Follow TV Tropes


Voodoo Zombie

Go To
As a classy zombie, his pipe contains only the most high-grade grey matter.

The original zombie before it was cool.

The concept and word zombi originated in Voudoun beliefs in Haiti, though the etymological roots date back to West Africa. It refers to those enslaved by the magic dealings of bokors, who have not allowed them a peaceful death or have put them in trances to make them think they are dead.

Can be interpreted as a Primal Fear for enslaved people — the enslaver who has taken everything from you even finding a way to deny you the freedom of death and continue exploiting you forever. Indeed, the concept of zombies may very well have been spread by owners to discourage their slaves from ending their own lives.

Zombies based on this ancient tradition are typically slaves to a necromancer or other Evil Sorcerer. If living, they have been Brainwashed using drugs and/or More than Mind Control. If undead, they have been reanimated with blood, evil, or some other form of unholy magic. As such, they may be vulnerable to Revive Kills Zombie. In either case, one can easily see zombies of this breed as a Woobie Species for obvious reasons. Salt can often break the spell, freeing the living and allowing the dead to rest... or to go after their master in a vengeful rage.

If these zombies break their control or their master is killed, they may become Flesh Eating Zombies in more recent works.

In zombie-related horror, the idea of a zombie slave has been largely replaced by masterless monsters out to kill and eat the living, as introduced in Dawn of the Dead. However, Voodoo Zombies still show up a lot in fantasy—and in horror about Black Magic instead of a Zombie Apocalypse—as a villainous necromancer's standard mooks, albeit often revived through other varieties of The Dark Arts besides Hollywood Voodoo. Related is the concept of undead villains like liches, mummies, and vampires reanimating other dead people (often including their victims) as minions; such minions may be referred to as ghouls if a vampire reanimated them.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Ghouls in the Hellsing universe tend most heavily towards Voodoo, although Flesh-Eating Zombie and Plague Zombie elements are present. They are created when a natural vampire completely drains the blood of a non-virgin human, and they die when their master dies. During a routine vampire killing mission in Ireland, Hellsing encounters a vampire whose ghouls do not die when their master dies (the vampire having been killed by Iscariot's Alexander Anderson before Hellsing was finished with the ghouls), and it turns out that the vampire was created artificially through the use of "freak chips". The fact that freak-chipped vampires do not create vampires, even from children obviously too young to be anything but virgins, is one of the first clues that Hellsing is dealing with an enemy thought to be completely extinguished.
  • The zombies of One Piece's Thriller Bark Story Arc are a combination of Voodoo and Artificial Zombie. They're reanimated by villain Gecko Moria's Living Shadow-based Kage-Kage Devil Fruit. Through it, Moria can steal shadows off a living person and put them into dead bodies rebuilt by Doktor Hogback. The resulting zombies have the personality traits, fighting skills, etc. as whoever the shadow came from.

