Infected Wall-nut: Here's an idea! Instead of standing out here and guarding this guy´s house we go IN his house and eat his brains! Peashooter: Yeah! Yeah! Go in there and eat his bra- wait what? Sunflowers: Yup, definitely a zombie. Infected Wall-nut: Oh wow, ok uh, I can so prove I'm not. Just lean over here, and I'll take a little nibble out of your plant-brain.
A character, frequently a protagonist, is turned into the very thing he or she has been fighting; a survivor of a Zombie Apocalypse may get bitten by a zombie, a demon hunter may be possessed, and so on. Unlike He Who Fights Monsters, where the hero metaphorically becomes like the evil he was fighting, this is a literal transformation into an actual monster.
Played straight, implies a Face-Heel Turn (but see below). If the transformation in question isn't generally seen as evil or monstrous, that's more of a Viral Transformation.
Tends to be something of an Ending Trope, since it's more dramatic to have the hero succumb at the end of an epic struggle to fight the zombies/monsters/whatever. If there's no way back, that can make it a Downer Ending. May also be the result of a Heroic Sacrifice.
A popular variation of this is for protagonists to have this thrust on them as an Emergency Transformation,
and/or (attempt to) use Heroic Willpower to avoid the Face-Heel Turn frequently associated with this trope. If that works, the hero can use the powers for the cause of good. Results of such attempts vary. It is also possible for this to happen to villainous characters. Depending on the villain and the type of transformation in question, results vary — even more than heroic characters — but it can then result in a Heel-Face Turn.
The Trope Namer is an infamous bad short fanfiction called DOOM: Repercussions of Evil, where the protagonist, named John, suddenly turns into a Zombie with no explanation whatsoever.
If poorly foreshadowed (as with the trope namer), this can very easily be a Shocking Swerve. When explicitly foreshadowed, the hero was a Doomed Protagonist* no relation to Doom. When it's suddenly revealed that the main character was a monster all along, that's Tomato in the Mirror. Often happens when the antagonist of the story was The Virus or The Assimilator.
Examples will contain spoilers!
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Anime and Manga
The Claymores who become Awakened Beings definitely qualify. Particularly galling in the case of Ophelia, as she really hates Awakened Beings, and became a Claymore to fight them. And Then Cassandra, Hysteria and Roxanne Became Awakened Beings after they were resurrected.
In Digimon Savers, the main human villain, Kurata, has a great fear of all Digimon and kills a bunch of them in the name of one-sided peace, but then uses their life force to power an even worse villain-type Digimon and become one with it to ultimately take over the world.
In Gensoumaden Saiyuki, Hakkai slays a thousand demons and his thousandth turns him into a demon, pointy ears and all.
In Kakurenbo, the main character wins the game of hide-and-seek by being the last child to be found... and then is given the honor of being the new "it", that is, he becomes a demon himself.
Magical Girls fight monsters known as witches. When defeated, these witches drop a Grief Seed which the magical girls use to cleanse their soul gems, which get gradually darker every time they use their powers or suffer sadness and despair. What Kyubey doesn't mention is that when the soul gems turns completely black they will turn in a witch. Every magical girl who doesn't die in battle will eventually become a Witch, the monsters that the magical girls fight throughout the series, and their Soul Gems become Grief Seeds, thus perpetuating a vicious cycle. This is illustrated in Episode 8 when this happens to Sayaka.
Even before you become a Witch, there is still some opportunity for horror. The Soul Gems in question? Their name is literal. Since your soul is outside your body, that essentially makes you a girly, sparkly Lich. The girls find this out the hard way when Sayaka's soul gem is thrown too far away from her body, causing her to fall over dead until it is returned to her. She then considers herself inhuman and this accelerates her inevitable transformation into a Witch.
In School Mermaid, the main character ends up being pulled down into the floor by the very mermaids she was hunting and becomes one herself. And it is strongly implied that her best friend will hunt her down and eat her later.
In Shiki, almost every character ends up as a vampire, including two of the three protagonists.
In Uzumaki, after the teacher smashes a bunch of human hybrid snail eggs in disgust, he returns a week later a snail man. With a bunch of snail eggs growing on his back.
In the end, Kirie and Shuichi become spirals.
In Attack on Titan, members of the 104th Trainee Corps encounter an Rogue Titan that only attacks other Titans. It's actually Eren, as he's able to create and "pilot" a Titan body. He's not the only one. Reiner, Bertolt, and Annie all turn out to be Titan Shifters sent from somewhere outside the Walls, with the mission to infiltrate the military and exterminate "mankind within the Walls". Eren's transformation changes their mission, with them attempting to kidnap him. Reiner claims they no longer intend to carry out the extermination. Ymir is also a Titan Shifter, but comes from somewhere else, suggesting at least two separate groups of Titan Shifters outside the Walls. The secret experiments Eren's father was carrying out in his basement may be the reason behind his powers.
''Bleach: When Ichigo invades Hueco Mundo to rescue Orihime, he repeatedly comes into conflict with Ulquiorra, handling each new fight better than last time. Ulquiorra accuses him of becoming more like a hollow but Ichigo retorts that, to him, it seems like Ulquiorra is becoming more human. Unfortunately for Ichigo, their climactic battle sees Ichigo transform fully into a monstrous hollow and not only rip Ulquiorra's body apart but also stab his friend Uryuu for attempting to restrain his hollowfication blood lust.
Used to an extent in Soul Eater as several protagonists (mostly Stein but Maka, Soul, Black Star and Death the Kidd have been subject to this too) get taken over by their own insanity, their infected black blood or just an eldritch abomination that drives them insane
In Dragon Ball early in the Buu saga, everyone is told that Babidi can take the smallest seed of evil in someones heart and corrupt them to work for him. The people who go into his ship to fight him are a God, Goku and Gohan (who are repeatedly shown to be pure of heart and can ride the flying Nimbus) and Vegeta, who claimed to have become a super saiyan by having a heart of pure evil. It's not hard to guess who ends up selling his mind to Babidi for a chance to fight his rival on equal terms (though interestingly he still retains enough of his will to ignore the other two despite being ordered to kill them too)
Furuichi in Xam'd: Lost Memories, who is of the show's most outspoken human supremacists and someone who deeply loathes the Xam'd, is transformed into a Xam'd halfway through the series. He commits suicide before his transformation is completed.
