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Our Zombies Are Different
Take your pick... and then run like hell.

"If you're going to get into every Tom, Dick, and rage virus reimagining of zombies, we will be here all night. Romero zombies are the only zombies; we literally cannot advance this conversation otherwise!"

The word "zombie" originated in the voudon beliefs of the Caribbean, referring to a body "revived" and enslaved by a sorcerer. (Some of the oldest aspects of zombie appearance are actually symptoms of tetrodotoxin poisoning, a neurotoxin used in certain voudon rituals.) In this form, it has been known in America since the late 19th century. However, it wasn't until the 1960s that George Romero's Night of the Living Dead attached the word to the living dead who eat the flesh of the living. (Note, however, that the flesh-eaters in that movie are never referred to as "zombies," and Romero himself didn't consider them zombies, preferring "ghouls.")

As Night was accidentally entered into the public domain due to an error in the end credits, it quickly became the object of imitation and emulation by many other directors. Most zombie invasion stories, even those not explicitly based on Romero's films, follow the same conventions, though there are major points of contention. While Romero is responsible for most of the "general" zombie conventions, the more specific and visible zombie tropes are more often inspired by the later works of John Russo, Night's co-writer. Most zombie movies mix-and-match conventions from the Romero and Russo canons. The Russo canon in particular is the reason most people will respond with "Braaaiinnnns" when zombies come up in conversation, and most depictions along those lines are references to it.

The most common zombie archetypes are as follows:

Skin color of zombies can also vary widely, ranging from normal color to greens, blues, grays and even other colors. Their gait can also vary, from limping, sliding their feet on the ground or have the "arms forward" stance, and the more modern variant, the running zombie.

See also Everything's Deader with Zombies, Zombie Apocalypse, Not a Zombie. Not Using the Z Word happens when creatures that otherwise fit the profile perfectly are not called zombies. Elite Zombie is this trope combined with Elite Mook. Most zombies are Night of the Living Mooks, and Slave Mooks.

Contrast the Incongruously Dressed Zombie, who only looks different.


Examples that defy easy categorisation:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • The jutsu Summoning: Impure World Resurrection from Naruto is complicated. To begin with, it forces the soul of a dead person who has passed to the "Pure World" (the afterlife) back into the "Impure World" (the mortal world) to obey their summoner, making them Voodoo Zombies. At the same time, the jutsu actually works by using a living human as a basis onto which the appearance, memories, personality, and abilities of the deceased are grafted, hence them also being Artificial Zombies. The culmination of the jutsu implements a seal that overrides their free will completely and compels them to pursue a single goal relentlessly, leading to Revenant. To resurrect somebody as a zombie requires both a sample of their DNA and access to their soul, meaning that those whose souls are eaten by the Shinigami cannot be resurrected.
    • The Mind Control is provided by a separate technique that is not required to bring them back to life, they would just make bad Cannon Fodder without it. The resurrected can ignore the control with enough willpower.
    • The only way to "kill" these zombies is to cancel the jutsu. Killing the person who performed the jutsu does not cancel it, it simply leaves the zombies to their own devices. And if one of the zombies knows how to perform the jutsu himself, he can free himself while remaining an unkillable juggernaut with infinite stamina. The zombie who does exactly that? Madara Uchiha.
    • The Six Paths of Pain could also count as Artificial Zombies; they are corpses that Nagato can control through the Chakra Receiver Rods implanted all over their bodies.
  • The eponymous fighters of Shikabane Hime. They can't pass away peacefully due to their lingering hatred toward something (usually the person who killed them), making them Revenants; but it takes the Monks' esoteric magic (relatively-benign voodoo) to prevent them from degenerating into standard zombies. They will degenerate into standard zombies regardless, it's an Awful Truth. Their enemies are standard zombies.
  • Kingdom Of Zombie: It's a very standard approach to the zombies themselves, but the story takes place in a medieval setting where zombies are a widespread problem, but life continues as most people live in walled-off cities. The main protagonist wants to join in a Zombie Expedition to help clear out some zombies and make the world safer, and even possibly track down the source of the problem.
  • Sankarea has a potion able to reanimate the recently deceased. These zombies retain their personality and intelligence but eventually become a Russo zombie: slow, dumb, rotting and having a never ending urge for human flesh. Their bite also does not contain any means of making new zombies, but instead acts as a poison, numbing pain in small amounts or paralyzing in large amounts, making their victims unable to escape.]]
  • Kikyo from InuYasha was created from her ashes and grave soil and powered by the souls of the dead. Revenant, artificial, and voodoo minus the control.
  • Ayumu from Is This a Zombie? was revived by the Necromancer Eucliwood Hellscythe and is looking for his killer. With Magical Girl powers... revenant mixed with voodoo.
  • The zombies from Apocalypse no Toride are diverse. Some are your typical plague, fleshing eating zombies, while others morph into strange looking creatures with almost super human abilities. And let's not forget the Hive Queen.
  • The abyss feeders from Claymore. A new class of "warriors" made by the Organization, they are created from the flesh of Awakened Beings instead of regular yoma. Unlike their Claymore counterparts, who retain their humanity in spite of being half monster, abyss feeders have no sense of self or humanity, and are only driven by the desire to eat the flesh of Abyssal Ones, by which they relentlessly track their target by being given a piece of their flesh. What makes them more zombie-like is their lankish gait, eyes that are sewn shut, rapid regeneration, and mouths that only become unfasten when they are eating their target alive.
  • The Hong Kong animates of Unhallowed Metropolis don't seem that weird in the overall zombie scheme of things from what information is available... but they somehow don't follow the rules that govern zombies in the setting. Animates decay and desiccate over time, eventually becoming mummified to the point of immobility before rotting away entirely. Plague Animates can stave this off by devouring living human flesh. The Hong Kong animates should have run out of living humans to prey on long ago, but somehow they're still functioning 200 years after the initial Zombie Apocalypse.
    • Weirder on a typical scale are zombie lords, animates that retain some degree of intelligence and possess an ability to draw other animates toward them and telepathically direct them. Any large, directed horde needs at least one of these at its head, and possibly multiple working in tandem, as they turn aimless zombies motivated primarily to find living humans and eat them into a coordinated attack force. If it's any consolation, they're usually not terribly bright — some intelligence is still lost, so a human of average intelligence becomes a zombie lord with below-human-average intelligence. Someone at the peak of human intelligence who becomes one, though, will still be able to outwit most humans even after the loss of intelligence.
  • The Titans from Attack on Titan are not undead, but bear some of the characteristics of zombies. They are mindless beings that relentlessly seek to devour humans, can only be killed by a targeted attack to a specific area, do not experience pain, and ignore anything that isn't human. Then there's the hint that the horde that appeared inside the Walls used to be the people from Connie's village, and someone (commonly thought to be the Beast Titan) infected them.