    Comic Books 
  • In Arrowsmith, voodoo zombies are seen as part of the Gallian colonial troops; where their role is presumably to serve as cannon fodder.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: Carl Barks wrote a Donald Duck comic, "Voodoo Hoodoo", where a zombie named Bombie from Darkest Africa wants to give Donald a cursed doll to shrink him. The shaman who originally placed the curse was an enemy of Donald's uncle Scrooge, who stole his tribe's land during the Scramble for Africa. The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck by Don Rosa shows the original events: Scrooge, who strongly resembled his future nephew Donald when his beard is tucked back, changed his appearance back to confuse Bombie. However, the curse caused Bombie to keep tracking down Scrooge over the years until a different shaman in the Pacific Islands trapped Bombie there before he showed up in Duckburg.
  • The hordes of undead raised by the Zombie Priest from The Goon are fairly standard, although a few are capable of speech and performing complex tasks. The Zombie Priest himself isn't actually a zombie, but rather a demon in disguise. There's also Willie Nagel, a friendly and intelligent zombie.
  • Papa Midnite from Hellblazer employs Zombies as a labor force, since he is a Voodoo magician they fit this trope.
  • Marvel Zombies, combined with Flesh-Eating Zombie.
    • Marvel Zuvembies, on the other hand, are straight voodoo. Used because The Comics Code at the time prohibited "walking dead" monsters lacking a literary pedigree. The "zuvembie" name originated in Robert E. Howard's story "Pigeons from Hell". (In Howard's story, the zuvembie was actually something unique— see below.)
    • Not to be confused with Marvel Zombies or Marvel's Zuvembies is Marvel's The Zombie! The 1970s Marvel anthology Menace and larger magazine-format comic Tales of the Zombie brought you the misadventures of the late Simon Garth, cursed by a voodoo cult to shamble under the control of whoever came across the Amulet of Damballah.
  • The Rock Zombies in Runaways. Although they turn out to be not actually undead, but rather people deformed and mind controlled by Magic. And then there's Dead George Pellham from the 1907 arc.
  • Grundy, from the The DCU and the DC Animated Universe, was a mobster who was killed and thrown in a cursed swamp. The curse caused him to reanimate decades later as a soulless, grey monster. Fortunately he doesn't reek due to being a Green Lantern (1941) foe and thus made largely of plant matter.
  • In Strange Academy, student Zoe Laveau turns out to be one of these underneath a magical appearance of a normal teenage girl given by an amulet, having died after carelessly using magic (which comes with a cost in the Marvel Universe) and needing to have been reanimated by her ancestor Marie Laveau.
  • Such zombies sometime show up in Tex Willer. Differently from most occasions, they can be killed with ease by taking away or destroying the charm they wear as a necklace, as it's the thing keeping them reanimated.
  • Tragg and the Sky Gods: In "The Cult of the Cave Bear" in Mystery Comics Digest #9, the priest of the cult uses fumes from magic herbs and a drum beat to raise zombies in the Stone Age equivalent of voodoo.
    Behold! The magic the steady drum beat...brings the dead back to serve me...and their god,the cave bear!

