Happy Zombie Day! Top 20 Zombie Films

Dawn_of_the_Dead_1978

Happy Happy Zombie Day everybody!  Just like every year, we celebrate this day in April by looking back on the world’s first zombie, Jesus and he gave birth to the best thing to us horror fans, the zombie.  The body rising from the dead and walking the earth once more in order to seek out human flesh and eat it.  If only church was this much fun.

20. Planet Terror

Made as part of the Grindhouse double feature, Rodriguez knows the intrinsic values of what makes a low-budget grindhouse genre film work.  And he just throws it all at us from every scene! This movie is fun and just slaps us with what we loved about the early shitty horror movies of the 80s.

19. Undead

This movie took me off guard because at first I thought it was just stupid and poorly made until I realized that the movie is SUPPOSED to be like that.  After I grocked that, I fell in love with it.  It’s fucking hokey as hell, overly cheesy and just plain out fun as shit from start to finish.  Australian zombie film that is far better than Dead Next Door.

18. Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things

Why is this movie on the list?  Yeah, it’s corny as shit.  But for the true zombie fan, the end is worth it all.  Even through all that god-awful acting.  Another key cool thing about this film is that it’s directed by Bob Clark – yes, that Bob Clark, the same Bob Clark who directed A Christmas Story.

17. Cemetery Man

While this movie absolutely falls apart and decays a little more than half way through, you have to give it to Rupert Everett as he plays the love-struck zombie killer in Cemetery Man.  Yeah, it may not be great, but it’s hella original.

16. Dead Snow

This is the second film on my list that I will claim it as “knowing it’s genre.”  The film makers know and love zombie and horror films in general and it shows, not only in the blatant character moments, but in the progression of the story and horror elements as well, making this a fun film.

15. REC

You may have seen the remake, Quarantine.  Yeah, the American remake is OK, but just like The Ring, it doesn’t hold  candle to the original and the tension it created.

14. Dead Alive (Braindead)

My friend FatGuy first introduced this movie to me back when I was 13.  And I will give you the same advice he gave me when I was 13 years old: be sure you watch the NC17 (or unrated) version ONLY.  After waiting for weeks and weeks I finally got the VHS copy of the NC17 version and watched it and have been a fan ever since.

I worked at a theater where we played rerun films every Friday and we got a 35mm print of Dead Alive and we ran out of time the night before, so we had to announce to the audience that we weren’t sure if it was the R version or NC17 version.  The theater was packed with fans who all boo’d us.  However, not 5 minutes into the movie where the machete lops off the scientist’s arm the theater all rose to their feet and cheered because it was the unrated, full and violent movie.

No other movie I have ever seen has shown the main hero run through a crowd of people with a law mower strapped to this chest, over and over and over….

13. Fido 

A hilarious take on the atomic family unit in a fictional 1950s style world.  Hilarious and excellently crafted film.

12. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

When I was first going through my zombie love, this movie was one of my favorites because it was the zombie fan’s ultimate fantasy.  Stuck in a mall, mostly safe from the horrors below.  Picking them off as they seem fit.  Yadda yadda.  Horrible acting, shitty film making, and even worse make up design flaw this movie in it’s whole more so than enhance it.  In this, the sequel to Romero’s NOTLD, George hints are something that up til now has not been discussed… zombies learning or rather, remembering.

11. Re-Animator

Creepy as fuck.  Plain and simple.

10. Pontypool

Super original and just flat out creepy.  Very reminiscant of War of the Worlds and I can understand how people back in the 1940s were scared.  The more I watch this movie, the more I like it.

9. 28 Days Later

First off, this is not a movie about zombies.  There are NO zombies in this movie.  However, it is a zombie-style genre film.  It follows the same rules as a zombie movie and it follows the same pattern, but it’s not about zombies.  Let me just clear that up now.  Fucking fantastic film from start to finish and reinvented the zombie style film by throwing us into the frantic and insane-speed flesh eaters.  BAH!!!!

8. Zombie in a Penguin Suit

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FatGuy introduced this to me too… Thanks FG for two of my favorite zombie films.  This short film is breath-taking and beautiful.  Something you typically don’t get with Zack films.

7. Dead Set

This movie was a social commentary on the horrible show, Big Brother.  I say horrible not because of the show itself, but rather the people who follow the idiocy of reality TV.  I loathe you all.  Dead Set was fantastic and I couldn’t believe it took me months after it’s release to see it.  Fucking cool.

6. Shaun of the Dead 

This was the first movie I had ever seen that I coined the term “Serious Spoof.”  Of course the second film was Hot Fuzz. A Serious Spoof is a film that spoofs a previous film or genre and has obvious inside jokes, however the style and creation of the new film can be taken on it’s own merit, even though comedy elements can be traced.  Shaun was a tremendous film that fused horror with comedy and kept it believable without being stupid.

5. Zombieland

Zombieland is another film that knows it’s predecessors and genre.  Taking a queue from Evil Dead 2, Shaun and more, Land takes it to the next level by making it into a videogame-esque world where, while horror elements are happening, our heroes are never really in danger and we get to to see them kill zombies in the best ways we can hope for (ie, riding roller coasters and shooting from a Giant Drop).  Land was originally supposed to be a TV show, so a few weekly elements sneaked into the film like Zombie Kill of the Week.  While the writing and direction was FUCKING AMAZING, the cast blows this movie away and makes it 100% perfect.

4. Dawn of the Dead (remake)

Quite possibily one of the very few movies that outranks it’s original: movies like All Quiet on the Western Front, The Thing and…. uh…well, Dawn of the Dead. The 2004 remake takes the 28 Days Later mentality and throws us into the hellish world Romero crafted for us back in 1968.  Creepy, adrenaline packed and funny at times.  I went in wanting to hate it because I liked the original so much only to end up questioning my cinematic values and loving this movie.

3. Return of the Living Dead

Dan O’bannon refused to make a true sequel to Romero’s classic NOTLD, so he decided to make a serious spoof, instead. The outcome?  An often creepy, often hilarious, all around great zombie flick that is all too often cast aside because of it’s obvious over the top 1980-ness through out.  The movie is still one of my favorites, period.  Fun note, know when people utter shit like “BRAAAAAINS” when they are pretending to be zombies? This movie where this comes from.

2 Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Fucking, classic. While Victor Halprin may have given us the world’s first zombie film, George Romero gave us the first modern day zombie that we all know and love.  Every time I watch this movie I am amazed at how well it holds up.  I want to thank my dad who always pushed me to watch this movie as a kid.  Thank you!!!

1. Day of the Dead

Hands down, the best zombie movie ever.  Romero put it to us best when he proved that a good zombie movie is NOT about the zombies but rather using the walking dead as a metaphor for us, as humans.  This is obvious in Dawn, however, Day gave us the best example of humanity vs the walking dead.  It proves in the worst case scenario, who we really are and how we will really act.  The true enemy isn’t the zombie, but rather the people you are alive with.  Annnnd, the best “body tear” in any zombie movie, period!

This movie continues Romero’s hinting at zombies being able to learn or remember showing Bub learning to hold a gun and salute his captors.  This continues in Romero’s later films with Land of the Dead and the Zack being able to communicate and form an army.  Then in Survival of the Dead where zombies eat animals.  The problem with this is that Romero keeps making these semi-points without ever making a solid “THIS IS WHAT THE FUCK I AM TALKING ABOUT” like he did with NOTLD, Dawn and Day.

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I hope this list works for you!  These are all great movies and I will be partaking in quite a few of them today for Zombie Day!!!

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