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Top 10 Best Zombie Movies

Top 10 Best Zombie Movies (List) 2012 After being practically dead and buried in the 90s, zombie films have sprung back to life in the last few years.

So let’s stagger moaning through the annals of film history and put together a list of the… Top 10 Best Zombie Movies ever made.

10. Dawn Of The Dead (2004)

best zombie movies list
Gone is the subtext, gone is the joy of living in a mall, gone is the subtle character development, but this remake does do a number of things very well. It’s fast, it’s scary and there’s no denying it brought the genre up to date, turning it into something cool and mainstream – no mean feat. It has perhaps the most terrifying opening 10 minutes of any zombie film.

9. Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

Ever wonder where zombies got their taste for ‘Braaaiinnns?” It was this movie that introduced it -

Written and directed by the screenwriter of Alien and Total Recall, this parody of Night Of The Living Dead is so unique and inventive it feels like it’s own creation. The plot sees the dead of Louisville, Kentucky brought back to life by a toxic gas and going on a rampage, for brains.

8. Day Of The Dead (1985)

George A. Romero’s underrated Day takes a microcosm of society and observes how a lack of human communication leads to breakdown. Soon it’s mad scientist vs insane military captain, with everyone else stuck in the middle. And in Capt. Rhodes it features one of the most magnificent bastards ever to grace the screen -

Day has the most realistic gore effects in any zombie movie to date, thanks to an absence of cgi and to a Tom Savini at the height of his powers – the headless body on the Dr.’s slab is a magician’s magic trick. Romero considers it to be his best zombie film.

7. Dead Alive (aka Braindead) (1992)

new zombie movies list 2010
The cult horror-comedy from Peter Jackson almost implodes under its own manic loonacy but as a screwball take on Night Of The Living Dead it somehow holds itself together with an endless stream of “did they just do that?” moments. Probably the zombie movie most likely to make you vomit, especially if you don’t like what’s in the custard.

6. White Zombie (1932)

The film that created the zombie genre, before Romero re-imagined the rules three decades later. Zombies used to have a master controlling them, and didn’t eat people. Here the great Béla Lugosi plays a voodoo master in Haiti who turns people into zombies with the power of his mind. Now that’s badass. He also has a no-messing first name – ‘Murder’. Rob Zombie’s heavy metal band White Zombie took the movie’s title as a tribute.

5. Zombieland (2009)

Imagine a young neurotic Woody Allen in a zombie crisis. That’s effectively who Jesse Eisenberg is playing in this comedy road trip, staying alive by following his carefully formulated rules. Zombieland doesn’t explore the origins of the zombie outbreak or have a particularly interesting plot (Woody Harrelson is trying to find a twinkie), but wins over through the sheer chemistry of its leads, witty writing and an entertaining mystery cameo.

4. 28 Days Later (2002)

good zombie movies
The debate over whether these are zombies or not can rage on, but it’s worth noting just because you change a couple of rules doesn’t mean you’ve created a new genre, the zombie rules have been changing since White Zombie in the 1930s. They didn’t even used to eat people. What 28 Days Later does show is how much one simple change (they can run) can revitalise everything. Add to that the brilliant drama, atmosphere and the haunting scenes of an empty London and you have a movie that stays in the mind long after it’s over.

3. Shaun Of The Dead (2004)

It’s extremely rare that a movie can successfully bridge horror and comedy but Shaun Of The Dead smacks that challenge round the face with a cricket bat. It’s the hum-drum everyday reality of Shaun and Ed’s lives – playing TimeSplitters 2, popping to the shops for a Cornetto – that makes the introduction of blood-drenched zombies feel all the more real and unsettling.

2. Night Of The Living Dead (1968)

Top 10 Best Zombie Films
Romero’s first outing revolutionised the horror genre and the concept of zombies, in a way that is still being felt today. ‘Zombies’ became an undead horde who feasted on the living, dressed in work clothes or casket attire, sported injuries, and shuffled. Gore was introduced too. With its none too subtle references to the war in Vietnam, graphic violence and stark black and white photography, it caused a humongous stir on its initial release and while the violence may seem watered down by current standards it still remains the movie that created the modern zombie.

