry) and prone to spreading disease. A Ghast is a tougher, more martially inclined ghoul with a few extra tricks, but is largely the same concept.
** Some sources, including the 2nd ed ''Al-Qadim'', feature ghouls (or ghuls) based on the ghoul of Arabic myth. It's an undead genie with powerful magic and shapeshifting abilities.
** The Fiend Folio for third edition also features the Maurezhi, a race of demons that eats the corpse as well as the soul of its victims, which makes it stronger and allows it to take the deceased person's form. Along with it is the abyssal ghoul, first introduced in ''City of the Spider Queen'', which is like the undead ghoul, but with demonic powers.
** ''TabletopGame/D20Modern'' brings it all full circle, in that its zombies are simply the traditional Voodoo type, but its ghouls are straight out of [[Film/NightOfTheLivingDead1968 Romero's playbook.]]
** ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' ghouls follow ''D&D'''s example and also take inspiration from Creator/HPLovecraft and his Literature/CthulhuMythos, giving them an underground kingdom and a hatred of the more powerful ghasts, even bringing in the minor Mythos race, the gugs, as their natural predators. There are also "ghuls", a separate monster, and effectively an undead genie, more closely modeled on the Arabic lore.
* The Ghouls in ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' are [[{{mutants}} metahumans]] who contracted a virus that 1) blinded them, 2) deformed them, 3) shunted them halfway into the astral plane, 4) made flesh a dietary requirement. Often ends up making the poor character either a monster, evil or (if they are lucky) a tougher shadowrunner.
* ''TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade'' and its successor ''TabletopGame/VampireTheRequiem'':
** Ghouls are the mortal servants of vampires. Regularly consuming a little bit of the blood of their vampire masters grants them a few supernatural powers, but it also makes them slaves to the vampire's will and particularly prone to mental illness and other gruesome drawbacks. There're even entire ghoul families (which ''Masquerade'' calls revenants), who are particularly unwholesome sorts even by ghoul standards.
** There's also a bloodline of special black magic vampires in ''Masquerade'', the Nagaraja, who have to eat human flesh in addition to drinking blood. Though not referred to as ghouls, between the magic and the cannibalism they much more closely resemble the ghouls of mid east myth.
** The ''Wicked Dead'' sourcebook for ''Requiem'' also features the mythic variety of ghul, which feed on corpses (some of which they make themselves) and have the ability to take on the form of their meals. It's disgusting, but they do get quite a few neat powers, and if you really want to live forever, being a ghul is probably a better [sic] option than vampirism.
* Ghouls in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} '' are the degenerate descendants of humans who were driven to cannibalism. Though not supernatural creatures themselves, they have an innate connection to dark magic that allows vampires to easily dominate them. Mention must also be made of the Strigoi [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampire]] bloodline, twisted, hunched vampire scavengers who skulk around graveyards feasting on the blood and flesh of the recently dead, and preferred graveyards as their favored haunts. Often dubbed "Ghoul Kings."
** ''TabletopGame/WarhammerAgeOfSigmar'' manages to make the already creepy ghouls of its predecessor [[UpToEleven even creepier]]. They're not just degenerate humans now, they're also all extraordinarily insane, with a [[SharedMassHallucination shared]], [[InfectiousInsanity contagious]] delusion that they are all part of a glorious kingdom of benevolent kings, chivalrous knights, and stalwart men-at-arms fighting terrifying monsters, instead of gibbering club-wielding cannibals slaughtering and devouring monsters, enemy warriors, and civilians alike.
* Ghouls in ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' were originally a separate creature type, but since the only ghouls for the longest time were the [[http://ww2.wizards.com/gatherer/CardDetails.aspx?&id=82 Scavenging Ghoul]] and [[http://ww2.wizards.com/gatherer/CardDetails.aspx?&id=2438 Ashen Ghoul]], Wizards of the Coast eventually decided to go the Zombie Derivative path and lump them under the Zombie family, (ghouls after those two had been printed as zombies). Given that the zombie creature type covers everything from mindless dead to liches, it isn't that much of a stretch.
** It's worth noting that the black-aligned zombies of Innistrad are frequently refered to as ghouls in order to differentiate them from their more [[MadScientist mad science]] themed blue counterparts.
* Ghouls in ''TabletopGame/DragonDice'' are a basic undead troop type. They are moderately capable in both casting magic and melee combat.
* Ghouls in ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}: Fantasy'' are a complete race who are [[ParanoiaFuel indistinguishable from normal humans until they try to eat you]]. The only thing they can eat is human flesh; all other foods are dangerous to them.
