For the man who done him in,
He found him in Mombasa,
In a bar-room drinking gin,
Roland aimed his Thompson gun,
He didn't say a word,
But he blew Van Owen's body
From there to Johannesburg."
The Revenant is an older variety of zombie, originating in European folklore. Revenants are less prone to rotting and falling apart than other zombies, in addition to normally retaining intelligence and memories of their previous lives. They are driven by a single burning purpose, most often vengeance or true love, driven by a desire so strong it can overcome even death. While conceptually very old, and the prototype from which many other undead derive, the revenant has largely faded from modern works in favor of more modern breeds of zombie, as well as the bloodsucking vampire and the sorcerous lich. Often Living on Borrowed Time.
Of note is the fact that unlike other types of undead from across cultures and fiction, a revenant could be a fresh corpse, skeletal, or anything in between.
See also Ghostly Goals, Unfinished Business, Purpose-Driven Immortality, and Murder Into Malevolence. Compare Vengeful Ghost, for a noncorporeal form of undead often driven by similar urges as a revenant.
- Installments 3-5 of the nightmare-tastic Canadian workplace safety PSA series "There Are No Accidents" (1 and 2 had Final Destination-style precognition, and 6 had a last-second rescue) have people killed in a workplace incident coming back to life upon hearing the word "accident" and explaining why it was no such thing.
- Three had a woman fall off a ladder and through a glass table. When she gets up, her face is slashed to ribbons. She explains that the ladder should have been replaced, she knew better than to over-reach, and she should have had a spotter.
- Four had a forklift driver crushed/impaled by a load of pipes because he backed into a shelf while chatting with his coworker. He drag himself out of the heap, pipes sticking through his chest in several places, and explains that the shelf was broken, the load was too heavy, and he should have been paying attention.
- Finally, Five has a dead electrical worker with severely burnt hands and face sit up at his funeral and explain he had never been properly trained and the insulation job was shoddy, to the horror of his living relatives.
- In Black Butler, this turns out to be the type of zombie that the Undertaker is creating. The cinematic record of a person's life ends with their death, but by attaching a new cinematic record to that end would reanimate the corpse. The inital zombies created had pointless records attached and were nothing but mindlessly stumbling around bodies that ate living people. But by attaching a cinematice record that is based on the desire, dreams, and hopes the person wanted to accomplish in life, the corpse becomes intelligent and basically indistinguishable to regular, living humans. The Weston College arc features Derek as being one of them, though his amount of sanity lasts for less than a minute. The vice principal Agares is a much more successful version, with nobody able to realize he's a reanimated corpse. His only downside was being rather clumsy.
- The resurrected Number Ones in Claymore.
- In Fairy Tail, Keyes' ultimate goal is to create an undead puppet who is virtually indistinguishable from a living human. He ultimately achieves this with Silver, Gray's father, who has been dead for 17 years but looks exactly as he did when he was alive. The one thing that's kept him going for so long is his intense hatred of the demons who killed him and his family, which is replaced with a desire to die when he realizes his son is alive.
- The Zombfags or ZQNs of I Am a Hero, as they are technically still alive although with increased aggression and hallucination.
- Ayumu Aikawa from Is This a Zombie? is this type of zombie, as is the first-season Big Bad. They could easily pass for human, aside from not being able to go out in sunlight without their bodies rapidly dehydrating.
- A weird heroic example occurs in Part 5 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure with Bruno Bucciarati, who accidentally ends up as a Revenant zombie thanks to Gold Experience pulling him back together after his death and his own determination. While he's still the same as before and can even use his stand, he's no longer capable of healing, and he slowly decays over the course of the story until his body finally fails him. He manages to outlast his old body's Final Death for a while longer due to Silver Chariot Requiem's Body Swap powers, but he ultimately dies once he destroys the rogue Stand to save Trish.
- In The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Karatsu's strongest use of his necromantic powers can raise a corpse as a Revenant Zombie for a short time. Usually this leads to the gruesome death of whoever was responsible for killing the subject.
- Riko, the protagonist from Made in Abyss. Although she didn't live a long enough life before being resurrected to actually have any memories from her past, she checks all of the other boxes. Like everything brought back by the curse-warding box, she exists only to reach the bottom of the Abyss. Because she's human and lives in a society where doing so is a fairly normal childhood aspiration, she perceives it as her own goal. For her, though, it's more an overriding compulsion than a normal desire.
- The Jutsu "Edo Tensei" in Naruto creates these from the remnants of the deceased and a living sacrifice. First seen created by Orochimari, they have their original personalities and memories, though it's possible for the caster to suppress the minds with a control rod in their spine. They're made through Human Sacrifice.
- Brook from One Piece, a living skeleton resurrected by the power of his Devil Fruit.
- Explanation in first chapter of Reborn! (2004) implies that Tsuna has become basically this since he was first shot by Reborn.
- Sid Barret from Soul Eater became undead shortly before the series begins, but he retains his memories and personality. Besides the Undeathly Pallor and a hole in his head that he covers with a headband, he's basically the same as a normal person.
- UQ Holder! has a character explicitly called a revenant, Santa Sasaki. Although he's a ghost rather than a reanimated corpse, he fits all other aspects of the trope (the original revenants could be spirits as well as zombies).
- The main cast in Zombie Land Saga were revived as zombies by Kotaro. After revival, they were initially just standard brainless, non-sentient zombies, but they all eventually reawaken with their original personalities and memories (save for Tae, though she gains some minor sentience as the series progresses).
- The "zombies" in Zombie Loan are more like Revenants, as they pass as human and only gradually lose their emotions.
- The trading card game Magic: The Gathering features, among others, an interesting example in Jarad vod Savo, the guildmaster of the Golgari Swarm. After being killed, Jarad forced himself back to life through a combination of necromancy and sheer force of will, all in order to save his son from a demon-god called Rakdos. Having successfully saved his son, Jarad can now be seen in the card art for Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord.
