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Our Ghouls Are Creepier
aka: Our Ghouls Are Different

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They are neither man nor woman
They are neither brute nor human
They are Ghouls
Edgar Allan Poe, "The Bells"

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

In general, ghouls tend to be strongly associated with cannibalism and man-eating; they will usually be either ravenous predators of living people, corpse-eaters or both. They are often also treated as degenerate beings, created when something else — typically a living person, sometimes a stronger or more refined undead creature — somehow "decays" into a more primitive or corrupt state. The two things can sometimes be tied together, with an initial act of cannibalism being what causes a person to degenerate into a ghoul. Other times, this corruption can come in the form of an undead infection, a plague or any of a myriad of other causes.

Besides being creatures associated with death, cannibalism, and degeneracy, ghouls can come in a plethora of types and subtypes. Some of the more common varieties include;

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

Similar to how many plots would end with, or feature prominently, a vampire/werewolf confrontation, a number of stories from various horror comics published in the '50s, '60s, and '70s depict a natural rivalry between humanoid, flesh-eating ghouls and their blood-drinking vampire competitors. As the modern pop culture perception of the "Romero zombie" became commonplace, however, such depictions quickly fell out of vogue.

See also: Our Goblins Are Different, Our Zombies Are Different, Our Vampires Are Different, Mutants, The Morlocks, Wendigo.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Blue Exorcist: Ghouls are lesser demons possessing the corpses of human and animals.
  • The Death Mage Who Doesn't Want a Fourth Time: These ghouls are rather particular. Instead of being undead, they're living creatures with Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism (males are huge, muscular and have lion heads, while females are small and very human-like except for their grayish-brown skin tone and golden eyes); while they do eat humans on occasion, they can eat other types of meat as well.
  • Hellsing: Ghouls are zombie-like creatures that are created when a vampire drains the blood of someone who is not a virgin (unless the vampire is a Freak Chipped vampire from Millennium, which ghoulifies everyone whose blood it drains). If fatally wounded, they instantly crumble to dust. They are under the control of the vampire who bites them, eat human flesh, and are just intelligent enough to use firearms but little else.
  • Kemono Jihen: Kabane, the protagonist, is a half-ghoul hybrid. While he would normally have an insatiable desire to feed on the flesh of humans, it has been kept in check since his infancy by a special trinket left for him by his parents called a Life Calculus. His lineage grants him superhuman strength and renders him incapable of feeling physical pain. He also completely lacks blood, instead having a sticky white substance in place of it, and can constantly regenerate no matter how many times he's cut apart, being able to regrow his entire body from the neck down after his head was removed. The only thing that has managed to truly slow him down was a bullet through the brain, but he's completely fine after a single night. As a kemono, he also gives off a peculiar, foul-smelling odor that he covers up with a special cologne provided by his caretaker, Kohachi Inugami, a bake-danuki and a kemono himself. It's later revealed that ghouls don't procreate directly, instead creating more of their kind by sharing the fire that gives them their life energy and regeneration abilities. It would be more accurate to call Kabane a human with a ghouls' flame. Even more unusually, his regeneration is as powerful as a full-blooded ghoul.
  • In Rosario + Vampire, shinso vampires can inject humans with their blood to temporarily transform them into a vampire. A single human who receives multiple injections will eventually either die or transform into a ghoul. Ghouls resemble shinso vampires, having silver hair and red eyes, but the bite mark from their injection spreads like a tattoo across their body. They are potentially the most dangerous type of monster as they are almost as powerful as vampires while lacking vampiric weaknesses, but they are also violently insane. Tsukune is transformed into a ghoul, but the Headmaster is able to suppress the ghoul, allowing Tsukune to retain his sanity.
  • Seirei Gensouki: Spirit Chronicles: Ghouls are formed when a human ingests a certain kind of magic stone, turning them into winged Humanoid Abominations who are both physically strong and difficult to kill due to their Healing Factor.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: The ghouls are essentially superhumans with an insatiable need for human flesh. They look exactly like normal humans, but possess heightened senses, superior physical abilities, a Healing Factor, a retractable predatory limb that often resembles tentacles or energy wings, and a Game Face with black sclera and red pupils. Just like humans, they range from monstrous psychopaths to gentle pacifists and everything in between. But since the only thing they can eat is human (or Ghoul) flesh, they are hunted by humans and live in fear of being discovered. The series focuses on an ordinary human transformed into a Half-Human Hybrid as a result of an organ transplant, something once thought impossible. It turns it was never impossible, and it's even standard procedure for a particular organisation to produce natural Half Human Hybrids through forced impregnation. One major character turns out to be a perfect hybrid because her human mother consumed human flesh during the (consensual) pregnancy, and another is successfully carried to term when her ghoul mother consumes human food.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Ghouls were originally a separate creature type, but since the only ghouls for the longest time were the Scavenging Ghoul, which can regenerate damage by symbolically "eating" creatures sent to the graveyard, and Ashen Ghoul, which can return to play from the graveyard after three or more creatures have been placed there as well. Wizards of the Coast eventually decided to go the Zombie Derivative path and lump them under the zombie family — all ghouls after those two had been printed as zombies. Given that the zombie creature type covers everything from mindless dead to liches, it isn't that much of a stretch. However, numerous zombie cards since have still been named "ghouls".
    • The black-aligned zombies of Innistrad are frequently referred to as ghouls in order to differentiate them from their more Frankensteinoid blue counterparts, which are instead called skaabs, and Innistradi necromancers are typically referred to as "ghoulcallers".
    • Mercadians to poor to afford a proper funeral just have their bodies chucked into a swamp outside the city, referred to as the Ghoul's Larder after the undead that come there to feed on them.
    • It's relatively common for zombies to be called ghouls when they somehow relate to eating the dead or sometimes preying upon the living. Examples include Abattoir Ghoul, which rewards you for killing creatures with it; Barrow Ghoul, which requires you remove creatures from your graveyard to sustain it; Creakwood Ghoul and Gutless Ghoul, which reward you for sacrificing creatures; and Sutured Ghoul, which becomes stronger the more cards you remove from the graveyard.

    Comic Books 
  • American Vampire: Known as "g'ul", they're abominations they eat flesh and bone marrow.
  • Fables: In the spin-off miniseries Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love, Cinderella and Aladdin face off against ghoul henchmen. These ghouls are the ones from the original Arabic myth: huge, superstrong shapeshifters.
  • The Goon: While he's never called a ghoul, Buzzard is a "reverse zombie" — an immortal (living) gunslinger that must eat the flesh of the dead — including zombies — to survive. He was created when an evil sorceror unthinkingly cast a zombie-raising spell on a living human rather than a corpse.
  • Providence: Naturally, they show up in the issue based on "Pickman's Model". Seen on-page instead of alluded to, the ghouls show characteristics that Lovecraft just hints at, such as speech, intelligence and a sense of humour. They also grow to large sizes, dig up into graves to feast and live in urban tunnels, as Lovecraft describes them.
  • Robert Gernhardt, a German poet, takes the inconsistency thing up a notch, his cartoon translating loosely as "They are ghouls — they kill without a sound — but in private, they party hard."
  • In Le Roi Cyclope, ghouls are a race of friendly, living creatures who feast on the dead.
  • Scare Tactics (DC Comics) contains the Kinightsbridges; a clan of ghouls dwelling in the Deep South and locked in a centuries long feud with Hank's clan of werewolves. Their exact nature is never established, but they appear to be living dead people: extremely pale skin, clad in funereal dress, and with a general air of decay hovering around them.
  • Strange Fantasy, a pre-Code horror comic, depicts a cooperative relationship between vampires and ghouls in "Nightmare Merchant", with the ghoulish "bloodman" delivering bottled blood to suburban vampires, like a milkman.
    "Vampires pay him for blood by giving him the bodies of victims! V-victims — l-like... US!"
  • The king of all pre-Code horror comics, EC Comics' Tales from the Crypt, featured a story called "Mournin' Mess", in which a philanthropic society called the Grateful Hoboes, Outcasts, and Unwanted Layaway Society open up a free cemetery for homeless people unable to afford a proper burial. A young reporter finds the whole thing fishy ("But why wait until these derelicts die before helping them! Couldn't the money be put to better use by rehabilitating them while they are alive?"), and decides to investigate in a bit more detail, quickly realizing that the land they bought isn't large enough to hold all the bodies that have been buried there. So what's happening to the bodies? And say, what was the name of that charity again?