    Comic Books 
  • The zombified heroes from Marvel Zombies are a mix between flesh-eating and revenant (at least intellect-wise); it's not known if they are plague-bearing as well, because the fourth series revealed that the chain of events that led to their state was, in the first place, caused by a Stable Time Loop in which the "original" remaining Marvel Zombies ended up in another universe (one that was parallel to Civil War in the lead up to World War Hulk) and infected their version of the Sentry - who, in turn, went on to spread the infection to their home universe.
  • The main (titular) character in Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse is a mix of parasite and revenant types. He is a psychic worm that hides in the skull of cadavers, animating them to his will. He doesn't particularly like eating brains (prefers a pint of lager instead) and generally finds himself cleaning up the magical issues of pretty much everyone. While he can switch between corpses, he has a preferred body which most people seem to recognize. It's also preferred because he is psychically linked, meaning he feels whatever the body is subjected to (although not pain, otherwise he would be comatose from shock). Note that the corpse is nothing but an empty vessel for Wormwood, which means the parasite IS the revenant. This is played with to good effect when Wormwood leaves his corpse in the first full story to find the Big Bad. If he hadn't, he would've been flung from the corpse and most likely squished.
  • The zombies in the IDW crossover comic Infestation: Outbreak consume flesh and infect the victims, looking like rotting corpses. They are also somehow able to infect machines (thanks to magitek called Artillica) and other undead (which results in a vampire/zombie hybrid). All zombies are guided by a single intelligence known as the Undermind, whose eternal hunger is shared by all zombies. These zombies are then spread to other worlds, including G.I. Joe, Star Trek, Transformers, and Ghostbusters.
  • Donald Duck was once stalked by a Zombie called Bombie the Zombie. He was of the Voodoo variety and had to hand Donald a cursed doll which shrank him, mistaking him for Scrooge McDuck who was a absolute fucking jerkass to this Voodoo priest who then sent said Zombie after him.
  • The lushly illustrated Apocalyptic Log chronicle Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection features a mishmash of flesh-eating and a variation/combination of plague-bearing and "other." They're flesh-eating because they eat human flesh, but are "other" since they're the result of a toxic food additive which causes insanity and sepsis rather than a virus or plague (making the title "Year of Infection" somewhat inaccurate). Where they're plague-bearing is the fact that the toxin can be transmitted through saliva via a bite. This also begs the question of whether or not they're actually undead or just insane, crazy rotting cannibals.
  • The zombies in the ZMD (from the mind of Kevin Grevioux, the guy behind the Underworld movies) comics are a mix of flesh-eating and plague-bearing. However, they were specifically designed by the US government to be deployed in conflict areas instead of living troops. In order to contain the threat, a build-in fail-safe causes them to sublimate when exposed to the sun (which means they also get a vampire trait). They are exceptionally strong, able to literally tear body parts off their victims or punch through someone's ribcage. The problem appears when one of the prototypes goes missing following a deployment in the Middle East. Apparently, the zombie experiences Failsafe Failure and is able to walk in the sun. The scientist in charge of the project is very concerned, fearing the zombie virus could mutate into an airborne form. They send the protagonist, a veteran soldier named Drake to find and destroy the runaway zombie, who is terrorizing towns in the Middle East, creating an army of zombies. Additionally, it turns out that the zombie virus works on other species too. At least two animal species are found infected: dogs and camel spiders. There is a cure of sorts, but it has to be injected within the hour of exposure, or the infection is irreversible. All zombies rot very quickly. Additionally, any zombie resulting from the bite of the mutated zombie is immune to sunlight.
    • It's also revealed that not all zombies are mindless creatures. The runaway prototype is capable of speech and exerts some sort of control over the others.
  • Played for laughs in Calvin and Hobbes when Calvin pretends to be a zombie.
    Calvin: "Horribly, the undead feed upon the living! ... although, in a pinch, a PBJ will do, if you eat it messily enough."
  • The Zombie Priest's soldiers from The Goon are typically voodoo-reanimated mindless cannibals with a few exceptions: The Buzzard was the result of a Zombie spell on a living man, he's immortal and must feed on dead flesh; and Willie Nagel, who retains his intelligence and seems uninterested in eating people. When asked why he's not mindless like the others, Willie surmises that most people were already zombies in life, but as a con-man and free thinker who always lived outside the system, he was immune.
  • Shadow Man from the comic series and games, would be an example here. He's explicitly a zombie through voodoo, though only at night, or in Deadside. Otherwise, he's a living human.
  • Marvel Comics called its voodoo zombies "zuvembies" to get around a Comics Code prohibition (see above). The "zuvembie" name came from a Robert E. Howard short story, "Pigeons From Hell," and wasn't really all that zombie-like, as summarized on The Other Wiki.

    Fanfiction 
  • In Game Of Touhou, the wights resemble the A Song of Ice and Fire original Others, but they're different in the sense of being weak to quicksilver, has near instantaneous reanimation, and are subject to warging, which mean they can 'remote-controlled', the method from which the Bigger Bad controls the geopolitical map behind the scenes.

    Film 
  • The zombies from [REC] are infected by a virus made by Satan.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Blackbeard's officers are the Voodoo type; mindlessly obedient to their 'creator', with no interest in eating anyone.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: The zombies that reside in Halloween Town seem to be revenants, while Sally is an Artificial Zombie. Interestingly, both Sally and Jack, despite being Undead, have the need to eat and sleep, can be killed, and, depending on if you take the epilogue poem on the soundtrack to be Canon, even have children.
  • Zombieland. A mix of flesh-eating and plague-bearing.
  • The zombies in The Dead Matter most closely resemble voodoo, as they're completely controlled by whoever holds the scarab and die when it' deactivated, but they can also operate somewhat independently and apparently can spread their effect...somehow.
  • Every zombie from the movies of Resident Evil, as they are plague-bearing and flesh-eating
  • Amando de Ossorio's movie Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971) has zombies that are the corpses of the actual Knights Templar who return as the result of an ancient curse combined with a young woman disturbing their land. Their motivation is the continuation of their rituals, giving them elements of voodoo and the revenant. They also drink human blood, giving them hints of the flesh-eating zombies. This movie also had three sequels by the same director, Return of the Blind Dead (1973), The Ghost Galleon (1974), and Night of the Seagulls (1975).
  • Warm Bodies has two types of zombies; Corpses and Skeletons, also known as Fleshies and Bonies. Corpses are fully sentient, but have such little control over their zombie instincts that they're really just Romero Zombies with an inner monologue. They can also use tools and speak single words occasionally. They're also one of the few examples of zombies in fiction that can be cured. With love.Boneys, on the other hand are simply super-zombies; despite having no skin and very little muscle remaining, they are fast, powerful, skinny zombies.
  • The Italian So Bad, It's Good flick Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (1981) has a horde of zombies awakened by a professor who stumbled upon an ancient curse. The zombies attack the professor and a nearby group of people, killing them and eating their flesh, and causing their victims to rise as zombies themselves.
  • The brilliantly awful '80s flick Hard Rock Zombies features a localized Zombie Apocalypse started by—wait for it—an eerie bass riff discovered by glam rocker protagonist Jessie. The first zombies, that of the unnamed protagonist band, are revenants, as their first act is to get revenge against those who killed them, then they go to a scheduled concert and rock out. Those who they kill, however, also rise as zombies and kill others, who continue the process. Given the origins of the zombies, they could arguably be voodoo (the "curse," in this case, being the music), as there is no mention of a plague and those killed rise as zombies no matter what methods are used to kill them. Some are flesh-eating zombies, and one little mutant midget zombie actually eats himself from the feet up.
  • In the B-Movie My Boyfriend's Back, the protagonist is a revenant and flesh-eating. Revenant in that he comes back to life to take his beloved to prom after she says yes in his dying wish. Flesh-eating in that, to prevent rotting, he has to eat human flesh.
  • Most of the zombies in Lucio Fulci's zombie flicks have a voodoo origin but flesh-eating behavior, such as in City of the Living Dead, The Beyond, and Zombi 2.
  • The zombies in Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead are a combination of voodoo and flesh-eating. They're also chicken zombies.
  • The Dead brings us zombies of an undetermined type on the plains of Africa. Unlike most recent examples of the living dead these are completely silent and extremely slow.
  • In upcoming Australian zombie flick "Wyrmwood", the zombies are pretty stock... except their exhalations can be used as fuel.
  • Pro Wrestlers Vs Zombies switches the tropes around as necessary. At the beginning, the zombies are all traditional Romero zombies and are created either by a particular ritual or by biting living humans. Later in the film, they start sprinting and Angus, the main villain, starts summoning zombies from their graves. During the film, they frequently survive horrendous injury and other times, they can be killed just like any human by enough trauma. The wrestlers turned zombie seem to operate more intelligently in general, still busting out their trademark moves and seemingly being able to comprehend more complex maneuvers to go after their prey than simply shambling towards them and waiting for them to fall when climbing.
  • Of course there's the Return of the Living Dead series, which has zombies obsessed with eating brains. Their mobility seems to depend on how advanced their decomposition is, but unlike many other examples retain much of the critical thinking and problem solving skills they had in life.

  • Mick and Pnub from Idle Hands are undead stoners who returned from the dead because... well...
    Mick: I mean, there was this bright white light at the end of a long tunnel, right, and there was these chicks' voices, and that music...
    Pnub: Yeah, kinda uncool music, like, Enya. And these chicks' voices, they were saying, "come to us, come towards the light".
    Mick: We figured, fuck it, I mean, it was really far!
  • The French film "Les Revenants" or "They Came Back" deals with zombies that despite being dead within a 10 year range on some, have not decayed, do not crave human flesh and brains. They just one day walked calmly out of their cemetery as if they had been in a long sleep. However, they are sluggish and actually no longer live in our "reality". They have what is termed an "Echo and Memory" reality (echoing what seems like normal behavior and recalling how they might've been in their daily lives). They do tend to group together and migrate throughout the town. It is never explained why they rose and where/why they went when they decided to leave. The film focuses more on how the living's psyche would react when their loved ones rose than what the zombies are up to.
  • The zombies in Nightmare City take the cake as far as being nebulously-defined. They run around like humans and kill other humans with guns, knives and whatever they've got available, yet despite being intelligent, they never speak. They do consume human flesh and blood, but seemingly as an afterthought. Some of them have more caked oatmeal on their faces than others; some seem almost normal. How new zombies are made is totally unexplained, and whether or not headshots are needed to kill them differs from scene to scene.
  • Deadgirl: The type and origin of the dead girl's condition is not revealed. While she appears driven to try to bite her captors, whether this is in an attempt to eat their flesh or simply as a means to escape is left unclear. Her bite is shown to infect others, however, which J.T. plans to use to find a replacement for her.
  • When Zombie Prom's Jonny Warner returns from the dead, all that changes is his skin is green. And all he wants to do is take his girlfriend to the prom.
  • In the B-movie, Robot Holocaust, the mutants that roam "The Wastelands".

