Chock full of humor, gore, horror, action, and tasty, tasty humans, each of these is a champion of the Zombie Apocalypse genre. Buckle up…it’s about to get chunky!
10) Grace (2009)
We’ll start things off right and nasty! This disturbing film rocked at Sundance (causing 2 viewers to faint)! When Madeline is informed that her unborn baby is stillborn, she adamantly denies it and decides to carry the child to term. After the delivery, the baby miraculously revives and overjoyed Madeline names her Grace. However it soon become apparent that something is wrong with baby Grace, who soon develops “special dietary needs”, and as Madeline makes the ultimate choice to keep her daughter alive, things ultimately get wildly and messily out of control.
9) Zombie (1978)
Italians have proven that they love Zombie Horror as much as angel hair pasta and marinara. This gore-flooded undead fest came right on the heels of Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead and quickly became a cult hit. Chock full of more gore than is appropriate, this one is not for the weak of stomach. But the zombie action is so good, the subtitled story won’t even matter.
8) Re-Animator (1985)
This mid-eighties hit owes everything to the ultra-creepy Jeffrey Combs and top-notch special effects for the time. When a med-student and his girlfriend become involved in a bizarre experiment on reanimating dead tissue, things go rather smoothly…until a strange new student shows up on campus and things start getting a little insane.
7) Resident Evil (2002)
My love for video game film adaptations was at long last justified when Paul W.S. Anderson and the lovely Milla Jovovich brought Resident Evil to the screen. Capturing images and tension straight from the game, this zombie-action romp featured everything you needed, from bad-ass “clean-up” mercs, a creepy A.I., top-notch visual effects, a slamming soundtrack, scary zombie dogs and of course…Milla Jovovich.
6) Undead (2003)
This little-known gem from Down Under centers around a group of survivors attempting to escape a small town after a massive meteor shower turns the populace into a horde of flesh-eating undead. With heavy action, insane zombie kills, and the most bad-ass Outback Zombie Killing Hero (can you say TRI-BARREL 12-GAUGE?) I’ve ever seen, Undead rocks from beginning to end. And who can say no to undead-smashing, gas-mask sporting hotties with shotties?
5) Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The Romero original that started the Modern Zombie Movie phenomenon, Night of the Living Dead was epic when it hit theaters. For viewers at the time, what started out as a generally freaky horror flick turned into a gut-wrenching, terror-filled, violence fest that left audiences wracked with silent dread. Despite the deep levels of social satire, Night of the Living Dead showcased unheard of levels of violence and gore, a mother-mauling zombie child, and the first ever bad-ass black protagonist, Romero broke new ground with this zombie original, setting the bar high for the future, and forever changing the face of film horror. Check this one out to see how it all began.
4) 28 Days Later (2002)
Here in the number four slot is the first zombie flick that actually scared me. 8 years ago, Danny Boyle reinvented zombie horror and it was in fact “scary as hell”. When “Rage” infected monkeys escape a laboratory and infect the populace, the UK quickly becomes a quarantined war-zone. The virus transmits fast, turning its victims in mere seconds into mindlessly violent killing machines. Surrounded, outnumbered, and with supplies dwindling, the survivors do everything they can to hold out long enough for rescue from the now cut-off island. Zombies can be scary, but when they can furiously outrun you, vomit projectile infected blood, and would prefer to beat, rather than eat, you to death, they become downright terrifying.
3) Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Following in the satirical footsteps of Romero, comedy writers Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg brought us this laugh-riot epic that followed Shaun on probably the worst day of his life. Attempting to win back his Ex, protect his Mum, appease his Step-Dad, escape his roomate Pete, and keep his best-friend Ed from doing more damage than is necessary proves rather difficult during a zomb…um…zed-word apocalypse. Drop-dead hysterical with some wonderfully unexpected poignant moments, Shaun is the kind of hero you probably know, but probably wish you didn’t.
2) Zombieland (2009)
A must see for all, this new installment to the Zombie Apocalypse collection is as funny as it is action-packed and full of brutal zombie-splattering fun. When nerdy Columbus teams up with the maniacal Tallahassee, the sultry Wichita, and the savvy Little Rock, the Zombie Hordes discover they too have something to fear. The group attempts to enjoy the little things in life as they stay ahead of marauding zombies, search for Twinkies, encounter Bill Murray, visit Pacific Playland, and desperately attempt to adhere to the “Rules for Surviving Zombieland”! As epic as they come, this one has earned its slot towards the back-end of any personal collection.
1) Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Of all the Zombie films listed, the dutiful 2004 remake of Romero’s Dawn of the Dead tops this list for many reasons, the biggest of all being that no Zombie film before it has successfully captured the fear and hopelessness of the Zombie Apocalypse. When a group of survivors barricade themselves in a shopping mall to avoid the unrelenting undead outside, they quickly learn that the living can be just as dangerous. With one of the most tense escape climaxes in Zombie film history, this one is for the true zombie fan. Complete with the usual Romero satire, humor, emotion, suspense, and massive levels of zombie-killing action, this one champions the genre in every way.
Each of these films stands out amongst the Zombie Apocalypse genre. Sure there are many others, but all of them are either tired remakes or rehashes who stole their inspiration from the ones listed above. Then again, if you disagree, that’s why they invented hate mail.
See you on the other side!