Traditionally, zombies originated from the customs and rituals of Haitian Voodoo. The modern concept of zombies, particularly in American pop culture, was invented by renowned movie maker George Romero in his 1968 cult film, "Night of the Living Dead."
Zombie is derived from the Haitian word "zombi," which means "spirit of the dead." Voodoo priests, known as bokors, were able to revive the dead through black magic and the oral application of "coup padre," which contained a lethal chemical called tetrodoxin. The zombies of Voodoo culture were soulless mechanical drones controlled by the bokors.
In contemporary times, Romero popularized the flesh-eating monsters not as the mindless creatures of Voodoo legends but as a horrifying blend of zombies, werewolves and vampires. Critics claim that Romero revolutionized the film horror genre with his cinematic masterpiece.