    Literature 
  • Russian writer Andrei Kruz invented the All-in-One zombies. They start as classic slow zombies, rotting mindless flesh-eating husks, reanimated by solanum-like virus. After consuming some living flesh, they get faster and smarter, some even able to use simple weapons such as clubs and knives. The more living meat they eat, the more they mutate, eventualy becoming "supers" - fast and powerful monsters with enough regeneration capability to survive concentrated machinegun fire.
  • Sandman Slim has four types of zombies: Zeds/Zots/High Plains Drifters are the old fashioned mindless eating machines that shamble along, Laccuna are slightly more intelligent running zombies, Savants/Sapiens are intelligent and still retain a soul, and the Geistwalds are kinda like vampire-zombie-liches.
  • Zombies vs. Unicorns story "Love Will Tear Us Apart" features a protagonist that is a clear mishmash zombie - he eats brains as the result of an infection, but retains his intelligence and some memory of his previous life, and even has the capacity to love, aww!
  • Discworld gives us example of the Revenant (Reg Shoe, Windle Poons temporarily) and Voodoo (Baron Saturday) types, with many implications for but no examples of the Artificial type, mostly revolving around the Igors.
  • John Green's offering into the Zombies vs. Unicorns genre was the novella Zombicorn, about a zombie apocalypse caused by a strain of GMO corn that produces zombies that are singlemindedly obsessed with corn farming.
  • The zombies in Seanan McGuire's short story "Gimme a Z!" are usually voodoo and flesh-eating, mindlessly following the commands of their creator and requiring meat (not necessarily human) to maintain their existence. The catch is that they must be raised for a specific purpose, and some character traits are so ingrained that raising a zombie to go against those traits creates a revenant that can potentially rebel against its creator. Since this story does not take itself remotely seriously, this means that a cheerleader brought back to kill her former squadmates instead kills the person who brought her back because of the sheer force of her school spirit.
  • The draugs featured in Old Tin Sorrows are examples of Voodoo Zombies, being reanimated as a dying gesture of payback by Snake's amateurish magic. Before realizing there's more than one, Garrett expects the first one to show itself will specifically target its murderer, suggesting that most draugs in his world are revenants instead.
  • Dead Hands from the Old Kingdom trilogy are a combination voodoo and flesh-eating. A Hand is created by a necromancer who summons a minor (usually nonsentient) undead spirit to inhabit and animate a corpse; the resulting creature is completely under the necromancer's control and generally used as a Mook or for manual labor. If the necromancer is killed or their control is otherwise interrupted, the Hand will begin to wander about aimlessly and will usually attack any living person it stumbles across (though it eats life energy, not flesh or brains). They can't create more of their kind without a Necromancer or Greater Dead to do it for them.
    • More powerful free-willed Dead also exist, which are usually closer to a revenant, though the purpose that drives them is a need to stay in the world of the living. These are usually encountered on their own, but can be enslaved by a greater power to act as Elite Mooks. More powerful still are creatues like Mordicants and Greater Dead, which quickly move out of this trope.
  • The Laundry Files by Charles Stross features zombies (or Residual Human Resources) in a mixture of the voodoo and artificial, since sufficiently advanced science is magic. These zombies take the form of Demonic Possession of a corpse, usually programmed in Middle Enochian not to eat brains. Great for janitorial tasks, though the RPG book notes that following employee complaints, they are no longer used for food service. (Also, Laundry employees should be noted that decking the zombies in tinsel is discouraged for the holiday season.)
    • Of course, if the spirit animating the corpse isn't bound by spells or geases, that's when zombie apocalypses happen. Instead of infecting others with their bite, the demon—a being of electricity—tries to take over the nervous system of its victim in order to devour their soul, and skin is conductive. The living, active soul of a living being is stated to be much "tastier" than the dead informational echoes in a long-dead body.
  • The flesh-eating undead (they regard "zombie" as a slur) in Dust by Joan Francis Turner are a more sophisticated version of the standard flesh-eating zombie. They rot, and eat the flesh of humans and animals, but they are still sentient and have strong individual personalities, as well as quite a sophisticated culture. They also aren't infectious, but that rumour exists among living humans as an urban legend.
  • The zombies in the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels Death Troopers and Red Harvest are a peculiar combination of voodoo, flesh-eating, and plague-bearing. The Blackwing virus, as revealed in Red Harvest, was originally the product of Sith Alchemy (the Dark Side being pretty much the in-universe equivalent of black magic), specifically an immortality potion Gone Horribly Wrong— the Sith Lord who created it intended for its user to complete the ritual by devouring the heart of a Jedi with a high midichlorian count after infecting himself, but no one ever managed to get that far before becoming a zombie. The virus fell into obscurity for a few millenia, before being rediscovered by the Galactic Empire and reworked through scientific means into a biological weapon. It's primarily spread through bite wounds, and takes effect faster that way, but the Imperial version can also be refined into an airborne agent that takes longer to kick in, but transcends all biohazard containment barriers (except in the case of rare individuals who are immune to it; bites work the same even in their case). The undead themselves share a kind of group consciousness, and while they start out mindless and feral upon reanimation, seeking only to either eat or infect others, they eventually learn and adapt to such a degree that they can operate blasters, lightsabers, and even starfighters. When it comes to fighting them, the usual methods of decapitation and burning work best, while those reanimated by the airborne version have the unique weakness of only being able to operate in an environment that's thoroughly saturated with the plague agent, dropping dead as soon as they leave it.
  • The titular character of The Zombie Knight seems to have been revived without any of the nasty zombified side effects like flesh-eating and mindlessness, but it is mentioned that should his Grim Reaper be destroyed or become exhausted, then this could change.
    • In fact, the whole tone of the story is very different from normal zombie fiction. It's more of a dark superhero story with a bit of humor. Characters do tend to get brutally killed, though.
  • In The Tome of Bill zombies seem to be a mix of flesh eating and plague types. Though they don't do much zombieing, as they're all White Collar Workers for the vampires.
  • Zombies from Kevin J. Anderson's Dan Shamble Zombie PI series seem to arise by sheer luck: one in seventy-five deaths, heavily weighted toward suicides and murder victims, in the wake of the Big Uneasy. The latter may conform to the "revenant" type. Fully sentient creatures, this Verse's zombies may conform to the "flesh-eater" type also, but it's considered a tragic addiction rather than normal zombie behavior. It's mentioned that mad scientists and necromancers sometimes craft the "artificial" and "voodoo" variants, although the former aren't generally referred to as zombies.
  • In The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara we see a particularly terrifying version. Antrax creates zombies by turning captured humanoids into cyborgs literally trapped in their own bodies in an I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream situation. The true horror for the heroes comes not when they see their friends coming at them in chrome zombie chassis, but from looking into their eyes and realizing their friends are still very much aware of what's going on, and silently begging to be killed. Bonus points for going back to the original concept of the zombie as someone enslaved by an evil master, rather than as an epidemic infection.
  • The Technically Living Zombies in the Black Tide Rising series, created by a Synthetic Hate Plague, do eat flesh like Romero zombies, but will turn on other zombies if no other food source presents itself, and can go into hibernation to conserve energy when food is unavailable. Ultimately, however, these can die on their own by starving to death, and don't require headshots or Applied Phlebotinum weaponry to kill.
  • In Robert E. Howard's short story "Pigeons From Hell", there's a creature called the zuvembie, which is a strange mix of Voodoo zombie (it's created through a combination of ritual and an applied potion), revenant (it has no master and is free-willed enough to kill for vengeance, or just For the Evulz), and Technically Living (bullets will take it out). It also has some magical powers not associated with the usual zombie.
  • Necromancers in The Dresden Files create zombies who act more like the Terminator than traditional zombies. They are extremely fast, incredibly strong, and resilient to attacks that would destroy regular zombies in seconds (To quote the main character: "What's the use of a foot soldier who can't do anything but hobble along and moan about brains?"). They are also not limited to being humans.
    • Part of the reason for the above is that a Zombie gains more power due to the "footprint" left by the corpse, which gets deeper (and thus more powerful) the older the corpse is. The ones used by the necromancers in Dead Beat are usually a few centuries old. Human corpses naturally leave a deeper footprint than animals, but your average T.rex has been dead for at least sixty-five million years.
  • While Brandon Sanderson insists they aren't zombies, the Elantrians from Elantris are suffering from a sort of curse that makes them closely resemble zombies, while they are not technically dead, or actually contagious, people who live within a certain radius of the city of Elantris just randomly become Elantrians, they don't breathe or have heartbeats, they have a constant ravenous hunger, and they don't heal from their wounds at all and they are almost impossible to kill, beheading or burning being the only ways to kill them, though they usually go insane and catatonic from the pain of accumulated injuries within a year of becoming an Elantrian.
  • In Team Human, zombies are the results of vampire conversions gone wrong.
  • Drake and Brittney from Gone. They died in the second book, the former when he pissed off Caine, the latter when Drake shot her. However, Brittney had the power of immortality, and Drake's whip-hand grafted onto her corpse when she was buried. They don't need air or food, and they share a body and rotate possession of it. They don't eat people, they aren't decomposing, and they weren't constructed or resurrected. They mostly just do whatever the Gaiaphage tells them to.