* In ''TabletopGame/KillPuppiesForSatan'', ghouls are depraved people who are addicted to a supernatural charge they get out of eating corpses. They're [[FantasticRacism looked down on]] by all the other supernatural types; the narrator describes them as "the desperate needle-sharing ass-peddling heroin addicts of our world".
* Ghouls are one of the playable races in ''TabletopGame/SmallWorld''. Their racial power is the ability to keep all their pieces in play and continue expanding their territory when they go into decline, unlike other races.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The ghouls in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' are humans who have been mutated by the radiation, but are behaviorally still normal humans. They do resemble corpses from their skin drying up and falling off, and are functionally immortal, but tend to be discriminated against. Some of them do go feral, however, and act like standard Hollywood zombies (eating human flesh and the like). There's several variants, like Glowing Ones, which are usually feral and so irradiated they live up to their name, Reavers, freakishly tough Ghouls who throw radioactive gore with fearsome accuracy, and Marked Men, who had their skin flayed off by nuke-induced irradiated sandstorms but can not recover because of this same radiation and are thus in constant pain.
** Harold, a Ghoul with a plant in his head is in fact [[spoiler:not one]]. He shows up in ''VideoGame/Fallout1'' and ''VideoGame/Fallout2'' and has a small cameo in ''VideoGame/Fallout3'' where we see that [[spoiler:the plant has grown into a tree. With him inside.]]
** Raul in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' shows that being able to live forever isn't exactly a good thing; his hands and knees have arthritis, his eyes are covered in cataracts, and [[spoiler:losing his family and replacement]] has taken a toll on him. Whether or not this is all in his head is up for the player to decide on his companion quest.
** Hancock from ''VideoGame/Fallout4'' became a ghoul through use of an experimental drug he found while on one of his "wild tears" following his departure from Diamond City after his brother, [[MayorPain Mayor McDonough]], took over and had all the ghouls of the city thrown out. He became the mayor of the town of Goodneighbor after staging a coup against its previous ruler, a nasty piece of work named Vic.
* The Infested Ghouls in ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' are hollows infected by the diseases in Blighttown, they are more aggressive than the hollows at the surface and are [[ImAHumanitarian cannibalistic]].
* Ghouls of ''VideoGame/GuildWars'' are semi-bestial undead melee-fighters of the Orrian undead horde. Resembling ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' ghouls, they are poisonous and have the annoying habit of spawning by burrowing up out of the ground right underneath you.
* Ghouls in the ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' games are a basic type of undead.
** They are the basic footsoldiers of the Scourge in ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'' (who double as lumberjacks and eat corpses to replenish health) while the basic zombie is a very weak unit unavailable by normal means. In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', they are slightly less common but still one of the most encountered types of undead along with [[DemBones Skeletons]] and classic zombies. In the second expansion, they were promoted to Deathknight pets with a few distinctive abilities, while their old role as worker/melee seems to have been taken over by Geists (one-eyed, crawling zombies).
** It's mentioned in the background that Ghouls are Zombies that have "ascended" (descended?) into "true" undeath. Their bodies have mutated to make them more efficient killers and instead of being lumbering and mindless like Zombies they are aggressive and possess bestial cunning.
** Of course, based on the classic definitions of the word, Forsaken characters qualify as ghouls, being undead that can eat corpses to heal. Unlike the ghouls of the series, the forsaken are free-willed, intelligent and can even be civilized, if resentful towards living beings. Making alliance with them means having a TokenEvilTeammate.
* Ghouls in the ''VideoGame/{{Myth}}'' games are apelike living creatures who resemble H.P Lovecraft Ghouls. They also take on some of the traditional aspects of [[OurOrcsAreDifferent Orcs]], being tribal mountain dwellers who are the ancient enemies of the [[OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame Dwarves]].
* Ghouls in ''VideoGame/NexusWar'' are a type of minion animated by the Lich class. They are stronger and more vicious than normal zombies, and gain health from successful attacks.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Boktai}}'', Ghouls, also known as Boks, are fairly close to the traditional zombie. Only they squeak when they see you.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'''s Ghouls were the first really nasty undead you encountered in the game, who, like the ghouls of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', had the ability to paralyze you. White Mages with the Harm spell were an absolute must for dealing with them, especially in groups, because if they managed to paralyze your entire party, you could only pray for the paralysis to wear off so you could get the hell away before they killed everyone. [[DemonicSpiders God help you if they manage to ambush you...]]
* The Rakghouls of ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' belong to the "mutant ghoul" subtype.
* ''VideoGame/BattleForWesnoth'' has ghouls of the zombie/mutant variety. Distinct from "[[NotUsingTheZWord Walking Corpses]]", ghouls are larger, eat their dead opponents instead of zombifying them, and have poisonous claws. Depending on the campaign, they can be created either by cursing live humans or reanimating recently dead.
