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"I can smell your brains...!"

A Zombie Apocalypse is no fun for anyone; even the zombies are incapable of feeling fun. It's especially hard for the Zombie Infectee; carelessly bitten by a zombie or infected with an early stage of The Virus, they're in for a slow and painful transformation into a monster that will kill or convert their friends and loved ones. The only way out is death, either by suicide or mercy kill, and any miracle cure or even Heroic Willpower is right out the window if you aren't a main character.

So what's a Zombie Infectee to do? Nothing. No, seriously. Any group trying to survive in this apocalyptic situation will always have at least one idiot Jerkass who gets bitten or scratched and refuses to face the truth (traumatic as it is) and tell anyone, knowing full well their silence will cost lives. They don't seek help because they know there is nothing for their condition but a bullet to the head. They tend not to take steps to make sure they at least don't endanger others once they die. A Heroic Sacrifice is the last thing on their mind, and trying the Vampire Refugee route is suicidal in most cases.

The Zombie Infectee is almost certainly (and rightfully) afraid their friends will kill them in cases where the protagonists have figured out that a bite or scratch will pass on The Virus. Fear of discovery means they live their now shortened lives terrified and in denial, and as a result they end up behaving irrationally because of it. Alternatively, they will desperately cling to the hope that they will be the person immune to The Virus, despite its 100% fatality and 100% conversion rate—in the most headstrong cases they may try to Resist the Beast.

At this point, the onus, unfortunately, is on the heroes to notice the erratic behavior (for a Zombie Apocalypse, anyway) and take the appropriate and necessary steps. Other people—friends, relatives, lovers—may also sink into denial and try to hinder the heroes from dispatching the walking liability before s/he becomes the walking dead. When they do turn, the Zombie Infectee will almost always infect or kill at least one unsuspecting victim (often the Zombie Advocate, for additional tragic irony), unleash the horde of zombies, destroy all the ammunition or find some other way to cause a really bad day for the remaining survivors.

Note: A few zombie works (movies, literature, etc.) have taken a third option, so to speak. If the point of infection is near the end of a limb (which it often is), that limb can then be removed, a literal Life or Limb Decision. The person may die due to shock and blood loss anyway, but at least he's not getting back up again to snack on your brains. Hopefully.

Obviously, much of this page talks about works in which a Zombie Infectee is kept a secret even from the audience, and thus learning the identity of one prior to experiencing the work would ruin a somewhat major twist. Beware of spoilers from here on.

See also And Then John Was a Zombie. Compare and contrast Secret Stab Wound and Mortal Wound Reveal. Most examples are also Secretly Dying.

Examples of Zombie Infectee include:


Anime and Manga

  • High School of the Dead has several of these. None so far have tried to hide it, and most of them get put down by the heroes or die by their own hand after expressing a firm desire to die rather than become one of 'them'. The first arc of the outbreak in particular features two infectees (Hisashi and the boy in Shizuka-sensei's office) who are Mercy Kill'd. It's probably happened a few times off camera, though, since we see that "they" have somehow gotten aboard Air Force One.


Comic Books

  • Happens unknowingly in Garth Ennis'... strange book Crossed. One member of the party is shot (the eponymous Crossed are intelligent, just psychotic), and seems to just be in shock. However, there's quite a Oh Crap moment when a scouting party witnesses a group of Crossed soaking bullets in their semen. Cue rampage.
  • Mostly averted in The Walking Dead. Most survivors are sufficiently paranoid and genre savvy to be on guard, and most infectees either decide to be left behind or take the "third option" described above. On the negative side, it has also been shown that the recently dead can and probably will rise as zombies even if they were not directly infected by another zombie. An interesting variation on the trope has occurred several times, when certain survivors remained in deep denial and refused to distance themselves from their fully infected loved ones.
  • The Graphic Novel Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection puts a spin on this trope. The novel is presented as the journal of a doctor who survives the early waves of mass infection. Over time he comes to suspect that a food additive put into the products of an enormous Mega Corp that supplies much of the world's processed food is the cause of the infection, and once the body absorbs a certain amount of said additive, the person begins going through stages of infection that lead into becoming a zombie. It's never shown one way or the other whether he's right, but if he is, everyone still alive is already infected, and every meal they scavenge puts them one step closer to turning...