  • In Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick, an electromagnetic pulse turned most teenagers into zombies instantly. This is different from most, because the zombies aren't dead, they seem to be extremely brain-damaged living people. They also cannot change you into a zombie through biting, instead their bite is like a regular person biting you.
    • In the second book, it is revealed that some of the zombies are actually pretty intelligent, possibly because they are getting smarter. They know to stay out of the cold or wear parkas stolen from others, can handle weapons such as rifles and knives, and even have a way of communicating with each other. They can even lust after each other. They seem to be just as smart as normal people, but are unable to speak, and have a taste for human flesh.
  • When people die in Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi, nothing really changes except the fact that they decay. They're still like normal humans, only they don't age or need to eat or sleep, and the only way they can truly die is if they're properly buried by a gravekeeper.
  • The art instructions book Drawing and Painting the Undead by Keith Tompson has several types of zombies, from people with Kuuru to cyberneticyzed corpses to supernatural to Frankenstein's Monster to Puppeteer Parasite infectee to massive pile of fused corpses.
  • Zombies vs. Unicorns story "Inoculata" has a lot of plague-bearing zombies, but the main characters all end up infected with the disease, but in such a way that they aren't... zombie like. The other zombies don't bother them (i.e. try to eat them), and they have some... symptoms, so they're technically zombies, but not. They're inoculated.
  • The titular character of Jean Rollin's Living Dead Girl, who has been turned into a bloodsucking zombie by toxic waste. She still looks fairly normal, but depends on her girlfriend to bring her victims, and despises her own existence.
  • In Jean Rollin's The Grapes of Death, farm pesticides cause bouts of violent insanity in residents of France's wine-producing region. An inadvertent artificial with elements of plague-bearing, but they aren't infectious, have lucid periods, and can recover completely.
  • The humor book So Now You're A Zombie by John Austin mainly depicts it's undead as typical flesh-eating Plague Zombies, but there's a trait built into the premise that goes against most depictions of zombies: The book is supposedly a survival guide "for zombies, by zombies", meaning that zombies are able to read, write, retain information, and are capable of strategy to some extent. It also plays with the Brain Food element a bit with a chapter introducing a zombie food pyramid - brains are an important part of the zombie diet, but are at the top of the pyramid, while more servings are needed of other food groups, being other organs, blood, and bone marrow.
  • Zombies from the Xanth series technically qualify as the "voodoo" type, with the twist that they're all the product of one specific magician's personal magic talent. They retain their memories and at least some of their intelligence, although they're compelled to obey the Zombie Master's instructions, and their speech is usually impaired because bits of their flesh are constantly dropping off including parts of their mouths. At least one Xanthian zombie has been rejuvenated by the Power of Love, to a point where the effects of decomposition reversed themselves and she almost became alive again.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffyverse:
    • Zombies tend to be somewhere between voodoo and revenant. They've been reanimated by black magic, but apparently retain their minds fairly well. One zombie on Angel just wanted to get back together with his girlfriend after being brought Back from the Dead, even though she was the one who killed him in the first place. It's odd.
    • The Buffyverse could probably be said to have multiple forms of undead. It's implied that true "zombies" are basically voodoo — Anya mentions that zombies wouldn't eat people "unless commanded by their zombie master." (Though there is also another occasion where a magic mask made the dead in the area come back as zombies, all of whom wanted to get the mask and become the Voodoo god it represented.) Other people (like the dead in "The Zeppo") get risen by magic but are more like revenants, retaining their own wills and minds. There are also some Artificial Zombies, of whom Adam is the best example.
    • In Season 9, vampires are almost zombie-like without the Magic Seed allowing demons to posses a sired body. Vampires are now much more mindless and feral. The Scoobies call them Zompires (Zombie/Vampires) So as not to confuse them.
  • The penultimate episode of the 2011 season of Misfits puts its own twist on it. A character has the power to bring people back from the dead. The people brought back are fully alive as they were before being killed in all ways, except for an insatiable hunger for human flesh, and when they attack and kill others those others soon rise from the dead with their own insatiable hunger. The second wave of resurrections have varying amounts of intelligence from the mindless killer, to almost able to restrain themselves.
  • In Once Upon a Time Cora animates several corpses using the magically preserved hearts she ripped out out of them.
  • Kamen Rider Wizard: Koyomi is a rare heroic example. She died before the start of the series and was reanimated by her father, Sou Fueki.
    • And in Kamen Rider Double, we have the Necro-Overs, zombies who use special serum to animate themselves in a similar matter.
  • The Charmed episode "Death Becomes Them" technically features zombies that are brought back to life by dark magic. These zombies have a purpose - the demon behind them uses innocents the sisters failed to save so of course they can talk to make sure the sisters feel especially guilty. One wonders why the demon didn't think to resurrect any of the sisters' dead family members.
  • The Walking Dead has your typical Romero formula zombies, with a twist. It's not the bite that infects: the virus is airborne and everyone is infected. Anyone who dies with an intact brain stem will become a walker. That said, zombie bites are still practically a death sentence due to infection; as flesh-eating zombies, the average walker's mouth is rife with deadly bacteria and lethal infections from bites are almost a certainty. People who have been bitten on extremities can be saved by removing the limb immediately. Walkers are also surprisingly intelligent, being able to use tools and open doors. More terrifyingly, walkers seem to have fleeting recollections of their past lives. Finally, it is revealed that walkers deprived of flesh will eventually starve to death, but at a much slower rate than living humans.
  • Series 3 of Being Human introduced zombies as simply human beings who died and due to some supernatural block prevented them from finding their Door to the other side. Annie has to babysit one after she realizes her return from the other side is what caused the zombie to exist. Zombies for the most part feel no pain and are unaware of their nature until they see themselves in a mirror, and simply continue to act as they did in life. However, they soon can feel the heat of decomposition and will eventually properly die, and reach their Door.
    • Season 3 of Being Human (Remake) also introduces zombies, but Sally abhors the use of the word. Created as a result of blood magic, Sally (and friends Nick and Stevie) is at first limited to not seeing anyone she knew in her life or else they die and become food for the witch who first performed the spell, but Sally later lifts this restriction on herself by giving up her soul to the witch upon her death. The reanimated corpses are also insatiably hungry, particularly when they start to decompose. The only way to stop and reverse the decomposition is to eat freshly killed raw flesh; this starts with mice and stray cats, but soon their hunger escalates into craving human flesh.
  • The zombies (or "Partially Deceased Syndrome" sufferers) of In The Flesh behave as normal humans when medicated. They sleep, but do not eat, drink, or age.
  • Supernatural has examples of most of the subtropes, with no consistent portrayal of zombies as a whole. There's a Revenant Zombie in season 2 who was brought back by a friend because he was still in love with her after she died. As he used dark magic to resurrect her she naturally Came Back Wrong and had to be nailed back into her grave. People infected by the Croatoan virus are Technically Living Plague Zombies who would turn the planet into zombie land if Hell's plan succeeded. Death also resurrects a bunch of people from their graves in season 5 on Lucifer's orders, who seem fine at first and typical revenants until they turn into they lose their consciousness and gain a taste for human flesh.
  • In the episode "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid"m Death raises several zombies in a small town, as part of the Lucifer's Apocalypse. Later on, we find that he was forced to do this by Lucifer, Death himself being True Neutral. The zombies at perfectly normal, and just like they did in life. For a short while, anyway, and then they turn into your typical flesh-eating zombies. They can be killed, unlike other zombies on the show, by a headshot.
  • The Reapers in Dead Like Me. While they are not mindless, not slow, and for that matter no different seeming than humans in just about any way (other than the fact that you can't kill them). The fact that they were once dead and have been reanimated does qualify them to be referred to as the "Living Dead". (The show itself uses the term Undead to refer to the state they live in.)
  • Various fans like to draw parallels between Borg drones and Zombies. They share similarities with plague-bearing/parasite, for their "nanoprobes" and ability to infect others, and artificial for their cybernetics grown into them by the nanoprobes or grafted on by other drones. While most zombies are played as "mindless" because they're undead, Drones are claimed to be mindless because they don't think for themselves, they all share the same thoughts, and the same directive, mind control similar to voodoo. They're a near-endless horde bent on making everything in the universe just like them so that they can become "perfect." Get one Drone alone, severed from the collective, and he'll either (depending on if he's damaged or not) start overcoming the mind control, making him his own person, or working by the most basic form of the general directive of the collective, which will make him very much more zombie like. Scarier when a severed drone starts to exhibit both.
  • Fans at the beginning of Heroes also liked to draw parallels between Sylar and zombies, as it was believed that they both ate brains. The producers changed it for this very reason.
  • There are parallels between zombies and the Reavers of the Fire Fly universe. The Reavers would fall under Type T, as they aren't dead, just brain-washed and crazy from prolonged exposure to the far reaches of space. They seem to have no communication skills other than grunting and screaming, and seem to derive pleasure from mutilating/raping/possibly eating living humans. They've also been said to cut on their own faces for fun.