    Fan Works 
  • The Butcher Bird: Ghouls are primarily based off the Tokyo Ghoul example given above, but organize themselves into complex hierarchies based off individual strength and have varying degrees of interaction with humans - some ghoul tribes are completely isolated beyond attacking humans, while others act as infiltrators. Unlike in Tokyo Ghoul, half-breed ghouls are fairly commonplace, inheriting weaker powers in exchange for being able to eat normal food. Their society also utilizes Names that can convey the essential knowledge of a given ghoul in a single Red Baron-esque title. They're also the result of a failed Super Soldier project.
  • Fallout: Equestria: Just like the Fallout version, some are mindless and feral while some are intelligent and a couple are allies to the main characters. In this case, they might actually be undead due to the possibility of necromantic magic in the Balefire bombs. There is no doubt about the Canterlot ghouls: save beheading, they always come back after being "killed".
  • The King Nobody Wanted: Glarus tells Drogo that the Red Waste is home to a species of ghoul-like creatures called the Ifrit. They're thin, no heavier than a child, yet they're cunning, capable of speech, and always trying to lure travelers away from the safe paths in order to kill and eat them. According to Glarus, there are no more than a few thousand left.
  • The Loud Sim Date: Ghouls are created using a serum, and seem to be based on Tokyo Ghoul. They can get stronger through Monstrous Cannibalism, as when Cristina cannibalizes Leni, she gains her powers.
    • Leni, the first ghoul, can morph her arms into weapons or defensive equipment. She also feels no pain, though it's implied Cristina did that.
    • Lori, the second ghoul, has wings and can shoot sharp feathers. Which explode.
    • Cristina, the third ghoul, has four tentacles coming from her back that can let her shoot electricity, morph into things to protect her, and be remade from scratch should they be destroyed. This isn't including the ensuing Healing Factor she gets which can be nullified with Ronnie's tail.
    • Ronnie Anne, the fourth and seemingly final ghoul, barely seems to suffer any changes besides gaining a tail that lets her override Cristina's Healing Factor.
  • The Moonstone Cup: Ghuls are a canine species who live deep underground and have a strong affinity for earth magic. They're a Dying Race, as fewer and fewer are born each year and many have descended into savagery, becoming the show's diamond dogs.
  • Oversaturated World: In Inevitable, Sunset and Twilight argue on whether to call the undead rats they encounter zombies or ghouls. Twilight argues that they should be called ghouls as "they still retain some some self-control".
  • The Palaververse: Ghūls are bipedal creatures native to the deserts of Saddle Arabia, where they emerge during the night and hunt prey in packs.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness has an in-universe example with Tsukune's ghoul. While most ghouls are little more than mindless beasts, Tsukune's ghoul is mentioned to represent his dark side and thus has its own personality, allowing it to think and plan. At one point, it actually infects Kokoa with a portion of its essence as a contingency plan; the others are completely taken aback that it was even capable of infecting others, as no other ghoul has been able to, or at least had the mental capacity to think of doing so.
  • Still Waters Series: While magic-based zombies are often called ghouls, another notable ghoul appears in Book 1. Carrick is highly intelligent, ancient, and the servant of an even more ancient vampire, who sent him out to recruit Eva. Stated to be able to regenerate from wounds, he shows no signs of any flesh eating, but rather seems to be going after his victim's life force. When he attacks, he also spreads an infection to the victim through the wound, which causes tremendous pain and can kill within the hour, causing the victim to reanimate as a mindless undead pawn.
  • Sword and Claw: Ghouls are mentioned in Lilith's backstory as monsters that feed on corpses.
  • With Strings Attached: Some ghouls and ghasts hang around the ruined city on the Plains of Death. The Hunter tells the four not to let themselves be touched by them, as their touch causes paralysis, so they're right out of the AD&D Monster Manual. Ringo, who beats the crap out of them from a safe distance, says they feel like "squishy rotten meat".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Babadook is listed as a ghoul on Wikipedia and would be of the demonic ghoul sort, only without the graveyards and it's summoned from a pop-up book.
  • Blade (1998): Sometimes when a vampire infects someone, it goes wrong and creates a sentient zombie-type ghoul instead. Said ghouls are stated to eat anything, including vampires.
  • Bloody Mallory: These are human-demon hybrids who are damned by God, eat the flesh of the dead, and can only reproduce via virgins. When their babies are born, they burst from the mother's stomachs while they're still alive.
  • In Dark Heritage, the Inbred and Evil Dansen clan has devolved into a tribe of ghoul-like beings who eat human flesh, only come out at night during storms, and travel through a series of tunnels that emerge from graves.
  • In The Ghoul, Professor Morlant is either a man raised from the dead by ancient Egyptian magic to avenge himself against tomb robbers, or a man in a cataleptic trance who was mistakenly entombed alive and who, upon awakening, went insane and believed himself to be a ghoul. Take your pick.
  • I Am Legend has "Darkseekers", aggressive and light-sensitive humans mutated by a cancer cure, who are essentially mutant ghouls.
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968): In the original movie, the word "zombie" isn't used; the reanimated corpses are instead called "ghouls".
  • Vampire in Brooklyn: The eponymous vampire makes a ghoul servant out of a man by making him drink his blood. The ghoul turns into a vampire by wearing his then-destroyed master's ring.

    Folklore and Mythology 
  • Classical Mythology has the Eurynomos, which had bluish-black skin, wore clothing made of vulture feathers, and feasted on the flesh from corpses, stripping them down to the bone. They were said to live/come from the underworld, making them something of the Demonic Ghoul type.
  • One folklore story about the origins of ghouls goes: the originals were the students of a powerful sage who, envious of the sage's favorite student, murdered the favorite, then cooked and ate the body to hide it. When the students returned, the sage asked the students where the favorite was. When the students lied, the sage caused the favorite to speak, from the stomachs of the students that had eaten him. Angered, the sage cast them out, and cursed them into becoming ghouls, forced forever to be monsters that ate the dead and dwelt in darkness, as well as giving ghouls a weakness: any ghoul who devours a tongue dies a slow, agonizing death.
  • Less creepy example:
    • In the folktale of "The Ghul's Daughter", a ghul shows mercy to a human girl whose family have been murdered, and gives her some of his powers. An Older Than Print subversion of Always Chaotic Evil?
    • Other examples of friendly (or at least, not actively threatening to the tale's protagonist) Ghouls can be found here.
  • In Arabian legends from which they originate, ghouls typically belong to two different groups: evil djinns that eat human corpses, and mostly ordinary humans who for some reason lust for the flesh of the dead.
  • Arabian ghouls can be killed with mundane weapons, but they must be killed with a single blow, or it will resurrect. They can shapeshift into any form (or in some versions, the last person they ate), but they always have donkey hooves. Much like Western vampires are scared of garlic, ghouls can be warded off with mustard. Unlike Western vampires however, they can eat rice instead of flesh or blood.
    • In Persia, ghouls note  are supposed to have forked tongues, cat heads, donkey hooves and pallid and limp-looking yet strong limbs. Ghouls from the Sahara are said to have ostrich legs and one eye, but still retain the characteristic hooves of ghouls from the Islamic world.
  • The Wendigo, aka wetigo, wikigo or windigo, is this trope's icier cousin, being a human turned into a horrific monster for cannibalism. It originates from the folklore of the Alkonkian and Athabaskan peoples of North America.
  • This is one of the many translations of the Filipino word aswang. Ghoul aswang haunt graveyards, live in trees and have long claws and fingernails. In parts of the Philippenes it's customary to throw a dead chicken on the doorstep if you have a fresh corpse in your house in order to distract the ghouls. The berbalang also functions like one, being a bestial humanoid that robs graves to feast on dead flesh but occasionally goes after the living, though they differ by using astral projection to send their spirit-self to attack the living and devour their viscera, and can be identified when in spirit form by a moan that is exceptionally loud at a distance, but grows weaker as they move closer to an occupied dwelling.
  • While normally regarded as a werewolf, Lycaon from Greek Mythology has elements of the Mythic Ghoul, being a human transformed into a wolf by Zeus for cannibalism.
  • Japanese Jikininki are ghosts of materialistic monks condemned to eat corpses.
  • The Rakshasa from Hindu Mythology are a supernatural race of man-eating monsters, at times described as being able to shapeshift and use magical powers. The traditional legend says they were born from the Creator God Brahma's body, and immediately attempted to devour him before they were banished on Earth.

  • Fighting Fantasy: Ghouls are rotting Flesh Eating Zombies with the power to paralyse their victims. Fighting Fantasy uses the word "zombie" to refer specifically to Voodoo Zombies. They can paralyze with three strikes but can be killed with holy water.
    • Chasms of Malice: A "long fanged" Ghoul is one of the encounters, and tries to murder you in your sleep with a dagger. A bunch of ghouls can be disposed off with a spell which summons a monstrous pair of hands to drag them to their doom.
    • Night Dragon: One dungeon hosts a festering ghoul so rotten that its stench overpowers you, giving you a big malus for that combat.
  • Give Yourself Goosebumps: In one book, one of the people trapped forever at the Carnival of Horrors claims to be a "ghoul" rather than a "ghost".
    • In the second Carnival of Horrors book, you can take a picture with one of the carnival's prisoners. When asked if he'll show up in the photo, he replies that he's a ghoul, not a ghost.
  • Lone Wolf:
    • The Cauldron of Fear: The Zaaryx ghouls are emaciated flesh-eating undead, although still smart enough to use rusty weapons. One of them, however, is more mutated than the other and has dangerous Psychic Powers, apparently the result of the dead body it was formed with wearing a Psychic Ring.
    • The Master of Darkness features Helgedad Ghouls, bloated humanoids with wicked claws and eyes sewed shut, the result of some Darklord experiment. Though never human to begin with, they're probably undead too, but it's hard to tell for sure since it's in a part of the book were pulling out the Sommerswerd (an undead slayer) is unsafe.