Magic: The Gathering gives us Karn, a golem created to fight the Phyrexians. But his heart was a Phyrexian stone, normally used for insta-You Have Failed Me. This stone contained, like all artifacts of Phyrexian origin, the oil, which took hold on Mirrodin. Karn almost gave in to the Praetors' whispers.
The Innistrad Block has a fetish for these, and with good reason, as the story line has nearly all monstruousities coming from mankind. In particular, "church warrior becomes zombie" seems to be very popular.
Some Yu-Gi-Oh! cards have images that tell stories.
One is the Gagagigo series; it starts as the Gigobyte, who wants to fight monsters... and ends with Gogiga Gagagigo, whose soul has ceased to exist and his body only moves on a drive for power.
Then there's Warrior Dai Grepher; the first card of his story shows him and other warriors and spellcasters fighting demonic creatures. Then the series goes on and he becomes Dark Lucius. In Sakuretsu Armor, Dark Lucius LV 6 can be seen striking down some of the people he fought alongside in that first card.
Gigobyte starts down the road to evil soulessness by modifying himself to get more power to defeat the Invader of Darkness. Since the story is spread over the flavor texts of many cards over a few different expansions, it doesn't come as too much of a surprise. The compiled story is here if you're interested.
The ending of 30 Days of Night involves the hero, Eben Oleson, turning himself into a vampire to save his friends. This counts because the vampires invaded to feed, not to create new vampires and the humans (until that point) weren't interested in becoming vampires.
In the fictional comic book Tales of the Black Freighter, a story within a story from Watchmen, the protagonist mistakenly bludgeons his wife almost to death while attempting to save her and his family from undead pirates. The pirates only want him though, and the story ends ambiguously with the protagonist either being killed by the pirates or becoming one. His last words are "I was a horror; amongst horrors must I dwell".
In The Smurfs story "The Black Smurfs" (and its Animated Adaptationcounterpart "The Purple Smurfs"), Papa Smurf is the only Smurf left in the village after the Black Smurf disease had turned all of his little Smurfs into Black Smurfs (the Smurf analog to zombies). When Papa Smurf rushes to his laboratory to get more tuberose pollen, a Black Smurf disguised as a blue Smurf bites Papa Smurf in the tail and infects him, causing him to turn black as well. The Smurfs are saved completely by accident; the fire in the laboratory causes a volatile potion to explode, which then causes the pollen to spread over the entire village, curing them.
Zombies has multiple cases of Decoy Protagonist syndrome. But finally, Princess Peach and Sonic seem to be the Big Damn Heroes of the story until they both succumb to their infections and devour their allies viciously.
In Grandma Got Bitten By A Vampire (a fan sequel to the animated Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer). Daphne manages to cure her family of vampirism back to normal only to find that their dog, Doofus, was turned and he promptly attacks and feeds on her. What's more Grandma had made friends with the vampire who bit her and liked being undead (as she was in her twilight years anyway) and thus regained her vampirism. Re-vamping Jake (who was initially against being a vampire) as well. The three decided to keep the secret from the family for the time being and enjoy terrorizing Cityville at night.
In Respect: This happens in a symbolic sense to Yayoi, who makes a contract with Kyubey in order to stand up to the bullies that torment her. By the end, as Mami points out, she's become a villain, a "bully" herself, and being confronted with this sends her over the Despair Event Horizon. The trope then happens in a literal sense, as we see that Yayoi has transformed into Izabel, the Artist Witch from episode 10 of Madoka.
In the canon ending, the Elements of Harmony transform almost every changeling into a true pony permanently.
In the alternate ending, Twilight willingly becoming a changeling in order to take over the hive.
In Coming Home, James is trying to get away from Pyramid Head and Vatiel and get out of Silent Hill. In the end, James is forcibly turned into a Humanoid Abomination and stays in Silent Hill for his father's life to be spared.
In the Powerpuff Girls fanfiction, Dead Air Bubbles gets bitten in the middle of the story, in the end she turns into a zombie and attacks a sleeping Blossom, killing and eating her.
At the end of the award winning Team Fortress 2 short film Til Death Do Us Part, Spy gets scratched by a zombie as it dies and shoots himself in the head to prevent himself from turning into a zombie. He fails, and in the sequel he attacks the other survivors.
At the end of the 30 Days of Night movie, the protagonist has to become a vampire in order to fight off the vampires that have been eating everyone. He dies very shortly thereafter due to watching the sunrise with his girlfriend (so he'll die and not eat anyone).
A homage to such endings occurs in the 1996 Tales from the Crypt movie, Bordello of Blood Rafe saves his love interest, Catherine, from Lilith. Only at the end to find out Lilith managed to bite her in the thigh, conveniently hiding the bite mark from him. Catherine been undead since her rescue and proceeds to bite Rafe once she and him are alone.
At the end of Candyman the heroine becomes a Candywoman.
The ending of the 1970 film Count Yorga Vampire The last survivor Michael manages to go to his girlfriend, Donna, and kill Yorga. After chasing off Yorga's remaining brides (one of which who was friend of theirs) Michael thinks its over. But just as he relaxes, Donna lunges at him, now a vampire herself, and kills him.
A reversal of the kind of ending mentioned above occurs in the 1971 sequel, The Return of Count Yorga, Hayes manages to get past the vampire brides and confront Yorga. After a fight, Yorga is killed by Cynthia, a girl he was trying to turn. Cynthia hugs Baldwin only to pull away and reveal he's just now turned into a vampire himself. Baldwin promptly goes to bite her and bring Cynthia into the undead ranks he was trying to prevent not moments before.
In the final scene of the movie Deadgirl we find out that the main character has become a zombierapist despite spending the entire movie trying to dissuade his friends from doing the exact same thing.
In the Doom movie, Reaper is dying and his sister subjects him to the chromosome which had turned everyone else into monsters. Luckily (and perhaps subverting this trope) he is among the small percent of humans who don't turn into monsters when exposed to it and instead become 'angels'.