Fan Fic

  • The weird but excellent Zombie Apocalypse/House fic "The Rampant Disease" features an infectee House refusing to let his love interest kiss him because they know The Virus is spread through bodily fluids. (That the story also contains two of the more egregious instances of Die for Our Ship ever seen detracts slightly, but it's still a great story.)
  • There's a Fullmetal Alchemist fanfic called "Mistakes" where Mustang becomes an infectee after getting bitten on the wrist and refuses to admit what bit him. Despite admitting the truth eventually, Mustang averts the trope by being cured when his totally infected arm gets torn off by the Gate.
  • Happens to several characters during the DC Nation version of Blackest Night, most notably to Troia and Oliver Queen.

Film

  • The Resident Evil movies have examples of good and bad Infectees. Notably, a recurring minor character from the second movie, Ethnic Scrappy L.J, is bitten in the third. What's infuriating about this example is that the movie is set well after the zombie plague has swept through the world, so he couldn't exactly plead ignorance; L.J. had likely seen the same thing happen dozens of times. And yet he keeps his infection a secret, even as he begins to sicken. Once he turns (which inconveniently happens during the big zombie attack), he almost kills The Chick while both are locked in a car, and then infects one of the likable main characters, who does the right thing and takes as many zombies with him as possible in a massive explosion.
  • Played with in the character of Shaun's mother in Shaun of the Dead. She waits until just before she dies to reveal she's been bitten, but not necessarily to save her life; rather, she wanted to keep the burden off Shaun for as long as possible, explaining: "I didn't want to be a bother."
    • Whereas Shaun's friend Ed, after being bitten, does a Heroic Sacrifice by staying to hold the zombies off while the others escape.
  • The "Sex Machine" (played by SFX guru Tom Savini) in From Dusk till Dawn hid his rapid vampirization for fear of being killed. Fortunately he was killed without much problem. Unfortunately he let all the other vampires in.
    • On the flipside, badass ex-preacher Jacob is open and frank about the fact that he's been bitten and doesn't have long, and was pretty emphatic in getting his kids to do him in when the same was happening to him.
      • Not that they do before he infects his son.
        • But he was a pudgy, adopted asian kid with little characterization, as opposed to Jacob's pretty biological daughter with the hots for George Clooney's character, so we don't care.
  • In the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead 2004, pregnant Luda gets bitten. Once her husband Andre discovers the bites turn the victim into a zombie, he sets his wife up in the maternity store, separate from the other survivors. Andre sinks so deeply in denial that he refuses to accept the truth, even when it's obvious The Virus has her; instead he becomes her twisted caretaker. Ironically, Luda doesn't kill anyone, because Andre restrained her when she went into labor (during which she died and reanimated). When Norma discovers zombie Luda, she shoots the undead new mother. Norma and Andre then exchange more gunfire, killing each other. Ana then arrives and shoots Luda's newborn zombie infant.
    • Additionally, Frank, once informed that the bites are going to turn him into a zombie, elects to be separated from the others, knowing he will be killed when he reanimates.
    • Subverted when Michael gets bitten and stays behind, knowing he can't accompany the rest of the survivors beyond this point. It's not quite a Heroic Sacrifice, but he at least displays consideration for the other survivors' safety. It is instead Ana, the woman Michael loves, who goes into denial, insisting she can help him because she's a nurse, even though she knows full well the consequences and wasn't able to do anything for any of the other infectees in their recent acquaintance.
    • In the original version, Roger is bitten and knows full well what is coming. He asks Peter to let him succumb, and then wait and see what happens as he is going to "try not to come back". It fails, and his is killed upon rising.
  • In Land of the Dead not a single infected person hides their status; if they are bitten they commit suicide or die fighting. However, the prize goes to Chollo, who is just about to abandon the city when he unexpectedly gets bitten. He's been on a zombie-killing team for years, so he knows what's coming. His right hand man asks if he wants to be shot or shoot himself. Chollo chooses neither, but instead goes back to Fiddler's Green, intending to take his flesh-eating revenge on his Corrupt Corporate Executive Bad Boss Kaufman.
  • Averted in Thirty Days of Night, when a widower not so slowly turning into a vampire asks to be killed not only to avoid becoming a murderer, but because he can't stand the thought of being immortal and never dying to see his family in heaven.
    • Further averted by sheriff Eben Ouleman willingly infecting himself, and then using Heroic Willpower to fight and kill the vampire leader. Sadly he sacrificed himself by waiting for the sun rather than risk losing his self control and becoming a monster.
    • Played straight however when a man hiding under a house slowly turns into a vampire before finding Eben and trying to kill him.