And here it is, the number 1 all time top zombie movie -

1. Dawn Of The Dead (1978)

With its sly take on brainless consumerism, unique atmosphere, assured director, and imaginatively gruesome FX from Tom Savini, this isn’t just the best of Romero’s ‘Dead’ series, but the best zombie movie period. At its core it taps into two desires none of us quite realised we had – to live in a mall where everything is free, and to take down a slow moving enemy with creative weapon combinations. Overall, Dawn Of The Dead is proof that a gore-fest can be thought-provoking and work on multiple levels.

Any good zombie movies I missed? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Also see: New Zombie Movies

Top 10 Vampire Movies

Top 10 Werewolf Movies

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194 Comments »

  • DalmatianJaws said

    Is the Dawn of the Dead remake on this list cause there weren’t enough zombie movies? Okay, it’s not THAT bad, but it’s everything critics accused the original of being, and that cannot be forgiven, no matter how many zombies you cut in half with a chainsaw.

    Honorable mention to They Came Back, a french take on zombies that falls a bit flat at the end but has some of the coolest, creepiest moments in “horror” that I’ve seen in a long while.

    So glad Return of the Living Dead is on this list. The sequel sucks but it really might be my personal favorite zombie movie.

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    • Oz said

      @DalmatianJaws

      You’re crazy! Dawn of the Dead remake was way better than the original. The old one had way too many slow spots, dragged on too long, too small of a cast which made it feel less epic and not too many funny moments like when the guys are sniping the celeb look a likes. Plus, walking zombies aren’t nearly as scary at all.

      I think people have this belief that older or original means better or best and that’s not the case. Watch both versions back to back and you’ll agree.

      I also has Return of the Living Dead high up there which is good but don’t kid yourself. Most people would consider the new DOTD better than the original. Yes, originals can be topped and it’s been done several times.

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      • blake 420 said

        first off the origanal dawn of the dead made more money than your entire generation of family the remake was good (own it) but the origanal cannot be topped until 28 months later comes out or zland 2

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      • me said

        I agree. After watching the remake of Dawn of the Dead. I liked it so much that I found and rented Day of the dead. (Why is this floater No.2?) Talk about a disappointment. It’s slow and boring. The characters are unlikeable. My grand mother could fight off these zombies.

        Zombies who move like mummies from bad 50’s films aren’t scary, They’re laughable. The scene where they push their way out to the truck through the “scary” zombie horde. Without firing a shot should have been the of this film. The zombies would have never caught up had they not set the truck on fire. I shut it off after that.

        The original Dawn of the Dead isn’t as bad as Night of the Living Dead. But it’s still slow and boring. And the end is retarded. I hadn’t seen it until I found it in a Movie Gallery that was closing for $1.98 still in it’s original shinkwrap.

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      • Robbie brath said

        One not saying your opinion doesn’t matter but its not very intelligent.
        1. Ok this is a zombie movie if the zombie is truly dead it won’t be able to run because the body stiffens after death
        2. The original dawn of the dead was a work of art written by the father of the modern zombie.He doesn’t want to write a movie made up of cheesy epic action scenes, his movies are basically showing how he thinks people would act given the situation if the zombie apocalypse. There are always underlying meanings to the movies, and when there is action the action scenes are great
        3.the fact that zach Snyder had the budget that he did for the remake compared to romeros minuscule budget and still produced that monstrous piece of garbage people call a film is really pathetic. Original ten times better.(originality over a badly made remake)
        4.it’s I have not I has learn to speak English.

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      • Traverse Davies said

        The original Dawn of the Dead had a lot more of substance to say. It wasn’t as fast paced, and requires a lot more thought and investment. Does that make it a worse movie? Not to me. In the end, DOTD the original is one of my favourite movies and I revisit it often. The remake was a fun popcorn horror flick that didn’t really stick in my head to any great degree.

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    • James said

      I would put the original Night of the Living Dead at number 1 and the original Dawn of the Dead at Number 2.