- The Black Lantern Corps is definitely this version; they retain the powers and attitudes of the live characters, but pursue those who appeared to have "cheated" Death. In the DCU, this could mean just about everyone, but there actually are SOME distinctions.
- A great many undead in the various EC Comics were revenants out to deal Karmic Death. (The others were usually Voodoo Zombies.)
- The "slashers" in Hack/Slash are another rare example of a modern canon repeatedly depicting this kind of undead. Scientists researching them actually refer to them as "revenants", or "revs".
- Gwen, of iZombie, though technically a zombie by the series' classifications, does not rot (though she can't naturally heal, either), and retains her life's memories and personality, though she requires brains to maintain them. The series also has creatures called revenants, who also retain their intelligence, but require living human flesh to survive.
- Harald Jaekelsson and his crew in Thor: Vikings are undead products of a wise man's spell, who cursed them to wander aimlessly for a thousand years. They are violent and psychotic, but no different than they used to be in life.
- Wonder Woman (2006): Zeus creates his "Gargareans" in an attempt to replace the Amazons. The Gargareans are a bunch of Classical Greek Heroes raised from the dead, with their memories intact but their bodies looking a bit off. The only one of them who actually looks like a living human is Achilles, and Zeus put more effort and a stolen god's heart into Achilles' new body.
- Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse is a hybrid of this and the Parasite Zombie: he's an extra-dimensional grub-like creature who possesses and manipulates human bodies, but he's an independent and fairly moral person with no interest in reproducing himself or attacking random people.
- Dead Girl in X-Force is fully sentient, doesn't rot, and first rose to take vengeance on the guy who murdered her. She has limited memories of her life, however, which causes her some angst.
- In Zombies Christmas Carol many of the Hungry Dead are like their normal selves, just constantly starving and undead.
- The Freeport Venture: Revenants are intelligent, if single-minded, undead obsessed with righting wrongs they suffered in life. In Freeport Venture: Blood and Iron, a pegasus revenant with metallic wings appears an elite soldier in an undead horde, and is single-mindedly obsessed with killing Starlight in revenge for Starlight having apparently killed her friends. In life, it was the Rainbow Dash from the Sombra timeline seen in "The Cutie Remark", which was retconned out of existence by Starlight and Twilight, and was part of a small group of undead "survivors" who went to the "main" timeline for revenge.
- In the Haunted Mansion and the Hatbox Ghost Fan Verse, "revenant" refers to a ghost who possesses his mortal remains, possibly granting them increased abilities in the process. Like all the ghosts in the franchise, they avert the Purpose-Driven Immortality trope; ending up undead is the only afterlife there is.
- Dangerverse revenants are ghosts rather than zombies, but otherwise fit the trope pretty well, being wizards who believed some task to be so important that their souls are bound to the world until it is finished.
- Son of the Sannin has Naruto creating reinforced shadow clones containing the consciousnesses and chakra signatures of the five jinchuriki killed over the course of the story (Gaara and Fu having both been Spared by the Adaptation). While they're not alive by any sense of the word, they're nonetheless able to fight alongside him during the final battle. Subverted later, as Obito's use of Rinne Tensei towards the end of the battle ends up bringing them back to life in full.
- The zombies from Corpse Bride fall into this category, since they retain memories of their past lives, are as intelligent as the living, and don't appear to rot (if they do, the process is gradual enough to not notice). However, they don't follow the "driven by a purpose" aspect since, when one dies, they're instantly sent to the Land of the Dead instead of coming back to life in the Land of the Living. The only one who follows the "driven by a purpose" aspect is Emily, the titular Corpse Bride, who was murdered on the night she was to elope with her lover, and made a vow to wait until her true love came to accept her hand in marriage.
- The Zombies are revealed to be this in ParaNorman. They're the reanimated corpses of seven people who had the witch of Blithe Hollow put to death, but it turns out they mean the townspeople no harm. Them coming back as monsters was part of the curse Agatha, the witch, laid on them. They feel ashamed at putting an eleven-year-old girl to death for witchcraft and need Norman's help to make amends.
- The Buckners in The Cabin in the Woods. While they have the rotting appearance of regular zombies, this is more because they're a clan of "pain-worshiping backwoods idiots" who horrifically tortured themselves to death only to be revived when Dana read the Latin in Patience Buckner's diary out loud. They subject the college kids in the titular cabin to the same tortures they inflicted on themselves, proving more than smart enough to saw Jules' head off, swing a bear trap on the end of an Epic Flail, or hide and get the jump on them. Notably, the Controllers draw a sharp distinction between the Buckners and regular old zombies, as one of them finds out the hard way when, as part of the Side Bet that the staff have going, she bets on the kids unleashing zombies only for Sitterson to inform her that the Buckners are actually the "zombie redneck torture family".
- Creepshow features three different revenant zombies. The first, Nathan Grantham, rises from his grave with the intent of getting the Fathers' Day cake he was denied before his murder. The latter two, Harry Wentworth and Becky Vickers, come back after they were disposed via Sand Necktie to take revenge against their murderer by also leaving him in a Sand Necktie himself.
- The protagonists of the film and graphic novel series The Crow are classic revenants who are brought back to life by the title bird in order to seek justice for themselves and the people they loved. As long as the bird is alive, and as long as they remain focused on their quest for revenge and do not develop emotional ties to the living, they can heal any wound dealt them and cannot be killed. They also have the ability to cleanse others of whatever poison is in their systems, they can see through the eyes of the bird, and they have some measure of psychometric ability in regards to things that remind them of their former life and what happened to them, as well as the ability to transfer any memories they have by touch.
- John Milton in Drive Angry is one of these, after escaping from Hell.
- The movie adaptation of Dylan Dog has Dylan's sidekick come back as a zombie after one monster or another kills him. It takes him quite some time to get the message that he is a zombie. Without adequate care and counseling, it is stated that he could end up like a Romero zombie.
