List of Zombie Powers and Abilities in Fiction

Zombies are fictional undead being created through the reanimation of a human corpse. This list was inspired by the List of Vampire Traits in Folklore and Fiction on Wikipedia, albeit a few modifications.

Supernatural Powers

  • Hibernation – Zombies have shown the ability to enter a sort of hibernation unless stirred.
  • Pain Suppression – It shouldn’t be called pain suppression because they simply don’t feel pain.
  • Enhanced Strength – Their lack of restraint and acid build up in the muscles means they don’t get tired.
  • Enhanced Stamina – Again, zombies don’t get tired due to the lack of acid build up in the muscles, which means they can keep going and going. Of course, if their body is decomposed to the point of immobilization then that’s another story.
  • Enhanced Smell – Despite most being dead as crap, they have shown an enhanced sense of smell to help them zero in on their prey. With zombies, cigarettes aren’t your friend.
  • Enhanced Bite – Their main focus of spreading their virus or devouring their prey.


  • Head Trauma – The most common means of dispatching the living dead.  Hit it in the head with a bat, stab em in the temple, shoot em the head; anything that destroys the brain, destroys the zombie. This could include decapitation too.
  • Fire – Burning would kill almost anything and zombies are no exception.  Sure they can’t feel a thing, but that doesn’t stop fire from burning them into a crisp.
  • Mortality – This really focuses more on the living infected.  Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 5, and Afterlife are examples of infected who can be killed by mortal wounds.


  • Human – In some incarnations, zombies appear just as human as anyone.
  • Decomposed – Usually, living people that have been zombies for a while, begin to decompose.  Or corpses that have been infected are already going through the process of death.


  • Self-Sustenance – Although zombies “hunger” they don’t necessicarily need to eat (as it doesn’t make them any faster or less decomposed).
  • Humans – Zombies are usually seen going after humans and whether it is because they were human at some point is really unknown.  Some incarnations don’t seem privy to eating other species (Dawn of the Dead when the dog seamlessly walks through the horde) while in others (The Walking Dead where Rick’s horse is killed and eaten) they’ll eat anything that moves.
  • Living – Zombies will eat pretty much anything that is alive.
  • Brains – Brains often attract zombies for some reason but it does make for some pretty gruesome deaths.  Return of the Living Dead series features zombies that crave brains.


  • Infect via Bite – Viral zombies are highly contagious and usually transfer their infection by biting their victims.  How long it takes for them to convert depends on the person and the virus.
  • Infect via Scratch – Like biting some strains are so contagious that a scratch is more than enough to spread infection.
  • Infect via Parasite – Parasites infect others by putting larvae into open areas of the body (eyes, ears, mouth, nose, anal, vaginal or penis).  Think about the movies the 1986 Night of the Creeps or the 2006 Slither in which the slugs enter victims through the mouth.

Setting Characteristics

  • Types – With all the hype surrounding zombies and the explosion of zombie films, of course there are going to be variants.  Zombies usually fall into one of these categories: dead (a dead body re-animated by either viral or supernatural means), parasitic (this infection comes from parasites) infected others much in the same way as the Ganados in Resident Evil 4), and viral (highly contagious, motivated to spread the virus through bite and driven by an insatiable hunger for human flesh).
  • Source – Is there a patient zero?  Where did the disease or infection first begin?
  • Cannibalistic
  • Zombie Society or Organization – Think about the iZombie series.   Fillmore-Graves is an organization comprised by zombies for zombies.
  • Known to Human Society – Usually zombies are known to the public especially when they’re biting and scratching and infecting people.
  • Terms and Nicknames – Zombies can go by a ton of different nicknames: Walkers (The Walking Dead), Zeds (Z Nation), Ganados (Resident Evil 4), and Majini (Resident Evil 5).

Thanks for checking out the post and in the comment section below let us know what your favorite powers and abilities are and if we left anything out that should’ve been included.

Related posts

Leave a Comment