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  • DalmatianJaws said

    P.S. – the original Dawn of the Dead is PHENOMENAL. Make sure to check out the four disk uber set from Anchor Bay. It’s awesome.

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    • Oz said

      It def wasn’t phenomenal. lol The remake was way more entertaining.

      Stupid slow blue zombies with only 4 characters carrying the movie… 3 of them were boring. The black guy was the only good one.

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      • Keith said

        How old are you, about 17? Both were good but the original is definitely a better movie. If the remake had stuck to the storyline closer–even with the marathon running zombies–it would have been better. The remake had no real character development and was too short. Lots of action and pieces of the original plot made it a great movie for someone with a low attention span.

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      • don waun said

        there both good, the the original day of the dead is #1

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  • Sheridan Passell said

    As I said in the post the Dawn Of The Dead remake is a long way from perfect but I think it succeeds in a number of areas.

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  • Will said

    I take it I’m the only who actually liked Diary of the Dead

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    • me said

      no i actually liked the movie too… but there is one zombie movie that i been trying to figure out the name. Its old of course but is a group of kids and there in a mortuary i cant remember why but i know that they were there and then zombies started coming after them. Any movies come to mind? i dont know if the name has the word mortuary in it or not.

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    • vlyn said

      Hmmmm…. i think it’s Dance of the dead? *hopefully*

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    • Jay said

      It’s Return of the Living Dead I believe. The poster didn’t state the full story of the movie, but they end up in a mortuary and burn the body after they get infected by a tank with stuff from Night Of The Living Dead. Trioxin or something.

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    • Rob said

      I think you’re talking about children shouldn’t play with dead things….

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  • mutant said

    no Will, its not just you, i was actually just about to mention diary of the dead.

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  • Ironthumb said

    Thank you so much for not putting Lucio Fulci’s “Zombie” on the list. I think that is one of the most overrated zombie films.

    A few zombie movies I really like that didn’t make your list include “Re-Animator”, “Wild Zero”, and “Dead & Breakfast”.

    And DalmatianJaws is right, “Return of the Living Dead” is awesome and the sequel stinks, but I actually liked the third one. There are some really cool zombies in it.

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    • Jay said

      I think the sequel was meant to be a spoof, just for laughs ya know. It made me laugh though I didn’t find it all that great.

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  • Ibod Catooga said

    The best zombie movie is W, by Oliver Stone.

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  • bjk,; said

    I love the Hare Krishna and Clown Zombies in Day of the Dead. It seemed to be the first movie that asked….

    ..”So What did you do before you got this Zombie Job?”

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  • Sheridan Passell said

    Yeah those are great, love those touches. There are also some good ‘previous profession’ zombies in Savini’s Night Of The Living Dead remake.

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  • Matt said

    Ok, so I may be the only person who watched it but one of the best zombie movies for me is Fido, it’s about a boy who takes an undead Billy Connelly as a pet. It’s really well done and not nearly as corny as it sounds.

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    • pacbone said

      yeah,,fido is a great and kinda unique zombie movie.. i ,love the storyline…hahaha zombie n love? but yeah…its great…. and btw, the modern dawn of the dead is my fave…

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  • Grandpa said

    I agree with Ibod about “W” but I can’t wait for “O”

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  • TC said

    Will, Diary of the Dead and ‘Best’ should not be mentioned in the same sentence.

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  • Mishele said

    I liked the sequel to 28 Days Later, too.

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    • red said

      yeah 28 Weeks Later was awesome

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      • Oz said

        No it wasn’t. lol

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        • bzk said

          OZ your just a troll. saying something sucks to someone that actually likes the film each to their own. i liked diary of the dead, and the 78 dawn of the dead. there classics and for a horror fan to say they suck. well your not much of a zombie fan then.

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  • Dave said

    I actually preferred Night of the living dead 2 over the first one!

    Oh, and thank you for not including the zombie diaries and diary of the dead. Terrible movie styles. The sooner this reality fad dies off the better!

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  • Monkey said

    I’d like to second Matt, Fido is an excellent zombie film that has somehow gone under the radar. Billy Connolly as a zombie? Pure gold.

    HEAD COFFIN!

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