  • Agent of Hel: In this setting, ghouls actually fill the brooding vampire niche. They're humans that died but didn't fit either Heaven or Hell, so they were kicked out of the afterlife back into their bodies. They're quasi-immortal in that they're alive but, if they're killed, reality just hiccups and they instantly come back good as new. They also need to feed on emotion to sustain themselves, but if they're not careful about it powerful emotion triggers a feeding frenzy.
  • Amina is essentially a Lovecraftian Ghoul, even though this story was written over a decade before H. P. Lovecraft wrote the first story of the Cthulhu Mythos proper, and over two decades before Lovecraft wrote "Pickman's Model", the story which first codified Lovecraftian Ghouls. Amina looks mostly human, does not fear daylight and breeds normally, of which the first two are unusual for but within the possibilities of Lovecraft-type ghouls. Both Edward Lucas White and Lovecraft, of course, based their ghouls on Arab mythology.
  • Anita Blake contains some variety of ghoul. The Other Wiki says they were the result of evil rites being performed in a graveyard, and that they formed animalistic packs.
  • Arabian Nights: Ghouls features in numerous stories and are usually presented as not supernatural in any way, but just really creepy people who like to eat the dead.
    • In one tale, a sorceress leaves her house at night and joins a ghoul in the cemetery, where they dig out and eat a corpse together.
    • In "The Tale of the Prince and the Ogress," a prince encounters a beautiful woman who claims to need help, and accompanies her back to her house, where he discovers she is actually a ghoul planning to feed him to her children.
  • The Book of Dragons: In "The Long Walk 2020", ghouls are six-limbed, four-eyed creatures that grow from untended corpses, which they fashion into macabre, tree-like shapes. The humans use them as beasts of burden, feeding them on dead bodies.
  • Caitlin R Kiernan: The ghouls that appear in Threshold and Low Red Moon novels were influenced by Lovecraft. The ghouls are beings with canine-like faces and orange eyes that come from another world through dimensional portals. Capable of interbreeding with humans, they are also experts in sorcery and will kidnap human children to raise as hired agents to do their bidding.
  • In The Concubine's Tomb, ghouls are a jackal-like humanoid race who are burned by the sun's rays (they bury themselves in the sand during the day) who must eat dead human flesh to avoid becoming more animal-like.
  • The Count Saint Germain novels by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro depict the titular count as a vampire. His manservant Roger is a ghoul Saint Geramain created in Roman times. Roger is apparently immortal, and stronger than a normal human. His only requirement is that he only eats raw meat. So he buys chickens, cuts it up, and eats it with knife and fork like a civilized person rather than tear at it with his teeth.
  • In The Crescent Moon Kingdoms ghuls are summoned and come in different varieties, and are usually made from various materials such as bone, sand, or water combined with something symbolic of taint such as maggots. The worst are the legendary skin ghuls which are completely immortal and can only be defeated by killing the summoner. Unlike the others, skin ghuls are created by curses from a decapitated head that has been animated with black magic.
  • The Crystal has a horde of ghouls attack at the end. The title Plot Device is used to help get rid of them.
  • The Trials of Apollo features a type of ghoul called eurynomoi. They are humanoid monsters with bluish-black skin, milky-white eyes, sharp teeth, claws, and wear loincloths made from vulture feathers. Extremely ravenous, they eat corpses and every corpse they strip down to the bones rises again as an elite skeleton warrior (Hades apparently keeps these skeleton warriors as his palace guards). The claws of a eurynomoi are particularly dangerous because a single scratch can infect victims with a withering disease that, if it kills them, will raise them up as a vrykolakas (more commonly called a zombie). The big bad of book 4 used dozens of eurynomoi as ghoulish sheep dogs to heard his army of the dead.
  • Discworld has a species of ghouls. They are an intelligent and civilized humanoid race most known for their incredibly refined sense of taste (as in food, not aesthetics). At one point, Carrot was considering getting a ghoul for the Watch forensics department, as long as they promised not to take anything home and eat it. There is a Mrs Drull who is a member of the Fresh Start Club, although she is a cameo character who is barely referenced. Apparently these days she doesn't do the "other stuff" and makes a living catering for childrens' parties.
  • Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: Lovecraftian-inspired ghouls are common in the post-Big Uneasy world, although less so than zombies, vampires or werewolves. A trio of ghouls work for the medical examiner, and Dan's building manager and the cook at his usual diner are of this Unnatural type. Although they do crave human flesh, ghouls which have appeared in the series are usually (barring the odd "misplaced" medical specimen) content with human-flavored chicken products marketed for monsters.
  • The Dresden Files: Ghouls are humanoid creatures that, in their natural form, look like someone mixed a baboon with a hyena. They have minor shapeshifting powers, just enough to pass very effectively as human (as in, even a Wizard won't know until they change back). They eat meat, a LOT of meat, roughly 40 or 50 pounds a day, and it's almost invariably human. And they never feel sated, not truly. They also have a Healing Factor, but can be killed by sufficiently bad injuries, though it takes a lot of punishment - we see ghouls survive being blasted in half, and having an entire side of their body seared into nothingness. They're also intelligent, often serve as mercenaries and thugs, they tend to be pretty cowardly, and Harry Dresden really, really hates them (considering what he saw one do to two teenagers, Warden trainees, this is not surprising). At least some of them are signatories of the Unseely Accords, as Harry's first encounter with one involved an Accord-mediated contest between a ghoul and a goblin. There is also some sort of primitive, supersized, armor-plated mega-ghoul running around. They can completely regenerate after being reduced to the consistency of chunky salsa, and even then, that may not be enough.
  • Dr. Greta Helsing: The ghouls in this series are closest to the Lovecraft type. They're a distinct race, reproducing by normal biological means, and subject to some human diseases. (Greta treats a ghoul child for an ear infection at one point, and prescribes antidepressants for a ghoul chieftain.)
  • Edgar Allan Poe provides us with the page quote from his poem "The Bells" — specifically its fourth stanza, "Iron Bells". He doesn't give many details about ghouls, beyond that they "dwell up in the steeple", that they "feel a glory in so rolling / On the human heart a stone", and that they have a king. Another of his poems, "Ulalume", makes reference to the "ghoul-haunted woodlands of Weir".
  • In The Elric Saga, ghouls drain the strength of those they touch, possibly the inspiration for Dungeons & Dragons ghouls. They are, however, summoned from another world, rather than undead.
  • Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser: Ghouls are a humanoid race that just so happen to have transparent skin, muscles, and organs, giving them the appearance of animated skeletons... oh, and they just so happen to be cannibals too. Which is because of their own twisted belief that their transparent flesh is a sign of their "enlightened" status and they owe it to the "lesser" races to enlighten them as well by transmuting their flesh through digestion.
  • In S.A Sidor's Fury from the Tomb, the first book of The Institute for Singular Antiquities duology, one of the recurring antagonists to the heroes are a violent gang of Mexican ghouls. These guys are a mix of Spaghetti Western and pulpy Splatter Horror, foul undead banditos that can regenerate new body parts if they get to eat (the heroes capture one of the ghouls and to keep him captive, they occasionally hack new growth off of him and watch to see he doesn't eat any beetles or earthworms).
  • Gil's All Fright Diner: Ghouls are green-skinned monstrosities created from normal bodies and aren't entirely solid when in darkness, making them very hard to dispatch.
  • Goosebumps: In Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls, ghouls are depicted as non-corporeal green mists that were humans at one time and are able to steal bodies.
  • In The Graveyard Book, ghouls are seemingly mischievous, about the size and build of children, but turn out to be very menacing. Every graveyard has a ghoul-gate, which you really ought to stay away from. They live in the underground city of Ghulheim and take their names after the main course of their first meal, including "The Famous Victor Hugo" and "The 33rd President of the United States." Since the book is a Whole-Plot Reference to The Jungle Book, the ghouls effectively take the place of the monkeys (or "bandar-log"), and their scavenged names are modeled on the Disney Jungle Book film naming the bandar-log's leader "King Louis".
  • Simon R. Green: Lovecraft-style ghouls have appeared in the Nightside and Secret Histories novels. They're actually rather friendly creatures for corpse-scavengers, eagerly hiring themselves out to chow down on garbage, slain monster carcasses, toxic waste or anything else that the various supernatural beings and factions of the Greenverse need to dispose of.
  • Harry Potter has ghouls, although they are merely harmless, non-sentient humanoid pests that take up residence in wizarding attics. The Weasleys had one living in their attic, which they treat more-or-less as a pet. Becomes useful in Deathly Hallows, when they alter its appearance by magic so it can pass as a very sick Ron.
  • Hic Sunt Dracones: Gouls of Zanoth are related to the setting's vampires and rely on the same nutrients found in the bizarre bloodfruits. However, instead of the vampire's Voluntary Shapeshifting abilities, the ghouls use the bloodfruits to power their Psychic Powers. Ghouls appear similar to vampires but instead of fangs, they tend to have heavy claws. Culture-wise, ghouls are often viewed to be quite morbid as their culture dictates that every household should have its own mausoleum in its basement.
  • In The Hour of the Dragon, Ghouls are humanoid, man-eating forest critters living in northern Argos.
  • H. P. Lovecraft is the creator of his own recurring ghoul variant: the greenish pallor, rubbery skin, canine muzzle, pointed ears and hooflike clawed feet are all characteristic. However, even within his stories their portrayal varies.
    • In "Pickman's Model", ghouls are depicted as horrible and potentially dangerous canine humanoids, capable of growing to titanic sizes, who live in a complicated network of underground tunnels and raid graves for food from the bottom up. They also leave their own young as changelings in the place of human children. The young ghoul grows up to resemble a human, but retains a ghoulish mindset, while the fate of the human child is vague. Ghouls also apparently have a morbid sense of humor.
    • In The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath ghouls (now including Mr. Pickman, who has evidently retired from the world of art in favor of the underworld) are shown more sympathetically, and they even aid Mr. Carter. The ghouls demonstrate that they can travel between our world and the dreamlands, and that they even ceremonially discard bones from the Crag of the Ghouls into the Vale of Pnath.
    • "The Hound" features one of these ghouls as a 'corpse' that wears a pendant emblazoned with and etching of their appearance. When the protagonist and his friend take the pendant, the ghoul itself comes back to life to reclaim it, killing the narrator's friend and a gang of thieves who later stole the pendant from him, before being found by the narrator back in its crypt with the pendant around its neck, and its muzzle caked in human blood and hair.
    • In the modern Cthulhu Mythos, ghouls verge closer to Dark Is Not Evil at best and Pragmatic Villainy at worst; while it is highly unadvisable to attempt to contact them unless you know what you're doing or have some sort of liason, most ghouls don't want any trouble themselves and would vastly prefer to stick to their underground societies. The bulk of violent encounters can be chalked up to a mix of humans fucking around and finding out, young and stupid individuals not grasping the concept of "low profile", and occasional outlier enclaves, usually in areas where they have no incentive to keep a low profile and no compunctions about regularly picking off live humans. Later additions to the Mythos have given ghouls their own culture, a god called Mordiggian, priests and temples.
      • This contradicts Dream-Quest, which explicitly states that the ghouls have no overlords and answer to no god. Randolph Carter assumes that this means that the Other Gods wouldn't be able to stop them from reaching the Unknown Kadath; no such luck.
