If humanity were wiped out and aliens landed on our barren planet to study our lost culture, they might be surprised by the overwhelming number of products and media dedicated to cats and, secondarily, be weirded out by our obsession with the walking dead. Seriously, after cats, zombies are everywhere. You can find them in movies, books, comics, shows, and especially in video games. Whether or not this obsession is healthy isn’t my place to say, however, it is frustrating to watch the same, tired tropes and storylines play out universally across the genre.
Typically there isn’t much variety when it comes to depictions of the living dead—a decaying, slow-moving body is fairly standard. However, every so often an idea rises from the grave, walks into a development studio, and attaches itself to the brains of developers, resulting in zombies that are more individualistic, diverse, and human-like. Some are driven to finish what they started in their waking life, while others or out to have fun (and kill humans).
Now, instead of trying to outrun the classic, slow-witted zombie with an insatiable hunger for human flesh, we must now outwit the clever ones, mourn the loved ones who turned right before our eyes, admire the fashion sense of the stylish ones, and resist the alluring ones. That’s right. Zombies can actually be attractive.
Each entry on this list has a quirk that sets them apart from the standard-issue crowd of soulless corpses you mow down on a daily basis. Something that will make you stop mid-game and wonder if you prefer cold and lifeless over vivacious and breathing. Gives a whole new meaning to "Netflix and chill," doesn’t it?
15 Sylvanas Windrunner—World of Warcraft
Power is the first thing that comes when fans think of Sylvanas Windrunner. When the former high elf and ranger-general fell in battle against the Scourge, Arthas snatched her soul from her body and transformed it into the first banshee.
Never one to give up, the cunning Sylvanas broke free from the Lich King’s control, regained her body, and became Queen of the Forsaken, using her newfound faction to seek revenge against the Lich King.
The fiery queen will do whatever it takes to gain an advantage in her quest for vengeance, even if that means sacrificing her homeland. In life, Sylvanas was one of the most attractive of the high elves. Now, in death, her once golden hair is stained black, and her skin is pale. An aura of darkness surrounds her. However, beneath it all, you'll find an irresistible beauty.
14 Abigail Marston—Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
On the surface, Abigail may seem like a model mother (a Carol Brady figure) as she and her son quietly sit in front of their fireplace during the opening of Undead Nightmares. She soon shatters this image of the perfect family when she pricks her finger, letting swear words flow freely from her mouth. This is no ordinary housewife.
Back in the day, Abigail was a prostitute who ran with John Marston’s former gang, having casual affairs with them on a regular basis. She eventually fell in love with John and gave up her old lifestyle but kept her scrappiness and sass.
As a zombie, even though her skin is discolored and blood drips from her mouth, she maintains her girl next door, tomboyish appeal. She's the kind of woman that makes you want to hog-tie her until you can find a cure for her zombified state.
13 Nenja Samejon—Dead Island
Sometimes, character designers sprinkle their characters with a tiny bit of allure. Other times, they dump the whole container on them. Nenja Samejon is the latter. Nenja is an infected human found in the bedroom of Bungalow #4.
Beneath the glow of the red lights, you’ll find a half-naked Nenja handcuffed to the bed. Cameras surround her, and a radio plays corny music in the background. If it isn’t obvious what is happening by now, you should try and unscramble her name for a clue.
That’s right! Nenja Samejon is an anagram for Jenna Jameson, the famous 'other industry' star. You, my friend, have stepped foot on the set of an adult film—starring a zombie.
Just make sure you get credited for your skull-crushing cameo.
Amy is a stealth, survival-horror game that puts you in the shoes of Lana, a woman trying to stave off her impending zombie transformation while caretaking for a young girl named Amy. Amy is immune to the infection that’s turning everyone into zombies and can stop Lana’s transformation just by being near her. The two must work together to escape the city.
However, there are portions of the game when Lana must transform to sneak past other infected enemies. Veins pop from beneath her colorless skin, and her hair darkens, but, for the most part, she’s unchanged. Zombie Lana is quite pretty actually—she’s like your friend’s cool older sister on Halloween—up until she dies. And thanks to crappy gameplay mechanics, she dies a lot.
Try to keep her at about ninety percent zombie. That's definitely her sweet spot.