Occurs in Dragonball Evolution when Goku turns into the Oozaru, said to be an unstoppable servant of Piccolo, after having spent the movie determined to defeat Oozaru. Only after killing Roshi does he get out of it. This is not the case in the original source material, where the Oozaru is not mentioned until Goku transforms for the first time.
In the end of Roman Polanski's 1967 film The Fearless Vampire Killers (and the subsequent 1997 musical adaptation, Tanz der Vampire), the protagonists rescue the heroine from a pack of blood thirsty vampires, only to have her turn into one and attack the "hero" of the film at the very end.
The uber-creepy 1978 film of Invasion of the Body Snatchers ends with Veronica Cartwright's character approaching Donald Sutherland's character (he was the protagonist). As she calls out to him, he wheels around, points at her, and emits an inhuman wail (sort of the Pod People's call to arms).
Needy becomes part-demon after surviving Jennifer's attack in Jennifers Body.
In the 1990 remake to Night of the Living Dead Ben is badly wounded by Cooper during the night and as a last resort locks himself in the basement against the zombie horde. When we last see him, the door seems to be holding, but Ben has no supplies and his wound is worsening. When Patricia returns the next day with a group of locals, they eventually manage to open the door to the basement, and encounter the now zombified Ben.
In Pumpkinhead, a man summons a spirit of vengeance (the titular Pumpkinhead) after his son is accidentally killed by reckless teenagers. Realizing how screwed up things have become, he tries to stop Pumpkinhead; to do so, he himself must die. At the end of the film the man has to become the next Pumpkinhead.
All the alternative endings of The Ruins show the Final Girl succumbing to the evil plant spores in some way, while it is suggested in the theatrical one.
David Cronenberg's Shivers...and then Dr. Saint-Luke was Infected. Ironically, David Cronenberg considers this a happy ending, as he's said the Infected are happy and free of their inhibitions, and at the end they're about to share their newfound freedom with the whole world.
Skyline has Jarrod's brain installed into an alien, only for his Heroic Willpower to grant him control over that alien instead of just becoming its CPU.
Star Wars: And then the Jedi Anakin Skywalker became the evil Sith Lord, Darth Vader.
At the ending of The Thing (1982), it appears as though the Thing was killed in an explosion. However, Mac and Childs are still around, and it's not revealed whether or not they had been infected, leaving them to wait and see what happens. The most optimistic reading possible is that they both freeze to death.
In Timecrimes, Hector gets stabbed in the arm and chased through the forest by a man in a black coat with his head covered by bandages. Then he travels backwards in time an hour, cuts his head, and begins bandaging the cut. Realizing that he's in a Stable Time Loop, Hector completely wraps his head in bandages, then takes a pair of scissors and attacks his past self, deliberately causing the series of events that led to his climbing into the time machine an hour ago.
Near the end of Undead or Alive Elmer makes the mistake of punching an infectious zombie in the mouth, and almost immediately realizes that he is beginning to turn. While he uses the last few moments before the hunger overwhelms him to attempt to make a Heroic Sacrifice, he succumbs in the end, infecting one companion and convincing him to help devour another.
At the end of Vampire Assassin, the protagonist becomes a vampire.
In Van Helsing, the Live Action movie, Van Helsing becomes a werewolf to battle Dracula because apparently vampires are weak against werewolves.
A variant occurs in Underworld. Decoy Big Bad Lucien is attempting to turn Michael Corvin into a Vampire/Werewolf hybrid as a means of ending the war between the species while Selene investigates the Lycanths' interest in him and attempts to protect him. He nonetheless succeeds in turning Michael into a werewolf as the first step in the process, and when Selene's Vampire Dad Viktor is awakened and learns of this, he is determined to kill Michael and prevent it. Selene instead completes the process herself to stop Viktor and Michael becomes a hybrid.
Carved has the main character being possessed and becoming the new Kuchisake-onna/Slit-Mouthed Woman.
Ripley in Alien: Resurrection. Due to genetic mixing Ripley 8 has inherited a lot of Alien characteristics, and sympathizes with them to a certain extent. This version of Ripley is technically a different character, but the irony has to be appreciated of Ripley becoming so much like the Aliens after she fought them for so long. When she's being brought to the Queen by one of the Aliens after she's captured, she actually hugs the thing as if she's finally come home.
Fifield in Prometheus. The black liquid transforms him into an incredibly strong creature that was nigh-invincible. He wasn't exactly a classic zombie, but since he seems to be pretty much utterly under the control of the infection this still counts.
An alternate ending in From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter show one of the protagonists, Ambrose Bierce, telling his tale to a bar patron. When the man doesn't believe his story, Ambrose offers proof...by promptly pulling the man's heart out. The final shot is his eyes changing to a gold color, him gaining fangs and growling inhumanly before he eats the heart.
District 9 shows in an epilogue that Wikus has fully become a Prawn.
Nightbreed: Villainous variation. The hateful serial killer Dr. Decker, who despises everything that isn't him and regarded the Nightbreed as vermin that he wanted to exterminate, becomes a Nightbreed himself in the Sequel Hook at the end when the priest revives him. Now he's an undead, superpowered serial killer more dangerous than ever.
At the end of Devil's Pass, the Final Girl and Final Guy try fleeing into the Stargate to escape the creatures. But it turns out the Stargate is the source of the creatures because traveling through it turns you into one. Whoops!
At the end of Windigo, Brandon becomes the eponymous monster.
In P C Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath series, a singer named Ashe is bitten by haunts (ghouls with an infectious bite) during a battle early in the second book but hides her wounds. By the time of the final battle in the book, she is technically dead (but hiding it well and fully in control of herself), and plays a key part in the main protagonist's (Jaime's) survival: Ashe guards Jaime's back while taking wounds that would have killed a living Kencyr many times over. Ashe's motives are unclear but seemed to include dispassionate curiosity.
Calling All Creeps. Some reptilian monsters that can turn into human form come to think that the protagonist, a boy bullied by most of his school, is one of them. They have plotted how to transform everyone in school, and then on town, country and world, in Creeps like them and the hero is trying to stop them from feeding everyone the transforming goo. In the last moment, when he is mocked one more time while trying to stop everyone from eating goo-filled muffins, he is told that he will be the ruler of all Creeps and no longer a target for bullies. The protagonist does a quick Face-Heel Turn, treats everyone to eat the muffins, and eats one himself, becoming the real Creep leader.