- The Field Guide to Evil: In "The Cobbler's Lot", Princess Boglarka returns from the grave to kill the two brothers: Botand for lying to her and driving her suicide, and Tivadar for being unfaithful.
- Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th, in movies between Part VI and Freddy vs. Jason, is a corpse in various stages of decomposition who is driven by the need to kill.
- In Ghost Town (1988), Devlin and his gang of outlaws are physical revenants, granted a physical existence courtesy of Devlin's Deal with the Devil. The other inhabitants of the town are more like ghosts; trapped in the town by the sheriff's curse.
- Godzilla himself in Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack! is the re-animated corpse of the original monster driven by the souls of those who died in WWII to exact vengeance on Japan for forgetting what had happened.
- Two Clint Eastwood westerns, High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider, strongly indicate that Eastwood's un-named character (although they are not the same person) is a vengeful Revenant Zombie, although Pale Rider is more ambiguous about it.
- Mama has Revenant zombie Edith Brennan a.k.a. mama. While she seems mindless and animalistic (she WAS insane when she was alive) she has enough intelligence to realize she is hideous and dead, preferring to hide herself.
- In The Midnight Hour, the dead are raised after a ritual in the cemetery and become zombies, vampires, and revenants, including a revenant cheerleader looking for love.
- Johnny Dingle from My Boyfriend's Back is this, but during the course of the film, he's trying to avoid becoming a Flesh-Eating Zombie as well.
- RoboCop features a sci-fi version of the Revenant with a murdered cop getting brought back as a cyborg and trying to arrest his murderers. What really brings the title cop back is arresting the first of the bad guys that killed him. From that moment on, he spends the rest of the film seeking just revenge.
- Tombs of the Blind Dead: The zombies are the resurrected corpses of evil medieval Knights Templar who were executed for heresy. They are intelligent, although they don't talk. Notably, they're also completely blind as their eyes were eaten by crows, meaning they hunt solely by sound.
- Of all the zombie types listed, those from Undead or Alive more closely resemble the revenant. However, they become zombies due to the "White Man's Curse" cast on them prior to the death of Geronimo in the Wild West, they can only be killed by having their heads removed, and the curse is curable by eating the living flesh of the person who cast it.
- Lone Wolf: In the book The Captives of Kaag, Lone Wolf meets with Dire, a Noble Zombie who still retains memories of his previous life and give some advice to the hero. This sets him quite apart from the many monstrous undead Lone Wolf is usually confronted to. Dire is also the protagonist in two mini-stories, from the books The Legacy of Vashna and Wolf's Bane.
- Shadow's wife, in American Gods, is brought back as one of these after Shadow unwittingly leaves a very special gold coin in her grave during the burial. She is still decaying (slowly, thanks to the formaldehyde), but retains all her memories and love for Shadow. It gives them a chance to say goodbye and make peace with how she died (and with whom) before she dies again in a partly successful Heroic Sacrifice against Loki/Mr. World.
- An Army of the Dead has, as the title suggests, a whole army of revenant undead. They only last a battle, however.
- In Bone Song by John Meaney, the zombies are this. They do not rot in spite of being dead, they have some magical powers which the humans don't have, and most importantly, they retain the human personality they had in life, being capable of love and other feelings.
- Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. has many zombies come back with their memories and personality intact. Including Dan himself, so he can avenge his, Cheyenne's, and a few other murders. And maybe stop that necromancer using short-lived golem in his sweatshop, making shoddy merchandise. But does everyone have to call him Shambles? At the end of the book, the villain, who caused all the trouble because he hates the "unnaturals" and wants them wiped out, is executed by lethal injection... and gets a much worse punishment, as he rises from the table, having become a zombie himself.
- The zombies of Terry Pratchett's Discworld mostly fall under this classification. They are completely sentient, and generally maintain their old personalities to every extent, but are basically powered by their will to live; a person who becomes a zombie is generally much stronger than they used to be, being unburdened by all the creakiness of their old body. (Although, if it's not properly preserved, it'll fall to bits, and many zombies are covered in stitches.) The lurching Zombie Gait is explained as being because, with their entire autonomous nervous system shut down, they have to think about every move they make and control their muscles consciously. Also, being dead, they tend to smell. "They appreciate gifts of cologne, perfume and other strong-smelling items — and believe me, you will want to give them these things." It should be noted that zombies do not exist in great numbers in Discworld, as very few people manage to achieve the level of obsessiveness or bloody-mindedness needed to become one. They're not considered a problem by the living population, although there are prejudices. The novels have featured three zombies as main or recurring characters:
- Reginald Shoe, a former romantic revolutionary, who after his death in the Ankh-Morpork civil war (or rather, the last substantial one, in Night Watch, not the civil war that overthrew the last King of Ankh) thirty years prior to the present time became a mortuary worker and fervent Death Rights activist. After the events of Feet of Clay, he also became the first (and so far only) zombie recruit of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. He is a highly valued policeman, known for his calm and laconic humour. To quote Watch Commander Vimes, Reg Shoe was a man born to be dead.
- The wizard Windle Poons, who, after his death aged 130 years old (in Reaper Man) became a zombie due to the fact that Death was temporarily not available to take away Poons' soul. The undead Poons had more fun during the couple of days spent as a zombie than during the 100 years prior.
- Mr. Slant, a lawyer and president of the Guild of Lawyers. Has no discernible sense of humour. In fact, it is said that the only effect death had on Mr. Slant was that he started working through his lunch break. His will to live originates from the fact that his descendants still refuse to pay him for the case where he defended himself, lost, and was beheaded.
- Though not a recurring character, Witches Abroad features Baron Saturday who was revived as a zombie by a local witch. Other than the method of revival, he doesn't differ from any of the other zombies in Discworld, not going about eating brains or human flesh or what have you. (And it's stated that the ritual to create a zombie depends on the dead person co-operating.) He just happens to become the embodiment of Voodoo magic, a consciously created god, and a Captain Ersatz of our world's Baron Samedi.
