Zombies, they’re all the same, right? Wrong! They aren’t all the same! Each zombie in the ravenous horde is like a delicate snowflake waiting to be recognized for its unique individuality before it begins to eat you alive. Here’s a rundown of some of the more memorable movers and shamblers.
25. Charlotte Lucas
Rose from the dead in: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Novel, 2009)
Charlotte Lucas was the sad 27 year old spinster who, in the original (and therefore boring) version of Pride and Prejudice, decided to sell her nether regions down the river for a chance at financial security with William Collins. Can you blame her? No, not when the rest of the novel is all Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth. Look, not every proper Victorian young lady can wield a katana or defeat a cadre of ninjas. Too bad Charlotte was secretly stricken and succumbed to the inevitable: beheading at the hands of Lady Catherine. Now, doesn’t that sound ever so much more exciting than Jane Austen’s version?
24. François Laurin
Rose from the dead in: J’Accuse (Film, 1919)
François used to be a real dick. He smacked his wife around and killed small birds in fits of rage. Of course, it didn’t help that his wife was openly in love with the local brooding artist/rampant mama’s boy. But war can change a man. François ended up bonding with said artist as they fought the Kaiser from down in the trenches. Well, screw the wife, who needs all that noise? Sadly, the bromance came to a tragic end when François died and the artist went mad. At which point François pulled himself up from his battlefield grave and led a legion of zombies, whose main weapon was guilt, not hunger, home to terrorize friends and family. You know what? François is still kind of a dick.
23. Madeline Short
Rose from the dead in: White Zombie (Film, 1932)
Poor Madeline. She had a tough time being the embodiment of white colonial privilege, not to mention being the object of Bela Lugosi’s affection. First she was dragged to Haiti by her fiancé, then she was turned into a zombie (love) slave. Of course Bela’s zombies weren’t so much walking corpses as they were extremely tired looking somnambulists with dirty clothes who wore too much eye makeup. Then again, Bela was also heavily invested in eye-iner. But not Madeline! She looked radiant, even undead. No wonder her husband still wanted her, despite the fact that she was technically dead and well, gross!
22. The Zombies who reject Homer Simpson’s empty head
Rose from the dead in: The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror III” (TV, 1992)
Dabbling in the dark arts for a chuckle is never a good idea. It all started with a blighted attempt to raise Snowball I from the dead. Leave it to Bart to cast the wrong spell and accidently raise zombies from the Springfield cemetery. Sure, it’s pretty cool when Homer shoots zombie Flanders (“He was a zombie?”), but the fact that the zombies tap Homer’s hollow sounding head and then push him away in search of someone with actual brains is downright awesome. I’m a little mad that running down a list of condom brands is all it takes to reverse a zombie apocalypse, if only someone had clued Ash in about this during Army of Darkness.
21. The zombie who ate Lori
Rose from the dead in: The Walking Dead “Killer Within” (TV, 2012)
Apparently reconstituted Lori packs down into a tiny pocket of gore. This seems odd when you consider that she died a fullgrown woman; albeit a very skinny one. Yet when Rick discovers the utility room where Lori gave birth/died, all that’s left is a bloody smear on the concrete, a spent bullet casing and an exhausted zombie with a huge gut and some stringy black hair dangling from its mouth. While I’m pretty sure it’s cannibalism if a zombie eats someone who is already dead (even if they haven’t become a zombie themselves), I’m not going to find fault. Hey, we’ve all been there. I know I lose my damn mind whenever I see a pan of freshly baked brownies. We all know that when it comes to food, we should pace ourselves, but after a rough day shambling around the bowels of a prison a pile of dead Lori just looks too dang delicious to pass up. Am I right?
20. Living Dead Girl
Rose from the dead in: Living Dead Girl (Music Video, 1999)
Sure, the video has more in common with the 1920 silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari than modern flesh eaters, but we must pay homage to the hotness that is Sheri Moon Zombie and the cinematic genius of her hubby, Rob Zombie. The lyrics, music, and video are a wonderfully creepy homage to landmark horror movies that most of us today only recognize through their remakes. Know the lineage of your genre! As a somnambulistic, white wig wearing Sheri comes shambling out of her cabinet, Rob sings “crawl on me” and anyone who saw the Living Dead Girl in her skull bedecked, string bikini on the cover of the single’s CD case was probably thinking the same thing.