    Music 
  • The song "Aim for the Head" by Creature Feature is about a Zombie Apocalypse caused by zombies that can be killed by a headshot (hence the song title), and are here because, according to the song "there is no more room in Hell''.
    • The song is based on the film Dawn of the Dead. The line about "no more room in hell" isn't the explanation for the zombies; it comes from a former cop talking about something his Voudon-practicing grandmother used to say. It's considered the movie's most memorable quote, especially since it was also used as the official tagline.
  • In LMFAO's music video "Party Rock Anthem", the "zombies" are people who have been infected by an affliction that causes them to continually "shuffle" every hour of every day. According to the survivor the two group members meet after waking up, the virus is transmitted into the person's bones and forces them to "keep shuffling, nonstop, all day, every day", and requires that survivors put on headphones and continually move to avoid being surrounded and overtaken by the infected.
  • The zombies from Michael Jackson's Thriller are somewhat like Flesh Eating Zombies, but with the added benefit of synchronized dancing.

    Tabletop Games 

  • The Hungry Ghosts in Exalted, despite the name. At night or in a shadowland they are solid enough that they might as well count.
  • The New World of Darkness sourcebook Antagonists has a toolbox system allowing the creation of voodoo, flesh-eating, and plague-bearing zombies.
  • Zombies in Magic: The Gathering inhabit many parts of the spectrum.
    • Some, like the legendary creatures Balthor the Defiled, Thraximundar, and Lord of Tresserhorn, are mighty warriors brought back in the service of a necromancer (Voodoo Zombies).
    • Others, like Frankenstein's Monster, Sutured Ghoul, and the Blue Innistrad zombies, are stitched-together constructs (Artificial Zombies).
    • Flesh-Eating zombies appear in great amounts, with too many examples to count.
    • The Nim are plague-bearing zombies transformed by necrogen gas, which they begin to generate in their undeath. The Phyrexian oil also seems to work like a zombie plague, with one mere scratch transforming the victim into a mindlessly obedient Phyrexian.
    • The oil could also be considered a parasite, since it seems to have limited sentience. The Phyrexian "Tingler" device is a parasitic machine that rips out the host's spine and replaces it, adding another parasite-made zombie.
    • The Theros block introduced the Returned/Noston. Based off greek shades, they are basically people that escaped from the Underworld, and as a price they've lost their face, their memories and their capacity to form long term memories, being incapable of rebuilding a new identity. Being fully sapient and emotional beings, they are pretty much forced to live out a depressing shadow play with the skills they had in life, incapable of ever forming attachments with other people and establish a new identity. They do build beautiful and intricate masks of gold, the most common material in the Underworld, as a form of consolation for their lack of identity.
    Meletis Philosopher: It is a sad irony: they loved life enough to return to it, but they cannot bring that love back with them.
  • By the same creator as the Zombie Fans comic (See below), Mortasheen zombies have an extremely powerful Healing Factor, most are insane but some retain their former intellect (And thus are suitable as player characters), and if they try to have sex they can produce one out of many horrible zombie/fetus monsters.
    • There's also the implication of weirder things, as it is implied that the Zombie Virus (which is in fact a collection of different viruses, present in every living human and activated when they die) was designed to create the Starchild-like Oovule as its ultimate result, somehow gone horribly wrong. Or perhaps it went just as planned, they never say.
  • Although the standard animates of Unhallowed Metropolis are flesh-eating with some plague-bearing elements, the alchemically-created mercurials are Artificial Zombies that, depending on how successful the procedure is, can vary from flesh-eating with plague-bearing elements, to pure flesh-eating, to multiple variations on the revenant. Even the most successful ones Came Back Wrong, though.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Depending on how you see it, a Genestealer cult could be this. They are unfathomably loyal to their Patriarchal Alien, are made by parasites, etc... One can argue that they're not true undead and are just mutants, but half this list can also argue that.
    • This comparison is most apt for the "Contagii", those who have had a Genestealer use its mouth... tentacle... thing to implant its genetic material into them. They are dazed by the experience and unable to remember the incident. While they unconsciously seek to spread their mutation by breeding they can be taken control of at any time by the Genestealer Patriarch in charge of the brood that infected them and used as mindless slaves. Beyond that they become an entirely separate breed of Xenos creature.
    • There are also Plague Zombies, undead created by Nurgle's magical plagues. They're the pretty standard "Plague bearing, actually dead" type, but instead of biting people, just being within proximity of them can cause infection.
    • Nurgle also has the Plaguebearers, lesser daemons created from the victims of his signature disease, Nurgle's Rot. Since it's magical/psychic in nature, it literally corrupts the soul and when the victim expires, they are reborn as a daemon within Nurgle's realm. Plaguebearers, naturally, have Nurgle's Rot and can spread it to others. They are technically not zombies, but a type of daemon, however they otherwise fit the bill.
  • Several teams in Blood Bowl can field zombies. They appear to be voodoo type zombies. They are slow, but high armor and intelligent enough to always play the game as your order them to (they don't have the Bonehead, Wild Animal, or Really Stupid traits). Nurgle teams can also field rotters, closer to plague zombies, which also are intelligent enough to play the game, have high armor for their cost, a bit faster, but get injured far easier. If a rotter or anyone else on a Nurgle team kills an enemy player, they become a Rotter.
  • The zombies of Deadlands are quite unique creatures. They are created when a corpse is possessed by a manitou, which creates a creature that is commonly referred to as a "Walkin' Dead". These creatures often look decayed, sometimes to the point of being animated skeletons, have at the least low-human level intelligence (they frequently wield guns and can potentially be crackshots), they don't need to eat but enjoy eating human flesh, and they can't spread in any reliable fashion.
    • The setting also has Voodoo Zombies, which are created by Conjure Doctors by invoking Baron Samedi and so are short lived creatures (when a Bokor uses the same prayer, the Rada loa create a Walkin' Dead instead), and Harrowed. The Harrowed are technically a mishmash of Revenant Zombie, Demonic Possession and Flesh-Eating Zombie; they are created by the manitou in the same way as normal Walkin' Dead, but the original soul is brought back and can wrest control of the body from the evil spirit that animates it — including being able to use all of its supernatural powers. However, they still need to sleep a couple of hours a day (so the manitou can do "maintenance" and keep the body from rotting), during which time the manitou forces the soul to experience nightmares in an effort to size the body back, and they have a Healing Factor that requires them to consume raw meat — and a supernatural hankering for human flesh is a Harrowed-specific disadvantage.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, the Field Spell card "Zombie World" morphs everyone on the battlefield and in all players' graveyards into Zombie types (until the card is removed from the field). Not through a parasite, but some other kind of strange magic.

