The 8 Different Types of Zombies

A field guide to the hordes of the apocalypse

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Zombie movies, just like zombies, are ubiquitous, tenacious, and come in waves. Here is a list of zombie types. It pays to be well-informed should you happen to meet one on your travels.

1. Voodoo victim

The earliest examples of zombies were straight from the fringes of the Afro-Caribbean religion Vodou, turning people into mindless slaves using pufferfish extract and magic spells.

Examples: “White Zombie” and “The Serpent and the Rainbow

White Zombie (1932)

2. Soulless flesh

This type of zombie is reanimated flesh. The soul has gone, departed for the tunnel of light, and through either supernatural or scientific means, the body has come back to walk the earth once more.

Examples: “Night of the Living Dead” and “Reanimator

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

3. Demonic possession

Sometimes, it’s those bloody troublesome demons. They get into all kinds of places, even people.

Examples: “The Evil Dead” and “Cemetery Man

The Evil Dead (1981)

4. Viral Infection

This type of zombie is not dead, they have merely been infected with a virus that affects their minds. The virus may be a man-made biological weapon or a naturally mutated strain of a common virus.

Examples: “28 Days Later” and “World War Z

28 Days Later (2002)

5. Parasitic Infection

Similar to the infected, but it’s pesky parasitic creatures that are eating and controlling the brain, not a virus.

Examples: “Night of the Creeps” and “Half-Life

Night of the Creeps (1986)

6. Fungal Infection

Another type of infection, but this type is inspired by real-life zombification of insects from the cordyceps family of fungi.

Examples: “The Last of Us” and “The Girl With All the Gifts

The Last of Us (Naughty Dog Entertainment)

7. Cybernetic

A modern version of the soulless flesh. Dead bodies are brought back to life through the cunning use of technology.

Examples: “Virus” and “The Borg

Virus (1999)

8. Other

I lump everything else into this one category because they are not well-known, well-defined, or widespread enough to be categories of their own.

Examples: “I am Legend” and “Pontypool

I am Legend (2007)

So, there you have it, the eight basic ‘types’ of zombies. How many have you seen in the wild? Which is your favorite? Which is the scariest? Which is the most plausible? Do you know of more types that deserve categories of their own?

They’re coming to get you, reader!

Scifi writer, roboticist, and game developer, 2x Quora Top Writer. I write about writing speculative fiction, computer graphics, AI, evolution, and programming.

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