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The Zombie Apocalypse is a scenario no one wants to be in. Zombie Stories are an entire genre completely dedicated to such an event. But in some works, zombies are focused on for a brief period — a special episode, chapter, stage or level (depending on the media). It may be named Title of the Dead or other similar titles that evoke zombies.

There are many ways this can come about. Perhaps the Villain of the Week or the Monster of the Week have powers related to zombies. Maybe the protagonists or a One-Shot Character accidentally release The Plague or The Virus. Or maybe they just stumble upon a post-zombie apocalypse location.

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In more comedic works, the zombies can be played more lightheartedly and there will more likely than not be a Reset Button Ending for the next episode, or else the episode is effectively non-canonical. In more serious works, the protagonists will finally find a cure for The Virus and all returns to normal at the end of the episode... or they just left the haunted/infected place without coming back.

A sub-trope of Tropes of the Living Dead, Everything's Deader with Zombies and Episodes. May overlap with a Halloween Episode and/or Bizarro Episode. Not to Be Confused with Zombie Stories, stories entirely about zombies — this trope is about zombies temporarily being the focus of a work.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • A few chapters of Bungo Stray Dogs have the villain inflict a "curse" on the citizens of Yokohama. Since the curse causes everyone to mindlessly attack anyone they see, the city quickly degenerates into chaos. The main characters are left having to defend themselves and the few civilians who were unaffected, while the protagonist rushes to get the cure to the only character capable of breaking the curse.
  • In Cells at Work!, the Influenza chapter/episode depicts the Influenza virus infecting bodily cells as a Zombie Apocalypse, where cells have the virus latching onto their heads and giving them a zombie complexion. The cells of the Immune system from the White Blood Cells and Cytotoxic T-Cells all fight against the infection, before Naive T-Cell who possesses the antigen specifically against this strain of Influenza, gets activated into an Effector T-Cell and lays waste to the Influenza army.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn features the denizens of hell escaping into the world of the living, with many of them with the appearance of zombies and skeletons, including a zombie Hitler and his undead army.
  • The "Justice" arc in Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders has the Crusaders exploring a town overrun by living corpses being controlled by Enya the Hag's Stand, Justice. When Justice is defeated, the town is revealed to be a graveyard cloaked within an illusion created by the Stand's power.
  • My Hero Academia: The anime's second OVA, "Training of the Dead", features Class 1-A having a joint training session with Romero Fujiminote , who has a Quirk that can temporarily turn people into zombies.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: The episode "... of the Dead" is about Panty and Stocking as Fair Cops going for a new Monster of the Week, which in this case converts all the population of Daten City into zombies, and with the only weapons they can find are... sex toys.
  • Space Dandy has an episode in the first season about Dandy and his crew trapped a rare alien, who's a Zombie Infectee, first biting and infecting Meow and later the whole hospital where Dandy and QT left him thinking he was just "sick". The first half ends with the entire cast turned into zombies. The second half reveals turning zombie hasn't affected their minds much, and they've also stopped aging or needing food. Thus when the rest of the universe were converted into zombies, it becomes a utopia.

    Comic Books 

    Light Novels 
  • Played with in Episodes 18 and 19 of Fate/Zero: Kiritsugu's backstory involves his father's research inadvertently causing a vampire apocalypse on an island, and then losing his mentor to the same vampire creatures later. However, the situations play out very much like a zombie apocalypse, since the creatures act much more like mindless zombiesnote , and a few zombie tropes appear in both episodes, like The Plague, Zombie Infectee, Heroic Sacrifice, and Trapped with Monster Plot. These creatures only appear in those two episodes; the rest of the series is about the Holy Grail War. Unlike most examples, the zombification effects stick and the whole thing is Played for Drama, since such an event helped shape Kiritsugu into the battle-hardened magus he is in the present.
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    Live-Action TV 
  • Community: Despite being a reasonably grounded (if a bit absurdist) sitcom set on a community college campus, the second season Halloween Episode "Epidemiology" was a Bizarro Episode where tainted meat from a government project turns the Halloween party into a Technically Living Zombie apocalypse (set to ABBA, hilariously). The protagonist manage to cure everyone right as they're being infected, with the side effect of everyone forgetting that it ever happened.