      • Mordiggan probably originates from Clark Ashton Smith's short story, "The Charnel God", which features a deity by this name served by masked priests who claim right to all dead bodies in their city. They turn out to be creatures very much like Lovecraft's ghouls, and while they come off as sinister at first, they end up saving the protagonist from evil necromancers. Lovecraft and Smith were friends and often borrowed elements from each other's stories (indeed, Lovecraft's stories made occasional references to an ancient Atlantean priest named Klarkash'Ton), so this was most likely a direct reference to Lovecraft's ghouls. Smith's Zothique cycle does not share the setting with Lovecraft's Dreamlands, though.
    • Ghasts, a much deadlier species that coexists in the dreamland underworld with ghouls, are described as semi-humanoids with hooves and kangaroo-like legs. Though "ghast" originally was a synonym for "ghost", the word is often used to describe ghouls, or a type of ghoul, in other media, possibly due to HPL's influence.
    • Lovecraft also wrote "The Lurking Fear", a story featuring creatures that lie somewhere between this trope and The Morlocks. Specifically, they fall into the "Mutant Ghoul" category, being the degenerate Cannibal Clan descendants of an inbred backwoods family that retreated underground.
  • In InCryptid, ghouls (Herophilus sapiens) are obligate carnivores. They're primarily scavengers, but increased cremation rates and improved security of corpses has led many to become predatory. They're also known to eat their own young in lean times. Visually, they look like humans with Scary Teeth similar to a shark's.
  • In The Iron Teeth web serial, ghouls are creatures that originate from infected humans. When transformed, ghouls are extremely pale and skinny with black eyes and blood. They retain some degree of intelligence, and use their resemblance to humans in order to infiltrate human settlements and kidnap people in the midst of the night. Their body fluids are contagious, and the only way to prevent infection is the ingestion of garlic and silver.
  • The Iron Tower: The Ghuls or Ghols are undead humanoids mounted on Helsteeds who act as leaders of the Rucks, Hloks, and Ogrus. They are very hard to kill, with wood through the heart, beheading, and dismemberment being the only things that are sure to work.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, it's no coincidence that the Black Speech word for "ring wraith" is Naz'gul, though these are actually halfway between ghost and lich.note 
  • The Malloreon: Creatures known as "raveners" fitting the description of ghouls appear briefly. They chase the protagonists for a while but are eventually flee when approaching the seaside. Beldin supposes that it might be because the sea is "the only thing hungrier than they are".
  • Merkabah Rider: In "The Shomer Express", The Rider takes on a Arabian demonic ghul that has smuggled itself aboard a passenger train. The ghul possesses an intelligence slightly above animalistic, and can can take on the form of the last corpse it ate (until it finishes digesting the flesh). However, its feet remain cloven hooves, bretraying it as a demon.
  • Mithgar: Ghuls are evil creatures under Gyphon's domain; whether they're a relative of the Spawn or a weak form of demon, nobody in-universe is entirely sure. They resemble pale, gaunt humans, and being rather more intelligent than most of Gyphon's creatures, they tend to act as the officers of his armies. Their most distinctive feature is how difficult they are to kill; aside from a handful of Achilles Heels (including fire, beheading, and being staked through the heart) they can tank almost any injury and keep going at full strength - and they typically wear metal collars and breastplates in order to reduce the risk of some of these.
  • Mordant's Need has ghouls that are green, child-like creatures that absorb every living being they touch and multiply by splitting themselves like bacteria.
  • The Nameless Offspring by Clark Ashton Smith features ghouls as not only consuming the flesh of the dead, but also using people who are actually not dead for procreation. The resulting offspring is a full ghoul: pale, canine, walking on all fours, and semihuman at best. In the story, this happens to Agatha Tremoth after she didn't timely wake from a seizure and was buried prematurely. She awoke only to see the ghoul leave and she lived only long enough thereafter to give birth. John Tremoth "raised" the creature upon Agatha's death, but realized as his own days grew numbered that it would eat him as soon as he died. He took precautions to ensure he'd be cremated before that, but lets just say the creature got a few bites in still, eventually escaping to the vaults where it was conceived thirty years prior.
  • In the Night Huntress series, ghouls are a sister race to vampires, created when a human drinks vampire blood before dying and is given a ghoul heart transplant after death, followed by pouring vampire blood on it. They retain their human personalities. They must eat human flesh on occasion to maintain their strength, but generally stick to raw animal meat. They can only be killed by decapitation.
  • Nightmares Poems To Trouble Your Sleep, a children's poetry book by Jack Prelutsky, includes a poem titled "The Ghoul", and combined with Arnold Lobel's illustration it is indeed the stuff of nightmares. You can read it here.
  • Night World: Ghouls are humans that did not successfully complete the transition into vampirehood, leaving them nearly brain-dead, difficult to kill, and with an insatiable bloodthirstiness. They're also really, really gross.
  • Oracle of Tao: They keep coming back after death unless somehow sealed away, and come from another dimension.
  • Pact: Undead with flesh-rotting bites. They are individuals who’ve interrupted the circle of life and death, usually by eating the dead, coming back from near-death one too many times, or practising necromancy badly. They're out of balance and need to stave off their death by hibernating for months or years and eating flesh when they wake.
  • Phantastes: The monsterous Ash-tree has "ghoul-eyes".
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: From Princesses in the Darkest Depths, when Cassie asks what's the worst reason for a Ghost Town that only seemed to be ghosting in the last day or two. Bianca's happy to provide an answer involving ghouls:
    Bianca: Everyone in town could have turned into bloodthirsty ghouls, haunting the homes wherein they were slain.
  • ''Rebel of the Sands': Ghouls kill and eat people, taking the forms of their last victims to trick their next ones. They can only be killed by iron, and, unlike the feral nightmares, ghouls are intelligent and patient.
  • The Reynard Cycle: The deep-men are cannibalistic albinos who live beneath the earth. Southerners call them ghouls. Even Isengrim is scared of them.
  • Ringworld: The Ringworld Engineers introduces the Ghouls (so named by Louis Wu; their local name is the Night People), a carrion-eating hominid offshoot with purple-black skin covered in black fur, long and pointed ears, sharp teeth, and hands tipped in wicked claws, and equally comfortable on all fours as upright. They're are the Ring's garbage collectors, long-range communicators, information brokers and undertakers. Yes, they eat the dead. No, the other races don't object: that's their job. The ghouls are arguably more intelligent than most humanoid species and perfectly willing to follow whatever funerary customs the locals wish, as long as those customs don't render the corpse inedible. They're capable of rishathra (interspecies sex), although they don't get many volunteers; even aside from the squick factor, most humanoids consider ghouls to have extremely bad breath.
  • Rose of the Prophet: Classic Arabian ghuls, man-eating shapeshifters who man the ship leading to the island fortress of Zhakrin's paladins and take their payment in human flesh.
  • La Saga du Prętre Jean: Ghouls are often encountered as flesh-eating, corpse-like scavengers. Book 2 has a corpse-eating ghoul hidden in the embalmer's shop.
  • In The Song of the Shattered Sands a fantasy series set in a desert kingdom, the Asirim are a combination of the Lovecraftian ghoul (in terms of looks) and the Mythic ghoul. The Asirim are a desert tribe who were sacrificed to the gods and remade as a servitor race to 12 immortal kings. Clawed and inhuman, these creatures live in burrows under a blooming field of dangerous, supernatural plants.
  • In Tales from the Flat Earth, ghouls are powerful supernatural beings that appear as beautiful humans and are incredibly gifted at love-making. They are an evil race and enjoy eating humans as a delicacy. Ghouls are a dying race reduced to a mere handful, since they practice incestuous breeding at the brother and sister level. They can interbreed with humans though the resulting offspring are weaker than a pure ghoul with succeeding generations further degenerating. The mightiest ghouls are nearly indestructible as no spell or physical force can harm them, a way to defeat one is to shine a light at it and then cut out its shadow. Its supernatural nature makes the shadow a corporeal thing and without a shadow, a ghoul is helpless and can be killed with normal means. The entire race meets its end when they annoy the demon princess Azhriaz the Night's Daughter, who magically seals them within their city. The trapped ghouls then turn on each other, eventually succumbing to cannibalism or starvation.
  • Tales of MU: Ghouls are vicious undead predators who arise when a waterlogged corpse is exposed to the light of the new moon, but unlike skeletons or zombies they can breed and form colonies. Other than that they fit the model of zombie ghouls.
  • The Throne Of Bones by Brian McNaughton revolves mainly around ghouls, many of whom are main characters. A mix of Lovecraftian and Mythic ghouls, McNaughton expands their voracious appetite to sexuality as well as corpse-feeding. Also detailed is the ability of ghouls to take memories and sensations from the corpses they eat. Furthermore, if a ghoul eats the heart and brain of a person, this transforms the ghoul into an exact duplicate of whoever they have eaten. This makes for some interesting stories, especially if the person the ghoul eats had a strong personality, causing the ghoul to be "stuck" as that person or even forget that it's not them.
  • In The Vampyres Of Hollywood there is a ghoul, named Ghul, who's an albino and the servant of Lilith.
  • The Wandering Inn: Ghouls are especially strong and fast undead, with sharp claws and gaping jaws. They can also be living humans who gained [Horror Ranks] by becoming cannibals.
  • In The War Gods ghouls were bred from trolls by evil wizards. They are substantially smarter than trolls, living in villages, making stone tools and weapons and breeding livestock and are very fast and nearly as large (about eight feet tall compared to trolls ten). They retain however trolls viciousness, ravening hunger and capacious breeding capacity.
  • In World War Z, in addition to undead zombies, there are living humans who have gone mad and convinced themselves that being a zombie is safer than being alive, dipping into this trope. These "quislings" act just like Zombie Ghouls and are still breathing like Mutant Ghouls.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ghoul is about an ancient Middle Eastern shapeshifting demon which eats, then assumes the identity of, a notorious Muslim terrorist leader, who is then captured and interrogated by a black ops military unit. It can be summoned by carving its symbol in blood, while it haunts its victims with their past sins before killing them.
  • Supernatural: Ghouls are of the Arabian demon variety and take the appearance of the last person they have fed upon. Though to give an actual reason for why they have to be killed (saying that they desecrate human remains would be a bit weak when the Winchesters have to have burned a whole cemetery by this point) the ones they encounter have started eating living people. Funnily enough the second set of ghouls they encounter are also perfectly happy to eat the living. What, did a ghoul write an awesome new recipe book for fresh meat in the last few years?
  • Tales from the Crypt:
    • A sleazy reporter becomes dinner for the charitable organization known as the Grateful Homeless Outcasts and Unwanted Layaway Society while investigating the murders of the city's homeless population in the episode "Mournin' Mess".
    • "House of Horror" features some fraternity pledges going into a supposedly haunted house for their final test. The pledgemaster even invited some sorority girls to watch to make potential failure more humiliating. Little did the fraternity realize that they were an all-Ghoul sorority, who eat frat guys as part of their pledging.
    • Note also that versions of both of these stories appeared in the comic.
  • Svengoolie features a ghoul named Sven as a Horror Host, who introduces classic horror films with comic wisecracks, silly sketches, and corny puns.