  • Several people in the Return of the Living Dead series keep their wits about them once infected. They even find ways to stave off the desire to eat flesh well into the transformation phase, so as to not be a danger to friends and loved ones. This, unfortunately, makes them rather attractive to the government.
  • Averted in Grindhouse: Planet Terror. Cherry is attacked by zombies who bite her leg off. After getting medical attention, she proves to be immune to the neurotoxic agent causing the zombies, as are most of the other leads. Others, not so lucky, are infected not through bites or scratches, but through the infected smearing bodily fluids on them. Ew.
  • Mostly avoided in Diary of the Dead. Everybody who gets infected has the wisdom to blow their brains out before they can rise. There were only two straight examples in the entire movie where characters rose after death.
    • The very beginning. Gordo gets bitten, and dies. His girlfriend is of course in shock, and claims he might not rise. The group doesn't believe her, but this is the beginning, so they aren't sure, and they leave her to grieve. He does eventually rise, but she reluctantly shoots him in the head instantly, before he cause any trouble.
    • Jerkass Ridley, who was in the horror movie at the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse they're blog-documenting, is seen early on partying with his girl. He invites the film crew to come join him because they're perfectly safe where he is. By the time Jason and company get to him, he's all alone and acting erratic, even for him. Only when Deborah convinces him to tell her where everybody else is does it become obvious that he's infected.
    • A third example comes from one of the video asides. A team of armed soldiers raid a house where a live family is storing their infected relatives. Over the family's protests, the soldiers open the room where they've been storing the zombies and shoot them, but the father's interference causes the sergeant to be bitten. Incensed, he deliberately shoots the living family members in the hearts so that they will "wake up dead."
  • While not a zombie plague, in Blade 2 one of the vampire strike team, Lighthammer, gets bit by one of the "super-vampires" and covers it up (suprisingly well considering he's one of the most underdressed members of the team), until he predictably turns and starts gobbling up the rest of his team.
  • Although not technically zombies, the 'Rage' victims in the 28 Days Later movies deliberately avert this trope; the virus infects and converts its victims within 30 seconds to a minute, thus preventing them from concealing their condition from those around them. It also ups the tension, as the non-infected have to deal with the victim immediately in order to save their own lives.
    • The first movie also offers a potential inversion; after butchering a number of infected, one of the characters discovers that he's somehow received a cut. As there's so much blood—both his and theirs—it's unclear as to whether he's actually been infected. This doesn't stop one of the other characters from instantly butchering him with a machete.
  • In another vampiric variation, Montoya in John Carpenter's Vampires also hides his own vampire bite. His subterfuge does not really matter, as he gets bitten again later in a less discreet place.
  • Quarantine involves a news crew and a group of firefighters locked into an apartment complex with a bunch of other people and a zombie infection. They store the infectees in the same room that most of the living people are congregated. Guess what happens?
  • Averted, then subverted in Zombieland. Little Rock appears all too willing to take the bullet to avoid being a danger to other survivors but it was just a con to let her and Wichita steal the guys' car and guns.
    • Played straight, however, with 406, but to be fair nobody knew about zombies or The Virus. She just thought some crazy homeless guy attacked her. Plus she only says he tried to bite her, not that he actually had.
  • As the title might suggest, this is the entire point of the movie Carriers. While you don't turn into a zombie, the plague's extreme contagiousness makes you just as much of a threat. After being infected, Bobby plays this trope painfully straight, until being abandoned with a little water and directions by her boyfriend. When he in turn is infected, he initially forces his companions to carry him, and then makes his brother shoot him when they try to escape, rather than leaving him to die a slow death.
  • This was why they needed to Shoot the Dog in Old Yeller: the title character became a Rabies Infectee.
  • Subverted very humorously in Dead Snow: One of the characters gets bitten on the arm. He knows what he has to do, so he slices off his arm with a chainsaw to stop the infection from spreading to the rest of the body. After a really painful looking scene and a sigh of relief, another Nazi zombie pops his head up from the snow and bites him on the crotch. He kills that zombie and looks back to the chainsaw in horror.
  • Amusingly averted in Flight of the Living Dead, when one of the protagonists gets munched on by a little old lady zombie. It looks like the story will go this way, as the character is a criminal out only for himself, but the aversion comes in when it turns out the biting zombie doesn't have her dentures in and didn't penetrate his skin.