In Hater by David Moody, the main character becomes a Hater about three-quarters of the way into the book, after a prolonged struggle to defend himself and his family from them.
In John Dies at the End, it is revealed in the penultimate chapters of the book that somewhere along the course of the story, Dave has been replaced with a "monster" version of himself, becoming the very doppelganger that part of the story's arc has revolved around. Considering the character John neither dies nor suffers Dave's fate of becoming that which they fought, this could be a subversion. Especially likely considering the writer is Cracked Editor David Wong.
In Necroscope, vampirisation happens to the good guys every now and again. Eventually, Harry Keogh is subject to this as well.
In the Newsflesh book Feed, Georgia, the narrator, gets shot up with Kellis-Amberlee virus and turns into a zombie and has to be killed by her brother.
Shinigami ::God of Death:: by Django Wexler has the younger of two sisters bring her mother and her older sister back to life, using the same method the Lightbringer did. Unfortunately, this causes her to be imprisoned as he was.
Waves Put Out The Wind by the brothers Strugazkiys has a commission that ensures that no Sufficiently Advanced Aliens can improve human history unnoticed. One of the employees gets some hidden superpowers activated while investigating a superhuman organization. He remains well-intentioned but becomes too inhuman, gradually losing his contact with humanity. All "ludens" (anagram of inhuman in Russian and a reference to "Homo Ludens" - human that plays) have this fate.
Galaxy of Fear: City of the Dead has Zak Arranda caught up in the experiments of Doctor Evazam, who had noticed that recently dead bodies on Necropolis sometimes became mindless zombies after being exposed to boneworms. Evazam found out how to replicate their results, that these zombies followed his orders, and altered results so that the undead might retain some mind and memories. He used mindless zombies to kidnap one of Zak's friends, killed the boy and used that version on him, then had the zombie child help him kidnap Zak, doused him with the formula, and had him Buried Alive. Later Zak was dug up and found that his friend had enough mind left to help when Zak pleaded with him, but later returned to being a normal corpse along with the other undead after being exposed to an anti-formula. Zak himself was not exposed, and although he resisted any suggestion that he had died during his ordeal and was now a zombie, he was shown spasming uncontrollably as they sometimes did.
The Shadow Over Innsmouth ends with the results of the narrator's genealogical tour of New England. He has ancestors from Innsmouth... from the Marsh family, to be exact. Which means he's a Deep One hybrid himself.
The hunters of the Immortals in Terry Maggert's Fearless series become progressively more inhuman the more immortals they kill.
Live Action TV
Angel: Gunn is transformed into a vampire sometime between the TV series finale and After the Fall. A Reset Button Ending restores Gunn to human form - but he retains the memories of the murders he committed as a vampire.
Twin Peaks ends on a Cliff Hanger as Dale Cooper becomes possessed by the very entity he's been fighting throughout the course of the series. Could've been resolved in a third season but... Executive Meddling.
Are You Afraid of the Dark?: In "The Tale of the Chameleons", Janice gets turned into a chameleon and drowned in a well, and her Evil Twin plans to do the same to her friend and the rest of her family.
The Doctor Who episode "Survival" has this as the major plotpoint.
Also in "Asylum of the Daleks" where Oswin was a Dalek the whole time. She was only dreaming she was a human.
Dollhouse Season 2. Paul Ballard spends season one and most of season two trying to break down the dollhouse and free the dolls. But he is then sent into a brain-scarred coma by Alpha and is only saved when Topher rewires his brain with the active protocol and rewrites some part of his brain to work in place of the scarred tissue, effectively turning him into a doll.
Many of the characters in the live action adaption of Goosebumps. Most episodes follow the books to the letter. But a noticeable deviation is Vampire's Breath: in the book the whole adventure was played straight in which the protagonists spend the whole episode trying to avoid getting bitten and eventually succeed (though one of them takes a substance meant for werewolves). In the TV version however, the two find out that their whole family are vampires (the one chasing them was actually a relative) and that the siblings have now come of age where their fangs have grown in.
In Kamen Rider Decade, this happens to AU!Hibiki. In fact, this trope is a common theme throughout the franchise, although the difference is that they were the "zombies" in the first place or take the source of their power from the very monsters they fight.
Also happens in Kamen Rider OOO: Eiji is slowly becoming a Greeed due to the purple Core Medals entering his body. He eventually transforms into a second Dinosaur Greeed after Dr. Maki inserts two more purple Medals into him.
How much does Joe of The Lost Room love his daughter? Well, after spending all the series trying to find the Object to rescue her from a Negative Space Wedgie, he becomes an Object to save her. That's right, he gives up being a human and becomes a sapient, mobile, indestructible and unaging thing. This is presented as a good thing however, despite the former Object/person/Occupant pretty much hating his existence.
Supernatural: The end of season three seems to apply this to Dean once he finds out that demons are ex-humans. He also gets tortured enough in Hell so that he finally breaks and starts torturing others and enjoys it because it's not him on the rack anymore.
By the end of season four, this trope applies to Sam. No, Sam, you are the demons.
Used again with Gordon, who started out as a vampire hunter and is eventually captured and turned by a group of them.
Bobby Singer has spent decades hunting but is killed mid-Season 7. He comes back as a ghost with the intention of helping Sam and Dean but his desire to get even with the creature that killed him starts to turn him into a full-blown vengeful spirit, to the point that he begs them to put him down for good before he kills someone.
Anna, a fallen angel, is against a lot of Heaven's more deranged decisions (mostly the ones about Armageddon), but after being handed over and tortured, she decides that killing Dean and Sam's parents before the brothers can be born is the best solution to the oncoming Apocalypse.
Castiel suffers from this in season 8 after being brainwashed by Naomi to become a mindless solider for her, the very thing he started a civil war over. He gets better.
The cliffhanger for season 9 has Dean dying and returning as a demon.
Tara from True Blood. She hates vampires after being kidnapped and raped by one in the third season, and spends the fourth season helping the Big Bad try to wipe them out. She is killed when she takes a bullet to the head for Sookie, and the fifth season begins with Lafayette and Sookie begging Pam to turn her. It works, and Tara takes the news about as well as you would expect.