19. Pierce Hawthorne
Rose from the dead in: Community “Epidemiology” (TV, 2010)
When the Dean tries to cater Greendale’s Halloween party with expired military rations, Pierce is the first to succumb to the zombie virus. Dressed as Captain Kirk, his costume takes on all new levels of authenticity as he becomes sweaty and bloated. I’m glad they went with the Kirk costume; zombie Elvis would have been too obvious. Surprisingly, the first person he bites is Starburns (not Jeff), and soon the entire student body is reduced to mindless zombies, aimlessly milling about. If not for the selfless and heroic actions of Troy (who spent most of the episode shirtless, aw yeah) and Abed, Chang (dressed in a PTSD inducing electric blue leotard) may never have survived to brag about having sexy time with Shirley. On second thought …
Rose from the dead in: Night of the Living Dead (Film, 1968)
“They’re coming to get you Barbara.” Oh Johnny, you terrible tease! He couldn’t help tormenting his sister about the strange looking man shambling around the cemetery. And while siblings often tease one another, you get the impression that Johnny was a bit of a dick. To be fair, he wasn’t lying. When the zombies came to get her, Barbara didn’t exactly play hard to get. She sat there, catatonic, as the other survivors strove to barricade themselves in the farmhouse. In the end it was Johnny himself, still wearing his driving gloves, who dragged his sister out into the night.
17. Inspector Daniel Clay
Rose from the dead in: Plan 9 From Outer Space (Film, 1959)
According to what has been billed as the worst movie ever, Plan 9 would have turned the human race into mindless (and surprisingly impressionable) ghouls. Read: zombies. Those damn aliens and their insidious plots to take over the earth! Wait, was there a plot? I’m not sure. Plan 9 is pretty difficult to sit through, let alone follow. Inspector Clay gets taken out early and becomes a mindless alien slave. But oh, what a way to die, killed by the iconic Maila “Vampira” Nurmi (fun fact: Nurmi once fought off a guy who was trying to kill her for 4 HOURS, in real life). I imagine Clay went down under the weight of her tightly corseted cleavage screaming, “I regret nothing!”
Rose from the dead in: Shaun of the Dead (Film, 2004)
Your best mate has always been there for you. He was there to help take your mind off your dead end job. He was there to piss off your stuffy ponse of a flat mate. He was there to put an unnecessary strain on your relationship with your girlfriend. He was there when the zombie apocalypse broke out and helped you messily bludgeon your friends and neighbors to death. You don’t forget your friends, not even when they turn into a zombie and especially if they are your best mate. Sure, your days of getting a pint down at the Winchester are probably over, but at least he can still jam the buttons on a video game console while you keep him chained up in the shed.
Rose from the dead in: Fido (Film, 2006)
It’s not easy being a somewhat sentient zombie, shambling around in a mechanic’s jumpsuit and a Zomcon collar most dog owners would consider cruel. You are a decaying mess, your owner has PTSD from the zombie wars, your owner’s wife is ridiculously hot and the only person who understands you is a 10 year old boy. You can moan and grumble and accidently bite the neighbors all you want, but unless you’re cleaning or preparing the perfect martini, no one is going to care. Not until your little incident with the neighbors starts a chain of events that quickly gets out of hand and it’s up to you to save the day, prove your loyalty and maybe even get the girl.
14. Speaking Half Zombie
Rose from the dead in: Return of the Living Dead (Film, 1985)
How stupid can the living be? They have the unmitigated gall to tie up this poor half zombie with her deflated boobs and luxurious long grey hair and then interrogate her. Why are the zombies eating people? Is that mortician blind? Does being a rotting corpse look like a walk in the park? It hurts you dumbasses! You’re becoming putrid but you can’t just walk into a pharmacy and ask for a Vicodin. No, you need brains to ease that pain. Beautiful, delicious, brains. Send more paramedics, cops, the National Guard and stereotypical 1980’s punk rockers. Sure, those last might not have a lot of brains, but any port in a storm, right?
