Magic is the lifeforce of all living creatures, and it is from it that all life is made - in areas with lots of undead, magic might actually be missing or weak, which puts a whole new spin on how dangerous the undead are. Even simple zombies can be troublesome if you're relying on mages and you hit a pocket of undead making a low-magic zone...
Consider the idea of spontaneous genesis of life, as used to be belived. What strange kinds of life might arise from modern substances? What kind of vermin would a landfill produce, or an oil spill on the ocean?