In the 1986 Twilight Zone episode "Monsters!", the presence of a (kind) vampire in their neighborhood causes every normal person in suburbia to temporarily mutate into a pack of gruesome monsters that kill the vampire—afterwards, they're horrified at the murder, never realizing that they were the monsters.
First with Caroline's dad, who chooses not to complete the transformations.
Later with Alaric, who is turned into an Original Vampire just to become the world's greatest vampire hunter.
Finally, the Season 3 finale brings the comparisons between Elena and Katherine to their logical conclusion and ends with Elena turning into a vampire.
The season 2 finale of Grimm ends with Nick getting turned into a zombie. That said, these zombies aren't actually dead, just infected with a poison that simulates the appearance of death until the victim revives with a sickly pallor and hyper-violent tendencies. Being a Grimm, he's a lot stronger than the others.
In "Nightmares" Buffy fits this trope when she (temporarily) becomes a vampire.
In "Phases" Oz discovers he's a werewolf.
Fear Itself did this with the episode "New Year's Day". You think the female protagonist, Helen, is one of the few remaining survivors after a zombie apocalypse begins only to discover at the very end that she committed suicide the previous evening and was resurrected shortly afterwards as one of the zombies.
In the music video for Bastille's "Pompeii", the protagonist spends most of the video trying to find somebody else who hasn't succumbed to some sort of plague that turns your eyes black. In the last moments of the video, his eyes turn black as well.
A hunter goes into the bush. He finds an old human skull. The hunter says: “What brought you here?” The skull answers: “Talking brought me here.” The hunter runs off. He runs to the king. He tells the king: “I found a dry human skull in the bush. It asks you how its father and mother are.”
The king says: “Never since my mother bore me have I heard that a dead skull can speak.” The king summons the Alkali, the Saba, and the Degi and asks them if they have ever heard the like. None of the wise men has heard the like, and they decide to send guards out with the hunter into the bush to find out if his story is true and, if so, to learn the reason for it. The guards accompany the hunter into the bush with the order to kill him on the spot should he have lied.
The guards and the hunter come to the skull. The hunter addresses the skull: “Skull, speak.” The skull is silent. The hunter asks as before: “What brought you here?” The skull does not answer. The whole day long the hunter begs the skull to speak, but it does not answer. In the evening the guards tell the hunter to make the skull speak, and when he cannot, the guards kill the hunter in accordance with the king’s command.
When the guards are gone, the skull opens its jaws and asks the dead hunter’s head: “What brought you here?” The dead hunter’s head replies: “Talking brought me here!”
According to Japanese mythology, killing many youkai (a thousand, according to some versions) results in their slayer being transformed into a youkai himself. Then again, anyone capable of killing 1000 demons is powerful enough to be considered a demon himself by most people, so this could just be a Lampshade Hanging on that fact.
This is a quite common fate for any investigator in Call of Cthulhu, ranking perhaps just below "killed by horrible monster existing in fourteen dimensions at once", "lab rat or soul-in-a-jar for horrible monster", "spends remainder of life eating cockroaches in padded cell", and "gets brain stolen by horrible monster".
The end result in Changeling: The Lost for changelings whose Clarity gets too low and Wyrd gets too high. They leave for Arcadia and become exactly the same as the monster who kidnapped and abused them in the first place.
Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 use this trope heavily. In 40K, it is Turned Up to Eleven, where not only do you turn into a demon, but you also have a good chance of winding up causing the deaths of billions. The pen and paper RPGS Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader feature extensive rules on corruption by the Ruinous Powers just to fit this trope.
Black Crusade takes this trope and runs with it, with "trying to become a high-ranking demon" being a valid goal for the player.
In Dungeons & Dragons several undead have the "create spawn" ability, turning a victim into an undead (often the same kind as the killer) under their control.
In Zombicide, dead survivors can continue playing as Zombivors, getting tougher but slower.
Alfred, the assistant vampire hunter in Tanz der Vampire, becomes an undead bloodsucker himself at the end of the show. Worse, the vampire that turns him is none other than Sarah, the girl he loves and was trying to save. However, in the musical this isn't depicted as especially bad, as, due to sympathy-songs etc., the spectators are expected to have sympathy with the vampires and the only one really wanting to kill vampires was the professor.
Literally in Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, a spin-off game to Red Dead Redemption. In it, a Zombie Apocalypse breaks out, and John sets out to find the cause of it, if possibly a cure. In the end, he discovers that the power-hungry Reyes from the original story heard of a mask hidden in an Indian burial ground that could make him invincible, but stealing it and testing it out, it instead cursed him and the rest of the land as punishment. John manages to return the mask to where it belongs and rids the world of the plague. A few months later however, Seth, a treasure hunter finds and steals the mask, starting it all over again. John by this time is dead due to the events of the original story, to which we're treated to him rising from his grave as an unintelligible zombie (though thankfully, due to some special circumstances, he also turns out to be a sentient one). The Achievement for completing the game directly quotes the Trope Namer.
Boktai 2 has Django turned into a vampire and forced to do an entire dungeon hiding from the sun, sucking blood, and turning into a mouse or bat to stay alive. He eventually get the ability to change between human and vampire at will, but the game makes it very clear that he is in constant risk of losing himself forever.
At the end of Diablo, the hero defeats the titular boss and jams its soulstone in his/her own forehead to contain it. This results in the hero becoming the new Big Bad in Diablo II. This was later Ret-Conned in Diablo II by saying that said hero was more or less Mind-Raped into doing so.
It's uncertain how long Tal Rasha held out containing Baal this way, but, considering the Diablo II expansion, it's probably safe to say that anyone who fights demons succumbs to this in some degree.
And again in Diablo III. Leah, niece of Deckard Cain, starts off as a genuinely good character. Then she finds out that her Mom is an evil witch and her dad is the wanderer from Diablo II. She becomes corrupted by the soulstone after capturing a few more demons in it (thus becoming an even more powerful version of) Diablo herself.
In Starcraft, Kerrigan fights the Zerg during the Terran campaign but becomes one during the Zerg campaign. Shegets better... and then she re-infests herself for the second time.