  • Doctor Who: There have been several zombie related episodes.
    • In "The Restless Dead", the Ninth Doctor encounters recently deceased corpses becoming active again and doing things they enjoyed during their life. Turns out these bodies were possessed by gaseous aliens who live in methane environments and could animate the corpses.
    • The Twelfth Doctor episode "Oxygen" is an episode with zombies IN SPACE! Well, technically AI-controlled spacesuits with dead corpses inside, but still count as zombies.
  • Farscape: "Eat Me" is an Out-of-Genre Experience into outright horror that has Crichton and friends trapped on a diseased, dying Leviathan full of cannibalistic zombie-like beings. It finally mutates into a Slasher Movie when the real villain behind the situation turns up.
  • Legends of Tomorrow: In "Abomination", a Time Pirate who had been carrying a strain of virus crash-lands during the American Civil War and infects the Confederates with it, which turns them into zombies. The Legends detect the aberration and arrive to investigate, ending up encountering and fighting off several Confederate zombies. However, history is at stake when Henry Scott, a black man and spy for the Union Army, is killed by a zombie. On another note, zombie Confederates are about to swarm the Union Army camp, while Mick Rory gets bitten. So the Legends are split into three teams: helping to complete Henry Scott's mission to steal Confederate plans, aiding General Ulysses S. Grant with fighting off mobs of Confederate zombies, and trying to devise a cure for the zombie Mick Rory before administering it to him.
  • One episode of Misfits has Seth empowering Curtis with a "resurrect dead" power so that Curtis can resurrect Seth's dead girlfriend. Unfortunately, it turns out to actually be a "raise infectious Flesh-Eating Zombies" power, with catastrophic Zombie Apocalypse results. Notable as rather than a throwaway, this is a major episode for Seth's character development and will also eventually, but indirectly lead to Curtis's death in the following season.
  • Naturally, Sadie has the Halloween Episode "Ghouls Just Want to Have Fun" where Hal's new girlfriend distributes bracelets that turns the kids at school into zombies.
  • Spaced Series 1 Episode 3 "Art" has Tim hallucinate that a party is full of zombies as a result of taking some cheap speed the night before (he didn't want to offend the overly-friendly Scottish drug dealers) and then spending all night playing Resident Evil 2.

    Video Games 
  • Artix Entertainment
    • DragonFable has featured two Zombie Apocalypse Halloween events.
      • The first one titled "Resident Sneevil" parodies Resident Evil where an infectious mutant virus strain known as the Zardbie Virus breaks out of a secret laboratory. Though the Player and other heroes manage to contain this one by killing or curing the infected.
      • The second event titled "28 Weeks Later" parodying 28 Days Later deals with the full-out of the first epidemic. The player gets to first play as a Sole Survivor in one town that got overtaken by zardbies and must flee after their safehouse is compromised. After a Time Skip the regular Player discovers one boy still carrying the zardbie virus but is immune to its effects. Though as a carrier he accidentally infects several humans and monsters, so the Player must sneak him out of the camp and through the forest while fighting off this second zardbie epidemic.
    • In AdventureQuest Worlds, the "AQW Zombies" Saga explores a what-if Alternate Timeline where Drakath didn't interfere in the Cold Open fight between Alteon and Sepulchure. The result is Sepulchure kills Alteon, followed by the Grim Reaper himself when he comes to escort Alteon's soul to the afterlife. With Death gone, the souls have nowhere to go and the dead all rise as zombies. This was Sepulchure's plan all along, to zombify the Earth and weed out The Champion of Light who would be immune. The player tries to fight against the Zombie Apocalypse only to find all of their allies getting zombified one-by-one. Eventually the player, Artix, and Gravelyn (Sepulchure's daughter and the Champion of Light) end up in a Last Stand defending the last survivor stronghold against the entire world's zombie population. The Zombie Apocalypse gets resolved with the revelation that it was Drakath who created the Alternate Timeline for his own amusement. However Drakath ends up awakening Gravelyn's Champion of Light powers when he kills her father Sepulchure and in this new form she manages to hurt him. Drakath flees by giving her the Sadistic Choice of killing him and letting her friends die or saving her friends and letting him escape, and once he leaves the timeline gets restored to the proper events and the Zombie Apocalypse undone.