  • Alice Cooper's Ghouls Gone Wild.
  • Ghoul, a thrash metal band, is based around this trope.
  • The Mechanisms: The Saxons are interpreted as tribes of degenerate ghouls that live in Annwn, the outer parts of the ancient space station of Port Galfridian, where exposure to intense radiation has turned them into wasted, bestial and cannibalistic monsters.
  • They Might Be Giants: "The Darlings of Lumberland" is about ghouls with "cold, dead hand[s]" and "empty hollow sockets [which] freeze the soldiers where they stand."


    Pro Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • 13th Age: Ghouls are undead cannibals that hunger for what they used to be and can infect victims to rise as ghouls as well.
  • All Flesh Must Be Eaten: Beyond the typical confusion between "flesh-eating zombie" and "ghoul", actual stats for Arabic-style ghouls are provided in Atlas of the Walking Dead.
  • Call of Cthulhu: The portrayal of the Lovecraftian ghouls varies widely, mirroring the source material. Sometimes they are savage corpse eaters with no redeeming virtues, and other times they are intelligent and even show human emotions and attitudes. The Dreamlands supplement introduced ghasts.
  • The Dark Eye: Ghouls are technically living creatures, but resemble undead in most regards. They're gaunt, long-armed, hairless humanoids ruled by a constant hunger for rotten flesh, and are usually found around graveyards, battlefields, and other areas where corpses are abundant. The sun burns and kills them, and they're consequently nocturnal creatures who spend the day hiding underground. They do not breed naturally, and instead turn intelligent humanoids into ghouls by means of their infectious bites. When they gather in large groups, they also tend to mutate to serve specific roles — common, undifferentiated feeders, quick and agile but fragile scouts who find prey for the pack, strong but slow gatherers of body parts, bloated regurgitators who swallow huge quantities of meat and regurgitate them for the rest to eat, blind diggers with large claws who maintain tunnel systems for the rest to hide in during the day, rare morokun capable of casting spells, and bloated, immobile and telepathic ghoul kings who rule over the rest.
  • Dark•Matter (1999): After a few generations, humans who engage in cannibalism degenerate into Ghouls. Ghouls have unnaturally sharp fingernails and stink of blood and decay, forced to small pockets on the edge of society and slaking their hunger from morgues or the occasional isolated person.
  • Dragon Dice: Ghouls are a basic undead troop type. They are moderately capable in both casting magic and melee combat.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has quite a few examples.
    • Most editions of D&D have ghouls who are feral, scavenging undead who are not disinclined to picking on fresh meat if it looks like it'll be good pickings. Their attacks are both poisonous (generally a paralyzing agent to subdue living prey in a hurry) and prone to spreading disease. Unusually for the usual flesh-eating undead concept, ghouls are fully sapient and can even speak, which makes them capable of planning out ambushes. A ghast is a tougher, more martially inclined ghoul with a few extra tricks, but is largely the same concept.
    • The CD&D rules omitted ghasts, but added elder ghouls (strong ghouls surrounded by a vitality-draining unholy light) and agarats (hyperkinetic ghouls that drain life energy with their screams) to the roster.
    • Some sources, including the 2nd ed Al-Qadim, feature ghouls (or ghuls) based on the ghoul of Arabic myth. It's an undead genie with powerful magic and shapeshifting abilities.
    • The Fiend Folio for third edition also features the maurezhi, a race of demons that eats the corpse as well as the soul of its victims, which makes it stronger and allows it to take the deceased person's form. Along with it is the abyssal ghoul, first introduced in City of the Spider Queen, which is like the undead ghoul, but with demonic powers.
    • d20 Modern brings it all full circle, in that its zombies are simply the traditional Voodoo type, but its ghouls are straight out of Romero's playbook.
    • Dungeon Magazine adventure City of Ghouls introduces True Ghouls, intelligent and much deadlier than the original ones. So much in fact almost overrun the Underdark, proving a worthy challenge to all kinds of dangerous creatures living there. They since made few appearances in other Dungeon adventures, 4E module Kingdom of the Ghouls and even rule the Underworld in Empire of the Ghouls campaign for Kobold Press' Midgard setting.
    • 3rd Edition's Monster Manual II describes famine spirits, also called ravenous ghouls, a type of bloated undead possessed by a burning, all-consuming hunger that can never be sated. Famine spirits consume everything they come across, even being able to unhinge their jaws to swallow large items or victims whole, and will only abstain from devouring undead flesh. As a result, they often gain followings of ghouls and ghasts eager to join in their feasts.
    • Arthaus's 3rd-party Ravenloft 3.5e supplement, Van Richten's Guide to the Walking Dead, broadened D&D's "ghoul" category to include a variety of "Hungry Dead". Its signature example was a grossly-fat undead who would crash dinner parties and frantically gobble down any sort of food, only attacking the living guests if there was nothing else edible within reach.
  • Exalted:
    • Han-Tha, the Ghoul King, is a god of cannibalism, necrophagy and scavengers who takes the form of a great eyeless beast with a giant maw filled with sharp fangs. His worship is forbidden, and is only found among depraved cults and degenerate primitives lurking in ruined cities.
    • The Ghost-Blooded, the half-dead and half-alive children of ghosts and living mortals, are sometimes referred to as ghouls.
    • The ghul, also known as deiphages, are gods driven insane by the loss of their domains and starved by the loss of Quintessence from mortal prayer. They lurk in the slums and sewers of the heavenly city of Yu-Shan, ambushing other deities and devouring them for their Essence.
  • Gods of the Fall: After the Delirium descended on the city of Athsayor, its inhabitants were transformed into ghouls and retreated underground. They tear intruders limb from limb and consume them while still alive, while preparing for something they refer to as the Great Dying.
  • GURPS: Ghouls in GURPS: Fantasy are a complete race who are indistinguishable from normal humans until they try to eat you. The only thing they can eat is human flesh; all other foods are dangerous to them.
  • kill puppies for satan: Ghouls are depraved people who are addicted to a supernatural charge they get out of eating corpses. They're looked down on by all the other supernatural types; note  the narrator describes them as "the desperate needle-sharing ass-peddling heroin addicts of our world".
  • Night's Black Agents: Ghouls typically act as muscle for a vampire, or as guard dogs for an underground location. They needn't be human; ghouls might be flesh-eating canines, beetles, fish or alien constructs.
  • Numenera:
    • Ghasts are degenerate humans who live in the Ghastlov, the ash-scoured wasteland in the heart of Vralk. They wear no clothing, use bone weapons and make no shelters, instead burrowing beneath the ground by day, and will eat anything they can catch — and are cannibals to boot, eating both human travelers and their own young, elders and feeble ones to survive in the waste they call home.
    • Syzygy ghouls are abhumans who feed upon the dead, and spend almost as much time beneath the ground as corpses. Their bodies are hairless and so porcelain-smooth that their faces are sometimes mistaken for emotionless masks. Syzygy ghouls come to the surface at night to gather humanoid remains or steal those recently interred from their graves, and are said to know what any of their past meals knew. They are later revealed to hail from Dhizrend, a dimension filled only with corpses, and to be ruled by an elite that does not feed on corpses and instead dines on living human captives.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Ghouls follow D&D's example and also take inspiration from H. P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos, giving them an underground kingdom and a hatred of the more powerful ghasts, even bringing in the minor Mythos race, the gugs, as their natural enemies — the gugs, despite being much bigger and much more powerful than ghouls, are terrified of them and will always attempt to flee when they meet one. They usually worship the demon lord Kabriri, said to have been the first ghoul to ever exist and the eventual progenitor of every modern ghoul.
    • Ghouls have a complex relationship with elves. Elves are immune to their paralyzing touch, although not to the fever that turns the living into ghouls — the fact that Kabriri was an elf in life is speculated to be the reason for this. Elven parents affected by ghoul fever may give birth to angheuvores, half-undead beings afflicted by a ghoul's ravenous hunger for flesh.
    • There are also "ghuls", a separate monster formed from the undead husks of a genie, more closely modeled on the Arabic lore.
    • Leng ghouls were introduced later, are more powerful than even ghasts and were specifically created to be the Old One-worshipping, dog-headed, peculiarly civilized Lovecraftian ghouls. They do not worship Kabriri like other ghouls do, and consider themselves to be part of a distinct undead lineage that predates Kabriri's by a long stretch.
  • RuneQuest: Ghouls are half-dead creatures that maintain their status by eating the dead. They are formed when malign spirits possess a corpse. The corpse is thereby transfigured and animated, becoming a parody of life that will alsways look as if it has stepped from a week-old grave.
  • Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos features the Lovecraftian Ghoul as a playable race, inspired by the lore surrounding ghouls from H. P. Lovecraft's Dream Cycle.
  • Shadowrun ghouls are metahumans who contracted a virus that 1) blinded them, 2) deformed them (they lack body hair, and have claws and shark-like teeth), 3) shunted them halfway into the astral plane and 4) made metahuman flesh a dietary requirement. Often ends up making the poor character either a monster, evil or (if they are lucky) a tougher shadowrunner. The dietary requirements are a particular issue for them — they need to eat human, elf, dwarf, ork or troll flesh, quite a bit of it, and can't live off of anything else. While individual ghouls can scrape by off of corpses and casualties in shadowruns and firefights, any large concentration inevitably has to resort to things like the black market organ trade, purchasing condemned prisoners from nearby governments and worse. One of the things that the great dragon Dunkelzahn left in his will was an enormous reward for anyone who successfully was able to develop or discover a subsitute food source for ghouls.
  • Small World: Ghouls are one of the playable races. Their racial power is the ability to keep all their pieces in play and continue expanding their territory when they go into decline, unlike other races.
  • The Strange:
    • Ghouls in Halloween are goblins who have developed a taste for the flesh of their fellows. Hungry for flesh (even rotting flesh), they dig up about one in ten fresh graves in the Graveyard.
    • In Wuxia City, a ghoul is a person who sought the sacrament of the Darkness and willingly became a supernatural entity of endless hunger. Ghouls can see in the dark, are immortal unless killed, and derive pleasure from gnawing on human flesh.
  • Talislanta: Necrophages are humanoids from the Underworld that feed on the remains of the dead. Ghasts hail from the nether realms, and tend to haunt ancient graveyards, tombs, and battlegrounds.
  • Unhallowed Metropolis: While technically undead — specifically half-lifers, a type of undead that outright dead like vampires or zombies, but who aren't quite alive, either — and deformed, the strain of The Plague they're infected with leaves them with some of their humanity. Those who can curb their violent impulses are more or less tolerated — meaning they're treated as an inferior minority to be exploited at leisure as long as they don't get uppity.
  • Urban Jungle: The "Occult Horror" supplement has Lovecraft-like ghouls, they're described as mostly harmless if not directly threatened, after all their enemies will die and become food eventually.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade and its successor Vampire: The Requiem:
    • Ghouls are the mortal servants of vampires. Regularly consuming a little bit of the blood of their vampire masters grants them a few supernatural powers, but it also makes them slaves to the vampire's will and particularly prone to mental illness and other gruesome drawbacks. There're even entire ghoul families (which Masquerade calls revenants), who are particularly unwholesome sorts even by ghoul standards.
    • There's also a bloodline of special black magic vampires in Masquerade, the Nagaraja, who have to eat human flesh in addition to drinking blood. Though not referred to as ghouls, between the magic and the cannibalism they much more closely resemble the ghouls of middle eastern myth.
    • Additionally there's the szlachta, a type of ghoul created by the Uberwaldic Tzimisce clan using their Body Horror magic they call "fleshcrafting". While their combat prowess is increased, they're also hideously deformed with some of them not even being humanoid anymore by the end of it.
    • The Wicked Dead sourcebook for Requiem also features the mythic variety of ghul, which feed on corpses (some of which they make themselves) and have the ability to take on the form of their meals. It's disgusting, but they do get quite a few neat powers, and if you really want to live forever, being a ghul is probably a better [sic] option than vampirism.
  • Warhammer:
    • Ghouls are the degenerate descendants of humans who were driven to cannibalism, typically during times of war or famine, and often hide in places such as catacombs and crypts. Though not supernatural creatures themselves, they have an innate connection to dark magic that allows vampires to easily dominate them as living minions.
    • The Strigoi vampire bloodline, often dubbed "Ghoul Kings", are twisted, hunched vampiric scavengers who skulk around graveyards feasting on the blood and flesh of the recently dead and prefer graveyards as their favored haunts. It's common for the Strigoi to form a closer bond with the ghouls than other vampires do, and they often lead large packs and colonies of the cannibalistic beings.
    • Crypt horrors are gigantic, heavily mutated ghouls that have been fed vampire blood, which functions as a Psycho Serum. Effectively living weapons, crypt horrors are used as shock troops against foes whose magic could otherwise repel true undead, such as the undead-abhorring Cult of Morr. The creation of crypt horrors is frowned upon by most vampires as a bastardization of the Blood Kiss, and so only the most desperate or degenerate of vampires are willing to utilize them.
    • Mournghouls are horrific beings created when people driven mad by cold and hunger in the far north of the world turn to cannibalism to survive, only to later succumb to the elements and rise as monstrous undead creatures driven by an endless, insatiable hunger that they can never relieve. Notably, this makes them very similar to the mythical Wendigo.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Ur-Ghuls are a type of aliens resembling pale, hunched humanoids with large heads and four sensory pits instead of eyes. They're often used by Dark Eldar Archons as bodyguards and enforcers.
    • Dark Heresy: Hullghasts are feral, bestial humanoids descended from human crews who became stranded on wrecked space vessels, ruined stations, or often enough on remote, rarely-visited decks of the Imperium's immense and centuries-old ships. They're hairless, all but eyeless, and have mouths lined with fangs, and eagerly prey on humans who stray into their realms.
  • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar promotes Warhammer's ghouls to a full faction in the form of the Flesh-Eater Courts, and manages to make its predecessor's already creepy ghouls even creepier. They're not just degenerate humans now, they're also all extraordinarily insane, with a shared, contagious delusion that they are all part of a glorious kingdom of benevolent kings, chivalrous knights, and stalwart men-at-arms fighting terrifying monsters, instead of gibbering club-wielding cannibals slaughtering and devouring monsters, enemy warriors, and civilians alike.
    • The Flesh-Eater Courts, much like their Warhammer Fantasy predecessors, are ruled by vampiric Ghoul Kings, degenerate vampires who have become little more than bestial, ravening predators, but whose clouded minds still think themselves the noble kings and crusaders they once were. They're responsible for infecting cannibals with the infectious madness of the Courts, and for transforming them into ever more monstrous forms by feeding them their blood in reward for valiant deeds.
    • The ghouls of the Flesh-Eater Courts come in a much greater variety of types than simply the crypt ghouls and crypt horrors carried over from the original game. Variants include crypt ghasts, powerful creatures who were once heroes and wizards and now lead their lesser kin; crypt haunters, beasts elevated from crypt horrors by the blood of their kings and who see themselves as noble commanders leading scores of knights to battle; and crypt flayers, whose arms grow into batlike wings on drinking their king's blood and who can further transform into crypt infernals.

