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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 »

  • Matt said

    there’s no point in trying to relive the old days, and try and say, remember when this used to be scary. it’s not thrilling anymore when you can see the strings, or you know someone’s going to fall over. it just looks like a bad movie, therefore, i’ve compiled my own top 10.

    #10. Mutants 6/10
    – A French take on zombie horror, very minimal but with great immagery, limited budget, a watch through through, it wont blow your mind, but you will watch to the end…

    #09. Carriers 7/10
    – A solid take on infection based zombie horror. nothing trully stand out, but a good solid watch, it’s not predictable, but it wont change the genre…

    #08. I am Legend 7/10
    – What the film lacked, it made up for in concept. The environment and scale were what made this movie impressive. it lacked real tension. but it had a unique and powerfull setting, and that’s what impressed

    #07. Land of the Dead 8/10
    – The best “classic” zombie movie ever made. Romero’s 4th and finest work.

    #06. Zombieland 8/10
    – Comedy horror, the jokes come from actual jokes, they never try to mock the genre. which is why shaun of the dead isn’t on this list… and there are some genuinely brilliant moments in the film. bill murray scene anyone?

    #05. La Horde 8/10
    – French Zombie movie, A hitsquad attempt to take out a group of wellarmed gangsters, before the word ends… unpredictable throughout. great gore.

    #04. Quarrantine 9.5/10
    – Low budget, but you couldnt tell, Genuinely suspensefull throughout, Brilliant finish. would finish higher on this list only, as the name suggests, people are quarrantines within a building, there’s no sense of end of the world, or anything greater than the four outer walls of the building. that’s why it’s only number 4 on this list, but having said that, the tension and realism… superb!

    #03. Dawn of the Dead (’04) 9/10
    – The original lacked any relism, or decent gore, it lacked genuine horror, this has it. and it has it with style… the original had pace, but too slow a pace, it had no bang when it was needed, the remake has genuine moments, when you see the size of the crowds of zombies for example, i dare you not to squeal!

    #02. 28 Days Later 9/10
    – Imagery in this movie is superb, you’ll never forget the lab scene, the hospital scene, the roadblock scene. it breathed life into a dying genre, giving rise to a whole new type of zombie…

    #01. Dead Set (5 part Tv Series) 10/10
    – Plot, Plot, Plot, What a brilliant watch… it’s got it all, brilliant script, brilliant characters, acting, concept… decent balance of horror, action and gore… make this made for tv, series/movie a must see.

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      Nice list Matt. Interesting choices.

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    • EDWARD said

      i agree nice.

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    • daniel said

      he dos not like the movies he says you all suck he is a loser/

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    • Ulv said

      I am legend is not really a zombie move, but a Vampire apocalypse movie. Can’t say how surprised i was when I read the book and it wasn’t about zombies at all. Also why they can’t move in daylight xD

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  • red said

    if you all have not seen survival of the dead its good and its the sequel to diary of the dead

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  • Kenny96 said

    what about dusk before dawn that movie was awesome

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  • EDWARD said

    these movies are awsome i saw dawn of the dead (2004) it was great the sad part was at the end. shame. 🙁

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  • EDWARD said

    why cant the zombies be smart or something chalenging other than primal instinct?

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    • Ulv said

      Because it ruins the concept when the zombie shoot at you with an full automatic machine gun, or choose not to eat humans. It have been made, and it didn’t work very well.

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  • edward said

    this list is awesome wheres zombieland?

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      Zombieland came out shortly after the list was written. It would have been included otherwise.

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  • edward said

    why cant they make zombies smart

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  • Nevin said

    Couldn’t be arsed to actually read all eight pages of this, but it strikes me as a little narrow minded (if not ethnocentric) not to consider foreign language zombie flicks. The one I had in mind was La Horde… For my money, 28 Days should’ve come in 3rd, La Horde 4th, and Shaun 5th…

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  • Avian said

    Dude this list is too westernized for me. Not that these films are bad, not at all, but how could someone forget to mention “Wild Zero”. Who does’nt like rock music, gun tooting naked women, brain eating zombies and a love-starved transsexual fighting alien invaders?? I know i do!! ;D

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  • Ulv said

    Well, It isn’t the fact the the zombies run in 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks later that ruins the zombie concept. They do that too in Dawn of the Dead remake, Zombie land,and a few other zombie movies, which might be bad zombie movies, but zombie movies never the less. No the fact that the zombies is “turned” after mere 10-20 seconds, that they don’t eat flesh really, they aren’t really dead, but just really angry, and they only lasts about 5 weeks because they die of starvation. These factors removes many of the complications that makes most zombie films scary and “zombie-like”. I does however regard it as a zombie movie when that is said.

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  • Johnny Romero said

    I loved the movies listed but I think it’s funny everyone’s zombie movie list is basically the same except maybe in a different order. I like knowing someone mentioned a French zombie film in the comments. I personally liked REC, the spanish film from which Quaranteen is based on. I even enjoyed Pontypool, which is very creepy to me….i even enjoyed 28 WEEKS later, which i thought was super cool story wise, camera work wise, and all our horror and gore wise.

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  • Marty said

    Can someone please tell me why people in zombie films always insist on wearing short sleve shirts or their sleves rolled up when they know that the only thing they need to fear from a zombie is to be bit by one of them? If I lived in a world filled with flesh eating zombies, I would wear think leather clothing or a parka. Why doesn’t anyone ever think about that?

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      You have to weigh the danger against fashion choices.

      If the zombies are dictating how you dress then they’ve already won.

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  • Marty said

    Fashion over malfunction.

    Btw, any word on whether or not there is a movie in the works for the book World War Z?

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      World War Z is stuck in development right now, it could get the green light, it might not. But it is in development.

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  • Marty said

    Not sure if it is true or not, but I read online that they are aiming at a summer 2012 release and that Bradd Pitt(!) has signed on to star.

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  • ahmad said

    The walking dead..:D

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