  • Capcom:
    • Between their stages, Cannon Spike has one in which characters have to fight zombified humans and dogs, as well giant mutated monsters. Being a Mythology Porn game, this stage is a clear Shout-Out to Resident Evil series.
    • Mega Man 7 has Shade Man's stage, which also doubles as Halloween Episode. Being in a base based on a cemetery, most of the Mooks Mega Man has to fight are robot zombies.
    • In Final Fight: Streetwise, the GLOW drug makes people more violent and in high doses they can act like overpowered zombies. This doesn't affect the plot until the end in which a Resident Evil-like mutated monster and a zombified Cody Travers appear as part of the final bosses Kyle has to defeat.

  • Azure Striker Gunvolt: The Stratacombs mission has reports of zombies and other strange phenomena occurring in a certain building. Our team, QUILL, has detected that the source of that phenomenon is several meters underground beneath said building, and Gunvolt enters it through the hole that his friend has made, and yes, the level is filled with zombie-like mooks. In the end, it's shown that the mission's boss, Elise, was responsible for the zombies - they used to be lab scientists and soldiers inside the underground facility where Elise was experimented upon; when she awakened her "Resurrection" powers, she flew into a rage and started a massacre, then used her powers to revive them as zombies.
  • Metal Slug: In the third game, the second level has you fight zombified people, and later, zombified soldiers of the Rebel Army. The reason for the zombie phenomenon is tied to the level's boss: an alien artifact (and the aliens that guard it) mutating civilians.
  • Saints Row: The Third has a short story-arc where Burt Reynolds recruits the Saints to deal with a localized zombie outbreak, which occurred when they shot down a STAG cargo plane carrying a classified chemical agent over a particular district of Newport.
  • The Simpsons: Hit & Run featured the Halloween themed Level 7, with the main plot being the aliens have laced the town's water supply with tainted cola which causes the zombies to rise from the graveyard. The NPC pedestrians of Springfield have now been replaced with zombies, Krusty Burgers has been retitled "Zombie Burgers", and the radio describes them as attacking Springfield Station. Though the majority of the zombie NPCs never serve as enemy mobs and won't attack Homer. The zombies presumably return to their graves or are no longer active once Homer blows up the aliens' UFO.
  • Starcraft II
    • The "Outbreak" level takes place on a planet whose star has a higher-than-usual UV output which prevents the infested terrans (humans infested by a Zerg virus who lose their minds to the Swarm) on the surface from coming out during the day, but they attack en masse at night. In theory, the mission consists of attacking the unguarded infested-producing structures during the day and bunkering down at night so your flamethrowers and siege tanks can do horrible things to the incoming infested, but it's a lot more fun (and cathartic) to build vast mobs of Reapers (which do huge damage against buildings and lightly-armored targets such as, say, infested terrans) and attack the bases by night (which several achievements require you to do anyway). Tychus even claims he saw this plot in a movie once.
    • The "Left 2 Die" map mod takes the Outbreak mission and makes it a multiplayer mode, increasing the difficulty and adding Left 4 Dead-inspired Elite Mook lifeforms.
  • The game Yakuza: Dead Souls, a.k.a. Ryu Ga Gotoku of the End, is essentially the Zombie Apocalypse installment of the Yakuza series, pitting Kiryu Kazuma and company against a swarm of zombies and tasking them with finding and eliminating the source of the invasion.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • In 6teen episode "Dude of the Living Dead", the gang discover that the mall has been overrun with zombies. The gang first tries to rescue all members of their group, pick up as many survivors as they can, before coming up with a plan to escape. One by one their allies fall to the zombies, some of them going out in a badass Heroic Sacrifice like Ron and Darth Mall, while others are just Too Dumb to Live like the Clones. The gang discover that Jude's hot sauce serves as zombie kryptonite and decide to form a Last Stand where they load water guns with the sauce and blast as many zombies as they can. However the gang falls one by one until it's just Jude and Starr, who decide to share one last kiss before its all over. Then, Jude awakens and discovers it was All Just a Dream.