- Though in Monstrous Regiment there are the standard shuffling zombie kind in the form of former soldiers in the castle catacombs, being kept alive by the Duchess who in turn is being kept alive by all the prayers sent in her direction as opposed to the Gods. Reginald Shoe actually observes them and says that they could be rehabilitated with some effort. It should be noted that Reg also says that of the perfectly ordinary dead inhabiting the graveyards. Elsewhere in the book these zombies are described as mere memories on legs.
- The ghost lore in Expiration Date includes a phenomenon where a person will die and not notice, effectively a case of ghostly possession where the ghost is possessing their own dead body. Usually the ghost realizes what happened pretty quickly, and in most cases the shock is enough to make them let go of the body and move on, but a person with sufficient Unfinished Business may hang on even then. A significant supporting character in the novel was killed by the villain years before the novel opens, but is still hanging around; he has retained all his mental faculties, but even with the precautions he's taken, his body is not holding together as well as it used to.
- In Fablehaven a revenant is the guardian of one of the most dangerous areas of the reserve, though in-universe a revenant is an undead creature animated by a powerful cursed talisman which provides them almost all of their power. Whether or not they have any memories of their past lives or the person they once were is never confirmed or denied.
- Forest Kingdom: In book 2 (Blood and Honor), Ironheart, one of Prince Lewis's servants, is essentially a zombie in knight's armor, but remembers who he was in life and why he agreed to become one of the undead. He's also rather tired of being one, but Prince Lewis won't let him die until the Prince has taken the throne.
- The "hungry dead" of Graveminder by Melissa Marr seem to be mostly this type.
- Revenant-type undeads often figure in the The Icelandic Sagas. They are basically living corpses rising from their graves, are often supernaturally strong, and can drive animals and people mad or make them sick by their mere presence. Some examples:
- While the various forms of walking corpses in Mo Dao Zu Shi are almost universally mindless, Wei Wuxian manages to create the first sentient fierce corpse from his one-time saviour Wen Ning, who was beaten to death in a prison camp and later resurrected as a normal mindless corpse and ordered to revenge himself on his abusive guards. After months of experimentation, Wei Wuxian manages to restore his consciousness, whereupon he regains his memories and timid personality (albeit with inhuman physical strength and speed), although he still has a mindless berserker mode Wei Wuxian can activate to serve as his bodyguard.
- In The Nekropolis Archives, the protagonist Matthew Richter is a revenant zombie who retains his memory, personality, and free will. This is highly unusual, as most zombies in Nekropolis are either of the ravenous flesh-eating time or the mindless voodoo servant type.
- Mercedes Lackey's Phoenix and Ashes offers incorporeal revenants, distinct from true ghosts in that they are so obsessed with revenge that they cannot think rationally.
- An unusual sci-fi version of the revenant occurs with the Reifications in Neal Asher's The Polity books, specifically The Skinner and The Voyage of Sable Keech. People who have chosen the unusual step of keeping their deceased bodies after a death which allowed some of their brain or consciousness to survive (as a mind-copy). Most people choose to have their mind copies uploaded into a new human or robotic body, whilst these guys prefer being animated with cybernetics and preserved with chemicals. May or may not have any living parts remaining. A splendid way to have undead IN SPACE.
- In Portlandtown The Hanged Man is sapient, capable of speech, and motivated by a desire to get his gun back and to kill those he feels wronged him.
- In Brenna Yovanoff's debut novel The Replacement (which is about the trials of a changeling boy who was kept alive by the love of his sister and wants to stop his girlfriend's kid sibling from being sacrificed) any changeling kid who is not kept alive can become this, if you dig them up and say the right words. The Morrigan's court is populated by these, called "the blue girls", who mostly act just like normal humans — except for the fact that they died when they were only babies, and grew up. Also, they're rotting. One girl is described as having a mouth full of maggots, another has her collarbones showing. And another one likes to play with the gash on her throat — which the parents of the girl she was switched for cut there themselves at the crossroads underneath a full moon.
- Reanimated dead in Richard Laymon's "Resurrection Dreams" are almost indistinguishable from living people, except for their cold skin and low heart rate. And superhuman ability to withstand the most horrible injuries. And inclination towards raw meat and rough sex. And a complete sociopathy combined with various degrees of sadistic tendencies. Some of them double as Attractive Zombies, others... not so much.
- The French revenant zombies from Amy Plum's Revenant series. Besides, they are all quite attractive, and the heroine has a romance with one of them, namely Vincent.
- The Scar by China Miéville has the described but never-seen city of High Cromlech, where all of the upper class and an overall majority of the population are Revenant Zombies. There is a living working class, but as soon as people get any chance of social climbing they have themselves killed and raised. The city's language apparently consists entirely of quiet wordless sounds, capable of being created by someone whose mouth has been sewn shut to stop their spirit escaping and whose lungs have mostly decayed. Typically for Miéville's tendency to reject generic fantasy morality, it's implied to be one of the most just and peaceful societies in the world.
- The zombies in Skulduggery Pleasant will slowly decompose and will follow any order given by their master, but they retain all their memories and their personality. This gets played for laugh when Vaurien Scapegrace is zombified and order to bite some mortals and turn them into zombies - because they retain their personalities, the members of the zombie horde act like average people, at one point bickering about whether or not flesh or brains would taste better.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, this is the case for people who are resurrected with the flames of Rh'llor retain their consciousness and memories (although they seem to increasingly lose identity if resurrected more than once). They are also shown as devoted to carrying out goals they held in life, albeit in a more extreme/singleminded version than they did when alive. There's also the character known as Coldhands, who appears to be a unique example of a wight that retained humanity and also appears to have an element of the singlemindedness (he was a member of the Night's Watch in life and remains loyal to it).
- Detective Styx wakes up one morning, having been shot in the chest and dumped in a beach hut by the killer he'd been chasing. Fortunately he retains his memories, and now has a few new tools besides, giving him another go at catching him.
