Attractive Zombie

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Like ghosts and vampires who were only recently romanticised and portrayed as humanlike in many aspects, zombies were traditionally depicted as ugly, mindless and carnivorous. The reason for this lies in the concept of zombie originating from Caribbean voodoo, in which they were corpses reanimated by a magician and subjected to his will, devoid of their own will and personality. Moreover, the idea of a zombie horde threatening the existence of human civilization is rooted in the European colonists' perception of the Haitian revolution; therefore the modern zombie genre cliches have colonial origins.

However, since the late 1990s zombies have increasingly been seen as not so much different from humans, and even as sexual figures. Nowadays, the depiction of a zombie as sentient, humane and seeking equality with humans is a frequent metaphor for real-life discriminated groups and for the de-objectification of them; to amplify the effect, he or she may be portrayed as physically attractive and sometimes even in a romantic relationship with a human. Another source of this trope is the old legends and Gothic fantasies about undead beauties, which have been reimagined in the light of modern zombie lore.

Such a character may have nonconformist and taboo-breaking overtones (sometimes sexually nonconformist), since zombies are seen as subject to wild desires and free of social conventions. Their attitude to their undead status may vary: some of them dream of becoming human or of resting in peace, while others are perfectly happy being the way they are, and find advantages in it.

Most of these characters discard the conventions of zombie lore settled by George Romero (since eating flesh and brains is just somehow... unromantic and not sexy), instead appealing to older undead archetypes, like Voodoo Zombies, Revenant Zombies, and the aforementioned undead beauties from Gothic-era stories. In the most general sense, "zombie" may apply to any living dead creature that is not incorporeal, does not drink blood, and is not wrapped in bandages.

This trope only applies when the said zombie is described as attractive and/or as a romantic interest to humans in-universe.

Sister Trope to Seductive Mummy and Cute Ghost Girl, and frequently overlaps with Boy Meets Ghoul. Compare with Vampires Are Sex Gods, Horny Devils, Cute Monster Girl, and You Sexy Beast. If he or she was brought back to life by a single burning purpose, like vengeance or love, it is also Revenant Zombie.


Examples:

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     Anime & Manga  

  • Ayumu from Is This a Zombie? has at least five girls in love with him (only one of which doesn't know that he's a member of the undead).
  • Several characters in Cinderalla qualify. Cinderalla's father becomes a zombie and marries another zombie who has two zombie daughters. And Cinderalla herself falls in love with a zombie singer, and needs a spell to transform herself into a zombie in order to be allowed to attend one of his performances.
  • Zombina the MON close-quarters specialist from Daily Life with Monster Girl. She's an attractive redhead with mismatched eyes and patchwork skin (since her body doesn't heal naturally, she has to attach new body parts to herself by sewing them on).
  • Rea from Sankarea looks identical to how she did as a human after being zombified, the only physical differences being paler skin and red eyes (they were blue as a human).

     Comic Books  

  • Dead Girl, the Revenant Zombie superhero from X-Force, initially looks a little mummified, but quickly becomes Progressively Prettier to the point that she becomes a sex symbol in-universe, and has a sexual relationship with the living Anarchist.

     Films — Animated  

  • Emily from Corpse Bride is not technically a zombie until near the end when she and Victor use a spell to return to the land of the living, but she is a corpse who's walking around and talking, so close enough. She's also conventionally attractive by the standards of the movie's art style (she still has most of her skin, unlike everyone else Victor encounters in the Land of the Dead, for one thing) and very much romantically interested in Victor.

     Films — Live-Action  

  • The male protagonist of Warm Bodies, who falls in love with a human girl after eating her ex-boyfriend's brain.
  • Played with in Dead Girl, a horror film about a couple of obnoxious teenage boys who find a teenage girl Flesh-Eating Zombie and decide to keep her as a Sex Slave. Although they obviously consider her attractive enough to do this, she's visibly decaying and scarred.
  • Julie (played by Melinda Clarke) in Return of the Living Dead 3 remains as attractive as when she was alive (albeit turning more "dominatrix-like") as the Love Story is crucial to the plot. Even prompting a rape attempt from one of the villains.

     Literature  

  • Shurq Elalle from Malazan Book of the Fallen really loves to seduce living males. She seems to cherish her undead state (mainly because it keeps her from aging and losing her good looks) and repeatedly refuses the possibility of resurrection.
  • The high-functional zombie teens from Generation Dead series, most notably Tommy Williams and Karen DeSonne.
  • Laura Steele from Bone Song by John Meaney; the protagonist has a romance with her.
  • The undead girl Tuanne from Conan the Defiant, one of the Conan the Barbarian novels; Conan even has a brief intercourse with her.
  • The Fiery Redhead Cate Hendrickson from Paradise Rot, who is the protagonist's Love Interest.
  • In a teenage novel I Kissed A Zombie And I Liked It, the female protagonist Alley falls in love with a Goth called Doug who turns out to be a zombie.
  • In American Gods, the protagonist's wife Laura is resurrected as this; unfortunately, as the months pass, she rots severely, even despite the embalming.
  • In Zombie Noir: The Corpse with the Beautiful Face by Austin Taylor, a beautiful lady hires a private eye to investigate... her own murder. They also share an intercourse.
  • In Xanth, Zora gradually becomes this due to Xavier giving her The Power of Love.
  • The female zombie Lee Ling from Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish.
  • The Revenant Zombies from Amy Plum's Revenant series are all quite attractive, and the heroine has a romance with one of them, namely Vincent.
  • The zombie princesses from Once Upon A Zombie series retain their good looks in spite of being turned into undead beings.
  • Sally from The Demon Collector by Jon Mayhew is a quite attractive revenant girl; there is no romance between her and the protagonist, but they establish a friendship.
  • Generally, "zombie romance" seems to be a growing trend in the paranormal genre. In 2011, the Night Wolf Press publishing house put out a call for submissions in this genre stating: "Ain't no lovin' like undead lovin' - it applies to more than vampires".

     Live-Action TV  

  • The female zombie Angela Mason in the Supernatural episode "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things" is quite attractive, apart from the "homicidally jealous" part.
  • On iZombie, zombies in general (as long as they're able to eat enough brains to sustain themselves) look like ordinary people with pale skin and hair. Most choose to disguise themselves with cosmetics. Liv doesn't, but once she gets over being a zombie, it hasn't really affected her dating life; one of her boyfriends tells her she pulls off the zombie look.
  • As the Orphnochs of Kamen Rider Faiz are zombies (specifically the Revenant Zombie kind) by their very nature, every single one counts, though that's due to being able to alternate between their human and monster appearances. Especially true of the main Orphnoch cast, including the titular Rider and hero himself.
  • Episode "New Year's Day" of anthology horror series Fear Itself has one, once we learn that Helen (played by Briana Evigan) was a zombie all along.
  • Series 9 of Doctor Who ends with companion Clara Oswald Killed Off for Real, but she receives a temporary delay in her death which renders her technically undead with no life functions, though with her personality and soul still intact. This has no impact on her attractiveness; in fact, it is stated that due to her new state, she will never age, therefore remaining as a beautiful woman in her late 20s effectively forever.

    Music 
  • My Chemical Romance music video "Helena" has a beautiful zombie girl dancing in her own funeral.

    Video Games 
  • Rottytops from Shantae is drawn in the same cute anime girl style as the rest of the female cast (albeit with green skin and a stapled on arm and leg).
  • Although too young and modest to qualify as "sexy", Squigly from Skullgirls is an adorable Cute Monster Girl of a zombie.

     Web Animation  

     Web Comics  

    Western Animation 

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