Zombies are one of the most recognizable creatures in the horror genre. They've been featured in numerous films and audiences know their M.O., from their decayed appearance to infecting victims through bites.
But in an effort to switch things up, filmmakers add gimmicks in order to bring new life to the undead genre. Such gimmicks usually involve altering the creature by changing how they look or how they behave. Among them, is the common trope that is known as the smart zombie.
These are versions of the undead that exhibit signs of intelligence. Symptoms include increased awareness, autonomy, and in some cases, even speech. Smart zombies also allow writers the creative freedom to make the creature go beyond its stereotypical nature by making it benevolent or even pure evil.
Because the genre is vast with endless films under its belt, it's time to select who are the most memorable smart zombies of all time. These undead figures will be judged by the criteria mentioned above, with the absolute rules that they are infected and that the film they appeared in is a horror movie.
10. The Hawking - Zombieland: Double Tap
2019's Zombieland: Double Tap brought back the original cast while introducing new types of undead. When the virus began to mutate, this leads to new variations of zombies, like the Homer who was dumber than a regular zombie, the Ninja who was sneaky, and the T-800 which was more durable. But by far, the most interesting variation has to be the Hawking.
Named after the famous physicist, Stephen Hawking, these creatures exhibit a higher capacity for intelligence despite sharing the same physical attributes as other zombies. An example seen in the film is during the Hawking's introduction. The zombie is seen chasing down a hapless scientist. The man gets to safety by entering a room only accessible by a retinal scan. Unfortunately for him, this clever undead bites off a dead scientist's eye and uses it for the scanner which allows her access to the room and her meal.
It's a shame, then, that despite the interesting concept, these variations don't make a bigger appearance in this sequel offering. Featuring the Hawking more would have made for an interesting challenge and a dangerous obstacle for our heroes.