  • A computer that has been compromised by a hacker via malware is often known as a zombie. The hacker is able to command zombies to do his malicious bidding, such as send spam across the Internet and attack websites. Owners are often unaware that their computers have become zombies.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 
  • Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island features zombies brought back by magic that is implied to be of voodoo origin. Here, however, zombies are revealed to be the good guys.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Big Tits Zombie feature zombies summoned by the Necronomicon. They are also of the running variety (as well as sword fighting variety).
  • In Cast a Deadly Spell, zombies are used as cheap labor or as enforcers and bodyguards. Crime boss Harry Bordon in particular has an ever-present Scary Black Man zombie bodyguard.
    Lovecraft: [indicating the zombie] What happened to your regular legbreakers?
    Bordon: Progress.
    Tugwell: Zombies don't eat, don't complain...
    Bordon: ...don't get ideas.
  • Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things is the result of someone playing with a black magic ritual— that said, the zombies otherwise behave like Romero-style flesh eaters.
  • One of the few interesting points in the ZZ-grade sci-fi classic The Crawling Eye was the invading aliens' ability to create voodoo-ish spies/fifth columnists from the bodies of their victims (well, those they didn't decapitate outright, of course).
  • Hocus Pocus has Winifred Sanderson's zombified ex-boyfriend Billy Butcherson. The Black Magic in this context is Salem witchcraft, not Hollywood Voodoo. But historically, the girls whose accusations spurred the Salem witch trials may have been exposed to the occult through a Barbadian slave named Tituba. So there is a connection between Caribbean mysticism (albeit not specifically Voudoun) and Salem, whether or not the movie's creators knew this.
  • In I Eat Your Skin, a playboy adventure novelist joins his publisher on an expedition to Voodoo Island in the Caribbean, where a cancer researcher is being forced to turn the tribes-people into zombies.
  • I Walked with a Zombie: Until George A. Romero invented the now-dominant idea of the Flesh-Eating Zombie with Night of the Living Dead (1968), this was what a "zombie" was. Namely, a recently-dead or comatose person rendered into the slave of a master by voodoo magic.
  • In King of the Zombies, Dr. Sangre is a Nazi agent running a voodoo. He has his high priestess Tahama raise a group of zombies to act as servants and muscle. Lacking the ability to raise the dead himself, he hypnotises Jeff and Mac into believing they are zombies.
  • While the Living Dead Series is known for its Flesh-Eating Zombies, the zombies in question are very much undead, suggesting that they may have a supernatural origin. More specifically, Peter from Dawn of the Dead brings up voodoo when explaining his theory about the zombies.
    Peter: Something my granddaddy used to tell us. You know Macumba? Voodoo. Granddad was a priest in Trinidad. Used to tell us, "When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth."
  • Though his original means of resurrection are never specified, Officer Matthew Cordell, after being blown up in Maniac Cop 2, is brought back again via voodoo magic used by a wannabee witch doctor in Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Blackbeard is a proficient voodoo practitioner. One of his abilities is resurrecting the dead men he kills, being his own crewmen or his enemies, and turning them into servant zombie warriors on his ship.
  • In The Plague of the Zombies, a small town noble uses zombies to work his tin mine and kill his enemies.
  • Psychomania has gained some notoriety as "zombies on motorcycles", but are really zombies only in retrospect. More accurately, they're willing participants in a ritual that grants eternal life. The ritual requires that they first die. On revival, they carry on as before; they are essentially their own creator.
  • The zombies shown in Wes Craven's The Serpent and the Rainbow are all voodoo zombies. This movie is, in a sense, a Deconstruction, as it goes into some detail on how voodoo zombies are created using a special powder.
  • Sugar Hill (1974) is what happens when Blaxploitation meets voodoo zombies. What's particularly unusual is that it's the heroine who leads a zombie army - the title character sells her soul to Baron Samedi in return for him raising an undead army for her, which she then uses to avenge her boyfriend who was murdered by gangsters.
  • Bernie of Weekend At Bernie's 2 was murdered in the first film, and in the second was partially revived by a voodoo curse. Only partially because the two bad guys who were sent to perform the ritual screwed it up, and as a result, Bernie is only ambulatory when music is playing.
  • White Zombie, (1932), arguably the first zombie movie, has zombie mill workers created by voodoo.
  • The title of the early Troma film Zombie Island Massacre refers to this type of zombie, although the film turns out to be a slasher and not a zombie movie.
  • The MST3K-featured Zombie Nightmare revolves around a young man brought back from the dead by a voodoo priestess to get revenge on the teenagers who killed him in a hit-and-run.