- Talion: Revenant: Nekkehts are this, as indicated by the book's name. They are reanimated using a particular kind of captured soul named rhasa and can be used for any number of things by whoever controls them. A nekkeht retains their skills, though not memories, when its body is in good condition.
- The Returned of Warbreaker are humans who died, but were granted a chance to return to life in order to accomplish some goal. The Return causes them to lose their memories, (so they don't actually know what they came back to do), and they need to eat one human soul a week in order to stay "alive".
- In The Witchlands, all Cleaved are Technically Living Zombies whose sole purpose is to kill every non-Cleaved person around them, but some retain their intelligence and memories and have more complex motives.
- Zombies vs. Unicorns story "Cold Hands" has zombies most like this - something about the area makes dead people just rise from the grave sometimes, but they're fairly benign, retain some intelligence and memories, and are usually put to work doing menial labor. James especially is a Type R.
- The Jossverse occasionally depicted this type of zombie, most overtly in the Angel episode "Provider". The undead Juvenile Delinquents in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Zeppo" were raised by Voodoo rituals, but acted like this version.
- Clara Oswald in Doctor Who ends up in a science-fictional analogue to this state, as the Doctor's bungled attempt to save her life leaves her as an unaging, undead, walking time paradox who can survive indefinitely but will eventually have to return to the moment of her death and die, or risk destroying the universe.
- Benjen Stark in Game of Thrones reveals to be one of this after explaining to Bran that he can't cross the Wall as it is magically protected against dead.
- Ghost Whisperer had "step-ins", souls who posses very recently dead bodies, usually out of love. The problem is if the transfer's successful the soul loses its memories and, not knowing why its doing things like stalking strangers, eventually goes insane and commits suicide. For example, a guy who possessed a badly damaged corpse whose "owner" really didn't appreciate being body-jacked (this was before step-ins were properly explained), a guy who entered a man's body to reunite with his girlfriend but didn't remember why he kept stalking her, and main character Melinda's husband, who eventually regained his memories after a near-death experience. The explanation was provided by the ghost of an insane asylum's doctor who talked to living patients while they were having electroshock therapy in order to drive them more insane and become step-ins themselves because he wanted to find a way to become one without losing his memories.
- The zombies (or Partially Deceased Syndrome Sufferers) of In the Flesh start out fairly conventional when they rose from the grave, albeit with rather more intelligence than the classic Hollywood zombie. After capture, treatment with appropriate drugs and rehabilitation, they are practically human, except for the not needing to eat, not healing properly and not ageing thing.
- All zombies in iZombie seems to retain their personality traits after dead.
- The zombie-like Orphnochs of Kamen Rider 555 fall under this, since the natural process of becoming an Orphnoch usually involve physically and/or emotionally traumatic deaths. There are others who are forcibly killed to kickstart the process by another Orphnoch, but those who do succeed in surviving the forced transformation are classified as weaker. Likewise, not only do they retain their intelligence and personality, effectively still being the same person, but even can alternate between their monster and original human forms. The "decaying" part of being a zombie comes from their (literally) ashen complexion in monster form, as well as any sign of actual decay in either form shows up as eroding.
- French drama series Les Revenants (obviously) revolves around said revenants and their return to a "normal" life.
- Kai from Lexx is essentially this, but with a few modifications.
- The "Homecoming" episode of Masters of Horror is about dead US soldiers rising from their graves to vote the Straw Conservatives out of office.
- Merlin (2008): Tristan de Bois is risen as this via necromancy, though he's referred to as a wraith. He can ambulate perfectly and is driven by desire for revenge on Uther, but he's really a dessicated corpse underneath the suit of armor.
- Charlotte "Chuck" Charles, the protagonist's Love Interest in Pushing Daisies, is this. She was brought back to life by her boyfriend after being murdered, and though she completely retains her human soul, personality and her good looks, she is actually undead.
- A Revenant appears in the Supernatural Season 2 episode "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things". She is reanimated by an ancient Greek spell, exactly as she was in life with the exception of superhuman strength, virtual immunity to physical damage and a single-minded focus on punishing her boyfriend and the woman with which he was cheating on her.
- Tales from the Crypt:
- Owen Harper is killed in Series 2 of Torchwood and is resurrected as this in the next episode. He retains his personality, memories and mindset completely intact, and on the surface he still looks completely like a physically-normal and living man, but his brain is about the only organ in his body that's still alive. That being said, he's not really driven by a specific purpose of his own volition in this state actually, an entire episode is dedicated to him struggling with the way he now is and generally feeling depressed.
- The central premise of Wynonna Earp is a curse that causes anyone killed by Wyatt Earp to return as a Revenant with each heir that dies before killing all of them again.
- In the Young Blades episode "Coat of Arms," a member of a secret society steals a magical artifact from a dead knight. The energy from another of the society's magical artifacts resurrects the knight. He doesn't seem to be intelligent or conscious, but can sense where his artifact is and will do anything to retrieve it.
- Jonathan Coulton's "Re: Your Brains" is sung by a zombified businessman who still has his human intelligence and personality, and is trying to convince his former co-worker to unlock the doors to the mall that the survivors have barricaded themselves inside so that the zombies can eat their brains, as if it was just a run-of-the-mill business meeting.
I don't wanna nitpick, Tom, but is this really your plan?
To spend your whole life locked inside a mall?
Maybe that's okay for now, but someday you'll be out of food and guns,
And then you'll have to make the call.
I'm not surprised to see you haven't thought it through enough.
You never had the head for all that bigger-picture stuff.
But Tom, that's what I do,
And I plan on eating you slowly!
- Creature Feature 's song "one foot in the grave" is hinted to be about a zombie of this particular persuasion who's only still walking because heaven won't take him, hell won't take him, and death doesn't want him. It goes out of its way to point out that he(or possibly she) is suffering immeasurably as a result.
- "Drink with the Living Dead" by Ghoul Town deals with a revenant who must, each night, challenge someone to out drink or duel him before he can finally die. As the latter is far from a good idea, the protagonist must do what it says in the title.