Literature

  • World War Z makes these a larger threat than the living dead. A zombie is not particularly dangerous to anyone with a gun, but the infrastructure behind an army - zombie-hunting or otherwise - does not cope well with things like mass panic and refugee columns that contain an unknown number of infectees unaware of or unable to cope with the facts. (A bonus: imagine the rumor mill about immunities and cures.) Dogs can smell The Virus, and it freaks them out. In a controlled refugee situation, anybody a dog reacts badly to is taken aside as infected... often to the loud and increasingly histrionic protests of the infectee in question. Uncontrolled versions feature a lot of improvisation, but one option is to separate the zombies and the uninfected with a mass nerve gas attack.
    • The nerve gas attack "separates" the infectees out because while the gas kills everyone, only the infectees will stand back up... Ugh.
      • Arguably a case of Truth in Television: Some people in the Middle Ages would protect themselves from the Plague by finding a remote hideout and shooting anybody coming too close with a crossbow in order to avoid contact with potential infectees.
    • When the militaries of the world finally started clearing towns the most dangerous zombies were those that had been "kept" by their families. These Zeds were usually inside of closets or wardrobes in otherwise safe towns and could create a very nasty surprise for a soldier with slow reflexes.
    • Further, in an aversion, people could become infectees completely by accident or unfortunate happenstance; and would do the right thing. One soldier knew he had to be put down because someone shot a zombie. The bullet went through the zombie, then into the soldier, bringing the infection with it. in Russia this becomes the responsibility of army chaplains, one thing leads to another and the country ends up a theocratic empire.
    • Averted when one interviewee tells of a buddy who was bitten and turned into an instant emotional wreck, knowing full well he would have to be put down, making no attempt to avoid the reality but is simply unable to take it standing up. It turns out the biter was a Quisling, someone who lost their marbles on the face of the Zombie Apocalypse and acts like, but is not, a zombie. The victim breaks down crying in relief. Ironically, he nearly dies from a Staph infection from the bite.
    • There were rumours of cures, and immunity - mostly fueled by the Quislings, and the fact that it was possible to survive being bitten by one of those, but not by a real zombie. Early in the book, one of the interviewees - a guy who dealt in smuggling people across the borders, mostly by car - mentioned that he suspected a lot of outbreaks in other areas were caused by infected getting out of China through the smuggling routes he and people like him used and then going to ground in the ghettos in other countries. He mentions that he regrets letting them get through, on his watch, and that he believes that most of the infectees (and their families) were trying to get out and find a cure - not because they actually believed there was one, or because there was any rumour that one existed, but because they were desperate and clinging to any straw of hope they could find, that they wouldn't have to take that final option.
    • Of course the cure rumors weren't helped by the fact that the zombie virus did have a drop in number infected the first winter of the crisis, a corrupt businessman linked it to his placebo antivirus (it was just vitamin pills) which created a false sense of calm. In reality the drop was due to the colder weather making zombies in places like northern Europe freeze solid for a couple of months and by limited operations from military commandos to slow down the rate of infection. Unfortunately government budget restraints stopped the U.S. (and presumably most other nations) from starting a dedicated offensive until it was too late.
  • Near the end of Stephen King's short story Home Delivery, itself an homage to the films of George Romero, a member of a group of zombie hunters who help protect a small island community realizes he's having a fatal heart attack, and demands that his fellow hunters shoot him in the head (after he completes the Lord's Prayer) so that he doesn't rise immediately after he dies.
    • Head? No, that wasn't sure enough for him. He arranged for them to shoot him in all vital organs SIMULTANEOUSLY.
  • In George Romero's short story Anubis, plunging a knife into the brain of a dead person is part of the funerary rites---note that Romero revenants are not infected with a zombie "virus", it's just that the bite of a zombie is fatal, and everyone who dies rises.
  • In Pride and Prejudice And Zombies, like the above, all dead people are beheaded, because they all rise. Also, Charlotte Lucas is infected, marries Mr Collins just so she can have "a proper Christian beheading and burial", and slowly transforms into a zombie. This may be taken as symbolic of how, in the original, she threw away all hope of being truly happy so she could marry a fairly wealthy man and be secure - she's sort of the "living dead". Anyway, in Pride and Prejudice And Zombies, staggers around, speaking weirdly, eating disgustingly, and nearly having diarrhea in the corner of a parlor. It turns out that the reason she transforms so slowly is that Lady Catherine has been dosing her with a not-so-efficacious antidote which only prolonged her suffering.
  • Completely averted in the Newsflesh trilogy, because it's very easy to test if someone is infected. All the characters are trained not to go near anyone who's been out in the field until they've had a blood test, and all the characters who get infected (and discovered by the test) simply say their last words and let their teammates shoot them.
  • In Rebecca Brock's short story The Beautiful People found in the collection Abominations, a Paris Hilton-type celebutante discovers the hard way that one of her BF Fs, a certain strung-out redheaded actress, has been bitten and infected.
  • Beth in The Forest of Hands and Teeth suffers from a small wound at the hands of one of the Unforsaken. Her husband, Jed, knows about it and has troubles accepting the tragedy. He keeps it a secret from everyone but Mary, who promises to keep silent for the time. Beth's eventual death is a mercy kill.
  • There are many in Can YOU Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?. They can't pretend for long, though, since the time between being infected and reanimating is fairly short.
  • In Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry, all the main characters have made it to the school which is under siege by zombies. To add insult to injury, the United States government forced them into a terrible deal to save the few uninfected survivors. The trio of heroes takes all the zombie infectees out to be terminated by the National Guard since it's the only way the government will refrain from fuel-air bombing the school and the surrounding town. And only then does one of the heroes reveal he got bitten in the battle to secure the school.