    Video Games 
  • There are two major types of undead in Dwarf Fortress:
    • One is the zombie. Zombies are simply walking corpses that do not feel pain or fear, and with body parts that can rot. They can be created in one of two ways:
      • Resurrected by necromancers, falling under the Voodoo Zombie subtype, or
      • Resurrected in certain haunted biomes. note 
    • The other is the husk, which is created when a living creature is covered in a certain type of cursed dust, with intense hatred for all life, and greater strength than they ever had in life. They can spread the dust to other creatures, which runs the possibility of quickly creating an unstoppable Zombie Apocalypse. And not only do they (unlike normal zombies) retain all the skills they had while they were alive, they retain the ability to learn, so their skills as a killing machine grow the more they kill.
  • The zombies of the Resident Evil series are flesh-eating, plague-bearing zombies who are also, to a certain extent, constructed. The zombies are the result of the T-virus, engineered by the evil Mega Corp., Umbrella Corporation, although the zombies are simply a by-product of the virus, which is designed to create more powerful and dangerous creatures to be used and sold as weapons.
    • Technically, the zombies of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5 fall under the parasite classification. This is due to the fact that they are turned into what they are by the plagas parasite. In Resident Evil 5, it's actually an altered version of the parasite. A case could be made that the enemies of Resident Evil 4 also fall into the Voodoo category as they're controlled by the Big Bad of the game.
  • Halo: The parasitic Flood's standard method of infection is to have little green popcorn on legs burrow into your spine and override your neural pathways, and completely rewrite your genetic code, mutating your body into a tentacled, bulbous monster specifically designed to kill. And when they die, they can still be revived if another Infection Form comes along and reanimates it. Also, when your mangled, mattered corpse has been damaged beyond use, it bloats and becomes a hive for more Infection Forms. The Flood can also use airborne spores to similar effect.
    • They also have some revenant elements to them, with infectees retaining some of their original abilities (which is why they can shoot, drive, and even pilot starships). Additionally, every Flood form is apparently a repository for the collective memories, knowledge, and intelligence of every single sentient the parasite as a whole have consumed; when an outbreak has reached a great enough level, they will form Graveminds, giant Flood biomasses that can access this hyper-intelligent Hive Mind and telepathically control every Flood form within their range of influence (which can extend up to at least a star system). Once the Flood reach this point, they will stop simply infecting targets, and begin using their biomass as building blocks for even more dangerous creatures designed by the collective Hive Mind.
    • The Forerunner Saga reveals that they also have artifical zombie elements; they're the result of the Forerunner's own precursors going into hiding by temporarily turning themselves into dust and Coming Back Wrong.
  • Zombies in Doom 3 are flesh eating (they consume both dead bodies and immobile zombies) but do not attempt to bite the player. They are not contagious, having being changed by spirits from hell, and go straight from alive to undead in most cases. Most civilian zombies are slow moving and have low intelligence, but military zombies are faster, more agile and smarter. They also have a vulnerability to wounds to the body. Finally, the brain is not a center of infection, even if headshots count for extra damage for zombies that actually have heads.
  • Heretic 2 zombies are former townsfolk that have been driven mad, sickened or prone to violence by a magical plague, however it seems they cannot spread the disease, plague bringers are needed for this.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4. Well, not exactly, but half-way through the game, when Liquid represses the Mercenary Army's nanomachines, causing their emotion and reason to flood back into their brain, the Private Military Contractors in the area are brain damaged. Guess what? They shamble, moan, and are pretty much Classic-Romero zombies, to the point of mindlessly rushing Snake (and not reacting to any sort of stimuli). There's no biting or undead stuff, though.
  • Zombies from S.T.A.L.K.E.R. are brain-damaged former stalkers who, while quite resistant to gun fire, show no signs of actually being undead. It's suggested that they just got too close to the 'Brain Scorcher' and lost their minds. They also know how to use guns (badly).
    • These aren't complete zombies in some instances. In S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, they can be found muttering garbled words back and forth, and will move their arms towards barrel fires. They even loot corpses and replace their weapons with better ones.
  • Cie'th from Final Fantasy XIII are l'Cie that have failed their given task and transformed into crystal-ridden warped monsters. They have such heartwarming names as "Ghoul" and "Ghast". And they eventually degrade into immobile Living Statues called Cie'th Stones -that are still suffering. Even worse, a person's mental state can hasten the process, resulting in some mooks turning into Cie'th instantly.
    • The alternative isn't much better. When a l'Cie completes their task, their body is instantly transformed into a human-shaped crystal. It's little wonder that the humans in the Final Fantasy XIII world consider becoming a l'Cie to be a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Zombies in Disgaea are created by piecing together dead body parts, and in later games they are fully healed when they kill an opponent, though they have no attacks that specifically eat flesh. Instead, they puke at foes, turn themselves into tornadoes, and inexplicably create at least twenty copies of themselves and consecutively body-slam the enemy for their standard attacks. They also have mohawks and hunger for brains. Of note, they are stated to be dead monsters, not human(oids), though they seem to pieced together out of human's dead body parts. The game isn't too clear on the issue.
    • Interestingly, according to supplementary material, these zombies are stated to be corpses revived by the Netherworld's natural miasma.
  • Yoshika Miyako from Ten Desires is that while she is a Jiangshi, she is better described as a zombie with a funny-looking sticky note on the forehead. She was resurrected to guard the mausoleum of Toyosatomimi no Miko, she cannot feel pain, is stiff from rigor mortis, is barely smarter than a brick and can temporarily turn someone into a zombie. Part of this is because in the "outside world" (a.k.a. the real world), Jiangshi aren't talked of much but zombies are becoming popular, which affects things in Gensokyo.
  • The undead in Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare are a combination of flesh-eating, plague-bearing, and to some extent voodoonote . In addition to the basic infected humans, there are a number of specialized undead that seem to be Expies of the special infected from Left 4 Dead.
  • The Infected in Prototype seem to range all over the place. BLACKLIGHT seems capable of creating plague-bearing/flesh-eating Infected, the rank and file of which act like the typical shambling zombies. Then they start mutating into faster and deadlier forms. Then you have Alex Mercer who is a mixture of revenant and artificial, after his corpse has been taken over by a sentient strain of BLACKLIGHT that the real Alex Mercer developed, going so far as to think that it is the real Alex Mercer.
  • Kyurem from Pokémon Black and White is a frozen zombie dragon that is said to have a taste for human flesh. It's so feared by people that an entire village refuses to go out at night in fear that it may devour one of them.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim uses aspects of both voodoo and revenant in different ways for both zombies and draugr. The things actually referred to as "zombies" are bodies resurrected by magic that look like they did in life and are self-aware, but are forced to fight for the person who raised them (they aren't too cool with it). The draugr, meanwhile, look like traditional zombies and do not seem to be self-aware (although they are capable of using magic and Thu'um attacks), but rather than being raised by necromancers, they were members of an ancient dragon-worshiping cult who rose from the dead when dragons returned to the world (well, most of them. It doesn't quite make sense for every draugr encountered, and there is heavy evidence from Bloodmoon that there are other ways for draugr to come into existence).
    • Back in Bloodmoon, a self-aware draugr, Aesliip, was encountered. Apparently, if you inflict revenant status on yourself (Aesliip had done it to be able to keep maintaining a barrier stopping a Daedric incursion), you get to keep your intelligence. Zombies, meanwhile, were closer to what they were in all the games prior to Skyrim (that is to say, rotting not-self-aware reanimated corpses that could arose for different reasons, some of which could be revenantesque — protecting ancestral tombs, for instance) with the quirk that they're not called zombies in Morrowind (as in the province. An in-universe book explicitly points out that bonewalkers are called zombies in the West).
