Any Zombie stories where head shots don't kill?

So i just finished listening to the audiobook version of Max brooks ‘World War Z’.

My instant review:-Hey not bad at all.

Still worth reading the book however as the audios abridged and misses some good chapters. But still not bad.

It got me thinking however. WWZ’s zombies are straight out of central casting. Shamblers that a head shot will destroy.

I was wondering if anyone knows of any stories (book,film, etc) where that trope is subverted and headshots are as ineffectual as anywhere else and you have to literally chop them apart or otherwise dismember them to stop them.

Braindead, AKA Dead Alive has zombies that are pretty much unstoppable.

I imagine you’d be looking for settings where zombies are raised by necromantic magic, and can use corpses rather than having to infect the living. For instance, in D&D or Warhammer non-intelligent undead are generally not destroyed by the loss of their heads.

The whole thing about damage to the head killimng a zombie began with George Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead. Anything preceding that won’t have it, nor will anything following it that doesn’t buy into Romero’s vision of the zombie universe. So all those pre-1960 zombie films don’t have head shots killing zombies. That includes the film Invisible Invaders, which was probably a big influence on Romero’s film. Of course, back then people didn’t go in for gross things like heads being shot at, so you won’t see any head shots in those movies, anyway. The issue is moot.

As an example f the latter kind, Dan O’Bannon’s Return of the Living Dead (and its sequels) don’t buy Romero’s mythology. When the zombies get hacked up, the individual pieces continue to crawl around on their own.

What about the first Evil Dead movies? Ash’s girlfriend’s reanimated corpse had to be dismembered, but I don’t recall him attempting the headshot on her first.

In the video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, there is a shot where a headless zombie walks across the screen. The zombie pauses, and reaches up to scratch the empty space where its head should be.

Good stuff. I think i may have actually seen **Return of the Living Dead **, but literally 20 years ago. Is that the one where a couple of guys die and they don’t initially realise they’re zombies?

Oblivion has headless zombies which are significantly tougher than the ones with heads, and in Resident Evil 4, I believe, there are some zombies where destroying the head allows the real monster to pop out, which looked kind of annoying.


It also featured intelligent zombies, which is pretty unusual for the genre. In one of the sequels, a zombie gets decapitated, and it’s head is rolling around on the ground, snapping at people’s ankles. Someone grabs one of those big, foot long screwdrivers and stabs it through the ear, pinning it to the ground. The head rolls its eyes to the guy who just stabbed it, and says in a thick Southern drawl, “Get that damned screwdriver out of my head!” Which, for obvious reasons, is one of my favorite movies in any zombie movie, ever.

This is the one I came in to mention. I love the scene where the intrepid zombie hunters bring a trash bag full of (still squirming) zombie chunks to the local crematorium and ask the night guy if they can sneak in and use the oven. The guy understandably wants to know what’s in the bag, and they say, “rabid weasels.”

(Of course, as the chimney starts belching forth zombie smoke, it starts to rain, which carries Essence of Zombie into the ground… of the graveyard next door.)

‘I thought you said if we destroyed the brain it would die!’

‘It worked in the movie!’

‘You mean the movie lied?

Zombie Smoke. Don’t breathe that!
/will it blend

Yeah, I love that movie, if only for the mostly naked girl dancing around, who stays nekid through the entire film from that point on. She’s awesome.

I think I’ve only seen that one, in that particular series, though I understand the Sci Fi channel movies of the same naming convention are just TERRIBLE.

Return of the Living Dead is a vastly underrated comic masterpiece.

I reluctantly watched it with some friends a few months ago and laughed my ass off.

The punks are kind of forgettable but Clu Gulager and Don Calfa are flat-out brilliant as the warehouse owner and undertaker, respectively.

Return of the Living Dead and Return of the Living Dead II are great. Return of the living Dead III turned its back on the comedy and sucked. Return of the Living Dead IV: Necropolis and Return of the Living Dead V: Rave to the Grave were Sci-Fi channel movies that just used the naming convention and both sucked. The weird thing is in part V the zombies could now be dispatched with a bullet to the head.

Ok **Return of the living dead ** added to my rental list. A friend of mine who loves jackson stuff has got **Brain Dead ** ( and was amazed he hadn’t already lent it to me). That’s got films covered.

Anybody got any book suggestions with bulletproof dead?

Oh, and thank you by the way

Glen Cook’s Bitter Tin Sorrows includes some zombies that have to be cut to pieces to stop, as does his Cold Copper Tears ( and in the latter case, they fly and fling lightning as well ).

Simon R Green’s various zombies ( typically called ‘liches’ ) are always of the have-to-destroy-the-whole-body sort.

I don’t remember the name of the story, but it featured a portal into another universe, through which shadowy insubstantial, evil beings emerged, possessing or animating the corpses of humans and animals on this side. I’m pretty sure that one of the animated corpses was described as headless, with just an insubstantial shadowy cloud where the head should be.

If it helps to identify the story, the protagonist’s beloved is also possessed and is the only one to recover from such state.

The undead in the Stephen King short story Home Delivery also follow this convention.

It’s questionable whether or not the reanimated corpses in Evil Dead are really zombies. They’re possessed by an evil spirit, which is much different than the traditional zombie.