Ever since I was a little kid and watched “Night of The Living Dead” for the first time, I have been #teamzombies. I know to most people the concept of Zombies doesn’t seem very scary, but to this dude they were absolutely terrifying. I used to have recurring nightmares about Zombies, and they most definitely were scary. Even to this day I will have a nightmare where Zombies are all around and I wake up having to remind myself that it wasn’t real (or was it? Cue the twilight zone music), Anyhow, my son (also a big time Zombie dude) and I just saw the new movie “Overlord” which was a cool take on a World War II action movie with zombies and of course we started talking after like we always do about which Zombie movies were the best. After much thought (too much for anyone really) I present to you my all time favorite Zombie flicks. One piece of criteria – the movie HAS to include Zombies. Zombies by my definition are undead or reanimated corpses. So as much as I liked “28 Days Later” that was about a disease, not the undead. Capiche? OK – here we go:
5. Night of The Living Dead – “They’re coming to get you Barbara” is one of the all time classic horror movie lines and that opening scene between brother and sister in the cemetery is classic. This was the one that started it all by the great George A. Romero (more to come from him later) and was really scary as hell. Shot in Black and white, the mood is grim from the get go. This is not a world wide apocalyptic view but rather the story of a group of people fighting to survive in a farm house surrounded by the undead. Bonus cool points for having (in a time where it was very rare) an African American hero as the lead. Dude was the only one who had his shit together and was flat out awesome in the movie. The ending was that much more tragic because of him and his performance.
4. Zombieland – A newer entree into the genre and a really cool updated take on it too. You have the dude who played Mark Zuckerberg giving us all the “rules” to survival (double tap, cardio, etc.) and in this one a very apocalypse thing happening. This movie focuses on four survivors but for my money this movie begins and ends with Woody Harrelson as ” Tallahassee”. He absolutely nails it as a bad ass Zombie slayer with a hankering for a twinkie (and cannot seem to find these spongy cakes of gold). This movie is funny, thrilling and always entertaining. Unlike the Zombies in “Night of The Living Dead” these creatures are fast – which ups the stakes big time too. Of course, I cannot talk about this movie without mentioning the amazing Bill Murray cameo – really funny stuff.
3. The Re-Animator – Man I love this movie. Weird, scary and ultimately VERY memorable. Herbert West, our lead (villain?) creates a serum that brings the dead back to life – and the dead are NOT HAPPY about it. The chaos unravels slowly, from initial experimentation to full on crazy town once one of the reanimated victims starts using it for his own purposes. When I first saw this movie it scared me half to death – and after several viewing since it holds up really well. Of course the iconic scene most remember is the reanimated main baddie carrying his head around in a plate while generally causing much awful stuff to happen. Really good movie and a really underrated one too.
2. Dawn of The Dead – not the recent remake (which was really good BTW) but the original, once again by the great George A. Romero. This was more than just a incredible Zombie move, it was a scathing critique on the consumer/mall craze of our culture. Our survivors/heroes are walled up in a mall, with mindless hordes of lumbering zombies feeling compelled to return there. The effects for the time it was released were revolutionary, and there is a good mix of humor, satire and horror at work here. Side note – I had always thought a mall would be a good place to be holed up for the Zombie apocalypse, until I saw this movie. Too many entry points and too much maintenance of security. After rethinking this (I have issues) I believe today the best place would be like a Costco or something similar – lots of supplies/food, huge brick buildings and usually only one or two ways in our out. That’s here I am headed if the shit ever goes down :).
1- Return of The Living Dead – I know this is a controversial choice, but this is my all time favorite Zombie movie by far. This is one of the original “horror/comedy” movies ever made, and the action is almost non-stop. Even better, unlike most Zombies in cinema, these ones in essence cannot be stopped. No head shots, nothing. Even burning them just spreads it when the smoke hits the air. On top of that, they TALK. My scariest/favorite scene of the movie is when the heroes “interrogate” a zombie about why they eat people – “Not people, BRAINS”. Cool, cool stuff. Even better, this is the movie that introduced the whole “BRAINS” and Zombies concept which has been done countless times since (Kudos to Simpsons Tree House of Horror spoof). There are so many great things in this movie, and a lot of laughs too. The concept of talking, fast, un-killable Zombies is why this movie is my favorite of all time. This movie also references “Night of The Living Dead” in a really fun and respectable way too. PS – really good soundtrack too!
Alright Zombie fans – let me have it. What did I miss? Disagree with me? Let me know in the comments section below.