Similarly, Arthas and Illidan in Warcraft III. Note that in the cases of Kerrigan and Arthas, the trope is in that they become leaders of the factions that they opposed, not those that they first joined.
Sylvannas fights Arthas' undead right up to the point where she was killed and resurrected as a banshee.
The other Area51 (the Light Gun Game) has this on the Game Over screen, which also happens to be the Game Clear screen. Strangely enough, you can do this early enough in the game by shooting three STARR members (the friendlies) and no one else, which covers the game screen in trippy vision and replaces your bullets with alien darts.
Both Baten Kaitos games use this, albeit in very different ways.
The worse endings of BioShock have you becoming just as much of a monster as Andrew Ryan and Frank Fontaine.
Also done to a degree earlier. In order to complete the game it's necessary to be converted into a Big Daddy, the most dangerous and iconic enemies of Rapture.
BioShock Infinite also gets in on the action, revealing that Booker and Comstock are the same person, only Booker, in this universe, did not run away from his baptism, and the Booker you play sold his infant daughter, Anna, to "wipe away the debt".
This is the bad ending of The Breach. After the most recent update, it's the only ending.
In Castlevania 64'sDowner Ending, you get this on two levels; a side character, Vincent the vampire killer, becomes a vampire. Also, Carrie agrees to marry Malus (Dracula), to which he ominously notes that they have "a binding contract".
If you unlock the true ending path of Aria of Sorrow, then, upon defeating Graham Jones, who has declared himself Dracula's reincarnation, Soma himself is revealed to actually be the reincarnation of Dracula. And if you get the bad ending, by losing to the True Final Boss, then he quite literally becomes the "second coming" of Dracula, in mind as well as ability.
In 6 Days a Sacrifice, the main character, Theo DaCabe, is turned into the mindless servant "The New Prince" by Chzo after the old servant Cabadath tries to betray him, because Cabadath didn't want to be replaced.
The ending of the original Condemned seems to imply that main character Ethan Thomas has become one of the demonic freaks causing all the chaos in the game. The sequel Josses this, as Ethan winds up as a burned-out alcoholic bum and the demonic freaks are really just an ancient mystical cult.
Even then, it still could be a case of this trope; in both games, the primary enemies are pyschopathically violent homeless people, driven mad by the real villains. In Bloodshot, he's suffered substantial Sanity Slippage and starts off pretty much only slightly less unhinged than the psychopaths he fights.
Dead Space: Extraction: In the first chapter, you play as one of the soon-to-be necromorphs and unknowingly kill all your comrades.
Then at the end of the game, one of the main characters turns into a necromorph too. Though considering the later DLC for part 2, it was revealed to be a dream.
Disgaea 2'sworst ending features this. In spades. If Adell has met the required conditions, Rozalin, the real Overlord Zenon, will inform you that you too are her enemy. If you are victorious, Zenon's evil will consume Adell's soul. His first act as the new God Of All Overlords? To devour his younger brother and sister, bones and all, ALIVE. Cue crunching sounds.
In Dungeons of Dredmor, the first 3 levels of Demonologist give you resistance to Righteous damage, and useful powers when fighting demons. Any further than that, and you lose all that resistance in exchange for more versatile moves. What's the name of the penultimate level, giving you a chance to transform in to a literal combat monster? 'No, you are the demons'.
Eternal Darkness: Anthony's chapter casts the hero as a Frankish messanger who intercepts a message intended to curse Charlemagne by exhausting the curse on himself first; his chapter is devoted to racing to defend Charlemagne while slowing succumbing to the corrosive curse though his efforts are futile. In Paul Luther's chapter later on, Anthony is encountered again, tragically having been turned into a zombie of Augustus Pious's dark god.
The ending of Fable: The Lost Chapters gives you the option of putting on Jack's mask, becoming his new host.
In Gem Craft Chapter 0, the force you're trying to claim takes over, but it's a prequel and the truth was fairly obvious based on the events of the first game.
In the bad endings of The House of the Dead, Goldman or a character close to the protagonists turn into a zombie.
Happens in one of Kichikou Rance's endings, where Rance, depressed either for Sill's death or absence (if the player is taking too long in rescuing her) finally gives in to Satera's suggestions of becoming the Demon King, committing immediately after a Moral Event Horizoncruelly killing poor Miki, who, crushed by the betrayal, lets herself be hacked during hours, since she's that tough. Then he becomes a powerful Demon King, who crushes without trouble the human nations, with Satera at his side.
In the bad ending of the first Kid Icarus game, Pit is turned into a monster. Oddly, it's Palutena that does it to him. Maybe this is really supposed to be the joke ending?
In La Pucelle, if you defeat certain powerful enemies in the Dark World/Netherworld (which requires a lot of Level Grinding), a band of demons will appear and declare Prier their new ruler... which Prier rejects out of annoyance after being teased by her teammates, and the game continues anyway, ignoring this interruption. However, if she continues on past that, becoming even stronger, she triggers a Non-Standard Game Over as the demons make her their new ruler for good and her friends abandon her. Prier being a demon queen is the canon ending, as she puts in several appearances in the Disgaea series as "Demon Overlord Prier," a powerful optional character, as a half-demon with wings and a horn.
In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2, it turns out that the Soul Reaver is in fact Raziel's soul, which was absorbed into the original blood stealing "Reaver" and driven insane from being trapped for hundreds of years. And that he is doomed to fulfill this fate over and over again at least until Kain creates a paradox and saves him... until Defiance when Raziel willingly becomes the Soul Reaver, purified of any corrupting influence. In true mind-breaking Legacy of Kain style, this is alsoTomato in the Mirror. There's a Tomato in the Mirrorbecause John became a zombie at the end.
In Oersted's chapter of Live A Live, he spends most of the chapter trying to vanquish the Demon King. Then, after everyone around him either dies, betrays him, or turns against him due to a really big misunderstanding, he decides to become the Demon King, thus setting the stage for the rest of the game.
The Hidden Object GameLove and Death: Bitten features Daemon and Victoria, the former a vampire and the latter a human trying to help him regains his humanity. At the end of the quest Their roles are reversed. Daemon is turned back into a human, but in trying to beat the vampire queen that turned him. Victoria is captured and bitten, becoming a vampire.