  • In the Anita Blake series zombies have to be animated by someone with the power to do so. They are obedient to the person who raised them, and have a varied amount of memory and personality depending on time passed since death, power level of the animator, and quality of blood sacrifice that raised them. Eating flesh will prevent them from decaying as rapidly, but an ordinary competently raised zombie is unlikely to go on a rampage unless they are a murder victim or used to be an animator themselves. The eponymous character's day job (well, night job) is as a zombie reanimator.
  • The Boy Who Couldn't Die: Has a mix of "voodoo magic" mixed with toxins used in real life hoodoo practices, who apparently did not have all the ingredients.
  • In Brown Girl in the Ring the gang lord Rudy controls several zombies using a process taught to him by a Ioa. one of which is his own daughter, Mi-Jeanne
  • Micah E. F. Martin's The Canticle gives us ghouls, which are distressingly fast, hungry, and hard to kill. Still not very smart, though.
  • The haunts in P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath are a combination of multiple types. They voodoo in that they are created by the malignant, evil/chaotic influence of Perimal Darkling. Unburned corpses of humans or animals left in areas where Darkling influence is bleeding into the normal world—the Haunted Lands—become haunts. However, they are also Plague Zombies in that an untreated haunt bite can turn a bitten human into a haunt. While haunts bite people, they don't seem to do it out of hunger; it's an attack. Haunts are normally stupid, shambling creatures, although they do retain some memory of their former lives, sometimes calling out to the still-living. One character who is bitten and turns into a haunt, though, remains themselves through force of will, and proves capable of continuing to be a productive member of society despite their status.
  • In Cold Kiss, Wren, who has Psychic Powers, brings back her boyfriend Danny using Black Magic. Unfortunately he has a Damaged Soul.
  • Discworld:
    • In Reaper Man there's a discussion of voodoo practices when the wizards get distracted from "Why is Windle Poons a zombie?" by the more interesting question "Is Windle Poons technically a zombie?"
    • In Witches Abroad, Mrs Googol is a voodoo priestess who says she only raises zombies when there ain't no alternative, like when the house needs repainting. She is accompanied by Saturday: "He was - or, technically, had been - a tall, handsome man. He still was, only now he looked like someone who had walked through a room full of cobwebs." He's also the late Baron of Genua - yes, Baron Saturday. It's mentioned that Discworld voodoo can't bring someone back from the dead unless they have serious Unfinished Business they want to come back for.
  • Walking dead were sent by the Fore to attack the heroes/gamers in the South Seas Treasure game in Dream Park (by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes). Not voodoo, but same idea.
  • Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novel Dead Beat pretty much skewers the idea of the Hollywood horror movie zombie, with Harry Dresden himself asking why someone would go to the trouble of working intricate dark magics just to get something that shuffles like an arthritic grandmother and thinks of nothing but brains (not to mention that, say, a zombie dinosaur may well be a much better choice for the discerning wizard). The zombies of the Dresdenverse are pumped full of dark magic to the point that they're stronger and faster than the average human, as well as completely pliant to the will of the necromancer that raised them... provided they maintain the spell (by supplying a "heartbeat", usually via drumming), of course.
  • Mike Carey's Felix Castor series has zombies as ghosts who return in (mostly) their own bodies: one of them, tech whiz kid, Conspiracy Theorist and Deadpan Snarker Nicky Heath, plays a crucial and recurring role, as does his voodoo physical therapist Imelda.
  • The Inferi of Harry Potter are corpses animated by dark magic.
  • In Iron Dawn, chryseids are leathery-skinned, sentient zombie minions animated by Simi-Ascalon's corrupted Egyptian magic.
  • The T'lan Imass of Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson are several tribes of undead Neanderthals who underwent a ritual many thousands of years ago to make themselves undead so that they'd be able to carry out the full extermination of the Jaghut, their former masters, making them closer to the "Voodoo" sort of zombie than the others. In the present day, they've mostly lost their way, with many tribes having been wiped out completely and others simply losing their will to exist, turning them to dust.
  • Pet Sematary. Possibly a mishmash, as the tie-in with Wendigo legend includes cannibalism.
  • In the Relativity story "Mardi Gras", voodoo zombies are created by purely chemical methods. Once the effects wear off, the victims return to normal with no memories of what happened.
  • In "The Scarlet Citadel", Pelias resurrects a jailer who was killed by Conan so that the two can be let out of their prison. This move creeps Conan the fuck out.