  • Adventure Time:
    • "Slumber Party Panic": Princess Bubblegum's experiments go awry and cause a zombie plague; Finn has to keep it a secret.
    • "From Bad to Worse" sees the zombie apocalypse happen on a much larger scale; the zombification spreads across the Candy Kingdom and Princess Bubblegum is unable to synthesize the antidote and is zombified herself. Thankfully, her hyper-intelligent lab rat manages to do it in her place.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: The episode "The Joy" is a homage to zombie horror. It is about the Joy Virus (a virus transmittable through hugs that turns the huggee into a deliriously happy zombie) infecting Gumball and Darwin. Towards the episode's latter half, it spreads to the entire school. Ms Simian finds out playing sad music cures it, but she fails to use this before getting infected herself. Everyone is back to normal next episode anyway.
  • Bob's Burgers: Tina's story in "The Frond Files" is a parody of The Walking Dead where Wagstaff School's basketball team gets turned into a pack of zombies thanks to a faulty "jock itch vaccine". Tina manages to pacify the zombies by flirting with them.
  • In Detentionaire this is spoofed in the episode "28 Sneezes Later" where an extremely contagious flu virus sweeps over the school and the students who are 'infected' get treated like zombies. Principal General Barrage declares the school is on quarantine lockdown and refuses to let anyone out until school hours are over. A small group of students who are the only 'survivors' try to escape the school, armed with squirt guns filled with disinfectant to fight against the 'infected' and avoid getting infected themselves.
  • Gravity Falls: In the premiere of the second season, "Scary-Oke", Dipper summons a horde of zombies thanks to a spell in Journal 3, essentially creating a mini-Zombie Apocalypse in the Mystery Shack. And it turns out their weakness is a three-part musical harmony.
  • In GrojBand episode "Dance of the Dead", Corey acquires a cursed magic amp. When Grojband rehearses with it in a graveyard, the bad music ends up awakening the dead. The gang get chased by zombies for the majority of the episode with some of their friends getting zombified along the way. The zombies all get attracted to the Halloween party at the school. To resolve this mess, Corey uses his typical Insane Troll Logic and reasons that if the cursed amp and bad music brought the zombies to life, then the amp playing good music with lyrics would send them back to their eternal slumber. He's right of course and Grojband play their new song which is a parody of "Thriller" and gets the job done.
  • The Loud House: In "One Flu Over the Loud House", several of the Loud siblings get sick with the flu. It leaves them with pale skin, dark circles under their eyes, poor posture, and the inability to do anything but wander around and moan. Meanwhile, the entire episode centers around the healthy siblings as they build barricades, defend themselves with squirt guns, and try to escape the house without getting sick themselves.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: "Zombizou" plays like a G-rated Affectionate Parody of the Zombie Apocalypse. The Monster of the Week puts characters into a lifeless zombie-like state that is transmittable through kissingnote . Many tropes of the zombie genre are played lightheartedly as Ladybug works to stop the plague.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "28 Pranks Later", Rainbow Dash takes pranking too far when she swaps the scout cookies being sold with joke cookies that stained people's mouths with rainbow colors. But for some reason anyone who ate them became sick and developed a zombie-like demeanor and an addiction to the cookies. Rainbow Dash panics and tries to keep the remaining cookies away from the 'zombie' ponies until the effects wear off. Eventually she's cornered in a barn surrounded by all the ponies and states she's sorry for ever pranking everyone, only for the 'zombies' to reveal they were all pretending and pranking Rainbow Dash back.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In the Halloween special "Night of the Living Pharmacists", a malfunctioning -Inator starts turning everyone in Danville into clones of Dr. Doofenshmirtz that act like zombies and lose intelligence outside of infecting other people. The plot revolves around the main cast hiding from the zombies and searching for a cure, all while slowly getting picked off and turned into zombies one by one. Interestingly, Stacy doesn't even notice the apocalypse the whole time, as she is watching a horror film. It comes to the point where she accidentally punches one but still doesn't even notice.