    • Morrowind also had another variant. Corprus Stalkers and Lame Corprus are a mixture of plague and technically living varieties. These are victims of a highly advanced case of the Corprus disease who, while still technically "alive" have such diminished mental faculties due to the virus that they're little more than walking corpses. Corprus infectees can circumvent the mental deterioration given enough time, as shown with Yagrum Bagarn though the Body Horror is still there.
      • And then there's you, the Nerevarine. During one quest in the main story the Nerevarine is afflicted with Corprus themselves. After completing a string of quests afterword you will eventually discover a cure, however it only works on you, and you still technically HAVE the disease but without the negative symptoms.
  • The Necromorphs of Dead Space are zombies, but are removed from regular zombies by an extraordinary degree. Not only can they mutate and repurpose dead tissue into a variety of forms, they are extremely difficult to kill. Rather than Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain, the only reliable method to kill them is to cut off their limbs until they're incapable of movement.
  • Guild Wars 2 introduces Zhaitan both Eldritch Abomination and The Necromancer, who corrupts the Land he flies over. The Land creates both Plague Zombies (created by the Corpse Land) and Voodoo Zombies (controlled by Zhaitans will).
  • The Last of Us: The Infected are in the Techinically Living Zombie category, as the fungal infection that creates the Infected only affects living human beings that have either been bitten by an Infected or through the airborne spores that fungal pods and the remains of dead infected leave behind. This is even stated by Joel within the game: "Dead people don't get infected."
  • Evil Islands: They come in two flavors: normal, lumbering ones (including recruits, warriors and experienced ones) and better preserved ghouls that for all intents and purposes behave like human enemies.
  • Ghouls from the Fallout universe. Ordinary humans exposed to massive amounts of heat and radiation but somehow surviving, ghouls differ from most zombies due to not strictly speaking being 'undead' in any way - there is never a point in the life of a ghoul where they are dead and then alive again. Ghouls do however physically resemble zombies, and 'zombie' is considered a racial slur against them. Ghouls are infertile and seem to live forever unless killed. About half the ghouls in the Capital Wasteland and surrounding areas have completely retained their memories and personalities, but have some memory problems due to frequently being hundreds of years old. Other, 'feral' ghouls have become mindless killing machines that attack any human that comes near them. Attitudes towards ghouls differ - the Brotherhood of Steel kill them on sight and many humans treat them with fear and disgust. Others, such as Three Dog and the citizens of Megaton understand that the difference between them and humans is largely cosmetic.
    • Expansions such as The Pitt feature other flesh-eating, decaying-looking formerly-human radiation monsters, such as Trogs, who are always mindless flesh-eaters and walk on all fours, and Wildmen, who seem to retain some human characteristics but eat people and cannot be talked to or reasoned with.
    • The Fallout: New Vegas add-on Dead Money introduces the Ghost People, hazmat suit and gas mask wearing former residents of the Sierra Madre Villa. When the Cloud got loose due to the Casino's botched construction, the hazmat suits the residents were wearing kept them alive, but the Cloud... changed them. They can still do semi-intelligent things like use weapons, fashion spears, and improvise bombs, but their only function now is to kill anyone who sets foot in the Villa. Also, unlike the above examples, they keep reviving unless you decapitate them, blow them up, shoot off their heads, or disintegrate them.
    • Old World Blues has the lobotomites, which are humans who have several of their vital organs cut out and replaced with technology. They can use guns, but they don't seem to have any sense of self preservation and are instantly hostile to any and all life.
    • Then came the Marked Men from Lonesome Road. They are former Elite Mooks of the NCR and the Legion that were caught in the Divide, and a combination of hazards such as wind storms and radiation caused most of their skin to be torn off, with only the Divide's radiation keeping them alive. They have no sense of who they once were, and now just kill anything they see. Despite this, they still hunt, cut their food, use guns, and at least have some sense of self preservation, as shown in an ending where they allow the Courier passage out of the Divide out of fear.
  • Zombies in Super Meat Boy are corpses of a dead Meat Boy. Meat Boy respawns as normal when he dies, but his former dead body is resurrected as zombie, potentially making the amount of zombies infinite. Those zombies tend to hang around Hell and Rapture and are also capable of fusing together into a larger creature.
  • The Undead in Dark Souls. They start off as living humans marked with the "Darkring." Upon death, they turn into something akin to a revenant — a near-mummified corpse still retaining its human mind and intelligence. Over time or as they die more, they eventually lose all of their humanity and become Hollow — monstrous killing machines that, although not utterly mindless, don't seem to be capable of anything more thoughtful than wielding weapons and trying to kill all who cross their path. It is possible for them to regain their humanity and the appearance of life, but it's not an easy process — methods include reclaiming humanity from corpses (slow, but comparatively safe), helping other Undead with their trials, or attacking other Undead to steal humanity from them.
  • Siren has people known as "Shibito". Shibito have all the standard setup of a zombie-like entity, but are not technically dead. they are controlled by the alien god Datatsushi to eventually turn the world into a hellish realm for him to live. The Shibito cannot die, they can be harmed but can heal very quickly, their bodies can mutate and become bug like or grow an excessive number of eyes, they lash out at anything not infected, they are hive minded, they use firearms, they plan and think, and they wander about pointlessly looking for people not under the control. How one becomes a Shibito is vague at best, as multiple individuals that fit the criteria for a Shibito are not Shibito during any part of the game, while other people who have nothing to do with the town become Shibito towards the end.
  • The Zerg from Starcraft are just as zombie like as the Borg, but purely biological. If you infest a Terran command post, you can even create Infested Terrans to suicide bomb your enemies.
  • Ms. Fortune in Skullgirls the only thing keeping her alive is the life gem she swallowed; without it, she'd die.
  • Super Mario Land has an enemy that is based on the Chinese mythology of zombies. Mario can stomp on them all he likes, but the monster will keep reviving itself. Only the Super Ball power up can truly kill them.
  • Sonny has the main character (who is named Sonny), who is technically undead, but aside from that is nothing like conventional zombies. He's capable of thinking, talking, and other stuff an ordinary human can do. Averted with some enemy zombies you happen to run into, with the possible exception that they vary a bit more than average. He's not the only one though. There's also Veradux, who joins your party, Baron Brixius, who is undoubtedly evil, and Felicity, who appears in the sequel and later joins you.
  • Zombies in Minecraft are just your typical zombies, aside from the fact that they only come out when it's dark, and getting caught in direct sunlight causes them to burst into flames. They attack you without provocation, but there's no indication that they eat your flesh. Interestingly, you have the option of eating their flesh, which may give you food poisoning but is nevertheless helpful for warding off starvation. You can also feed it to pet wolves to heal them without any downsides.
  • Even though it's more of a demon invasion, the first Diablo had a unique view of where zombies come from. From the manual: "Zombies are formed from the corpses of men executed for the most depraved and degenerate crimes against the innocent. They are driven by both the hatred that consumed them in life and the undead hunger for mortal flesh." Though this was the only game in the series where this gets mentioned.
  • Yomiel of Ghost Trick best fits this type, as he is a ghost who is able to animate his own corpse. This is thanks to a radioactive meteor, a fragment of which is lodged in his body and keeps his corpse perpetually on the edge between life and death, making him virtually indestructible (much like The Crow). By the end of the story, the main character is like this.
  • The Adventures of Lomax has the Technically Living Zombie variant. The zombies you encounter in the second world are actually lemmings magically turned by Evil Ed into monsters. They are blue and do the Zombie Gait at first, but start running angrily when hit once, and turn back into normal lemmings when you hit them the second time.
  • The latest incarnation of the Nexus War series has both magical zombies summoned by player necromancers and NPC plague zombies. If a character is sufficiently unlucky, it's possible to get one's body ripped in two (or more) pieces that get resurrected as both kinds. Which are then forced to fight each other.
  • Warcraft III and World of Warcraft: Zombies are the most basic kind of undead (so basic that you can't even train them when playing as the Scourge) created when any normal human dies to the Plague of Undeath. Without a necromancer to control them they wander, aimlessly attacking any living who approach.

