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Playing With / Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain

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Basic Trope: Zombies can only be killed by means of severe head trauma.

  • Straight: Zombies can take anything you dish out, except a shot in the head.
  • Exaggerated: Chunky Salsa Rule by way of Tap on the Head.
  • Downplayed: A Technically Living Zombie that can feel no pain can shrug off most injuries that would stop a normal person, like broken bones. They can still be killed by bleeding, stopped by nerve damage, debilitated and even killed by gangrene... But the fastest and most reliable method is to break it's spines, neck, or destroying the brain.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • A zombie is shot in the head... and just keeps on coming, its magically animated body stumbling around headless.
    • A zombie is shot in the head, but barely reacts.
  • Doubly Subverted:
    • ...however, it's as good as dead because it can't eat or detect prey.
    • A human skull is extremely thick. Double Tap or a Hand Cannon does the job though.
  • Parodied: Zombie heads are like soufflés; the slightest disturbance causes them to collapse into goo.
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  • Zig Zagged: There are two variants in universe that follow different rules. Biological whether technically living or parasite animated don't stop unless they're headshotted. However aiming exclusively for headshots is Awesome, but Impractical. Force can still slow them down however. The Boring, but Practical way to deal with them is to shoot them enough to disable and then shoot them in the head before they get up again. Supernatural zombies aren't stopped by being shot in the head - every last piece of it demonstrates Organ Autonomy. Fire however will cause them to burn up in seconds.
  • Averted: Zombies can be killed like a living person, it just doesn't hurt as bad if you shoot them in the guts.
  • Enforced: "Look, it's a zombie movie. If they can be killed by normal means, it's just not a zombie movie."
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  • Lampshaded: "All we know about them for sure is they smell really, really bad. Always go for a headshot, just in case."
  • Invoked: Cranial Processing Unit.
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied:
    • "You think cutting off my pretties' heads will stop them? Bwahaha, my potent magicks would sustain them even as a shambling bag of flesh and bone!"
    • "We have identified a new type of Creature, which has all but completely replaced the standard 'zombie'. They have evolved a thick, bulletproof carapace covering everything from the crown of the head, to the shoulders and collarbones (except for the lower mandible), which is filled with cerebrospinal fluid, like a second skull. It has been proven to deflect everything from buckshot to minigun rounds. Headshots and decapitation are now useless tactics."
    • "It is a bad idea to shoot Xenoparasite hosts in the skull. The parasite will simply be extruded, and will most likely harm you-perhaps fatally!-while you're getting over the initial shock. Removing the limbs, which may themselves be infested, is also inadvisable. Meet the FTX-35 Thermal Lance, your new best friend..."
  • Discussed: "If horror movies have taught me anything, it's you have to shoot a zombie in the head to kill it."
  • Conversed: "Oh, gee, how will they ever discover the weak point of these mysterious walking corpse-like beings? Maybe, just maybe it's their head -you know, like every other zombie movie ever made"
  • Deconstructed: "Center of mass" is taught so widely for a reason. One headshot's a fluke - thousands consistently is impossible. The fact that it's a zombie's only weakness thus makes them very difficult targets, esecially at long range.
  • Reconstructed: The zombies' cerebral weak point gives vital clues to The Smart Guy about how they work, which he uses to engineer a cure for The Virus.
  • Played For Laughs: A group of people from the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy take on a horde of zombies. After being told the head is the week point, they open fire. When the dust clears there are a hundred living zombies that simply lack arms and legs.

Aim for the head!

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