Plants vs Zombies forced to remove Michael Jackson lookalike zombie

One of the cartoony undead creatures attacking your house in the hit casual game Plants vs Zombies looked nearly identical to Michael Jackson from his Thriller music video. Amidst a variety of zombies decorated with football uniforms, inflatable duck rafts, and construction cone hats, he wanted only to dance and groove and break into your house to eat your bone marrow.

But that's all past tense now. Apparently Michael Jackson's family didn't like the fact that one of the coolest zombies in the game bore a striking resemblance to the late pop star. And they've done something about it. 

In a statement issued to MTV's Multiplayer blog, the game's publisher Popcap said, in part, "The Estate of Michael Jackson objected to our use of the 'dancing zombie' in Plants vs. Zombies based on its view that the zombie too closely resembled Michael Jackson. After receiving this objection, PopCap made a business decision to retire the original 'dancing zombie.'"

A new update to the iPhone version of the game, drastically changes the look of the "Dancing Zombie." The update will be making its way to all other versions of Plants vs Zombies shortly.

Above: The fine text reads, "Any resemblance between Dancing Zombie and persons living or dead is purely coincidental." But it probably isn't really. 

It is unfortunate to see one of the best zombies in the game taken out, but we do kind of understand why Jackson's family doesn't like seeing the recently deceased Michael portrayed as a living dead creature. To be fair to Popcap, Plants vs Zombies was originally released on May 5, 2009, about a month and a half before Jackson's unexpected death, so the zombie's design was intended more as a tribute than a bad joke.

However, in memoriam of the Dancing Zombie, and of the King of Pop himself, at least we'll always have this awesome music video:


Jul 27, 2010

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... and possibly game of the year for this tower-defence masterclass

Is Plants vs. Zombies 2 coming soon?
Suggestive subject line in email from PopCap says “PsssssPvZssssst... save the date!”


  • cocosoup - November 24, 2013 12:59 a.m.

    In the video game Plants vs Zombies, the most basic plant is the Pea Shooter. The reason is that it bears stronger power than other plants as it can shoot peas. As the game move forward, you can update the Pea Shooter to a repeater which can shoot two peas at one time. Later, an upgrade known as the Gatling Pea becomes available. It fires four times as fast as the Pea Shooter.
  • Zeb364 - September 26, 2010 9:05 p.m.

    Lame. Not only is it protected as a parody and an artictic expression. Not only did it exist befor he died. Not only has that image existed pretty much everywhere where they comically feature zombies before this. And they even placed the disclaimer that it was a coincidental similarity. It doesn't matter if it tuly was or not, the point is they covered their asses from liability. On top of all that, it was an homage to one of his greatest achievements, not a joke at his expense. If they wanted to make fun of Michael Jackson, they would have used the decades worth of material he provided near the end of his life. I'm disappointed Pop Cap folded when they had thouroughly covered themselves. One more loss for freedom of expression. Fuck Jacksons Estate. Fuck them in their stupid faces.
  • Craza - July 29, 2010 10:15 a.m.

    Maybe they should change it to MC Hammer. Lol.
  • Valntyne - July 28, 2010 10:38 p.m.

    @ yonderTheGreat, chill dude, it was a joke! At the end the guy's dead, so I don't think he really cares at this point, plus, he WAS a supporter of Video Games (See- Space Channel 5, Moonwalker) so I think he would have actually been glad to carry on as Dancing Zombie. It sucks that the family just wants to make MONEY off his carcass, Not carry on his legacy.
  • HawtKakez - July 28, 2010 8:32 p.m.

    This is a shame but it is hard to argue against the family's wishes. In our eyes, we see an image that is part of Michael Jackson's legacy when he was a zombie in the music video Thriller. However, when considering his passing away, it can be deemed as a tasteless joke by those who were close to him. Personally, I think the family has misinterpreted the image but it is out of our hands to stop such a change.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - July 28, 2010 1:17 p.m.

    What the hell? Never updating my copy of the game now, b*tches!
  • SumthingStupid - July 28, 2010 12:07 p.m.

    oh man this is stupid
  • Cyberninja - July 28, 2010 12:07 p.m.

    since the game was made before his death should the game be protected
  • Tomsta666 - July 28, 2010 11:14 a.m.

    They could just replace it with one that touches children...
  • zombiezilla - July 28, 2010 10:41 a.m.

    The truth is, I ate him. Or did I light him on nuclear fire? Whatever, I destroyed zombie MJ. Sorry guys, my bad.
  • Tacobob - July 28, 2010 10:24 a.m.

  • DeadGirls - July 28, 2010 10:09 a.m.

    "The Estate of Michael Jackson objected to our use of the 'dancing zombie' in Plants vs. Zombies based on --" the fact that they weren't getting PAID. That's all there is to it.
  • JayBeat - July 28, 2010 7:21 a.m.

    The funniest macabre I have ever seen.
  • FistfulofPelican - July 28, 2010 6:59 a.m.

    Fine, I just won't update it then. I guess Dancing Zombie won't be in the XBLA version now either.
  • yonderTheGreat - July 28, 2010 5:51 a.m.

    Valntyne, are you young or just culturally uninformed. Zombie MJ made sense while he was alive. Seriously dude, it has nothing to do with him being dead or not. Also, this whole thing is really, really bad.
  • JohnnyApplesperm - July 28, 2010 5:13 a.m.

    How lame... people need to chill, and it IS appropriate since it references the Thriller video, not his death.
  • shadowreaper72 - July 28, 2010 5:10 a.m.

    wow take a damn joke mj family come on sheesh
  • ventanger - July 28, 2010 2:59 a.m.

    Well my version is safe from those dumbass Jackson lawyers. Should we be surprised by this? After all we know all the legal council around MJ had nothing but his best interests at heart and were completely flawless in their decisions... oh yes.
  • Corsair89 - July 28, 2010 2:35 a.m.

    Dammit! The dancing zombie was my favorite!
  • GayforGilbert - July 28, 2010 1:46 a.m.

    If it was just a look-alike, I would possibly understand. But as it is, this particular parody is of his appearance as a zombie in the Thriller video.

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