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'':
** Ghouls are people who have succumbed to the Darkspawn Taint. The Taint gradually eats away at their mind, body, and soul and allows them to hear the Song of the Old Gods. Most Ghouls spend the remainder of their twisted lives -- which aren't very long thanks to the Taint -- in slavery to the Darkspawn as manual labor and possibly food.
** Some fans have described the Grey Wardens as effectively "high-functioning ghouls" since they've all drunk a mixture of darkspawn blood, Archdemon blood, and [[GreenRocks lyrium]] that gives them some minor darkspawn powers including the ability to detect the presence of tainted beings (though they can be detected in turn), and eventually kills them, drives them insane, and/or turns them into full ghouls or darkspawn themselves.
** Animals can become ghouls as well; they tend to end up which much more extreme physical deformities then humanoid ghouls along with the usual insanity. Specific examples include [[BearsAreBadNews Bereskaran]] and Blight Wolves.
* In "The Ghoul's Forest" series of {{Game Mod}}s for ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' (and its multiplayer sequel, ''VideoGame/GhoulsVsHumans'') most ghouls are huge floating skeletal heads which fly around incredibly fast and eat people. Except for the Creeper, who's just a HumanoidAbomination.
* In ''VideoGame/DungeonCrawl'', they are [[LoadsAndLoadsOfRaces one of the many playable races]], as well as an occasionally encountered monster. As a race, they get all sorts of wonderful immunities and abilities, but they gain experience slowly, and they need to constantly eat meat, preferably rotten.
* ''VideoGame/TheWitcher'' has quite Lovecraftian ghouls, albeit without culture or language. According to the novel they originate from the "Conjunction of the Spheres" that brought magic into the world, making them an existence outside the natural order, though what exactly this means is unknown beyond the implication that the Witchers could theoretically hunt them to extinction with no adverse effects to the native ecology.
* ''VideoGame/UltimaUnderworld'' has ghouls that are technically still alive, but they've turned into the standard flesh-eating-monster (and even look the part) [[SpaceWhaleAesop as a result of cannibalism]]. Which makes them somewhat more like [[Literature/TheTimeMachine Morlocks]] or {{Wendigo}}, but everything else fits the "undead ghoul" description.
* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' has Mutant Ghouls in the [[MirrorUniverse alternate dimension of Praetoria]]. They were created by [[MadScientist Praetor Berry]], who was trying to create a [[SuperSoldier new variety of super-soldier]] to replace the [[MutantDraftBoard legions of conscripted superhumans]] through the use of [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke a genetic serum]]. However, [[FlawedPrototype the serum turns people into super-tough brutes instead]], and they look like deformed monsters [[CloneDegeneration because the serum causes their altered endocrine systems to accelerate the build-up of stress damage]]. Because [[PotentialApplications Berry is still curious about how the failures could be used]], but [[EvilOverlord the Praetorian leader, Emperor Cole]] doesn't want the monsters [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans mucking up his perfect world]], Praetor Berry dumps the Ghouls into [[AbsurdlySpaciousSewer the gigantic network of sewers and maintenance tunnels under the city]], with the added benefit of the Ghouls constantly attacking and eating [[TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized the Resistance group]] that occupies those same tunnels.
* ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' ghouls are typically just {{Palette Swap}}s of zombies.
** Save the portrayal of ghouls in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow'', which are a cannibalistic, underground-dwelling evolutionary offshoots of normal humans, though very much alive, they still share the undead's weakness to holy water.
* Ghouls in ''[[VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic Might and Magic: Heroes VI]]'' are the Undead-type, used as foot-soldiers or slaves by the Necropolis faction. Because becoming a ghoul robs an individual of their free will and sentience, and bars them from the reincarnation cycle that governs the world of Ashan, Necromancers usually create ghouls by transforming their enemies or condemned criminals, as a FateWorseThanDeath-style punishment.
** The ghoul was later retooled in Dark Messiah of Might and Magic as extremely fast and powerful servants of the necromancer Arantir. These ghouls could climb walls and were near-animalistic in nature.
* Feeder necromorphs from ''VideoGame/DeadSpace3'' may count, Painfully thin and constantly hungry necromorphs who arose from starving people who ate necromorph meat.
* Ghouls in ''VideoGame/DungeonMakerIITheHiddenWar'' are animated human corpses. They carry daggers and often have an elemental affinity. Notably, they also occasionally spawn [[OurGhostsAreDifferent spirit monsters]] when destroyed.