    Theme Parks 
  • The Haunted Mansion: The words "ghoul" and "ghoulish" are often used as part of the plethora of synonyms of "ghost" used by the ghosts to describe themselves (which also notably includes "creepy creeps"), implying that "ghoul" is just another name for "The Undead" in general in the Mansionverse.

    Video Games 
  • Alpen Ghoul revolves around your unarmed player character in the wilderness while being stalked by the titular ghoul. Who will keep hunting you down once you're in sight.
  • Battle Brothers: Nachzehrer are a type of ghoulish creature that likes to eat corpses. They'll often do this when battling your company, eating either their own dead or yours and growing bigger and bigger and more powerful as they do so. At their biggest size they can swallow one of your men whole, and if you fail to kill the creature your comrade will die in its stomach.
  • Battle for Wesnoth has ghouls of the zombie/mutant variety. Distinct from "Walking Corpses", ghouls are larger, eat their dead opponents instead of zombifying them, and have poisonous claws. Depending on the campaign, they can be created either by cursing live humans or reanimating recently dead.
  • Boktai: Ghouls, also known as Boks, are fairly close to the traditional zombie. Only they squeak when they see you.
  • Castlevania ghouls are typically just Palette Swaps of zombies. The exception to this is the portrayal of ghouls in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, which are a cannibalistic, underground-dwelling evolutionary offshoots of normal humans, though very much alive, they still share the undead's weakness to holy water.
  • City of Heroes has Mutant Ghouls in the alternate dimension of Praetoria. They were created by Praetor Berry, who was trying to create a new variety of super-soldier to replace the legions of conscripted superhumans through the use of a genetic serum. However, the serum turns people into super-tough brutes instead, and they look like deformed monsters because the serum causes their altered endocrine systems to accelerate the build-up of stress damage. Because Berry is still curious about how the failures could be used, but the Praetorian leader, Emperor Cole doesn't want the monsters mucking up his perfect world, Praetor Berry dumps the Ghouls into the gigantic network of sewers and maintenance tunnels under the city, with the added benefit of the Ghouls constantly attacking and eating the Resistance group that occupies those same tunnels.
  • Averted in Daemon Summoner; the ghoul enemies are more akin to generic zombies (at one point you enter a graveyard where dozens of them pushes their coffins open to swarm you), are the first enemies encountered, and are rubbish mooks that dies easily despite appearing in large numbers everytime.
  • Darkest Dungeon: Ghouls are considerably larger than most other examples, towering over a human. They're also quite fast. They are classed as "unholy" type enemies, and are apparently former humans, but not much information is known about them beyond that.
  • Dark Souls: The Infested Ghouls are hollows infected by the diseases in Blighttown, they are more aggressive than the hollows at the surface and are cannibalistic.
  • Dead Space 3: Feeder necromorphs may count, being painfully thin and constantly hungry necromorphs who arose from starving people who ate necromorph meat.
  • Die2Nite: People who have feasted on a human corpse to become half zombies. They suffer from decaying flesh and must feed on human meat to survive, but are immune to infections and retain all higher brain functions.
  • Dominions: Ghouls are a Late Age capitol-only unit for Ulm, cursed when they ate their companions during a siege. Their halberds destroy enemy sacred units and they cause instant fear by being seen.
  • You can create a Ghoul in Doodle God by combining a Corpse and a Zombie (i.e. a zombie that eats corpses), or combining a Corpse and a Necromancer, which creates a Ghoul as well as a Zombie. If you combine a Ghoul with a Priest or a Paladin, the Ghoul will be split into a Corpse and a Ghost.
  • Doom: In "The Ghoul's Forest" series of Game Mods (and its multiplayer sequel, Ghouls vs. Humans) most ghouls are huge floating skeletal heads which fly around incredibly fast and eat people. Except for the Creeper, who's just a Humanoid Abomination.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Ghouls are people who have succumbed to the Darkspawn Taint. The Taint gradually eats away at their mind, body, and soul and allows them to hear the Song of the Old Gods. Most Ghouls spend the remainder of their twisted lives — which aren't very long thanks to the Taint — in slavery to the Darkspawn as manual labor and possibly food.
    • Some fans have described the Grey Wardens as effectively "high-functioning ghouls" since they've all drunk a mixture of darkspawn blood, Archdemon blood, and lyrium that gives them some minor darkspawn powers including the ability to detect the presence of tainted beings (though they can be detected in turn), and eventually kills them, drives them insane, and/or turns them into full ghouls or darkspawn themselves.
    • Animals can become ghouls as well; they tend to end up which much more extreme physical deformities then humanoid ghouls along with the usual insanity. Specific examples include Bereskaran and Blight Wolves.
  • Drakensang: Ghouls are living beings who behave like the ravenous undead version in most respects, being flesh-eating, crypt-dwelling primitives who feed on corpses and possess infectious bites as a result of their diet.
  • In Dungeon Crawl, they are one of the many playable races, as well as an occasionally encountered monster. As a race, they get all sorts of wonderful immunities and abilities, but they gain experience slowly, and they need to constantly eat meat, preferably rotten.
  • Dungeon Maker II: The Hidden War: Ghouls are animated human corpses. They carry daggers and often have an elemental affinity. Notably, they also occasionally spawn spirit monsters when destroyed.
  • Dungeons: Ghouls are an advanced version of zombies, being larger, having a Primal Stance and paler skin, tusks and the ability to bullrush enemies. They feed on corpses.
  • Fallout: Ghouls are "necrotic post-humans" who have been horribly scarred and burned by radiation, so that they resemble walking corpses. On the upside, they are not only Radiation-Immune Mutants, they seem to be sustained by it in some way, so that some ghoul characters in the games can remember the bombs going off 200 years ago. Many ghouls are fully sapient and no better or worse than anyone else in post-apocalyptic America, but so-called "feral ghouls" have lost all sense of self and attack any non-ghoul on sight, acting like typical Hollywood zombies. It's suspected that prolonged radiation exposure accelerates a ghoul's mental degradation, hence why most ghouls found at the bottom of old irradiated bunkers are feral. Non-feral ghouls face discrimination both due to their looks and from the suspicion that they may one day turn feral. Ghoul variants include Glowing Ones, usually-feral creatures which are so irradiated that they glow and can heal or revive their lesser ghoul brethren, and Reavers, which have learned to make Improvised Armor and hurl chunks of radioactive gore with fearsome accuracy.
    • Raul in Fallout: New Vegas shows that being able to live forever isn't exactly a good thing; his hands and knees have arthritis, his eyes are covered in cataracts, and the loss of his friends and loved ones over the centuries has taken a toll on him. Whether or not this is all in his head is up for the player to decide in his companion quest.
    • The Fallout: New Vegas — Lonesome Road DLC introduces a unique ghoul variant in the Marked Men, NCR and Legion soldiers who were fighting in the Divide when its buried nukes went off. They were ghoulified by the detonation, flayed by the howling sandstorms, but kept alive by the radiation. Now they fight together, killing and butchering anyone foolish enough to intrude upon the Divide.
    • Hancock from Fallout 4 became a ghoul through use of an experimental drug he found while on one of his "wild tears" following his departure from Diamond City after his brother, Mayor McDonough, took over and had all the ghouls of the city thrown out. He became the mayor of the town of Goodneighbor after staging a coup against its previous ruler, a nasty piece of work named Vic.
  • Final Fantasy's Ghouls were the first really nasty undead you encountered in the game, who, like the ghouls of Dungeons & Dragons, had the ability to paralyze you. White Mages with the Harm spell were an absolute must for dealing with them, especially in groups, because if they managed to paralyze your entire party, you could only pray for the paralysis to wear off so you could get the hell away before they killed everyone. God help you if they manage to ambush you...
  • Guild Wars: Ghouls are semi-bestial undead melee-fighters of the Orrian undead horde. Resembling Warcraft ghouls, they are poisonous and have the annoying habit of spawning by burrowing up out of the ground right underneath you.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic:
    • Ghouls in Might and Magic: Heroes VI are the undead type, used as foot-soldiers or slaves by the Necropolis faction. Because becoming a ghoul robs an individual of their free will and sentience, and bars them from the reincarnation cycle that governs the world of Ashan, Necromancers usually create ghouls by transforming their enemies or condemned criminals, as a Fate Worse than Death-style punishment.