- Insane Clown Posse has a song called "12" which features a man who was given the death penalty coming Back from the Dead and using supernatural powers to seek vengeance on the jury which convicted him. He is most certainly Living on Borrowed Time, and grows weaker with each kill he makes as another one of "The Spirits" leaves his body and as the sunrise approaches. By the time he's reached his last victim, he's falling apart and shuffling along more like a Romero-esque zombie. Another song by the Clowns features this type of undead. The song is a Halloween-themed tune titled "Mr. Rotten Treats" and is an homage to the A Nightmare on Elm Street films.
- "Night Walker" by Hayakawa-P feat. Kagamine Len. Len rises from the dead out of the blue one night. He doesn't remember exactly how he ended up in a grave nor who he even is, but he does remember his lover, Rin, and trudges through to see her again and make sure she's not alone. As the song goes on, he starts to remember more about Rin and his life before he died - it's heavily implied that Rin is the one responsible for his death, but he doesn't care and ventures all the way to see her anyways.
- In Sound Horizon's "Märchen", the eponymous man is brought back into the world to enact revenge. He can't exactly remember who he's supposed to be enacting revenge against, so he just goes about granting the opportunity for revenge to whatever wronged soul is seeking it. One of these souls also becomes a revenant, returning to the landlady who cut out her liver to take it back (or, more accurately, get a replacement).
- The title character of Warren Zevon's song "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner". Roland is the best submachine-gunner on a mercenary team in the Congo during the Stanleyville mutinies, who's murdered by one of his comrades (a man named Van Owen) at the direction of the CIA. Roland (whose head is apparently entirely missing after this incident) tracks Van Owen to a bar in Mombasa, Kenya and kills him. Roland haunts battlefields across the world afterwards, apparently continuing to take up causes as a mercenary.
- The zombies in 3-D Ultra Pinball: Creep Night are animated undead.
- When We Dead Awaken by Henrik Ibsen closes in on this trope. Irene, former model for the protagonist Arnold Rubek, shows herself in a white attire, staring at Rubek with "empty, expressionless eyes", and is constantly followed by a nun. She stresses that she has been dead for quite a long time, but has an errand to Rubek, whom she also reckons as "dead". Even the title of the play spills into this territory. It is, however, unclear whether she is actually dead, or just clinically insane.
- d20 Modern: Menace Manual contains a revenant monster template. It's pretty much Made of Iron but gets extra damage from the item that originally killed it (or an attack using a similar element, if it was something like being immolated).
- Another unusual version of revenants is the Harrowed from Deadlands. They are re-animated by demons, who are capable of possessing them when it's least needed and wreaking havoc. Most times, however, the Harrowed are normal revenants with the same souls and personalities they had in life (only angstier).
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Heroes of Shadow has Revenants as a player character race, dead people brought back to the mortal realm to serve the will of the Raven Queen. Revenants also feature in the Ravenloft setting, and have had entries in the various Monster Manuals.
- Zombie Lords are tougher, smarter zombies that can control the rank and file ones. Still not all-too formidable when compared to stronger types of undead.
- In the Rules Cyclopedia version of Dungeons & Dragons, the literal "revenant" monster is actually an evil spirit possessing a corpse; it's immune to low-level spells and even low-powered magical weapons, has a save-or-die poisonous touch to go with its claw/claw/bite routine and some spell-like abilities including finger of death and animate dead (which it likes to use in combination), can summon 1d4 spectres to its aid once per night, and for its perhaps strangest ability may about once per encounter suddenly jump up to sixty feet. All in all dangerous, but despite the name not so obviously an example of this trope... although, since the write-up is silent on where the spirit actually comes from and what its motivations might be, it could like many other intelligent undead in the game be turned into one if desired.
- Forgotten Realms' 3.5E supplement Lost Empires of Faerûn has Curst, free-willed undead created by casting create undead on a cadaver hit with a curse effect pre-mortem. The only goal they commonly have is to end their own undeath: they'll regenerate forever unless remove curse is cast on them.
- GURPS Horror features a revenant which is more or less a ghost that possesses a body so that it can complete an unfinished task. The body in question can either be rotting (as per a typical zombie) or preserved (like a normal non-dead human).
- One character in GURPS Warriors is a revenant zombie, a marine seeking revenge on the rest of his squad who killed him out of greed. However, because it didn't come with an instruction manual, he thinks he's a voodoo zombie, and does things like avoid churches because he assumes he can't enter them.
- One can create a Revenant with powerful magic in the New World of Darkness; external forces can also construct one. A Revenant has certain supernatural powers, but their Virtue and Vice are replaced with Passions, which they must act on each day or eventually the power holding them to this world will dissipate. Otherwise, they're effectively mortal. Their antecedents were the Risen of the oWOD's Wraith: The Oblivion; in order to become one, a wraith had to strike a deal with their Shadow, which would enable them to climb back into their corpse and pursue whatever goals brought them back to the lands of the living.
- Pathfinder also has revenants — undead who seek out their murderers, and receive massive bonuses against the same.
- Caleb from Blood returns from the dead as a revenant to seek revenge against the Cabal for betraying him.
- You play as one in Dark Souls, and most of the characters you meet are similarly Undead. In this case it's a curse that gave them undeath, not a driving purpose, although it has been implied that a strong sense of purpose can stave off the process of Hollowing (which causes the Undead to lose its mind and become uncontrollably violent) and a feeling of having lost this purpose will cause them to go Hollow.
- Lord Raptor from Darkstalkers.
- Doom has Revenants that the manual states are demons rebuilt and rearmed with a homing missile launcher (the appearance and pain sounds imply that Revenants are specifically derived from dead Imps), and while they may not have the best AI they certainly retain their original "single burning purpose": kill that pesky Space Marine! The Former Humans themselves also fit this trope more than the typical zombie, being reanimated by demonic possession (and smart enough to use their former weapons).
