Considering zombies are this blog’s namesake, I figured I ought to amp up the zombie-related posts. And what better subject to cover than zombie movies? Classic, scary, thrilling, gory–zombie movies are where most folks (including me) are first exposed to the brain-eating ghouls of our pastiche-ridden nightmares. I’m a HUGE zombie movie fan. This list is 100% my personal opinions and really doesn’t have anything to do with the quality or individual merit of the films. I just like them for whatever reason. Let’s begin.
#6 (honorable mention) 28 Days Later
You could argue that this film isn’t actually a zombie movie, since the infected aren’t truly undead, but that’s not why it didn’t make the main list. To be honest, 28 Days Later would have made my top 5 a year or two ago, but then I lost the dvd and only recently found it again. It’s a great movie–supremely scary and suspenseful. Plus, it has the advantage of having some very realistic and plucky heroines, which I love.
#5 Resident Evil
This is my biggest guilty pleasure zombie movie. It’s got Mila Jovavich in combat boots and one hell of an ugly dress, and it’s got Michelle Rodriguez in her
usual best role: snarky, badass tank-top wearing chick that dies. Unfortunately, I’ve never played the actual game, but I do know that Jovavich’s Alice isn’t even a part of the game’s story–but so what? The zombies in this movie are terrifying, not to mention the hair-raising beginning sequence with the lady who gets her head stuck in the elevator door. (Confession: I can’t even watch that scene. I have to close my eyes. It’s too much for me.) I even have a soft-spot for the sequels this film has spawned, thanks to their so-bad-they’re-good appeal. In fact, I’ve even written some rants on this blog concerning Resident Evil Apocalypse.
The movie that coined the phrase “Double-tap”, Zombieland is the perfect mix of funny and spooky. Let me first admit that I wholeheartedly adore Woody Harrelson. Tallahassee takes the
twinkie cake in this movie as the most badass zombie hunter, as well as the most entertaining character, although Jesse Eisenberg’s Columbus goes through an awesome character arc. Plus, Emma Stone is just the best. There’s something oddly charming about the lack of names in this film, plus you’ve got to give mad props to the movie that both showcases Billy Murray and then kills him off.
#3 Dawn of the Dead (2004)
This movie is ridiculous, but it holds a special place in my heart as one of the first movies my boyfriend and I curled up on the couch to watch together. The plot starts off fairly solid (for a zombie movie) and then careens off the tracks into the realm of the absurd about 2/3 of the way in. HOWEVER, the make up and effects are excellent and the movie is sufficiently scary. And when you’re entirely fed up with all of the stupid characters, you get to watch them die horrible deaths. So ya know. There’s that.
#2 Dawn of the Dead (1978)
If you’re looking for a zombie movie that’s got a deeper meaning than the cheap thrills and gore, then the original Dawn of the Dead is your perfect zombie film. If I had to offer my opinion on the “best” zombie film, then I would be hard pressed to find one that could top Dawn of the Dead. The music, the suspense, and even the weird-colored zombies are perfection. Despite the effects being over 30 years old, this movie can still scare the bejeezus out of me. The dissonant soundtrack, the anticipatory tension as you watch the zombies approach unbeknownst to the characters, the emotionally charged opening and closing scenes–everything about this movie is fantastic. It’s a masterpiece of horror and a pretty insightful critque of consumer culture.
#1 Shaun of the Dead
My ultimate favorite zombie movie! It doesn’t get any better than this! Simon Peg riffs on the traditional horror movie tropes while still paying homage to the great zombie movies of the genre. Every time I watch this movie, I notice some new, clever detail in the background. Equal parts hilarious and chilling, Shaun of the Dead was one of the first zombie movies I saw in theaters. I was 16, I think, and it scared the living crap out of me. I remember enjoying the comedy of it, but being so freaked out by the zombies as to have nightmares afterwards. It would be several years before I delved into the Zombie Survival Guide and emerged the true Zombie
Enthusiast Lover that I am today. Another reason to love Shaun of the Dead: Shaun’s mom is Harriet Jones of Whovian fame, and his step-dad even makes a Who appearance as the art museum guide in the well-loved episode featuring Vincent Van Gogh. Plus, it’s just awesome.