Top 10 Zombie Movies
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
March 21, 2011
Filed Under Movies
Contributed by Suzanne Baldwin, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Zombies are everywhere lately. You can’t change the channel on the TV set without seeing an advertisement for a zombie movie, video game, or television series.
All the characters in these mediums share one similar trait – they often leave audience screeching, “Don’t go in there!” at the screen. If you’re new to the genre and want to avoid the same mistakes protagonists in zombie films often commit, these films will serve as a primer to staying alive after the zombie apocalypse.
10. Night of the Living Dead (1990)
Zombie purists tend to turn up their noses at remakes. Why include this version, rather than the original George Romero film that started the present Hollywood zombie craze? Simple: This version of Night packs all of the emotional punch and tension of the original, with the added bonus of top-notch zombie gore, which wasn’t readily available in 1968.
9. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Someone’s spilled toxic chemicals in a cemetery, which naturally means the dead are going to rise. The zombies in Return often retain much of their personalities as living people; they walk, talk, and run…usually in pursuit of their favorite meal: Brains. This forerunner to the zombie comedies of today will have you chuckling as you cringe.
8. I Sell the Dead (2008)
The dead walk…and talk, and cause all kinds of problems for 19th century grave robbers who just want to make a quick buck. Arthur Blake and his partner discover that selling undead corpses to a mad scientist is more profitable than regular dead ones, but as any zombie fan knows – once the undead get involved, it’s all downhill from there. I Sell the Dead didn’t do overly well in the States, but it’s a clever, original twist on the usual zombie film, from the setting to the macabre sense of humor.
7. 28 Days Later (2002)
What would you do if you woke up in a hospital and the world had ended? Wander through the deserted streets of London until you’re rescued by survivors, who promptly update you on the grievous situation. The zombies in 28 Days weren’t dead; they were, in fact, living people with a seriously overblown variant of the rabies virus. Zombie purists will complain about the running, screaming zombies in 28 Days, but this film ushered in a new golden age of zombie films – and left people peering anxiously out their windows at night.
6. Zombieland (2010)
Like the 28 Days Later zombies, the ghouls in Zombieland are fever-stricken nutcases, rather than undead hordes. Columbus – a quiet college kid – and Tallahassee, a wisecracking would-be cowboy, are trying to find a place that isn’t overrun by ghouls. Woody Harrelson steals the show as Tallahassee, who will fight as many zombies as he needs to in order to obtain a coveted package of Twinkies in what might be the first zombie road trip movie.
5. Dead Alive (1992)
When a New Zealand zoo acquires a “Sumatran Rat Monkey,” Lionel Cosgrove brings his mother to see it. She’s promptly bitten; shortly afterwards, she turns into a zombie, and the body count begins. Rather than kill people off, Lionel attempts to keep things quiet by knocking the zombies out with a sedative, but this backfires on him during a party. From the rat monkey itself to the infamous “custard scene,” Dead Alive is as close to slapstick zombie comedy as you’ll get.
4. Zombie (1979)
Okay, so it ripped off the Romero zombie films a little bit… maybe more than a little bit. Still, it’s pretty darn entertaining, from the conquistadors (!) clawing their way out of a 500-year old cemetery (while a character stands by and watches – and promptly gets devoured) to the voodoo spin the filmmakers utilize. Zombie features the usual undead staples of clueless protagonists, lots of gore and the answer to the eternal question: What would happen if a zombie picked a fight with a shark?
3. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Marketed as “a romantic comedy…with zombies,” Shaun of the Dead’s titular character just wants to get back together with his girlfriend. Unfortunately, there’s been an outbreak of the living dead, and getting to his girlfriend – and to safety – is going to take some work. Shaun manages to prove his devotion to Jenny while battling the zombies through living rooms, backyards and pubs, simultaneously raising the bar for apologetic boyfriends everywhere.
2. Land of the Dead (2005)
The fourth film in Romero’s Dead series, Land represents society several decades after a zombie infestation. The rich live in a protected skyscraper; the poor scavenge in the streets and venture out into the ruined suburbs to find food. Aside from smart zombies, judicious use of gore and a stellar cast, Land features the only zombie-plagued living intelligent enough to build a “zombie tank,” which they name Dead Reckoning.
1. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
If you have to barricade yourself somewhere during a zombie outbreak, you might as well head for the shopping mall. This remake featured smarter-than-average protagonists, who managed to stay alive and even formulate an escape plan before the living dead finally broke in. The zombies run in this one – purists, stay away – and yes, that really was a baby zombie you just saw onscreen.