- The 2016 reboot ups the ante: in this continuity, Revenants are made from human volunteers who are butchered and cybernetically augmented without anesthetics, then zapped with unfiltered demonic energy until they expire and almost immediately come back to life from said energy - all in order to be used as a Super Soldier.
- The Dragon Age series has Revenants as recurring boss-level enemies: dead bodies of evil people possessed by powerful demons of pride or desire after their death. Dragon Age: Origins Awakening additionally plays with it, giving us a (benevolent) Spirit of Justice trapped in the decaying body of a Grey Warden named Kristoff, technically making him a zombie of this type.
- Nanashi in Duel Savior Destiny is referred to as a zombie girl, but she's really closer to this. She reanimated herself and when undead in this series raise themselves it's because of some sort of Ghostly Goals. Unfortunately for her, Nanashi has no clear memories so she can't recall if she really does have any goals like that. She doesn't. She's not undead at all, she's actually a homunculus created via alchemy.
- With the minor variation that he did it to himself to be able to keep on doing the single burning purpose, Aesliip (a draugr) of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind: Bloodmoon is pretty much this (including the intelligence, which is good for him, seeing as he's a mage).
- The Unsent in Final Fantasy X are a heavy-duty version. They're dead people who are driven to complete a task or take care of their unfinished business. Many who die violently in Spira end up going insane and becoming fiends, but an Unsent retains their human form and sentience through sheer force of will and nothing short of completing their task or a Summoner's ritual will send them to the afterlife. Auron reveals himself to be one of the rare good Unsent in the game close to the end. Though if the player pays close enough attention, it's hinted at earlier on when Yuna is sending another spirit and Auron grunts and falls to his knees, resisting her sending. For whatever reason, the rest of the party seem to fail to notice that one of their own is doubled over, in pain, on the ground.
- Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location has Michael Afton, aka Eggs Benedict. The game's true ending has Ennard remove his insides to use his body as a skin suit to escape. The Custom Night cutscenes reveal this didn't work exactly as hoped: eventually Michael's body decayed to the point where it wouldn't be viable. However, once Ennard is ejected Michael sits up with glowing white eyes. The "Golden Freddy" cutscene shows that even he is confused about his survival. This does not mean that he is not going to track down his father (William Afton) to end him. He and Henry make good on that.
Father. It's me, Michael. I did it. I found it. It was right where you said it would be. They were all there. They didn't recognize me at first but then they thought I was you. And I found her. I... put her back together, just like you asked me to. She's free now. But something is wrong with me. I should be dead. But I'm not. I've been living in shadows. There is only one thing left for me to do now. I'm going to come find you. I'm going to come find you...
- Brandon Heat/Beyond the Grave of Gungrave was raised from the dead via a special reanimation process (Necro-Rise/Necrolyzation), a process that revives the dead as zombie-like beings (which throws a bit of Artificial Zombie in the mix). Seeks revenge on his killer and the syndicate that betrayed him. Possesses a powerful self-healing ability, at the cost of losing almost all emotion and memory of his mortal life. The difference between him and other people brought back this way is that he retains a sense of self and will of his own. He can't spread his condition to others, and doesn't require food. However he needs complete transfusions of his rare blood type or else his body rots and falls to pieces. Interestingly, this issue, in the anime, is on PURPOSE... there is a better way to use Necro-Rise...
- The Hero's Shade from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a heroic example. He's actually the previous Link from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask.
- Scorpion, from Mortal Kombat, was returned to life by Quan Chi as a revenant, hell-bent on getting even with his rival Sub-Zero, whose clan destroyed his clan and killed his family. Mortal Kombat 9 sees most of the heroes of the series turned into revenants, as well. In Mortal Kombat X, a few of these revenants, including Scorpion, return to life — and when Scorpion learns that Quan Chi, the guy who made him a revenant, was the one responsible for killing his family, there is Hell to pay. However, by killing the sorcerer that made the revenants, he killed any possibility of restoring their humanity, minus Kung Lao in his non-canon Arcade ending.
- As of Mortal Kombat 11, the remaining revenants choose to side with Kronika so that she can create a timeline without Raiden, whom they blame their deaths for. Also, Scorpion's past self survives the time merger, and is enlisted by Kronika to help her rewind time, with the promise that she'll restore his family and clan.
- Pathfinder: Kingmaker: Jaethal is an elf who became a follower of Urgathoa, goddess of the undead and hedonism. After being murdered by a follower of Pharasma (goddess of death and an enemy of the undead) following her banishment from her homeland for sacrificing several members of her own family in an Urgathoan ritual, she was raised as undead by her goddess as an Inquisitor. It's never stated what, exactly, she is, but her body doesn't rot, and she doesn't need to drink blood or stay out of the sun, and she learns to raise others as undead like herself during her companion quest.
- Pillars of Eternity gives us Death Guards, who are people so devoted to a cause they basically refuse to die. While they don't go mindless like other undead, they usually end up entirely defined by said cause. (The term Revenant is used in game for regular zombies which don't count, being typically mindless and shambling)
- In the first game, Starter Villain Lord Raedric comes back as one after you kill him the first time, desiring revenge and the end of Waidwen's Legacy.
- In the second game, two Death Guards appear. Yseyr the Berathian is a paladin of the death god Berath, granted undeath by his god to protect a sacred sword from the other Death Guard Lucia Rivan. Lucia is devoted to restoring the noble house of Darcozzi. The impossibility of this goal has unhinged her and made her descend into Piracy.
- Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare has John Marston become this after completion of the main story - this is stated to be because he was buried with a flask of Holy Water, giving him the body of a zombie but the soul of a man. His appearance in this state strongly implies that his death in this alternate timeline is the same as in the original game, with him retaining some of the bullet wounds from being shot by Ross' firing squad, and running lopsidedly due to being shot in the leg, as well as his default pose being the same stance he held after he was riddled with bullets.