    • The ghoul was later retooled in Dark Messiah of Might and Magic as extremely fast and powerful servants of the necromancer Arantir. These ghouls could climb walls and were near-animalistic in nature.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Rakghouls belong to the "mutant ghoul" subtype, being living creatures — intelligent humanoids, as a rule — transformed by the powers of the Muur Talisman into mindless, vicious monsters with no eyes, pronounced muzzles, hoof-like claws and a ravenous appetite for human flesh. They were first created by the Sith Lord Karness Muur as a way to quickly create ferocious, deadly and easily controlled troops, and popped up to plague the galaxy numerous times in the following millennia.
  • Magicka: Ghouls are Gollum-esque creatures that crawl around on all fours. There are also Lantern Ghouls who can set you on fire with their lanterns and explode upon death. They're also not technically undead, since they take damage from Arcane and are healed by Life like normal enemies.
  • In Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Mordor seems to suffer from a country-wide Ghûl infestation. They are a pestilent species of nocturnal, small, hairless bipedal things with glowing yellow eyes, long, dog-like skulls, and sharp teeth and claws. While weak individually, Ghûls come in large swarms to overwhelm foes, some spitting poison on their unfortunate prey. It's implied in the Appendices that the Ghûls are growing in number due to the dramatic increase in unburied corpses littering Mordor in the wake of Sauron's return and the spread of the Uruk-hai.
  • Myth: Ghouls are apelike living creatures who resemble H.P Lovecraft Ghouls. They also take on some of the traditional aspects of Orcs, being tribal mountain dwellers who are the ancient enemies of the Dwarves.
  • Nexus War: Ghouls are a type of minion animated by the Lich class. They are stronger and more vicious than normal zombies, and gain health from successful attacks.
  • Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi: Ghouls are ugly cowled humanoid creatures who only appear in a few areas. They have less health than regular mooks, but have longer range and deal more damage. The Encyclopedia describes them as being related to Vampires, but weaker and dumber, and they eat flesh instead of drinking blood.
  • Pillars of Eternity has two variants, darguls and guls. Both are fampyrs become due to a lack of consumed soul essence. Guls are more savage and animalistic, but darguls are more dangerous because they're aware of their own decay. One particularly upsetting sidequest in the first game entails rescuing a young girl from her dargul family members, who are aware enough to beg her to open the door, but decayed enough to want to eat her.
  • Pokémon Scarlet and Violet introduced Gimmighoul, a small Ghost-type Pokémon which hides in a treasure chest filled with coins, and can mind-control others to gather coins for it. Unlike most depictions of ghouls, Gimmighoul does not eat people, but instead has similarities with the ghoul's lesser-known traits of luring people astray and stealing coins. Prior to being revealed in Scarlet and Violet, Gimmighoul first appeared in Pokémon GO, running around without a chest in its so-called "Roaming Form".
  • Quest for Glory II: Ghouls only come out at night and can sap the hero's SP with melee attacks. In the AGD Fan Remake, they can cast spells, and their melee attacks also give them more MP if they connect, making them closer to liches.
  • The Secret World features ghouls inspired primarily by the Lovecraftian variant, a race of bat-faced near-humanoids with hunched builds, leathery skin and bad hygiene note ; ravenous carrion-eaters by nature, they can often be found congregating around battlefields, graveyards, rubbish dumps, and powerful magical sites in search of ripening corpses. Though seemingly crude and bestial, lore reveals that ghouls are actually borderline immortal, and those that survive the brutal years of early adulthood eventually grow more intelligent and more powerful: ghoul elders are among the most devious and potent of all their kind, capable of commanding armies into battle, wielding magic and even shapeshifting. How the ghouls came to be is still uncertain: the Dragon suggest that they are the degenerate remains of a highly-advanced civilization, subsisting on rotten meat in a desperate ritualized attempt to reclaim their former glory; on the other hand, the Jinn claim to have created them as a Servant Race in order to clean up the bodies generated by their ongoing feud with humanity.
  • Shadowrun Returns Hong Kong: Gaichu is a sufferer of the HMHVV III virus, which has robbed him of his eyesight, ability to digest anything other than hominid flesh, and standing as a Red Samurai. However, he was one of the lucky ones, since he was aware of what happened to him and had the focus to get through it with his psyche relatively intact. When you meet him, Gaichu is a Cultured Badass who cuts up mooks by the dozen in spite of being blind, debates philosophy and poetry and makes delicious human ''sashimi''.
  • Terraria: Ghouls appear in Hardmode underground deserts (a homage to their origins in Arabic myths), with variants for Corruption, Crimson, and Hallow. They have a large mouth and long pointy ears, and they drop the Ancient Cloth when killed, which is used to craft the Ancient vanity set.
  • Total Annihilation: Kingdoms: Taros' Dark Priest unit can resurrect corpses as ghouls, which will obey you to some extent but also have a tendency to wander randomly.
  • Total War: Warhammer: Crypt ghouls are a unit in the Vampire Counts roster; unlike the rest of the vampires' undead minions, they're technically living humans who have turned into degenerate, hunched and light-shunning beasts after generations spent living underground and eating the dead. They'll still crumble like undead units instead of routing like living units, however. There are also the crypt horrors, Elite Mooks resembling gigantic, deformed ghouls with complex, bony growths and spikes erupting from their spines.
  • In Tsukihime, Ghouls are the first stage of a Dead Apostle's unlife, created when a vampire (either a Dead Apostle or a True Ancestor) injects their own blood into a victim while sucking their blood, and said victim possessing both the physical and spiritual fortitude to avoid becoming one of the mindless "living dead" (a zombie, for all intents and purposes). The resulting creature will rise from the grave after a few years as a walking corpse with the mental capacity of a wild animal, and must feed on other corpses to gradually regenerate its decaying flesh, which eventually will end with them becoming a full-fledged vampire.
  • Ultima Underworld has ghouls that are technically still alive, but they've turned into the standard flesh-eating-monster (and even look the part) as a result of cannibalism. Which makes them somewhat more like Morlocks or Wendigo, but everything else fits the "undead ghoul" description.
  • Warcraft: Ghouls are a basic type of undead.
    • They are the basic footsoldiers of the Scourge in Warcraft III (who double as lumberjacks and eat corpses to replenish health) while the basic zombie is a very weak unit unavailable by normal means. In World of Warcraft, they are slightly less common but still one of the most encountered types of undead along with Skeletons and classic zombies. In the second expansion, they were promoted to Deathknight pets with a few distinctive abilities, while their old role as worker/melee seems to have been taken over by Geists (one-eyed, crawling zombies).
    • It's mentioned in the background that Ghouls are Zombies that have "ascended" (descended?) into "true" undeath. Their bodies have mutated to make them more efficient killers and instead of being lumbering and mindless like Zombies they are aggressive and possess bestial cunning.
    • Of course, based on the classic definitions of the word, Forsaken characters qualify as ghouls, being undead that can eat corpses to heal. Unlike the ghouls of the series, the forsaken are free-willed, intelligent and can even be civilized, if resentful towards living beings. Making alliance with them means having a Token Evil Teammate.
  • War for the Overworld: Once you have a Crypt, your Necromancers can raise Ghouls from the fallen's corpses. These work as easily replacable Cannon Fodder that rush straight into combat.
  • In Warframe Councilor Vay Hek creates a type of Grineer clone called a Ghoul. Every corner is cut in their development in favor of gestation speed. They are grown in the ground in the Plains of Eidolon, and rise from the ground to kill any unsuspecting victim.
  • The Witcher has quite Lovecraftian ghouls, albeit without culture or language. According to the novel they originate from the "Conjunction of the Spheres" that brought magic into the world, making them an existence outside the natural order, though what exactly this means is unknown beyond the implication that the Witchers could theoretically hunt them to extinction with no adverse effects to the native ecology.
  • Persian Wars has three factions: Beduins, Amazons and Ghouls. Ghouls are somewhat antropomorphic hyenas who like to throw feasts where human flesh is consumed, if human guests are present they are expected to become humanitarian (a rejection on consuming human flesh during a feast can make the Ghouls utmost offended). They are also very fond to tunnels, graveyard-resembling cities and purple lotuses.