13. Michael Jackson
Rose from the dead in: Thriller (Music Video, 1983)
Oh Michael. I remember when you were so dreamy that you could get Playboy centerfold Ola Ray shivering in her saddle shoes and poodle skirt. That was a long time ago. Anywho. Even though it was made in the early 80’s no one is going to forget the 13 minute long landmark music video that was cinematically shot and featured zombies. Yes there was a little wolf man action in there too, but it was zombie Michael and his horde of dancing shamblers who stole the show. The video won three Grammys and was inducted into the National Film Registry and IT WAS ABOUT ZOMBIES! Eat your heart out Elvis!
12. Zombie Hulk
Rose from the dead in: Marvel Zombies (Graphic Novel, 2006)
So many Marvel Zombies to choose from. You’ve got Spidey who fights to control his hunger. You’ve got Giant Man who has the presence of mind to hide a private stash of Black Panther parts. But nothing beats zombie Hulk and his appetite fuelled transformations. When he reverts back to Bruce Banner, he’s so stuffed with people meat that his stomach bursts open. Sure it sounds gross at first, but he and his fellow zombies learn to make due and end up eating zombie Hulk’s “leftovers” so as to stave off their own hunger. He’s like a mobile zombie food storage unit.
Rose from the dead in: Return of the Living Dead (Film, 1985)
Trash’s strip tease in the cemetery may have been a pointless and creepy excuse for nudity, but it was the 1980s and boobs are boobs. I’m not sure what was worse, the vest and leg warmers or all the cliché Goth observations that tumbled out of her mouth. Poor thing even died in what she helpfully detailed as the worst way imaginable (with old men pawing at her). It wasn’t until she got killed and then rose again, this time with a refreshing green pallor and no dialogue, that she became really ridiculously hot: a nimble, nubile, naked, flame haired zombie sprinting between tombstones. Le sigh. You know, as a Lady Geek, I am all about equal rights. Why couldn’t Shane have died and gone on a butt nekkid rampage on Season 2 of TWD?! Just sayin’…
10. Karen Cooper
Rose from the dead in: Night of the Living Dead (Film, 1967)
Karen is the quintessential child monster. She is the precursor for every creepy toddler that came after her 1967 debut. Her parents tried to keep her safe in the basement of that farmhouse. She looked unwell, sad and innocent in that little summer dress. How she managed to overpower two full grown adults may not make a whole lot of sense; maybe they just couldn’t bring themselves to kill their baby girl? But the sight of her devouring stringy handfuls of dad’s viscera is probably one that would have haunted Ben for the rest of his life; provided he had made it past the credits.
9. Big Daddy
Rose from the dead in: Land of the Dead (Film, 2005)
“They’re mindless walking corpses; they’re never getting across the river.” Keep dreaming, Dennis Hopper. Big Daddy has just about had it with the living. As if it isn’t bad enough that he had a crap job as a gas station attendant in life, now he’s stuck hanging out in the same crap job after death. Then to make matters worse, you’re being terrorized by a sadistic John Lequizamo? Oh hell no. Big Daddy is through with this blatant zombie discrimination, thank you very much and leads a shockingly well organized revolt against the breathers, trying to eek out a living (and shoring up class warfare) in the fortified city of Pittsburgh.
8. Standartenführer (Oberst) Herzog
Rose from the dead in: Dead Snow (Film, 2009)
If there is one thing worse than zombies, it’s Nazis. What genius then to combine the two! For the first time, zombies actually looked pretty sharp in their SS uniforms (to be fair zombie Jeff from Community looked great in his expensive suit, too), which held up pretty well in the snowy landscape. Dead Snow is a pretty piece of awesome that comes to us from Norway, of all places. Who knew they had such great zombie comedies up there in the Scandinavia? Surprisingly self aware, Herzog leads his zombie troop against assorted hikers and others foolish enough to hole up in a cabin in a wooded area with a rich history of zombie shenanigans. Oh hikers, will you never learn?
7. Vera Cosgrove
Rose from the dead in: Dead Alive (Film, 1993)
Vera is a very particular woman who likes to have things a particular way: her way. Don’t expect that to change after she’s dead. It’s a good thing her squirrely little son Lionel knows how to make his mamma happy. Sure, he’s been spending an inordinate amount of time mooning over the grocer’s daughter, Paquita, but it’s nothing Vera can’t handle. She’ll keep her baby boy, even if she has to eat her own ear to do it. A little rat-monkey bite is nothing compared to a mother’s love. Worst case scenario, she’ll get him away from that scheming hussy by keeping him locked up forever; in her womb.