  • Seven Stars: In the chapter "The Trouble With Barrymore", the villain is a sorcerer who has travelled around the world studying different magical traditions. It's revealed that his unusually stoic bodyguards are both zombies, mementos of his study trip to Haiti.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, when the malevolent Others kill someone, it reanimates as a "wight," a freezing cold zombie with glowing blue eyes. They are resistant to normal weapons but highly susceptible to fire. Hacked-off limbs continue to move for many days afterwards, but will eventually crumble apart.
  • The Lifeless of Warbreaker are pretty much treated like robots that happen to be made from reanimated corpses instead of metal. Once created they are perfectly obedient (though most have passwords built into them so that only certain people can command them) and will follow any instruction to the letter, though like real-world computers this often needs to be very specific to avoid Literal Genie moments. They absolutely will not rampage or eat brains unless someone is stupid enough to tell them to. In the nation of Hallandren they are a widely accepted part of society, though in other parts of the world they are regarded as abominations.
  • Worlds of Shadow: Fetches, who were dead people raised by Shadow with magic. They can't talk well, will mindlessly obey orders, are completely emotionless and have a slight smell to them, but that's it. None eats people, nor anything else. They thus have more in common with the original Haitian mythology.
  • The Zombie Master in Piers Anthony's Xanth series creates voodoo zombies. Neither the zombies nor their creator are threatening. Xanth zombies are mostly benign, although when called on to fight they make fearsome opponents. They are not contagious, although they deteriorate, and many suffer from brain-damage as their grey matter decomposes. They result either from the occasional person with unfinished business or from a corpse reanimated by the Zombie Master. Or, in one rather depressing case, the Zombie Master himself after he suicides.
  • Voodoo zombies are discussed briefly in The Zombie Survival Guide, which has a section explaining how to distinguish them from the deadlier "viral zombies" which are the book's main focus.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Literal Voodoo zombies appear in American Horror Story: Coven, summoned by Marie Laveau. The first time to deal with racists who had killed the son of one of her employees in the 70s, the second time to attack the witches school. Less literal but still cases of resurrection by magic are Kyle and Madison.
  • The Angel episode "The Thin Dead Line" has a Knight Templar police captain raise murdered cops as Voodoo Zombies to continue patrolling the streets, which causes problems due to their tendency to unprovoked Police Brutality.
  • Brand New Cherry Flavor has these in the form of the witch Boro's undead servants. They still possess enough rudimentary intelligence to perform tasks and maintain a slight vestige of their old selves.
  • Zombies in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Dead Man's Party" are magically revived by a Nigerian demon. As Giles explains it, Zombies actually do not eat human flesh and there's no indication that they can be killed by hitting the head.
  • The Cape had a group of people turned into the rough equivalent of voodoo zombies through TTX poisoning - a rare (for the show) case of Shown Their Work.
  • The Wights in Game of Thrones are undead slaves under the control of the Night's King.
  • In the Grimm the Wesen known as Baron Samedi (a ghede from Haitian folklore, mind you) can turn people into living zombies by affecting them with his own toxin (as he is a pufferfish Wesen).
  • The zombie of the Kolchak: The Night Stalker episode. It takes orders from its voodoo priestess mother, kills mainly by snapping the spine, moves rather fast, and is finally put down by having rock salt poured into its mouth when dormant followed by sewing the mouth shut.
  • Lost seemed to have a variation of this. The Man in Black resurrected the recently-dead Sayid, who became his psychotic recruit. He also "claimed" Claire and most of Danielle's team, all of whom were strongly implied to have been killed (or at the very least, badly hurt) prior to turning evil. Sayid and Claire both fought out of this though, and remained alive.
    • Well, until a bomb went off soon after, in Sayid's case.
  • The "drugged into a deathlike trance and mind-controlled" version appears in the MacGyver (1985) episode "Walking Dead". The bad guy attempts to do this to MacGyver, but he is able to shake off the effects.
  • In Once Upon a Time Cora resurrects several people whom she killed by ripping out their hearts using their hearts which she magically preserved.
  • Supernatural has "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things", in which a girl killed in a car crash is brought back as a zombie by a guy who had a crush on her using an ancient spell. She's actually pretty normal, apart from being completely psychotic.
  • The X-Files: The episode "Millennium" has corpses brought back to life using necromancy. They attack anyone in the vicinity who is not protected by a ring of blood or salt. They can be killed by a bullet to the head, but those injured by zombies don't turn into zombies unless actually killed (whereupon the spirits used to animate the corpses infect them).