Also something that happens to a lot of people trying to research Reaper tech... like the entirety of Cerberus.
Also from Bioware, Dragon Age: Origins, in which Grey Wardens become immune to the Darkspawn taint by drinking a vial of their blood, enabling them to sense when Darkspawn are near and not fall victim to the corruption Darkspawn spread everywhere they go. Then it turns out this only delays the corruption, and every Warden will eventually succumb to it and become a ghoul.
Happens in Metal Slug 2/X and 3, with MS2/X setting the players against mummies, and MS3 being the literal trope as zombie enemies can make you one of their own (though not without benefits). The clones of your abducted comrade? They join in on the fun, too!
In NetHack, the polymorph effect can turn the player into almost any monster. Additionally, there's the Helm of Opposite Alignment, a helmet that switches your alignment to the opposite of your own if you're chaotic or lawful, and randomly to one or the other if you're neutral. To make it even worse, you can't take it off.
In the escape-the-room game Poco Escape, you wake up locked in a room that's sparse except for a few pictures of adorable little bears, which are naturally slightly creepy considering the circumstances. The ending heavily implies that you are actually the girl's teddy bear.
In Portal 2, you spend the first half of the game with a robotic sphere named Wheatley trying to defeat GLaDOS. Guess what happens to Wheatley?
In Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, when the Prince puts on the mask, he finds himself transformed into the Sand Wraith. This makes him not only a monster but a doomed monster, as he saw the Dahaka kill the Sand Wraith in the past. Fortunately, he is ultimately able to Screw Destiny and return to his normal self.
Happens in Prototype to several characters. Alex: "I am the virus!"
In Quake IV, at a particular point that marks roughly the midpoint of the game, the protagonist is converted into a Strogg in all but allegiance. Were it not for a very well timed raid by the good guys, our hero would have crossed the point of no return, as he was almost the entire way through the conversion process by that point. He then became a Phlebotinum Rebel. Wanna see?
The Bydo love pulling this on humanity's heroes in the R-Type series.
It first happens in R-Type Delta, if the player is piloting the R-13 Cerebrus—that particular fighter proves incapable of escaping the final level, and the Bydo exact revenge by converting the ship and its pilot into a tree-like Bydo.
Then there's R-Type FINAL, in which one of the Multiple Endings leads to the player getting converted into a hybrid Bydo/human/R9-Series...thing...and is sent back to the first level of the game, fighting both the Bydo as well as its former comrades. (It's worth noting that at the start of the game, you can see your future Bydo self fly by at the very start of the level!)
R-Type Command also pulls this on an entire human fleet at the end of the Human campaign—in fact, the player's character in the subsequent Bydo campaign is the former human commander. In both the case of FINAL and Command, the player's characters have no idea that they're no longer human and can't understand why Earth's forces are out to get them.
In the end of Resistance 2, Nathan Hale fully mutates into a chimera.
The ending of the incredibly obscure computer game THE SCREAMER. (Yes, it really is in all caps like that.)
In the Possessed ending of Silent Hill 3Heather becomes demon-possessed, and kills Douglas.
Silent Hill 3 uses this trope earlier, when Vincent throws doubt on whether or not Heather has actually been fighting monsters or not by mockingly saying "They look like MONSTERS to you?". Some interpret that to mean Heather has been killing people, not monsters, making her the possessed demon/mass murderer/bad guy. However, it's just as likely he's referencing the fact that many of the demons you encounter are actually considered angels in the religion of the Order. This is a fairly common theme in Silent Hill, with certain hints here and there suggesting that you may be hallucinating everything on a murder spree, such as the inclusion of police tape in an area where you had previously fought and killed monsters. Of course, Vincent followed up the above line with a chuckle and "Joking! Just joking."
In Silent Hill: Downpour, Murphy becomes the Bogeyman for the final fight. It's not permanent, though, assuming you choose to spare Anne. This may or may not be an example of this trope though, as the game never makes it clear if you actually have become a monster or if this is simply how Anne sees you because of her father's death.
Played for laughs in the Hidden Object GameSinister City. In the end, Count Orlok becomes the star of a movie in which he plays a vampire. Scenes from the film shoot are shown during the game's credits. John, the protagonist, plays a victim of the vampire in one shot with Orlok ready to bite him. Orlok bites him for real and the director calls for an ambulance. The last shot is John as a vampire.
In Streets of Rage, the player is one of three ex-police officers finding themselves duty-bound to stop the assorted crimes of Mr. X, a powerful crime kingpin. In the final level, Mr. X offers to make you and your co-op partner into his right-hand men. If one player accepts and one refuses, Mr. X sits back and watches while you and your former partner solve the disagreement the only way they can. If the "heroic" player loses the fight, the remaining player goes on to fight Mr. X, and if successful...No, Axel, You Are The Crime Lord.◊
Possible again in the fan remake for any character, including Mr. Freakin' X. Paradox anyone?
In the end of Super Paper Mario, Luigi ends up as part of Dimentio's plan and pilots a giant robot before being cured by Mario. It was implied something might happen to Luigi a few minutes before that, though.
Team Fortress 2's auto-balance mechanic tends to do this with frequently frustrating timing. A player can lose due to having personally destroyed the only defense guarding against said failure immediately prior to being switched to the opposite team.
Happens in the end of Throne of Darkness, to The Magnificent Seven Samurai. After defeating the Dark Warlord, their feudal lord reveals that he only wanted you to retrieve the immortality potion. He then drinks the potion, transforms into the next dark warlord, kills his own servants (the player's part) and brings them back as zombies.
Touhou'sKochiya Sanae recieves a warning that she who hunts youkai may become one, as well. In her profile, it's mentioned that Alice was a human who became a youkai to pursue power. In supplementary materials, Marisa is confirmed to experiment with methods of gaining immortality, but in one game she refuses to eat an immortal person's liver to get it. Reimu also has that option, and doesn't balk at the method so much as the idea of becoming anything remotely inhuman.
Marisa is a curious exception to magicians in general; it's stated All There in the Manual that becoming a Youkai Magician is a natural progression of studying magic. Marisa has made neutral comments towards immortality; and Alternative Character Interpretation goes both ways towards whether she's heading towards becoming youkai; or if she'd want to.
