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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 »

  • Tom said

    Does ‘Evil Dead’ not count as a zombie movie?

    As in 28 days later, the antagonists may not necessarily be ‘zombies’, but as far as the genre of the film is concerned…

    If it does count, it deserves to be right up at the top of this list.

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  • Just Plain Sash said

    What about these movies:

    1)Evil Dead trilogy

    2)The Hills Have Eyes

    3)Land of The Dead

    4)Night of The Creeps

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  • Chris said

    Two of my favorites, though not “classical” zombie movies, but still qualified nonetheless IMO, are Warning Sign, with Sam Waterston, Kathleen Quinlan, Yaphet Kotto, G.W. Bailey and Richard Dysart from LA Law; and Night of the Comet with Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney.

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  • Jerm said

    The list is pretty good, a little out of order but you nailed most of them.

    If you are willing to put Dawn of the Dead (remake) on the lsit then Tom Savini’s Night of the Living Dead (remake) should have also made the list.

    “Cooper!!!”

    Another favorite of mine that didn’t make the list is Return of the Living Dead 2. Nowhere near the caliber of RotLD. RotLD2 is pure cheese but good budget, fun and laughs.

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  • Tam said

    How come everyone always overlooks “Let Sleeping corpses Lie” AKA ” Living Dead in the Manchester Morgue”?

    For sheer creepiness, coupled with the blinding confusion of the character’s disbelief, it is unsurpassed. The English countryside setting, the eco-themed plot and the unexpectedly bleak ending all set it apart from the usual.

    Plus a great disembowelling scene.

    Honourable mention: Lucio Fulci’s “Zombie”, which features the infamous aquatic zombie vs. shark scene.

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  • Hayes said

    Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBIE should be on any top 10 zombie list…what other zombie movie would show a zombie battle a shark!!!

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  • John Paul said

    Planet terror is horrible, only the special effects gives some points. The remake of dawn of the dead is one of the best of all, the behaviour, also the effects of the zombies are great.
    Resident Evil :degeneration is another great zombie movie, better than the other Resident evil and better than many movies.

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  • g.d.smith said

    There are so many zombie films it’s getting farcical. By the time you get to the point where Zombie Strippers or Flight of the living dead are bing ripped off multiple times you know the end of the world is getting nearer. There is almost certainly a film called Brunch of The Dead .
    I like Pontypool, crossing Talk Radio’s bitter angst with a desease movie and the Tower of Babel story works very well. Also not showing the the zombies is a good move in these days of zombie overkill.
    My favourite Zombie movie not on the list is
    I Walked with a Zombie. The Serpent and the Rainbow is pretty good too.

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  • brady said

    my favorite ones are the movies with rage zombies, like 28 days/weeks later and the 04 version of dawn of the dead. i also like diary of the dead,i have a stack of burned zombie movies that i just love, i like the ones that are original like the ’28’ series. can someone please let me know of more ‘rage’ style zombie movies? i havent seen them all but i think that those would be tho most realistic if zombies really did rise. me and about 3 of my friends have made plans for when it does happen. i take it seriously. lol

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  • g.d.smith said

    Brady,
    A lot of recent zombie movies go for the rage or fast zombie type. But unless you can live with low B-movie standards you will be disapointed. Flight of the Living Dead is believe it or not above average for the type. I like it, but I have a soft spot for some real rubbish. The Resident Evil films are not that bad. The Will Smith I Am Legend is a bit of a 28 days rip off The Big Brother Dead Set is not to bad. Dead Snow has some cool Nazi Zombies. The most realistic dead can be found in The Night of The Living Dead 1990 remake, they may be slow but they are awesomely disgusting. The Day of the Dead remake is not a remake, does have fast zombies and is, well, not very good.

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  • g.d.smith said

    This list could do with some old school zombie movies.
    Depending on how tolerent you are,
    The Living Dead at the Manchester morgue is a good one
    The Blind Dead films, slow. But come on blind Knights Templer zombie is a great idea.
    Though not strictly zombies, the Lamberto Bava Demons and Demons 2 are good if you have a strong stomach for dubbed bad acting and slightly incoherent plotting. The theme of possessed film is an obvious inspiration for The Ring movies.

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  • Fred M said

    White Zombie…..? Seriously?
    No.

    Hard to take the list seriously when there are so many amazing Z films to choose from and White Zombie is in there.

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  • rob said

    Diary was Romero’s best since Night. Day and Land were failures b/c ZOMBIES CAN’T THINK. I’m open to people messing with he formula (like runners in 28 Days), but I cannot abide thinking zombies. The point of zombie movies is watching the HUMANS think, not the zombies. (I just didn’t think the original Dawn was as good as Diary.)

    Also, cheezy gore and silly gimmicks (like a zombie fighting a shark) don’t equate to a good zombie film. The best zombie films are really about the psychology of the survivors, not the crummy fx.

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  • DifficultDestination said

    Dude, you missed 28 weeks later. It has great music and character development, and covers up for its lack in scares.

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  • Lance Uppercut said

    28 Days Later and Planet Terror are not zombie movies . . . they don’t revolve around the whole “reanimated dead” premise.

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