    Web Animation 

    Webcomics 
  • In The Adventures of Wiglaf and Mordred, there's one character who is a zombie, but the only evidence is that he has a Healing Factor and no pain response after the initial injury. He's also invincible, as the usual "destroy the brain" thing doesn't work. He's also completely sentient.
  • Taken to the extreme in Bogleech Comics Zombie Fans story. Here we have zombies that breathe miniature zombie sharks when shot in the head, giant zombies with cheerleader puppets attached to their heads, zombies whose heads explode in a massive pyrotechnic display when they're cut off, and when three of them bite you at once, you mutate into a tree that sprouts fruit that turn into mini-vampires.
  • Unwinder's Tall Comics has the After Dark novel series, starring a bevy of zombies in name only.
    Horse-man: Wait, he's a zombie but he's handsome? And he's an amazing basketball player? And he can FLY? What on earth makes him a zombie? What conflict does the story have?
  • The zombies of The Zombie Hunters are divided into seven different classes. All are Flesh-eating Plague-bearers with Black Eyes of Crazy, but each class has their own traits and behaviors, and many have superpowers. Crawlers are old-fashioned Zerg Rushers, but hidden among them could be Howlers , who emit a cry that causes nausea and vertigo, Spitters, who vomit acidic poison from as far as fifty yards away, or Basilisks, who paralyze with their gaze, eating victims' faces while they're helpless to move or speak. Mercies move like humans, only approaching the sick, injured or dying. They bite, then hold and comfort the dying victim, protecting them from other zombies. By contrast, Hunters and Bersekers are faster and more agile than normal humans. Hunters are solitary, stealthily stalking victims over any terrain, for as long as weeks before ambushing them. Berserkers, who travel alone or in small packs, are the rarest and most intelligent, strong and capable of outrunning human sprinters once they sight prey. After ambush, they slowly and sadistically beat and torture their victim into unconsciousness before biting, all while grinning and laughing madly. Only being bitten or vomited on causes imminent zombification. Otherwise, exposure to bodily fluids through an orifice or wound leaves a person alive but Infected. Able to live full, asymptomatic lives, their virus is communicable, but dormant until death, when they'll inevitably reanimate. An exception to the above classes is Charlie, who through Applied Phlebotinum, also becomes a revenant, regaining healing, full sentience and partial humanity but left with the capacity to starve, Ghost Amnesia, a dependence on donated blood and tissue and a need to disguise his zombie traits as he lives amongst Infected humans.
  • Unsounded has two types of zombie: There are the plods, which are essentially just corpses reanimated with magic to serve as a tireless workforce (they are accepted because slavery is of course much worse). The plods do still have Horror Hunger, and thus wear metal masks all the time, and they have a certain glint in their eyes that might indicate some awareness. They are not really "alive", however, unlike the galit. A galit is an undead with a soul attached, and on very rare occasions (or maybe only through a certain ritual, it has not been explained in-story) retain their personality, memories and conscience as well. This is the case with main character Duane, who ironically enough hates seeing undead due to his religion stating it is blasphemy to let corpses go unburned. Due to this form of undeath allowing the soul to stay in place, the galit might more accurately be referred to as revenants or ghouls, or simply The Undead. Unlike the "recycled labor" that is the plods, creating galit by binding souls to corpses is considered Black Magic and a fearsome sin by the populace. It should also be noted that despite retaining their soul, a galit is still not a perfect undead, and have both Horror Hunger as well as rotting limbs. Duane has spent six years fighting against his own subconscious trying to make him eat people, and at night he has to shackle himself so that his Sanity Slippage doesn't make him go out on a mindless hunt for human flesh. That said, he doesn't actually require any food to keep going, it's just that hunger is the motivating force that keeps plods going. If he wasn't ravenous, he'd drop redead on the spot.
  • Bo himself in Monster Soup may be different from other zombies in the same universe in so far as he has not expired yet. Also, there is something different about his blood even among zombies that makes it a Fantastic Drug.
  • The Sorceress has at least once raised an army of the undead...so that she can watch them make-out with each other, raising the possibility that she started out as Bob's Burgers' Tina.
  • Zombies are used for manual labor in one city in Beaches And Basilisks.
  • Girl Genius has several different types. Besides "traditional" zombies, they also have Jaegermonsters and Constructs, which are essentially creations, and Revenants, which are infected by a slaver wasp. They are like sleeper agents, going about their business and not even realizing they are infected until triggered to fight on the behalf of "the Other".
  • In Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name, we only see one zombie, who is the narrator. Exactly how he ended up as a zombie is unclear, with Hanna only vaguely mentioning rumors of a few successful instances of reanimating the dead. Upon becoming a zombie, the guy turned green, his eyes became sunken and glowing, and while he could still feel pain, having severed limbs re-attached doesn't hurt very much. He also doesn't sleep, smells like a room that hasn't been aired out, and shows no inclination to eat the living. Since he's the only one we've seen as a zombie, it's yet to be confirmed if this is normal zombie behavior for the series.
  • The zombies in the Korean Web Toon Wake Up Deadman are just normal people who happen to be dead and rotting, it's the media and the government that makes them out to be a mindless cannibal hoard. They don't need to eat or sleep, although if they become sleepy it means they're too damaged and will die for good.
  • In Rhapsodies the Department of Minor Nuisances makes a distinction between type V zombies and everyone else. (Apparently they have separate unions.)
  • "Wastelanders Anonymous": Jeff is a zombie. At least that's what everyone calls him. So far, he's acted exactly like a normal human though he's kinda helpless. Also he has that scar that never healed because he doesn't have any blood to heal with. Benjamin also teased him that he can be killed by a bullet through the brain. Other than that, he's just another human.

    Web Originals 
  • The main character of Sacreya's Legacy, Ben Mason, was saved from death by a good-natured Mad Scientist and retained his memories and intelligence. However, he does have to resist the flesh-eating aspect, and when The Virus spreads across the city, it's shown that the majority of the infected become mindless monsters.

    Western Animation 
  • The zombies from Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island are actually the good guys, returning from the grave to protect Scooby and the gang from the real villains. At least two of them are ghosts but the rest—pirates, gangsters, Civil War soldiers, tourists, etc.—are lumbering, non-flesh-eating but fleshy zombies.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door stealing from nerds turns them into zombie-like creatures who relentlessly pursue the thief. They can be restored to normal if the stolen object is returned to them, but that won't guaruntee that they won't be resentful.
  • Zombies show up a few times in Gravity Falls:

    "Other" 
  • WWE's The Undertaker, a zombie gravedigger who can levitate and/or bring down lightning every so often... and decides the way to use this is to go be a wrestling champion. Go figure.
    • It's worked out DAMN WELL for him, though. 21-0 at WrestleMania, four WWE World Heavyweight Title reigns, maintained a dedicated fanbase since his debut all the way back in November 1990, respect and admiration of the entire industry, legendary status? Hard to imagine putting his situation to better use.
  • JourneyQuest presents us with a "theoretically impossible" form of undead. A sentient soul stuck in a mobile rotting corpse.
  • It isn't exactly clear what happened in the alternate world of SCP-093, but the...things that roam that world are nasty pieces of work. The "Unclean" are massive creatures the size of buildings, immune to all known types of weaponry, absorb human beings by contact, and the minds of those absorbed are kept intact, wondering why this happened to them for all eternity. All of this was brought about by an Eldritch Abomination masquerading as God.

    Real Life 
  • In paleontology, "zombie taxon" is the term for an extinct species for which fossils dating from an earlier period have been displaced into a more-recent geological context (e.g. if a trilobite fossil from the Permian erodes out of a rock face in the Cretaceous, lands on a dead dinosaur, and is found among the dinosaur's bones in the present).
  • A zombie in computer speak is a CPU connected to the Internet currently controlled by malicious third party such a hacker, a troyan or a virus. Those computers are commonly used to send spam and junk mail or to participate in distributed denial-of-service attacks. Since these computers are "enslaved" by an "evil" master and forced to do menial tasks, they are metaphorically compared to zombies of the voodo variety.
    • In Linux, when a parent process spawns a child process it must either hang around to watch the child die or declare that it has no interest in doing so. If a child dies when the parent has done neither of these things it cannot pass on and instead becomes a zombie, an empty shell of a process which does nothing more than barely exist until the system gets around to bashing its head in with a spanner. Linux technical documentation has much to say on the subject of ensuring that you do not turn your children into zombies.
  • In India the tens of thousands of normally functioning individuals have been declared dead by government officials so that others might be able to appropriate their land and property. The problem is so widespread that a pressure group called Mritak Sangh or Association of Dead People has been formed to advocate on their behalf. Some have even tried running for elected office despite the notable handicap of being dead. Another tactic is provoking the police to arrest them, so they will need to explain how someone dead can be arrested.


Our Wights Are DifferentOur Monsters Are DifferentStock Monster Symbolism
Chinese VampireIndex of Fictional CreaturesTechnically Living Zombie
No Zombie CannibalsTropes of The Living DeadPicky People Eater
NecromancerIndex of Gothic Horror TropesDem Bones
Our Wights Are DifferentOur Tropes Are DifferentOur Nudity Is Different
Actor-Inspired ElementImageSource/InternetTwitter
Shower of LoveImageSource/Live-Action FilmsJack (1996)

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