  • Eldritch (2009): Vampires who don't drink enough blood degenerate into ghouls, eternally decaying immortals that instinctively seek out blood.
  • In The Fan, a group of characters fight a ghoul in a side story. A later filler strip provides more information of ghouls in the comic's world.
  • In El Joven Lovecraft, a Spanish webcomic, Glenn the Ghoul is the hero's pet. He looks mostly like a jackal.
  • Lovely Lovecraft: Pickman is the only ghoul seen up close thus far, but judging by his appearance, ghouls in this webcomic are largely consistent with their portrayal in Lovecraft's original works: greenish or grayish clawed humanoids with dwellings in the Dreamlands. The main differences from Lovecraft's original ghouls are their faces (more humanoid and less doglike than Lovecraft describes) and their habit of wearing loincloths instead of going naked.
  • Sluggy Freelance: In the "Aylee" storyline, another dimension is overrun by creatures called ghouls, which are basically humans, but with claws, fangs, much lower intelligence, and a tendency to speak entirely in hisses. Oh, and they feed on human flesh, of course. It's unknown at first where they came from, and some initial suggestions are that they're some form of undead, or people mutated by a virus or something. Turns out they're actually alien/human hybrids, who are the other-dimensional version of Aylee's species.
  • Zebra Girl: One of the monster residents of Miscellaneous is Walter, a ghoul Zandra allows to raid the graveyard for food. He remains loyal to her after Bloofer's coup and uses his tunnels to pass messages and help her friends escape a vampire ambush.

    Web Original 
  • Less is Morgue: Ghouls like Riley are born, not made, and they're a blend of Lovecraftian and Mythological. They can shapeshift and imitate people's voices, but they're very much mortal.
  • Rogues: Ghouls are created by vampires considered disgusting and more trouble than they are worth by Isabella — understandably so. They have an obsessive loyalty to their creator, but smell terrible, have disgusting eating habits, and are not the brightest creatures around.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-6387 (A Ghoulish Tale) was a tall, translucent-skinned Monstrous Humanoid with hooves and huge clawed hands. It was shot and killed when a graveyard groundskeeper found it frantically digging up a fresh burial plot. It was later discovered the woman in the plot was Buried Alive.
  • In Tales of MU, ghouls are vicious undead predators who arise "when a waterlogged corpse is exposed to the light of the new moon", but unlike skeletons or zombies they can breed and form colonies. Other than that they fit the model of zombie ghouls.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, the word "ghoul" seems to refer to archtypical Halloween monsters, such as slasher villains and monster clowns.
  • Love, Death & Robots: The creatures referred to as ghouls in "The Secret War" are borderline demonic entities that were summoned in a disastrous attempt to bolster the Red Army's forces. The actual creatures are however fully fleshy and killable beings, and resemble eyeless, hairless and roughly humanoid creatures with elongated arms, quadrupedal gaits and long muzzles filled with fangs. They're highly aggressive carnivores, move in large swarms and live in immense warrens underground.
  • Slugterra: Ghoul slugs are pure evil (being corrupted by Dr. Blakk), and more powerful versions of their original species. Their vicious appearance inspires Eli to coin the name after seeing one for the first time.
  • Wakfu: The ghouls are of the "vampiric kind" (in fact, their first creator was a guy named Vampyro): they're created when Shadofang's ring absorbs their shadow, becoming things, black-skinned humanoids with a skull for a head that only do their master's bidding.

     Real Life 
  • The star Algol ("Ghoul's Head") in the Perseus constellation. Bonus points as science has shown it to be twonote  stars orbiting so close that the smaller one has drained matter from the formerly more massive becoming the most massive one of the system.

Alternative Title(s): Ghouls, Our Ghouls Are Different