6. Pvt. Mailer
Rose from the dead in: 28 Days Later (Film, 2002)
Join the Army, see the world! At least that is what they tell you in America. Maybe it’s different in the U.K.? Join the Army, get chained up inside a filthy bricked up yard with a bunch of laundry! When Private Mailer succumbed to the weird rage disease that is to blame for the zombie(ish) apocalypse in 28 Days Later, Major Henry West, had an ingenious idea. Since the zombies are really just infected people, then it stands to reason that they’ll die from starvation and exposure just like anyone else. Only Pvt. Mailer doesn’t die, he promptly runs amok when Jim sets him free. Oh sweet, slobbering, revenge! Sure, Pvt. Mailer might eventually die of starvation, but not until after he’s done chowing down on his commanding officer.
Rose from the dead in: South Park “Pinkeye” (TV, 1997)
Pinkeye. It is the scourge of middle schools and small Colorado towns everywhere. Poor Kenny gets transformed into a zombie through a freak Worcestershire embalming accident. Luckily he isn’t too far gone to try nibbling his friends and despite their bullying him for being poor, at least Tina Yothers recognizes a good Edward James Olmos costume when she sees one. Kenny does manage to ruin Halloween by biting everyone who tries to give the boys candy. While that sucks, it’s no reason for Kyle to kill him with a chainsaw. Even when he manages to pull himself up from the grave, Kenny can’t seem to catch a break, instead he gets crushed by a statue, right before a jet crashes directly where he’s fallen. Those bastards!
4. Randall Skeffington
Rose from the dead in: Ugly Americans (TV, 2010)
A good friend and a terrible roommate, Randall must be the only zombie on this list who succumbed to the undead just to impress a pretty girl. Correction, a pretty girl with a zombie fetish who moved on to warlocks shortly after Randall turned. Ain’t that the way love goes, tho? Of course Randall is pretty hard to take on a good day. If he’s not trying to film his long suffering roommate having sex (or using said roomie’s toothbrush for questionable purposes), he’s trying to convince his zombie penis to rejoin the rest of his body despite the lifetime of abuse it was subjected to (one word: toaster).
3. Half-Zombie in the park
Rose from the dead in: The Walking Dead “Pilot” (TV, 2010)
As if stumbling out of an abandoned hospital, alone and disoriented, to find rows of bodies out by the loading dock wasn’t bad enough, when Rick goes to pick up a bike from the side of the road he comes face to face with a zombie who has long since lost her lower half. Long blonde hair straggles across her face and ruined chest as she reaches out for him. Poor thing! She’s just so hungry and at a distinct disadvantage, stuck down there in the weeds. Later Rick finds her dragging herself across a lush green park. According to the web series, she had been on her way to the park with her children when she was killed. Was it some tiny spark from her human life that motivated her to keep going in the same direction? The implication is even creepier than her lack of legs.
Rose from the dead in: Day of the Dead (Film, 1985)
I don’t know what to love more about Bub, his ridiculously steep learning curve or his protruding lip. He was a sensitive zombie; one imagines that in life he loved puppies, children and long walks on the beach. And just where does a sensitive zombie fit in the post apocalypse? Should he bite the hand that feeds him music? And if a man holding an M-15 manages to get shot repeatedly by a shambling zombie dragging a chain does that man really deserve to die? Short answer: yes, especially if that man is Captain Rhodes. Teach a zombie to shave, say hello to his aunt Alisha and love his mad scientist and he might just fire off one last salute as his zombie buddies pull your legs off.
1. Jesus H. Christ
Rose from the dead in: The Bible (Novel, something A.D.)
Or as Professor Farnsworth from Futurama likes to call him, Zombie Jesus. He died and on the third day was resurrected and if you are Christian or live in a first world country dominated by a Christian majority, you celebrate his return from the dead by hiding little plastic eggs full of candy for children and then feeding them chocolate bunnies. Or if you are like me and don’t have children, you celebrate by eschewing church and gorging on pink marshmallow Peeps and Cadbury Eggs. I’m not sure if that makes us cannibals. Unless Zombie Jesus was made out of chocolate.