Live Action TV

  • She Wolf of London has Ian bravely fighting against the encroaching Zombie tendencies. But the longer he goes, the more he's able to do little more than groan, "Hunnnngrrryyy...." piteously. Fortunately, this case of zombiism was a curse that could be reversed.
  • The Doctor Who episode "The Waters of Mars" averts this when one character touches the eponymous water and instantly tells the others to go on without him.
    • Amy plays this trope straight in "The Time of Angels". She doesn't really know what's happened to her until the Doctor figures it out, though the grit in her eye was a pretty big indicator something was wrong. She just had no way of knowing how bad it was until the Doctor worked it out himself.
  • Special Unit 2 has the main character Nick get infected by a werewolf bite. Needing to find the werewolves, he decides to let himself turn, but tells his partner to kill him if he looks like he's lost himself. At the end, he seems to lose control, but by this point they'd developed a cure bullet and shot him with it.
  • Community hilariously evokes the trope by having two people, one after the other, reveal themselves as being infectees, and protesting in slurred, growling speech (a symptom that announces the transformation is underway) that they thought they were "special" and could resist the bite through Heroic Willpower.
  • Both the British and the American versions of Being Human had the main werewolf character scratch and infect his girlfriend, who concealed it until after her first transformation because she wasn't convinced it would really happen. In the British version, Nina at least had the sense to lock herself up just in case, while in the American version, Nora destroyed her car and transformed just a stone's throw from her boyfriend and the vampire trying to kill him, so it all worked out surprisingly well.
  • Subverted in Dead Set. Angel is bitten but because none of the housemates are clear on how the virus works, they attempt to treat her. It doesn't work. Later, Alex is bitten and quietly hands her axe over to Riq to dispatch her quickly.


