Top 10 Best Zombie Movies14.08.09 # Top Ten # 192 Comments
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.