* Ghouls in ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryII'' only come out at night and can sap the hero's SP with melee attacks. In the AGD FanRemake, they can cast spells, and their melee attacks also give them more MP if they connect, making them closer to [[OurLichesAreDifferent liches.]]
* Ghouls in ''VideoGame/NosferatuTheWrathOfMalachi'' are ugly cowled humanoid creatures who only appear in a few areas. They have less health than regular mooks, but have longer range and deal more damage. The Encyclopedia describes them as being related to Vampires, but weaker and dumber, and they eat flesh instead of drinking blood.
* Gaichu from ''VideoGame/ShadowrunReturns Hong Kong'' is a sufferer of the HMHVV(K) virus, which has robbed him of his eyesight, ability to digest anything other than sentient flesh, and his standing as a Red Samurai. However, Gaichu was one of the lucky ones, since he was aware of what happened to him and had the focus to get through it with his psyche relatively intact. When you meet him, Gaichu is a CulturedBadass who [[BlindWeaponmaster cuts up mooks by the dozen in spite of being blind]], debates philosophy and poetry and [[PickyPeopleEater makes delicious human ''sashimi'']].
* ''VideoGame/TheSecretWorld'' features ghouls inspired primarily by the Lovecraftian variant, a race of bat-faced near-humanoids with hunched builds, leathery skin and [[ThePigPen bad hygiene]] [[note]]to put things in perspective, ghouls make nests out of a highly-toxic mixture of rusted metal debris and their own shit[[/note]]; ravenous carrion-eaters by nature, they can often be found congregating around battlefields, graveyards, rubbish dumps, and powerful magical sites in search of ripening corpses. Though seemingly crude and bestial, lore reveals that ghouls are actually borderline immortal, and those that survive the brutal years of early adulthood eventually grow [[DumbassNoMore more intelligent]] and [[StrongerWithAge more powerful]]: ghoul elders are among the most devious and potent of all their kind, capable of commanding armies into battle, wielding magic and even shapeshifting. How the ghouls came to be is still uncertain: the Dragon suggest that they are the degenerate remains of a highly-advanced civilization, subsisting on rotten meat in a desperate ritualized attempt to reclaim their former glory; on the other hand, the [[OurGeniesAreDifferent Jinn]] claim to have created them as a ServantRace in order to clean up the bodies generated by their ongoing feud with humanity.
* Ghouls in ''VideoGame/DarkestDungeon'' are considerably larger than most other examples, towering over a human. They're also [[LightningBruiser quite fast]]. They are classed as [[TheUndead "unholy"]] type enemies, and are apparently [[WasOnceAMan former humans]], but not much information is known about them beyond that.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In the Spanish webcomic ''El Joven Lovecraft'', Glenn the Ghoul is the hero's pet. He looks mostly like a jackal.
* In the ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' storyline "Aylee" another dimension is overrun by creatures called ghouls, which are basically humans, but with claws, fangs, much lower intelligence, and a tendency to speak entirely in hisses. Oh, and they feed on human flesh, of course. It's unknown at first where they came from, and some initial suggestions are that they're some form of undead, or people mutated by a virus or something. Turns out [[spoiler:they're actually alien/human hybrids, who are the [[AnotherDimension other-dimensional]] version of Aylee's species]].
* In ''Webcomic/TheFAN'', a group of characters fight a ghoul in a side story. A later [[http://www.shastrix.com/thefan/index.php?comic=294 filler strip]] provides more information of ghouls in the comic's world.
* Shannon, one of the main characters of ''Webcomic/BloodyUrban'' is a combination of the lovecraftian and traditional mythological ghouls. Ghouls in the comic's universe are a seperate species of mortal, more-or-less mamalian creatures who eat rotten meat and have the ability to [[YouAreWhoYouEat transform into whatever they consume.]] They also have toxic green blood and ridiculously huge mouths that allow them to swallow entire people, attributes which don't come from any previous lore or media and were just [[RuleOfCool thrown in for fun.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/TalesOfMU'', ghouls are vicious undead predators who arise "when a waterlogged corpse is exposed to the light of the new moon", but unlike skeletons or zombies they can breed and form colonies. Other than that they fit the model of zombie ghouls.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The ghouls of ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}'' are of the "vampiric kind" (in fact, their first creator was a guy named Vampyro): they're created when Shadofang's ring absorbs their shadow, becoming things, black-skinned humanoids with a skull for a head that only do their master's bidding.

[[folder: Theme Parks]]
* The words "ghoul" and "ghoulish" are often used in ''Franchise/TheHauntedMansion'' as part of the plethora of synonyms of "ghost" used by the ghosts to describe themselves (which also notably includes "creepy creeps"), implying that "ghoul" is just another name for "TheUndead" in general in the [[TheVerse Mansionverse]].