11 Mariska—Lollipop Chainsaw
While Juliet Starling, the cheerleading, zombie-slaying protagonist of Lollipop Chainsaw is obviously eye candy, the psychedelic Mariska is also quite the looker—for a dead chick, at least. Rocking her hippie threads, she manages to be a unique flower in a game saturated with interesting enemies of varying intellect, appearance, and mobility.
As one of the five Dark Purveyors summoned by Swan to wreak havoc on Earth, the sitar-playing Mariska is one of the most powerful zombies in the game and an admirable foe for Juliet, who must defeat her on her quest to save the world. Mariska's psychedelic trips and soothing voice are hypnotic, encouraging you to leave the material world behind so that you can join her collective unconscious.
At least she’s not trying to eat your brain.
10 Sindel—Mortal Kombat (Series)
Sindel is the undisputed queen of scream. The tragic mother of the beautiful Kitana and former ruler of Edenia made her debut in Mortal Kombat 3. As Shao Kahn’s unwilling bride, Sindel kills herself in an act of rebellion but becomes his slave, once again, upon her resurrection.Kitana is easily one of the most attractive and deadliest characters in the game, and when looking at Sindel, it’s obvious the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Her white hair, dominatrix-like bodysuit, and ability to levitate, are all a part of her signature style, making Sindel an attractive choice for players looking for power and beauty.Besides, who doesn’t want a woman who spits fireballs and screams your clothes—and skin—clean off in the bedroom? It’s better than having your body ripped apart.
Vibrant and sporting bright gold, purple, and pink threads, Hsien-Ko is different from our previous entries. Her body shows no signs of rotting, and even her cheeks are rosy red. Outside of her blue skin and awkward fighting stance, she looks like a normal human being.
Don’t let her innocent appearance fool you. Hsien-Ko is able to turn her nails into huge claws and attacks with the myriad of weapons hidden up her sleeves. As a Jiang Shi, a type of reanimated corpse, Hsien-Ko’s mind is at risk of being consumed by her darker side. To prevent this from happening, her twin sister turns herself into a ward to protect her as they seek revenge on the Darkstalkers who attacked their village.
Overall, Hsien-Ko is a passionate, family-oriented person. Just make sure you don’t have any open wounds. Even one drop of blood could send her over the edge.
8 Bubble Head Nurses—Silent Hill 2
Sure, Pyramid Head makes his iconic debut in Silent Hill 2, but he isn’t the only one torturing our poor protagonist. The Bobble Head Nurses in Brookhaven Hospital also do one hell of a psychological number on the widower, and by that, I don’t mean a checkup. Not only are they likely physical reminders of his wife’s illness, but they are also deadly, mercilessly attacking James with a pipe when given a chance.
While their bloodied, covered faces, and awkward gait may initially leave much to be desired, their risqué attire will have you singing a different tune. Especially when you realize you are in the forced company of strange creatures and an odd, Phoenix-like woman who keeps dying, resurrecting, and getting mad at you. With so much going on, you, too, would welcome the beatdown provided by a few bloodthirsty nurses in short skirts and low-cut tops.
7 Waitress Zombies—Dead Rising 2: Case Zero
The Dead Rising series, known for its dark humor, breathed new life into zombie survival horror games. Whether it’s the inclusion of photography, weapon crafting, silly costumes, or a zombie’s rights organization, the series has never shied away from experimentation.
Encountering the different types of zombies in the Dead Rising series is part of the fun. There are police officers, showgirls, women in cat attire, even an undead bride. If you ever find yourself in Still Creek, be sure to stop by Momma’s Diner for a bite—from undead beauties wielding knives and pans, who just can’t wait to eat you up.
Their culinary skills, melee attacks, and retro style are unrivaled—even Chuck couldn’t help but grab an outfit for himself— earning them a place above the rest and in our hearts.
6 Zombie Liu Kang—Mortal Kombat: Deception
Arguably one of Earthrealm’s strongest fighters, Liu Kang has won every tournament of Mortal Kombat he has entered. He’s known for his Bruce Lee-inspired garb and fighting style—bicycle and flying kicks for everyone! Easily one of the most recognizable faces of the franchise, what makes Liu Kang special—initially, at least—is his morality.
