I asked a question on RPG Stack Exchange, and I'm getting answers focused on the history of RPGs, but I'm also curious about zombies in wider media, and figure I'll get a better answer for that aspect of things here.

When I say zombies, I'm talking specifically about animated corpses that want to eat humans. Living beings infected by a fungus (Last of Us, maybe Halo) would not count. Examples of the type of zombies I'm thinking of would include The Walking Dead, State of Decay, or Dawn of the Dead.


Are there any media franchises or works of literature in which zombies are explicitly able to see in the dark? I'd like examples. If the list is rather long, then just a few of the more popular franchises should get the idea across.

I'm aware that zombies are often shown killing people at night, but the very fact that they're shown means that there's enough light for humans to see, and therefore the zombies as well. I've always figured that zombies didn't mind darkness, but had no reason to think they could see in the dark, as they just sort of stand around or maybe wander aimlessly until a human shows up with a light source.

  • 2
    This is too broad to answer sensibly. Could you restrict it to single canon universe?
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 18:06
  • You might also want to consider re-asking on worldbuilding:SE. It sounds like you're more interested in Zombies in general, rather than those in specific media.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 18:08
  • @Richard Sorry, I haven't asked any questions on this particular SE yet. How narrow should it be? Are you expecting questions to be about a specific world? I figured worldbuilding would be if I was building a world, not asking about existing Sci-Fi.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 19:31
  • @Richard I narrowed it to just zombies and clarified that I'm wondering if this has ever been the case, and when/where.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 19:34
  • @Richard I looked at the help center, and this meta question. I believe I'm trying to ask a question of this type.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


As a commenter has noted, it's a broad question, but I think it can be answered directly if we stick to a few key parts: the definition of a zombie and the requirements for an example.

Definition: a zombie must have died and come back to life

Qualified example: a qualified example must be from a publication of some sort with a moderate or greater audience which shows zombies acting using night-vision beyond that of humans.

My answer is no, you won't find such an example, and here's why:

  • Most modern zombie films and books are based off of a virus, a fungus, or something that can 'rationally' explain the phenomenon, which often means that the host doesn't ever really die.

  • Zombies stereotypically detect prey by sound, smell, or a supernatural sense. Even in media where zombies CAN operate in the dark, you will be hard-pressed to prove that they couldn't hear, smell, or otherwise sense their targets.

  • Limiting an historically rare genre to 'popular' works gives you a rather small pool. Yes, zombies have made a huge comeback, but see my first point for why those won't give you an example.

If you were willing to accept zombies which were, strictly-speaking, not undead, then "I Am Legend" zombies qualify (they have infravision.)

  • I didn't really mean 'popular' to limit your choices, just to limit the number of responses. If you can think of only 3 examples, then it doesn't matter how popular they are, the least unpopular is the popular one. I made a tiny edit to the question to reflect this.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 1:57
  • The lists I included were there to show examples of works which match only one of the two basic criteria (undead and night-vision.) I realize that only the first group was useful, so I've pared it down.
    – Jeutnarg
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 16:57

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