  • Raised in Alice Cooper's "Black Juju" from Love It to Death.
    Bodies need rest, we all need our rest
    Sleep an easy sleep, rest, rest
    Bodies need their rest, all need our rest
    Sleep an easy sleep, rest, rest, rest, rest
    But come back in the morning
    Come back hard.
  • Nigerian musician Fela Kuti wrote a satirical song called Zombie which criticises Nigeria's military dictatorship that existed at the time by comparing them to zombies with no free will.
    Zombie no go go, unless you tell am to go
    Zombie no go stop, unless you tell am to stop
    Zombie no go turn, unless you tell am to turn
    Zombie no go think, unless you tell am to think
    Attention (zombie), quick march
    Slow march (zombie), left turn
    Right turn (zombie), about turn
    Double up (zombie), salute
  • Spirit Got Lost by Mental As Anything
    ''I was lying in bed when I woke up dead
    Cool, but not too calm
    Must've stolen my soul through a photograph
    Or a jungle voodoo charm

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Tibetan Ro-Lang is a corpse reanimated by sorcery or a demon, severely affected by rigor mortis and unable to bend down. They have a permanently outstretched black tongue that when chopped off will cause the ro-lang to turn to ash.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Doonesbury's beloved sociopath, Uncle Duke, spent some time as a zombie after his Baby Doc med school scam got on the bad side of a deposed Haitian tyrant. His zombification appeared to be drug-induced; he'd been found dead and appeared some time later going by the name "Legume" with no memory of who he was, his name or whether he'd had hair, and an inability to resist the zombie serum. He was, however, non-violent and able to converse and even engage with other people.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Winter drugged Angelina Love into an obedient zombie like state on TNA Impact. In this case the long term goal wasn't to make Love a slave or convince anyone she had died but rather to make Angelina love her. It worked, as Angelina stayed loyal to Winter even after breaking out of the trance.
  • In 2014, UltraMantis Black resurrected his old nemesis Blind Rage to serve him in Chikara. This backfired when Hallowicked turned Rage on Mantis instead.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Common low-level monsters, Dungeons & Dragons zombies (and skeletons) are nearly always mindless mooks animated by necromancy.
    • Unless you've run into a juju zombie from early editions, which are smarter.
    • Or one of the variant zombies from 4th Edition, which can have un-mooklike powers.
    • Or your DM owns Van Richten's Guide To The Walking Dead, in which case all bets are off.
  • The basic melee unit of the undead faction, Dragon Dice zombies are the core of any undead army with a focus on melee combat. Can be assembled into a shambling horde, some overlap with Flesh-Eating Zombie.
  • In Exalted, Abyssals and Deathlords make frequent use of reanimated corpses, though they also often cross over into Artificial Zombie via Necrotech, which is basically Magitek crossed with this. Midnight Caste Abyssals (dark mirrors of Zenith Caste Solars) even get the ability to raise a corpse as a zombie with a mere touch.
  • GURPS:
    • GURPS Warriors has an American marine who was betrayed and killed by his squad-mates while stationed in Haiti. Currently looking for revenge, he has a number of tricks up his sleeve, including burying himself over night to heal. It's not clear what brought him back, but his own belief is it was voodoo magic.
    • In GURPS Monster Hunters, the Know The Enemy for zombies includes Theology (Voodoo).
  • In Heroes Unlimited, evil magic users can animate the dead to serve as loyal zombie thralls. Zombies are dim-witted but quite tough, as they possess superhuman strength and cannot be harmed by any weapon that is not holy, magical, or made of silver. And if a zombie is killed, it will reanimate within two days unless it gets exorcised or has its head removed and buried separately from the rest of its body.
  • This is a recurring power in the New World of Darkness, possessed by a variety of supernaturals.
    • Mage: The Awakening features the Bokor Legacy - who, as you'd imagine by their name, kinda make this their stock and trade.
  • "Revived King Ha Des" from the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, a Zombie-type resurrected version of the Fiend-type Dark Ruler Ha Des.
  • In Scion, children of the Loa (both heroic and villainous) can create or recruit zombie servants.
    • So can, in fact, all Scions with access to a birthright that grants the Death domain.
  • In Unhallowed Metropolis, what reports have come back of the state of Central Africa have invariably come from people driven insane from what they witnessed there, but they tend to include references to unholy empires where zombie and human alike answer to witch doctors who demand living sacrifices to placate their dark gods. If there's any truth to these stories, it seems very likely that the zombies there are voodoo, or something akin to it.