Hijiri Byakuren was a human Buddhist monk who used dark magic to retain her beauty, making her the kind of youkai called a Magician. Fearing the loss of her power if it became completely rejected (denied) by humanity, she decided to privately dedicate her efforts to the prosperity and survival of youkai. Publically, she acted like a trustworthy youkai exterminator to the humans, though she actually used her position to keep the youkai from significant harm. Her efforts shifted slowly more towards overt assistance to youkai, were eventually exposed to the humans, and she was declared a "demon in human form," and was sealed in the demon world of Makai. So, in a round-about way ...
In the final installment of Xenosaga, one of the many antagonists, Dmitri Yuriev, tries to conquer his fear of God by becoming a god himself using the Zohar and Abel inside Omega Res Novae. It works, of course, but then his clone/son who is supposed to be dead, Albedo, pops up and takes it all away. Makes one wonder...
The end of Zombie Driver has the protagonist that ran over hundreds of zombie hordes turn into a zombie from an infected bite he got much earlier in the game.
Used as a game mechanic in ZombiU. You technically only have one life, and when killed, your character then becomes a zombie, and all of your inventory is left with them. If you die, you take control of a different survivor who has to follow the same Voice with an Internet Connection to survive, but also having to track down your predecessor, defeat them, and getting back your inventory. If you have an internet connection, you may also come across other players' fallen survivors.
If you take a long time to feed on delicious meat, the Demon Virus in Digital Devil Saga is going to take hold on your psyche and Shapeshifter Mode Lock you in demon form. At that point, the kindest thing that can be done for you is to bash your brains in before you start mindlessly eating others. In a misguided effort to do good, two named characters attempt to resist the hunger. Neither case ends well. There are other cases in which instead the virus was left to stew in the body of the infectees for a very long while, with the same result. For extra added horror, the beings the second category produces? Angels.
In Fallout 1, if you tell your Vault's location to the Super Mutant leaders, you get a Non-Standard Game Over that involves being dipped in FEV and turned into a Super Mutant yourself.
In the Web GameI Saw Her Standing There the love of your life has been turned into a zombie. By the end of the game she turns you into a zombie. The epilogue states you're very happy together and that the two of you made pancakes.
In the 'Conquest' ending of Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2Nepgear, having traumatically slaughtered pretty much everyone she cares about, up to and including her own sister, approaches the Big Bad... who points out that she's essentially made herself the harbinger of the apocalypse, and the world is doomed by what she's done, no matter what happens next. Roll credits.
In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion's "Shivering Isles" Expansion, you are summoned by Sheogorath, Daedric Prince of Insanity to be his champion and defeat his other half. When you do he rewards you by turning you into himself. Though it doesn't seem to affect the game much except at certain points you can go into Madgod Mode. Otherwise the game still plays out normally. Gone further in Skyrim, the Dovahkiin meets the new Sheogorath who has at this point has fully transformed and seems to be a shell of his former self, though he isn't complaining. This is a first and only for Bethesda in which you actually meet the hero from a previous game.
In the mid-1990s action-RPG Entomorph: Plague of the Darkfall the hero is trying to protect survivors of recent magical catastrophe from (more or less sentient) giant insects that went out of control. He is obviously too weak for this task and ends up needing to consume various body-altering drugs that gradually transform him into a giant insect.
A skit from Those Aren't Muskets featured on Cracked, "Dealing with the Guy who's Clearly Hiding a Zombie Bite" ended as more and more members of the group revealed that they'd also been bitten by zombies, until the couple who hadn't been agreed to be bitten so as not to be left out. Of course as it turned out the original guy had also been bitten by a vampire and a werewolf. In the end, we had a group of three zombies, a werezompyre and a mummy werezompyre that also happens to be a criminally insane android with holographic legs and a webshow. Michael Swaim can officially give Cyborg Pirate Ninja Jesus a run for his money.
Herobrine ends with George Smith becoming a new Herobrine.
The Red vs. Blue: The Recollection trilogy does this three times. The Meta, a shell of a man now playing host to a group of rogue AIs, was once part of the project that produced them; Pvt. Church, who constantly complains about the AIs and the trouble they cause, is revealed to be not only an AI himself (the Alpha), but the source of all the others; and finally, the Alpha was based on the mind of the Director of Project Freelancer, Doctor Leonard Church.
Finn and Jake of Adventure Time are both turned into Lumpy Space People by the end of "Trouble in Lumpy Space". They got better.
Also in the Adventure Time episode "Mortal Folly/Mortal Recoil" Princess Bubblegum sends Finn and Jake to fight the Lich. In the end Bubblegum is turned into the Lich's vessel. She too, gets better (sorta).
Parodied in Invader Zim in the episode "Bolognius Maximus" in which the title character and Dib transform into bologna. The DVD Commentary hangs a lampshade on this.
In the South Park episode "Ginger Kids," after Cartman starts a crusade against gingers, the other boys try to stop him by dying his hair red and using makeup to turn his skin pale and freckly. But then Cartman just changes his tune, starts a "ginger power" movement, and tries to wipe out all non-gingers. He stops and begins preaching tolerance after Kyle explains to him that he's not really a ginger.
Which later becomes ironic after "201" when Cartman finds out from his rival, Scott Tenorman, that he is his half brother through Scott's father (Cartman'a mom sleeping around, etc) whom Cartman had killed to get back at him. Both Scott and his father are gingers meaning Cartman is half-ginger.
In one episode of Code Lyoko, Xana's latest possessed victim is Yolanda, the school nurse, and Jeremie gets the idea of using Franz Hopper's notes to fight her on Xana's terms, in effect, using Lyoko's technology to give Odd the same powers as someone under Xana's control. Like everything Jeremie tries to do using Hopper's incredibly advanced and complex experiments, this nearly ends in a disaster. (Fortunately, Odd is able to recover.)
Soos: Dudes, stay calm. I’ve been training for this movie my whole life. With all of the horror movies I’ve seen, I know literally everything there is to know about how to avoid zombies. Zombie Behind Soos:(CHOMP!) Soos: Second thought, gonna flip the script. Can I eat your brains: Yay or nay? Seeing some ‘yay’ faces over here.