Jack Frost (Jack Frost)
How They Died: An on-the-road musician, Jack decides to forego the gig that could make his career and return to his family. A faulty windscreen wiper causes him to crash his car in a snow storm.
Why They Came Back: In the festive spirit, he returns as a snowman named Jack Frost in order to teach his son valuable life lessons, and encourages him to continue playing hockey instead of grieving over his death.
If They’d Been A Proper Zombie: A zombie snowman would have scarred his son for life and he’d have been set on fire immediately. Much like in the unrelated horror movie, also named Jack Frost (1996).
Joe Black (Meet Joe Black)
How They Died: After meeting the lovely Susan Parrish in a coffee shop and sharing a moment, he is knocked down by several vehicles in a brutal car accident.
Why They Came Back: Not one to miss an opportunity, Death himself borrows the young man’s body and comes to the aid of old timer Bill Parrish, a man on the brink of dying, who needs help making sure he’s not diddled by his company’s competition.
If They’d Been A Proper Zombie: He’d have resembled an extra from Thriller . Unimpressed by that fact, Susan would have ended their budding relationship by spurring his advances via a red hot poker to the forehead.
Guy (Wind Chill)
How They Died: A college student desperate to impress a girl, he freezes to death in his car as well as receiving internal damage from a car accident.
Why They Came Back: He returns to guide the Girl, allowing her to escape the treacherous road and find her way back to safety at a gas station.
If They’d Been A Proper Zombie: He’d have been clobbered by a tire iron wielded by the Girl who at that point is sick of the undead trying to have their way with her.
Jack Starks (The Jacket)
How They Died: Receives three gunshots to the head at various points, and eventually slips and knocks his head open.
Why They Came Back: A time-traveling strait jacket allows Jack to go into the future and find out how he was killed so he can learn to stop it.
Along the way he helps youngster Jackie and her Mum from their lonesome fate.
If They’d Been A Proper Zombie: Upon first appearing to Jackie in a car park, she would have mowed him down in the middle of the road.
It’s one thing helping out a time traveler, it’s quite another when they’re trying to eat your braaaaaains.
Aaron Boone (Nightbreed)
How They Died: Gunned down in a hail of police bullets as his ex-psychiatrist Decker tries to get him to surrender while pinning several murders on him.
Why They Came Back: Bitten by Peloquin imbues Boone with eternal life, and he comes back in the morgue as one of the Nightbreed.
He saves his girlfriend Lori from the wrath of button-eyed psychopath, Decker.
If They’d Been A Proper Zombie: He’d have found integrating into the Nightbreed city of Midian a lot easier if he had bits of flesh dropping off his body, as he’d resemble its citizens more closely.
Eric Clark (Passengers)
How They Died: On his way back home, he is the victim of a catastrophic plane crash.
Why They Came Back: To help another dead passenger who is “pulling a Willis” realise she’s dead. He encourages her to overcome her lifelong fears before moving on to the afterlife. She makes amends with her sister and opens herself to a relationship.
If They’d Been A Proper Zombie: There’s no way Claire would have continued to see him, or opened herself up to the possibility of a relationship with him if every time he talked his jaw threatened to fall off.
Daniel Gregg (The Ghost and Mrs. Muir)
How They Died: One cold, rainy night Capt. Gregg closed the windows and inadvertently knocked on the gas heater, causing him to die in his sleep.
Why They Came Back: After his house is occupied by Mrs. Muir, a woman struggling to make ends meet he appears and begins dictating his memoirs to her. She then makes bucketloads from the profits.
If They’d Been A Proper Zombie: As an undead sea captain, his suave stubbled appearance would’ve been replaced with a groaning maggoty one. Mrs. Muir’s screams of terror almost certainly ensuring she ain’t nobody’s damn secretary.
The Ghost Of Christmas Past (Scrooged)
How They Died: It’s never disclosed, but we’d hazard a guess and say it was his wise crackin’ banter that probably distracted him from the road.
Why They Came Back: He returns to help teach Frank Cross the ways in which he’s making a right pig’s ear of his life. Whisking him back to his youth, he shows Cross the choices he made which caused him to become the cranky man he is now.
If They’d Been A Proper Zombie: A slow-shufflin’ New York City cab driver proffering up a pongy whiff? Frank would’ve never taken him seriously. Possibly because putting his foot on the gas would cause it to snap off.
Eric Draven (The Crow)
How They Died: On October 30th, during the annual Devil’s Night spree rock star Eric is murdered with his girlfriend Shelly on Halloween by a bunch of thugs.
Why They Came Back: Resurrected by a mysterious crow, he returns to the world of the living to exact revenge upon those who cruelly ended his and Shelly’s lives.
If They’d Been A Proper Zombie: The vengeance mission would have taken less time to accomplish. A zombie in eyeliner and rouge is quite possibly more terrifying than a zombie with merely no face.
Frank (Donnie Darko)
How They Died: After running over Gretchen in a car accident, Frank is shot in the eye by a distraught Donnie.
Why They Came Back: As a part of the Tangent Universe, Frank returns as one of the Manipulated Dead, who must aid Donnie on his mission to save the world by collapsing the Tangent Universe.
If They’d Been A Proper Zombie: The voice of a zombified giant rabbit informing Donnie to “Wake up” would take a few tries until Donnie understood his garbled speech.
His gait would’ve slowed down too, severely eating into the time Donnie has to rectify the situation.