Tabletop Games

  • According to the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (and Warhammer 40000: Dark Heresy), some people who have been infected by Chaos go to steps to have their mutations excised or made less noticeable, out of hope that it'll stop them from mutating into Chaos beasts. It rarely, if ever, works, but they figure it's better than being burned at the stake by the witch hunters.
    • FYI: It is not.
  • The opening fiction to zombie RPG All Flesh Must Be Eaten records the personal log of a scientist who's been bitten by a zombie. Needless to say, it goes in the typical direction, ending with the doctor talking about how h-h-hungry he is...
    • One chapter-opening story is centered around a group of infectees, quarantined by the United States government (by the rules of the scenario it's based on, infectees rise when they die of anything after the infection hits). The narrator finds her husband has committed suicide, but refuses to report it to the guards - they were growing apart, and as she puts it, "Before I die, he's going to touch me. One last time."
  • Zombie Fluxx has a card whose flavor text says something to the effect of "Dude, kill me if I turn into one of those things", and essentially indicates that any cards you have representing human friends have now become Zombie Infectees (or outright Zombies) you have to kill when the opportunity arises.
  • Like in the Anubis example above, the Neo-Victorian zombie RPG Unhallowed Metropolis features different funerary rites for a world where the dead can easily rise as zombies. The lower classes get an immediate cremation, the middle classes usually have valued steel or bronze stakes that can be used to destroy the brain, and the upper classes can hire professional "Mourners" who are trained to watch a body for three days straight and decapitate it at the first sign that it's getting back up.


Video Games

  • Project Zomboid: If you get bitten or scratched, you can become infected yourself, making it only a matter of time before you join the ranks of the undead. The raider who breaks into your house during the tutorial thinks your wife is infected, and will attempt to kill her.
  • In the MMORPG Urban Dead, some players, called zombie spies, go into survivor strongholds and then click the search button or attack until they die, then rise as a zombie and start biting everyone in site. however, accidental zombie infectees can be cured with a first aid kit, because the pandemic zombie virus is actually harmless, it's only the bewildering array of bacteria in a zombie's mouth that is a threat.
    • Meanwhile, Z-killers continue to attack other zombies, even after rising as zombies themselves, possibly representing those individuals whose Heroic Willpower allows them to use their monstrous powers for the good of the remaining survivors.
  • This was a pre-expansion event in World of Warcraft. To make it particularly perverse, it was extremely easy to get cured- NPC healers were stationed in every city- so the players who did this were basically just doing it for fun. And complaining when they got cleansed by well-meaning players.
    • But then It Got Worse, making this trope irrelevant, as the zombie attacks grew more frequent, the NPC healers fewer and further between, and the time between infection and full zombification shorter - from an initial 10 minutes, to five, to one minute - in the larger cities, this made it nearly impossible to reach a healer before becoming a zombie, even if you were trying.
      • Lets not forget the Jerkass players who intentionally killed the healers and made the game a living hell for any player who didn't feel like participating in the current world event. Blizzard pissed off a lot of players with that particular world event. They tried to fix it later by making the NPCs immortal, but by then the aforementioned speed of the infection pretty much made it worthless.
    • Change "Zombie" for "Werewolf" and the worgen player character qualifies. He gets bitten early in the starting zone, but doesn't tell anyone until it's too late and turns into a worgen at the worst possible moment.

  Worgen bite: You were bitten by a worgen. The wound looks minor... maybe it'll go away with time?