- Resident Evil Village: Towards the end of the game it is revealed that Ethan Winters actually died when he was first attacked by Jack Baker in the previous game, but a combination of the Mold infection he unwittingly picked up there and his own insane determination to save Mia caused him to rise from the dead. His body is effectively a humanoid fungal colony being piloted by his consciousness, hence his ability to endure punishment and perform feats far beyond what normal humans should be able to endure.
- Revenant is a game where you play as one of these the whole time.
- The lorn from Rift, who are basically Ascended Gone Horribly Wrong.
- Zombies in the Shantae series can stay intelligent by drinking coffee. Case in point: Shantae's "ally" Rottytops, who is more or less a green human with a fondness for brains. She and her brothers are considered "bad news" around Sequin Land. Rottytops is quite fond of Shantae (although whether it's for her brains or morale is up to the player) and will help her on occasion.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey has one. You can read this text about him when he's kicking your nuts out through your nose on the Law and Chaos routes.
"Extreme evolutionary form, Ubergestalt. Created from pouring the knowledge and will of Schwarzwelt into the corpse of Gore. Even after his death, Gore regained his humanity and returned to his sole mission: to save the human race. Commander Gore will march on with his duty... until the last drop of life leaves his dying body."
- The title zombie in the Flash game Sonny is an interesting variation. While he's sentient, he has no memory of his past. He does meet a few others (Veradux and Felicity) who apparently have the same condition as he (and probably don't have the memory loss). There are also other conventional zombies, and then there's the Mega-Corp that is tasked on terminating them and do not give a damn that they are different.
- In Star Wars: The Old Republic, Darth Revan himself becomes one of these after he's killed at The Foundry by Sith-Imperial forces. His light-sided spirit stays around as a Force Ghost, but his body is controlled only by his darker side.
- Charlie Nash became this upon his return in Street Fighter V, returning from his presumed death and loss of nearly half his body in his Street Fighter Alpha 2 ending. Though he was found and rescued just in time to still have some life left and eventually resume walking about and fighting thanks to the enhancements of a strange skin-grafting recovery operation, he's been written off as dead for a few years and what's left of his natural body for the most part is physically dead and won't be holding up forever, not to mention his sole desire is to engage in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against M. Bison for killing him. It's then revealed through Urien's prologue story as well as the main cinematic story that he DID actually die and The Illuminati used a prototype of one of its own projects to temporarily revive him because they want Bison dead as much as he does. For all intents and purposes, that "Paradoxical Avenger" title he has now means exactly this trope. Nash still had his own right mind as opposed to acting like a typical zombie; the murderous hatred against Bison was already building even before the incident in which he was killed, and after being shown his own weakness and receiving help from his old friends, his previous calmer persona was restored.
- In Sunless Skies, running a corpse through a Weft or Unravelling Time can accidently reunite the dead body with its mind, resulting in this trope (albeit not driven by any revenge). The crew of the Boatman discovered that the hard way.
- The 'Puppets' of Thief: Deadly Shadows qualify as revenant types mainly because they were brought back to life by the sheer malevolent will of the Shalebridge Cradle and because, when not chasing down and killing intruders, they mindlessly repeat the same actions they performed in life (an obsessive compulsive painter continuously straightens and restraightens paintings) or wander areas relevant to their habits (i.e. the cannibal haunts the dining hall, the arsonist hangs around near the fireplace etc).
- In Warframe, a frame called Revenant's background and abilities is based on this depiction, mixed with classical vampires.
- The Forsaken in World of Warcraft are basically revenants with some ghoul aspects, although there are a few Banshees and Abominations in their ranks. High ranking members of the Scourge (Liches, Death Knights and the like) mostly fit as well, as they retain a large amount of their personality and individuality. As a whole, the Forsaken have an organized goverment and are willing to make alliances (usually making them the Token Evil Teammate). They retain the memories of when they were alive, but most of them show no emotional attachment to them anymore.
- Carnies is full of this type of undead, although they aren't spared from decomposition.
- Oziris in Godslave looks like a shriveled husk, but is mobile and speaking.
- The narrator of Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name appears to be an amnesiac revenant zombie, but his means of resurrection and past are complete mysteries he hasn't much care to solve, though he does wonder whom he might have left behind. He's a green stitched together mummy, with orange headlights, an unfortunate tendency to cast arms and a muted and sarcastic but kind personality. It seems he smells all right, but a bit musty. Based on Tibenoch's suggestion that he's a failed and discarded Artificial Zombie, and his and Hanna's reactions, his means of resurrection may become a plot point and give us some definite answers. The possibility of him reverting to being a Flesh-Eating Zombie has never come up in canon, but the fanworks have been quite thorough.
- In Last Res0rt zombies are created when someone's soul shatters and they die before they manage to reassemble it, once reanimated they fixate on their last living thought, which usually appears to be for revenge.
- The defunct Questden adventure Bug Castle: The Broken Slumber takes place in a necropolis where random inhabitants have woken up over the past few years. They're mostly all right but a bunch of them go insane when raised. The only living character in the quest is the deuteragonist, a priest sent to investigate the phenomenon.
- JourneyQuest features Carrow, a cleric that becomes undead after a botched resurrection spell. Having retained most of his personality and memories, he fits in this category. He has still serious troubles with his state, though, since his god is very antagonistic to undead.
- Black Lantern Spoony from The Spoony Experiment is this. His goal is to devour the hearts of all the other Spoony-based characters (but especially the clone that runs the show now) so he can feel whole again.
- The Bombie on DuckTales (2017), while not called a zombie, is a single minded large dog zombie creature with a singular mission to hunt down the richest person in the world and kill them unless they demonstrate they can be humble with their fortune.
- Teen Titans: Slade in Season 4 when he's resurrected in an undead state by Trigon. He's driven not by his zombified nature but by a Deal with the Devil to ensure Raven is made aware of her impending destiny and cooperates, in exchange for Slade being restored to full life (Trigon's Exact Words were that Slade will "get what you [he] deserve[s]").
- Zombies on Ugly Americans are still the same people the were in life — same thoughts, feelings, and memories — just more prone to having bits fall off.