Sure, even coming up with 20 zombie movies is as
hard as coming up with the 20 Best, but this collection of a score of
undead classics would make for one kickass boxed set of flesh eating
goodness. I've managed to find YouTube links for all but a couple of
the films, so enjoy, but be warned that some of the clips are rather
loud and may contain excessive gore, so due to their extreme nature,
nobody will be allowed on this website during the last 20 minutes of
20. WHITE ZOMBIE (1932) Released just a year after Bela Lugosi's Dracula, this movie is
one of the first introductions to zombies in film history. The more
gore-hungry modern zombie fan might find White Zombie to be a bit
corny, but eerie atmosphere and black and white moodiness made it
memorable enough for Rob Zombie to name his original band after. You
also get the fun first established film zombie rule that shooting
zombies in the chest does absolutely nothing to stop them.
19. SHOCK WAVES (1977) Peter Cushing leads an army of Nazi zombies! What more do you
want in a film? A fun low budget classic with John Carradine, to
boot. With all the remake madness, why not give this one a try, only
have legions of Hitler zombies roaming about?
18. I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943) This early underrated classic may be one of the best versions of
Jane Eyre as a zombie film ever made. A very neat moody piece that's
worth putting in your DVD rental queue. "All the weird black magic
that the white man seldom sees!"
17. CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH
DEAD THINGS (1972) A horribly goofy '70s affair that has a great mixture of camp and
shock worthy of any modern midnight movie festival worth its salt.
16. DAY OF THE DEAD (1985) Budget cuts kept most of George Romero's third "Living Dead" film
in an underground military facility, but it's not without some
fantastic Tom Savini gore effects. Sherman Howard's performance as "Bub",
the zombie who learns to use a gun (and salute) is brilliant. It
didn't do too well at the box office, as it came out just weeks after
Return of the Living Dead, but it's a worthy installment in
the Romero zombie saga.
15. PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE
(1959) Sure it's considered one of the worst films ever made, but one
can't deny its importance as one of the early high profile zombie
movies. Tor Johnson and Vampira are great as staggering dead ghouls
brought back to life with alien science, and Bela Lugosi (who died
after only minutes of footage were shot) is replaced by an actor who
covers his face for the remainder of the flick.
14. VERSUS (2000) One of the best zombie films you've probably never seen. This
Japanese Yakuza vs. Living Dead tale is a bit hard to follow as the
tale wears on, but it's full of some of the most charismatic and
crazy character actors you've ever seen. Kung Fu, bullets, and
zombies make for a great unholy trio of cheezy fun. It's finally
available on DVD in America, so check it out and enjoy! Kenji
Matsuda is brilliant as knife wielding Yakuza leader that brings to
mind a '60s Batman TV show villain.
13. NIGHT OF THE COMET (1984) This is one of the great '80s films that's yet to be released on
DVD? What on earth is the holdup? A strange comet kills off most of
the earth's population, and those that survive are either
bloodthirsty zombies or hot cheerleader babes with guns. A great mix
of horror and "what would you do if you were the last people on
earth". Fun, scary, and entertaining all the way through.
12. PET SEMATARY (1989) I had my doubts that Stephen King's novel would adapt well to
film, but it really shines thanks to a great performance from Fred
Gwynne, and one of the coolest zombie cats ever. And the the song by
The Ramones (above) is one kickass piece of amazement as well.
11. TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (1971) This film, which spawned many sequels, is one creepy work of art,
with undead templar knights riding around on horseback in slow
motion. Their eyes had been plucked out, so they find their victims
by listening to their heartbeats. A great European horror classic.
10. DEAD ALIVE/BRAIN DEAD (1992) Long before Peter Jackson directed King Kong and The Lord of The
Rings Trilogy (but after he directed crazy puppet sex films), a great
little movie called Dead Alive came out featuring some of the most
insanely gory over the top zombie action since The Evil Dead 2. It's
said to be one of the bloodiest movies ever made, and according to an
IMDB entry, there's more than 300 liters of blood used in the final
scene alone. Great over the top fun!
9. 28 DAYS LATER (2002) Though purists will get their panties in a twist because the kill
crazy freaks aren't zombies in the traditional sense, to ignore this
film on the list is a plain and simple crime. Danny Boyle's
direction is masterful and the action is intense and scary
8. RE-ANIMATOR (1985) Loosely based on a story by HP Lovecraft, Stuart Gordon's mixture
of Frankenstein and zombie films is one of the great trashy guilty
pleasures of all time. Even obvious jokes like a severed head giving
head to a nubile victim works well. But damn if their blatant ripoff
of the soundtrack from Psycho doesn't bug me to this day!
7. THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW
(1988) This "real life" look at the underlying Voodoo culture in Haiti
that might possibly create actual zombies is fascinating and scary.
The scene where a drugged Bill Pullman is buried alive with a
tarantula on his face is one of cinema's scariest.
6. SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004) This brilliant and loving homage to zombie films is a must see
for any fan of comedy or horror.
5. ZOMBIE (aka ZOMBI 2) (1979) Lucio Fulci's film was made on the heels of Romero's Dawn of
The Dead, but it stands out as a pretty damn cool flick on its
own. Full of horrifying effects like a wooden splinter getting
shoved into someone's eye, it's sure to gross you out! And not to be
missed is the unbelievably wild ZOMBIE VS. SHARK scene in which a
diver in full undead makeup fights an actual deadly (albeit heavily
sedated) shark in a scene that's sure to make your favorite PETA
member go ape-shit.
4. THE EVIL DEAD 2 (1987) Sure, it's a little bit haunted house mixed with zombies, but
it's sooo damn good. Director Sam Raimi remakes his original Evil
Dead with a bigger budget, a tighter story, and some of the best
physical humor acting ever captured on film courtesy of the legendary
3. RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985) I love the hell out of this movie with it's blend of punk rock
and zombie goodness. The scene with that Tar Man zombie coming out
the cellar screaming for "BRAAAAAINNNNS!" is masterful. And it still
gives Shaun of The Dead a run for its money as being the
funniest zombie film of all time. How can you not like a film with a
scene that features zombies killing off a police officer, then
groaning into the walkie talkie, "Send more cops!"
2. DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) Ken Foree is a great zombie ass-kicker in this long awaited
sequel to the original Night of The Living Dead. And the tagline,
"When there's no more room in Hell, The dead shall walk to earth" is
one of the coolest of any horror film. Romero uses zombies in a
shopping mall to comment on America as a whole, but doesn't forget to
show some great intestinal buffets in the process.
1. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) There have been zombie movies before, and there have been zombie
movies after, but Night of the Living dead, nearly 40 years after its
initial release, is still the gold standard in which all zombie films
are to be measured against. From the beautiful black and white
eeriness, to the incredible performance by Duane Johnson, NOTLD laid
out the rules for zombies that unrelated films still follow to this
day. Be careful buying this on DVD, as it's fallen into the public
domain and it's easy to get a shitty copy. Find one that's
authorized by George Romero and has his commentary and extras to make
sure you're getting the real deal.