In popular culture, zombies are animated corpses. Unlike (at least modern) vampires, zombies are generally subject to decay and have little or no intelligence. In the source myths, zombies are raised to serve by Voodoo priests. In modern fiction, zombies are reanimated by things such as radiation, chemical compounds, or micro-organisms; they may even be technically alive, just altered in behavior by whatever created the zombie effect. Magically re-animated zombies still appear in modern fantasy literature, as well, usually as low-end cannon fodder and/or as defensive measures.
Typical movie zombies possess minimal cognitive abilities, having only a primal urge to kill and eat uninfected humans, as well as dim memories of their past lives. At most they are capable of basic tool use. People who are bitten by zombies typically die and reanimate as additional zombies (presuming they are not consumed by other zombies). Zombies generally don't feel pain and will press on regardless of damage. In most zombie movies, the most efficient way of destroying them is to shoot them in the head, as the body won't function if the brain is destroyed. Some zombies can only be defeated by enough damage to make them immobile and harmless, such as total dismemberment. Zombies that are technically alive can be killed by any mortal wound, although lesser injuries will not deter them.
Individual zombies can be a danger, but they can often be dispatched by a person who is knowledgeable and reasonably prepared. Zombies typically only pose a threat in large groups, although their ability to spread disease is always a hazard.
A common scenario in fiction is that of a zombie outbreak which threatens or destroys human civilization. However, such scenarios are unrealistic. Modern weapons (particularly armored fighting vehicles, belt-fed automatic weapons, artillery, and airpower) are more than capable of bringing down large numbers of zombies with minimal risk to the humans operating them. Despite this, a number of of Zombie Survivalist Fanwhores believe that the military could not contain a large-scale zombie outbreak.
- "Headshot" zombies
- Night of the Living Dead, and it's many sequels
- Walking Dead
- Shaun of the Dead
- Highschool of the Dead
- "Total destruction" zombies
- Return of the Living Dead
- Zombies from the Dungeons & Dragons game
- "Live" zombies
- 28 Days Later