  • One of the campaigns in Left 4 Dead features a saferoom inside a church. There is an occupant locked inside; having been attacked the last time he let someone else in, he refuses to unlock the doors until you prove that you're not infected—and attracts a massive horde of the Infected by setting off the church bell. If you remain close to the door, you hear him beginning to panic as he realizes that he himself is an infectee; at the end of the sequence he leaps out of the saferoom, fully turned, and attacks.
    • Don't forget the two helicopter pilots! They got bit while making rounds trying to save people, eventually forcing someone in the party to shoot the pilot.
    • Inverted in the Sacrifice DLC comic. Zoey's father is bitten in the initial stages of the zombie apocalypse, and she puts him down to prevent this from happening. 2 weeks later, she finds out that the gene for immunity is passed down from the father. Ouch.
  • Resident Evil - There are actually very few examples of this trope in the RE games, the most common being in Resident Evil Outbreak; an online iteration where dying players resurrect as zombies. Resident Evil 1 does, however, have a readable journal by one of the Umbrella scientists that degrades slowly as the infection spreads, culminating in an extremely short entry about eating dog food, and how it is good.
    • Resident Evil 4 does this, although Leon manages to survive long enough to find a cure for himself and Ashley. Their case is also a bit different because they were injected with parasite eggs, not a zombie virus.
    • Marvin Branagh stretched his death by zombie attack over three games. Chronologically, he is bitten during RE: Outbreak, File #2, he is seen unconscious but alive in Resident Evil 3 Nemesis, and ultimately turns into a zombie in Resident Evil 2. (Capcom likes prequels.)
      • Then again, Branagh didn't exactly try to hide it, even going so far as to kick your player character out of the room and lock the door in RE 2 to make sure he wouldn't hurt you when he turned. It doesn't work, but not through any fault of his.
      • It doesn't help that he doesn't tell you why he's kicking you out.
  • Dead Rising has a few survivors that have been bitten or injured by the Zombies. One will refuse to come with you unless you can prove to her that the virus is curable, and there's a Narm filled cutscene of a story character transforming into a zombie. Also, any NPC you escort that is killed by a zombie will rise as another zombie. Which can make it quite satisfying when you shoot the dumbass in the head for sticking his nose in the zombie fight. Frank West becomes a Zombie Infectee on the third day (that is, if you have been following the main quest).
    • Dead Rising 2 reveals that the zombie suppressant is now the super-expensive wonder drug Zombrex, manufactured by PhenoTrans. The player character's daughter is infected and dependent on the drug. This leaves Chuck to do increasingly dangerous things (including starring on the Deadly Game Terror is Reality) to get the money for her Zombrex.
      • In the Case West DLC, Frank himself shows up, shooting Zombrex into his neck.
  • In the Freeware Game Survivor: The Living Dead you have an infection meter. And there's nothing in-game that can cure it, only a few items you can unlock that reduce your infected level, which then begins climbing back up.
  • Your allies in Survival Crisis Z will get infected if they are bitten, and will turn if they aren't given medical treatment. Unlike the typical example, though, they seem to realize what's happening and will beg you or other allies to shoot them before they change. You can't actually do it, but at least they aren't trying to hide it from you.
    • They only turn if they're at critical health for an extended period of time (and possibly if they get killed outright). 1 Health pack solves that easily enough.
  • In the source-mod Zombie Panic Source, this can happen. Teams are divided between humans and zombies, with one zombie being the "carrier" that has a chance of infecting humans with a successful melee attack. Those infected are notified of their illness, and while some notify their teammates and head to an early grave, others slink to the back of the crowd and take most of their team with them.


Webcomics


Web Original

  • The Those Aren't Muskets skit "Dealing with the guy who's clearly hiding a zombie bite" starts as Exactly What It Says on the Tin. It turns out that all but one of them are all concealing the same secret. Though they do still have the obnoxious one who's hiding the fact that he was also bitten by a vampire and a werewolf (and possibly a mummy?).
  • Quite a bunch of characters in Ruby Quest have some traits of this, but Filbert fits the trope the most, with his Madness Mantra of being "clean".
  • Parodied in this Collegehumor video.
  • Averted for most people in We're Alive as they usually turn rapidly. There was some discussion about possible "slow turners" that would play this straight but it hasn't happened yet onscreen.
    • Subverted with Saul. He was chained up for much of season 2 out of fears that he may have been infected but he got better.
    • Also defied by The Colony who force people to strip down and be checked for bite marks and wounds before entering.


Western Animation

  • The Secret Show had a zombie infection that was triggered by certain words when spoken. Oddly, the cure was also certain words when spoken. So people could prevent the infection if they were careful what they said. Unfortunately, the words that triggered the zombie infection were "yes" and "no" for a good part of the episode!
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! had a zombie infection caused by a Skeleton King floating eyeball. Locking gazes with the eyeball was all it took to become infected. Transformation was instantaneous, so the tension came from people desperately trying to avoid the eyeball's gaze, and running from those who had not been able to avoid looking. This eventually left Chiro the last man standing until the sun came up and killed the vector, which restored everyone to normal.
  • 6teen's "Dude of the Living Dead", had this, when one of "the clones" was infected. Any other character infected was fully genre-savvy and would try to take out some zombies before they go and or make a heroic sacrifice. In one case, a completely pointless heroic sacrifice (think reaaaaly slow zombies).
  • Parodied in South Park Episode "Night of the Living Homeless" in which a character sitting on top of the community center receives a phone call, that he lost his house, and subsequently asks the other people around him to help him out with a little money, some... "change?", ending up in Randy putting him out of his misery.
  • Homer becomes one in The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XX segment "28 D'ohs Later".
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