Zombies! Your Complete Guide to the Attack of the Dead (Infographic)

Timeline of zombies in pop culture
Facts about the zombie phenomenon in pop culture, movies and gaming. (Image credit: By Karl Tate, Infographics Artist)

A zombie outbreak such as that seen in "Night of the Living Dead" inevitably leads to the collapse of civilization, unless the infection is dealt with aggressively and swiftly, according to a mathematical study by students at Carleton University in Canada. To prepare for this horrific situation, here are some important facts about zombies.

"Romero-type" zombies appeared in “Night of the Living Dead” (1968, directed by George Romero). The cause of zombification is unknown.


• no memory

• low intelligence

• eats human flesh

• slow-moving due to rigor mortis

• killed when brain is destroyed


"O'Bannon-type" zombies appeared in “The Return of the Living Dead” (1985, directed by Dan O’Bannon). The cause of zombification was contamination with the chemical 2-4-5 Trioxin.



• retain memories of being alive

• retain intelligence if not brain-damaged

• eats brains

• agile if not bodily damaged

• body must be completely destroyed to be killed


"28-Days-Type" Fast Runners appeared in “28 Days Later...” (2002, directed by Danny Boyle). Cause of zombification was the Rage virus infection.



• Contact with an infected individual’s body fluids spreads the disease

• since the infected individuals are not actually dead, some reviewers do not consider them to be zombies


"Magical Zombies" appeared in “White Zombie” (1932, directed by Victor Halperin). The cause of zombification was witchcraft, similar to the zombies of Haitian folklore.



• A potion causes apparent death and later re-


• Zombies can be mind-controlled as though hypnotized


A recent trend is the insertion of zombies into genres that are not traditionally horror-related, including: Archie comics, Jane Austen novels, “Star Trek” and superhero comic books.

Karl Tate
LiveScience Infographic Artist
Karl has been Purch's infographics specialist across all editorial properties since 2010.  Before joining Purch, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University.