We see this when his longtime mentor and friend, Raiden, orders him not to rescue his love Kitana. Instead of blindly following orders, Liu Kang follows his heart. What a stand-up guy.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop his soulless body from going on a killing spree after a corrupted Raiden resurrects it. Zombie Liu Kang doesn’t differ much from his former self, except for his decaying, gray skin and the chains dangling from his wrists.
He may not have wanted to be evil, but he certainly looked good while doing it.
5 Bodyconians—Shin Megami Tensei (Series)
Play enough Shin Megami Tensei games, and you’re bound to encounter some strange creatures. Though the series’ enemies are referred to as demons, they are comprised of different races, such as the Spirit or the Undead.
The Bodyconians are the latter, artificial bodies that are somehow able to trap the souls of dead women inside of them. With the memories of their human life gone, the ladies are enslaved and forced to do their master’s bidding.
Their depiction varies by title, but one thing they all do have in common is the skin-tight dress they wear. In Shin Megami Tensei II, they add knee-high boots to their ensemble, resulting in a zombie that resembles a go-go dancer. Maybe the ‘60s-inspired outfit increases the Bodyconian’s chance of inflicting charm on the player with their dance.
4 Talion—Shadows Of Mordor
Ah, yes, yet another character driven by vengeance! When Talion still walked amongst the living, the Ranger of Gondor worked his way up to Captain of the Black Gate of Mordor, where he lived peacefully with his family.
Of course, Sauron’s servants attack, killing his loved ones and striking down Talion. However, before crossing over, the brooding Ranger’s soul is resurrected by a powerful Wraith who now shares his body. The two work together to get revenge against The Black Hand, the captain who murdered Talion’s family.
For a possessed dead guy, Talion is easy on the eyes. He looks as alive as anyone, effortlessly fighting off hordes of Uruks while simultaneously wielding his borrowed wraith power, all in the name of family. His unwavering loyalty and by-any-means-necessary attitude are admirable and, honestly, part of his charm, reminding us, “Not all those who wander are lost.”
3 Amelia Croft—Tomb Raider Underworld
If Lara Croft is one of the hottest women in video games, then you just know her mother is a looker. Amelia is presumed dead up until Lara discovers that she’s trapped in Helheim, the Norse underworld. Lara finds a way to enter Helheim intending to rescue her mother, who we’ve only seen in photos and flashbacks.
Upon entering the room, Lara is excited to find her mother alive but facing away from her. As Lara calls out to her, Amelia slowly turns, revealing half of her face, which is free of blemishes—although the same can’t be said for her skirt and blazer.
By the time she turns completely around, all hope for a heartfelt reunion is dashed when we discover that half of her body is in a zombified state. Admit it, for a split second, you still thought she was hot.
2 Lady Yunalesca—Final Fantasy X
Lady Yunalesca might seem like an odd choice for this list. After all, the scantily-clad summoner and daughter of Yu Yevon, the creator of Sin, isn’t exactly who comes to mind when one thinks of the undead. She does not fall victim to memory loss or skin decay and discoloration. In fact, her warm, glowing skin combined with her long, luscious locks gives her the appearance of a goddess, not a zombie.
However, Lady Yunalesca is very much undead. After using the Final Summoning to defeat Sin, she dies, but her spirit never enters the Farplane. Her belief that she has yet to fulfill her purpose causes pyreflies to reconstruct her physical body so she can greet summoners at the end of their pilgrimage and explain the truth behind the Final Summoning that defeats Sin.
Even if you don't agree with her, you have got to admire her persistence.
1 Uranus Zone Zombies—Dead Rising 2: Off The Record
Dead Rising’s back with the final entry on our list. Speaking of back, Off the Record, reimagines the events of Dead Rising 2 with Frank West at the helm, along with his trusty camera.
Walk through the giant alien head in Fortune Park, and you will find yourself in Uranus Zone, an out-of-this-world theme park in Fortune City. There are several rides within the science-fiction themed park that Frank can use as a weapon to kill zombies.
But why kill the undead when you can take selfies with them instead?. Especially, when they’re the stylish and intriguing female zombies of Uranus Zone. From their far out hair to their space-inspired outfits, these ladies give you plenty of reasons to stop and gaze at the stars.