  • The Simpsons has had several of these in Treehouse of Horror specials:
    • "Dial Z for Zombie" is the first ever zombie special, and possibly the first ever portrayal of zombies for a kids show making it one of the Trope Codifiers. Bart stumbles across a Spell Book in the library, and upon seeing Lisa mourning her late cat Snowball I, he offers to bring her back to life. However the spell Goes Horribly Wrong and instead of resurrecting the cat, corpses all over the world burst out of the ground as zombies hungering for brains. Eventually the world gets overrun with a full blown Zombie Apocalypse and the Simpson family are some of the few survivors left. Running out of options they reason the only way to fix this was to reach the library and find a spell to reverse the effects of the zombie one. Driving through town, Homer guns down many zombies including those of historical figures, before Bart manages to reverse the spell to send the zombies back into their graves.
    • In "The Homega Man", Homer is out buying a bombshell, during which Springfield gets nuked by an atomic bomb. He walks out and finds all of the people of Springfield has been skeletonized, but he's too dumb to realize they are dead until reading of the nuke on a newspaper. While he's devastated at first, Homer realizes as the only survivor he was free to do whatever he felt like and no one to stop him, but he soon realizes he's not the only one around. Not every person was killed, with the rest having been mutated into a zombie-like state and now want to eat Homer. They give chase to the Simpson house where Homer is overjoyed to discover his family had survived due to the lead paint coating their house. Just when the mutants look as though they wish to make peace after seeing this act of love, the rest of the Simpsons family pull out shotguns and blast the mutants dead.
    • In "Don't Have a Cow Humanity", which is a parody of 28 Days Later, Springfield succumbs to another zombie apocalypse due to a brand of tainted Krusty Burgers that infected people and causes them to turn cannibalistic, whereby they are dubbed Munchers. Bart is revealed to be The Immune and a genetic The Chosen One that may be the only hope for humanity, so the Simpson family need to protect Bart and deliver him to the safe zone.
    • In "The Fright to Creep and Scare Harms", Lisa sees the gravestone of Billy the Kid who "dreams of a world without guns" and manages to petition Springfield to outlaw all guns. But then Billy the Kid and his crew rise from the dead after hearing what she's achieved. Unlike most examples, these zombies are intelligent and take over Springfield with their guns rather than devouring flesh. To resolve this problem, Homer gets given a time machine by Professor Frink, and manages to warn past Springfield not to give up their guns and to instead shoot the graves of the undead cowboys which rekills the zombies.
  • South Park: "Pinkeye" sees Kenny become infected by a zombie virus and spreading this to the town.
  • In Spliced episode "Bite, Shuffle And Moan", Peri gets a really bad cold that gives him zombie-like symptoms, so the inhabitants of "Keep Away Island" catapult him to the neighboring "Zombie Island" inhabited by literal zombies. However Peri ends up building a raft from the literal zombies who then return to Keep Away Island and infect the populace. Entree tries to fight off the zombies by using the sick Peri as a blaster and firing his snot at the zombies, but he runs out of ammo. Peri then discovers it was All Just a Dream, only to wake up to find out how friends really are zombies, before the episode ends.
  • Spongebob Squarepants: In "Once Bitten", the residents of Bikini Bottom believes that Gary has "mad snail disease", which turns people into a zombie after being bitten. The town is sent into a state of chaos, with most residents being zombified, and the survivors hiding out in The Krusty Krab. In the end, however, a doctor explains to everyone that Gary's attitude is due to a splinter and that "mad snail disease" is just a myth, causing everyone to return to normal.
  • In Total Drama episode "Hurl and Go Seek", the contestants must consume a batch of heavily expired drink called Juggy Chugs before partaking in a game of hide-and-seek. However the awful drinks cause all the contestants to become nauseous to the point of giving them a zombie complexion and a Zombie Gait. Conveniently, Sugar who is 'it' is also one of the first 'zombies' and each person she tags ends up succumbing to the nausea and becoming a 'zombie' too. This spells trouble for Shawn, who is the resident zombie conspiracy doomsayer and believes the world has finally succumbed. He ends up fleeing the 'zombies' with Jasmine, the only other 'survivor' by climbing a tree, but when the 'zombies' climb up too, Shawn decides to perform a Heroic Sacrifice to save his girl by knocking the zombies off and give Jasmine a chance.


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