    Theme Parks 
  • The "Icon" of Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream event in 2003 was the "Death Spirit" — a zombie that was brought back to life via African voodoo means.

    Video Games 
  • The fifth Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator game takes the protagonist to Osaka, where he investigates a series of murders which are apparently being committed by these, even hearing about sightings of them accompanied by mysterious men in cultist robes. He later investigates a rural village where the men have been mysteriously dying and later appearing outside their graves. Eventually, he has a close encounter with a zombie, which is sicced on him by an unseen party and can lead to one of the few death scenes in the series. It's eventually revealed that the men from the village were being drugged with the tetrodotoxin cocktail mentioned in the Real Life folder below, then made to commit the murders in the city, whose victims were the culprit's corporate rivals.
  • The zombies in the Castlevania series are invariably decribed as fresh corpses reanimated by black magic.
  • City of Heroes has the Banished Pantheon, a voodoo cult who's lowest ranking minions are zombies. They even have Adamastor, a zombie as tall as a skyscraper.
  • Diablo's various undead are often of this kind, with powerful undead such as the Skeleton King being a result of Diablo's direct influence. The Zombie Apocalypse that goes down in the first act of Diablo III, however, is a result of Tyrael renouncing his angelic title and Justice leaving the High Heavens, resulting in all those who died unjustly being brought back from their graves.
  • In Dragon Age, zombies and other undead are most commonly created by demons from the Fade inhabiting corpses, either naturally (in areas where the Veil that separates the material world from the Fade is weak) or through the actions of mages or other powerful forces. Most such undead are best suited as foot soldiers, being fast and strong and tough, though rarely a possessed corpse will become something far more powerful such as a Revenant or Arcane Horror.
  • Zombies in Dungeon Crawl approximate this trope, as they are non-cannibalistic and sometimes, though not always, allies of a necromancer.
  • Necromancers in Dwarf Fortress can raise any piece of a corpse that has a grasping limb to be their servant.
  • Skyrim has the Forsworn Briarhearts. Which are essentially very strong individuals brought back from the dead to fight once more. The Hargravens accomplish this by replacing the heart with a 'Briar Heart'. There are also the Draugr, who are mostly normal zombies but have been brought back to semi-life by the Dragon Priests or Draugr Deathlords that more often than not own the tombs.
  • Eternal Darkness has corpses reanimated by the magic of the Ancients. Note that the player can also command zombies with the right spell.
  • Final Fantasy XII took delight in bringing extensive backgrounds to all the classic enemies from the franchise and the undead were not an exception. All of them fall onto this category albeit by different means and to different ends: the vanilla zombies are unearthed corpses enslaved by magick to do menial tasks, both the zombie warriors and zombie knights are soldiers who fell in battle that are forced to continue to fight from beyond the grave through magickal glyphs branded into their bodies, the zombie magicians are spell casters who employed forbidden magicks to expand their natural lifespans through unnatural means, etc.
  • In the Fire Emblem series:
    • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, Big Bad Grima uses resurrected corpses called "Risen" as foot soldiers.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, Big Bad Anankos uses resurrected corpses as foot soldiers. The rank and file show no particular higher thought processes beyond killing, but his commanders seem to have some degree of sentience, retain some of their personality traits from when they were still alive, and usually manage Dying as Yourself. Fates: Conquest's Takumi occupies a strange middle ground: he shows more sentience than the mooks, but is only capable of expressing one thought (murdering Corrin and Nohr); he is also far more powerful than any of Anankos' other minions.
    • In Fire Emblem Engage, Big Bad Sombron uses resurrected corpses called "Corrupted" as foot soldiers. The rank and file don't show any personality, Corrupted Morion is able to at least manage Dying as Yourself, other Corrupted commanders resemble themselves in life and retain some basic personality traits (although twisted to suit the Fell Dragon's aims), and Corrupted Alear is a fully sentient Revenant Zombie brought back by Sombron's Bad Powers, Good People daughter Veyle.
  • The first Gabriel Knight game has these as an interestingly executed inclusion; rather than being seen in the New Orleans setting that most of the game takes place in and which the colonial Voodoo religion is strongly associated with, they only make an appearance late in the game when Gabriel travels to West Africa in order to locate the villain's tomb in Benin, and discovers that it has been enchanted to reanimate the corpses within as ravenous monsters for as long as the door to its inner sanctum remains open.
  • The zombies in Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island are cheap laborers. They are basically harmless, but tend to turn against each other.
  • ReDeads in The Legend of Zelda games sometimes have shades of these. While they are shambling corpses like traditional zombies, in their first appearance, Ocarina of Time, they drop magic bottles whenever defeated, suggesting that they're animated by a spell (and may even be made of clay), and their Wind Waker design is more tribal, with large pointy ears and earrings, and tall screaming heads like tiki faces.
  • LeChuck from Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge is resurrected using voodoo magic involving his still-living beard from when he was a ghost.
  • Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare initially appears to follow the classic Romero rules: all dead bodies are reanimated at the time of the curse, the zombie plague can be spread through biting, and only headshots kill. An addition not found in Romero films is that holy water kills them as well. However, returning the cursed Aztec mask causes all zombies who haven't been headshot to return to normal life and intelligence.
  • Super Robot Wars X: Due to Ende's success in devouring away his goodness and amplifying his ambition, Celric, post death, became Ende's proudest backup vessel, and would to be used as Ende's new body once Ende's current form is of no use. Good thing X-Cross prevented this from happening before it's too late.
  • Warcraft and World of Warcraft. Which also have aspects of flesh-eating (as they can feed on humanoids) and plague-bearing (as they were created by a plague).
    • The undead really fit into all these categories. The trolls have voodoo zombies, which seem to have free will. Abominations and Flesh Golems are constructs, ghouls eat flesh, and there's a plague going around... though it's not infectious in the traditional manner. WMG seems to point to a fungal agent that has to be eaten, or straight necromancy (voodoo go!) which can have some strange results.
    • There are also creatures literally named Revenants who are undead creatures bonded to elemental spirits.


