Zombie (Haitian Creole: zonbi; North Mbundu: nzumbe) is a term used to denote an animated corpse brought back to life by mystical means such as witchcraft. The term is often figuratively applied to describe a hypnotized person bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to surrounding stimuli. Since the late 19th century, zombies have acquired notable popularity, especially in North American and European folklore.
In modern times, zombies became a popular subject in horror fiction, largely because of the success of George A. Romero's 1968 film Night of the Living Dead and they have appeared as plot devices in various books, films and in television shows. Zombie fiction is now a sizeable sub-genre of horror, usually describing a breakdown of civilization occurring when most of the population become flesh-eating zombies – a zombie apocalypse. The monsters are usually hungry for human flesh, often specifically brains. Sometimes they are victims of a fictional pandemic illness causing the dead to reanimate or the living to behave this way, but often no cause is given in the story.