Zombies were commonly mindless, undead creatures capable only of certain physical actions, such as walking and killing, though certain spells could create zombies that retained their memories, personalities, vocalization, and free will. Even though the term typically referred to reanimated humans, other animals, such as cats, were able to become zombies.
Zombies were described as being created by voodoo priests out of corpses.
Powers and Weaknesses
- “The only way to kill a zombie is to stop its brain activity. Cut off it's head, smash its skull...”
Even though they were physically dead and possibly decomposing, zombies still possessed great strength (they could remove metal bars off a window, break a man's neck with ease and push fully grown men away) and durability (they could absorb several blows that would normally knock out or kill a human). The only way to kill a zombie was to permanently sever the brain's communication with the body. This could be achieved through decapitation or completely destroying the head or brain.
Notable Zombie Incidents
- Because of the influence of Billy Palmer, patients, plausibly deceased, became living-dead and attacked the medical staff.
- In 1996, Daryl Epps, a former student and professional football player at Sunnydale High School, was killed in a rock climbing accident and was resurrected as a zombie by his brother Chris Epps and Chris' best friend Eric Gittleson by unknown means. However, he has shown to maintain his intelligence and speech, although it is not known if his personality is the same as it was when he was alive. Due to unbearable loneliness, Daryl asked to have an undead female companion made with the help of Chris and Eric. They desecrated and dug up the graves of deceased teenagers Meredith Todd, Jane Atkins, and Cathy Ryan who were all killed as a result of a car accident, in order to assemble Daryl's "girlfriend" using their body parts. The process of creating their perfect girl took a much more hostile approach when Cordelia Chase (who once had a crush on Daryl) was targeted as a "donor" for the head of Daryl's potential mate by means of decapitation as the brains of those who are long deceased are considered useless. Although Daryl had kidnapped Cordelia and taken her to an abandoned building to be operated on by Eric, she was fortunately rescued by Buffy, Xander and even Chris, who could not bring himself to harm anyone. During a struggle between Daryl and Buffy, the building was set on fire. Daryl, who did not want to be lonely again, refused to leave his incomplete girlfriend behind. He ultimately perished in the burning building.
- The demon Ovu Mobani raised all the dead in Sunnydale. These mindless zombies were attracted to the mask that held the demon's spirit, killing every living creature in their path, who in turn become zombies. Once one of them put on the mask, it became the demon incarnate and the other zombies cowered before it. They were destroyed once Buffy Summers killed Ovu Mobani.
- Jack O'Toole was reanimated through a spell that invoked a spirit called Uurthu the Restless. O'Toole then reanimated his friends Bob, Dickie, and Parker. They all retained their memories, personalities, and free will, and the ability to talk. They looked as they did before being reanimated, so O'Toole was only identifiable as a zombie by the bullet holes in his chest, whereas the others were more clearly dead. Parker and Bob were "killed" again by Xander while Dickie and O'Toole were devoured.
- When part of the ritual used to summon Gachnar the Fear Demon was performed in the Alpha Delta fraternity house one Halloween, it caused a skeleton prop at the entrance of the building to become real and animated, made more traditional fleshy zombies appear in the basement, and revived the previously deceased Josh, his neck still visibly broken after falling down the stairs. Along with the rest of the horrors that infested the fraternity, they were vanquished or returned to being mere decorations after Buffy squashed the tiny Gachnar when he fully manifested.
- Captain Atkinson revived the dead officers of Precinct 23 through a spell that involved the Idol of Granath, the "Zombie God". These zombies regained the ability to talk and an illusion of the appearance they had before they were killed, though they had no free will and their actions were controlled by Atkinson. Atkinson reanimated them in an attempt to control the crime rates in L.A., either unaware or uncaring that zombies used excessive force to deal with even minor crimes like jaywalking. They were returned to their normal decomposed when Angel smashed the Idol.
- Dawn Summers resuscitated her mother, Joyce, according to a formula given by Doc with a Ghora's egg and a photo of the deceased. Buffy discovered the rite of her sister and while she tried to find her mother, Dawn tore the photo, ending the resurrection. It was possible that Joyce was a zombie.
- Brian was poisoned by his girlfriend and somehow returned as a zombie. Just like Jack O'Toole and his cronies, Brian retained his memories, personality, free will, and speech. He was clearly dead-looking.
- In case of an attack, the security protocols of Wolfram & Hart involved a spell that caused every dead creature in the building to arise as a mindless zombie to kill every other living creature. When Angel and his crew took over Wolfram & Hart, the zombies were gone, having been apparently gotten rid of by the Senior Partners after the threat was over.
- Four zombie warriors were kept in the lowest level of the Wolfram & Hart building as part of the security system guarding the Failsafe.
- In 2004 the entire city of Los Angeles was sent to Hell by Wolfram & Hart. This had many side effects on the creatures there, one of which was that some of the dead started to rise as zombies. Angel found the zombies to be "tacky." He broke his spine jumping from a rooftop in an attempt to slay a zombie. A group of zombies were caught up in the fray after the Lord of Westwood was killed. Wesley was brought back from the afterlife by the Senior Partners as a ghost in order to watch over Angel. The Senior Partners stated that they could just as easily summon up a zombie of Lindsey McDonald or Eve, however Wesley stated that Angel would never listen either of those people, and would quite possibly decapitate them.
- Angel and Spike were attending the San Diego Sci-Fi Festival when two of the staff there called upon the god Janus to cast a chaotic spell that forced all the attendees of the convention to take on the traits of the costume they were wearing. One of the panels at the convention was offering a promotion to give away free t-shirts to those that dressed as zombies. Because of the spell, everyone dressed as a zombie became a zombie. Although regular zombies did not pass on their disease through bites, Angel was unsure what would happen if these pseudo-zombies bit anyone seeing as how magic was involved. The zombie convention attendees reverted to their regular, human selves once the bust of Janus was destroyed.
- Amy Madison raised an army of zombies to attack Buffy's castle. The Slayers fought off the zombies to the best of their ability, but were outnumbered. Willow Rosenberg was eventually able to use magic to turn the zombies back into regular corpses.
- Seconds after he was killed by Dark Willow, Amy used her magic to revive Warren Mears and keep him alive despite his lack of skin. After Buffy destroyed the Seed and all magic, Warren, without Amy's magic to keep him alive, collapsed into a puddle of blood and bones.
- In his true form, Eyghon the Sleepwalker could control all dead and unconscious bodies in his immediate vicinity; the precise range was unknown.
- "Welcome to the Hellmouth" (Only mentioned)
- "Some Assembly Required" (Only mentioned)
- "Dead Man's Party"
- "Homecoming" (Only mentioned)
- "Revelations" (Only mentioned)
- "The Zeppo"
- "The Prom" (Only mentioned)
- "Fear, Itself"
- "The Thin Dead Line"
- "Bargaining, Part One" (Only mentioned)
- "Habeas Corpses"
- "You're Welcome"
- After the Fall
- The Long Way Home
- Time of Your Life
- Last Gleaming
- Death and Consequences
Behind the Scenes
- Zombies have appeared as enemies in four non-canonical video games: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Chaos Bleeds, The Quest for Oz and Sacrifice.