    Web Original 
  • Tales of Ubernorden features this type of zombies in The Killing Field that also demonstrate a few revenant traits.

    Western Animation 
  • Found in an episode of The Angry Beavers, in which the eponymous beavers were almost kidnapped by a voodoo witch to be made into some type of elixir. The zombies from the horrible Show Within a Show B-movies the beavers watch will invariably be flesh-eating.
  • Stroker and Hoop has an episode featuring a New Hampshire Teddy Bear-type corporation which uses Voodoo on the living to create zombies to work in their factories.
  • The Terrorcons of Transformers: Prime are this applied to Mechanical Lifeforms. Brought back to life as mindless berserkers by Dark Energon (which is said to be the blood of Unicron), they're vicious beasts that exist only to destroy.

    Real Life 
  • Wasps are infamous for practicing this in one form or another. The most infamous being the parasitoid wasp, which is known to lobotomize their prey by injecting a special venom that puts them in a mindless state straight into their brain before pulling a Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong into them. The brainwashed arthropod will then proceed to protect the young with their lives even though they're literally, or already has killed them from the inside.
  • While no cases of magic being performed have been confirmed, there are cocktails of drugs involving puffer fish poison and hallucinogenic plants, one of which known as the "zombie cucumber", that can make a person temporarily appear dead, cause trances and even cause amnesia. They have been used to create docile slaves.
  • American Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer attempted to create these by lobotomising several victims in the hopes of using them as sex slaves. He would drill holes in their skulls and inject either hydrochloric acid or boiling water into their frontal lobes. By his own admission, “it never worked”; all it generally did was painfully kill them.