Top Ten Zombie Movies of All Time
There’s an appeal to the movies of the undead that goes beyond just the usual blood and gore. The thrill and tension of a creeping zombie infestation, the living cramped into small spaces struggling to survive, and the eventual biting of the living flesh; such images splatter many a zombie narrative. It’s the horror and the gore that gets us all, hitting a cord with us, striking at our most basic survival instinct.
However, time and again, Zombies have stood for more than just mere masses of dead corpses that come to life to feed off the living. They are a reflection of us and the society we live in. That’s the trick to a good zombie film. Zombies are made to represent a variety of different things in different films.
So here’s my list of top ten zombie films.
Sometimes a Zombie is more human than human. This is a world where zombies are now in place of hired help, with a collar meant to control them. As the adorable Fido wins the heart of the mistress of the house and becomes an unlikely father figure for the family, we realize the things that are of real value to us in life.
What happens when an experimental bio-weapon is released and it’s up to a rag tag team led by a Gogo dancer and her ex-boyfriend to stop the ones responsible? You get a campy fun filled zombie epidemic like no other. With underdogs for heroes this film brings home the Grindhouse experience as Gogo dancer Cheery fixes a machine gun in place of a lost limb and blows the brain of the infected away. So strap onto your seat belts because this is one sick ride straight through hell. However what remains on the other side of this hellish ride is hope, hope of another world on the other end.
Word of caution. When you find an evil audiotape along with a book so obviously titled “The Book of the Dead,” don’t play it! Period. Especially if you are a bunch of twenty-somethings vacationing in an isolated cabin in the woods. And if you do, be prepared to watch your friends turn into deadites that are out to drag you down with them. Watching this gory yet at times humorous horror flick should give you some crucial tips for planning that next trip into the jungle. Always know an alternative trail through the woods, this will help you incase the only bridge collapses. Always steer away from that possessed, violating tree. Most important of them all, to avoid all this mayhem, never mess with things you don’t know.
Now unveiling the ultimate zombie of all times. It is none other than the sensitive monster birthed by the vain Dr. Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s sci-fi masterpiece “Frankenstein.” Mind you this is no ordinary zombie. He feels and even seeks revenge. While Mary Shelley’s tale is an intense read and its many film renditions make for intense viewings, in the hands of Mel Brooks the tale becomes a hoot. Not a conventional zombie flick in any sense, Young Frankenstein is a must watch on the list. Its humor parodying the horror genre, and every other film rendition of the novel, makes Young Frankenstein doubly effective.
If Romero is the father of all zombie films, Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive is literally the mother of all Zombie films. I say this because the mother Zombie at the end is a treat to watch. Nobody throws a Zombie party like Peter Jackson. Pure Zombie fun is what you get with this cult classic. Besides a mother unwilling to let go and smothering her son is what this one is all about. In the end as the son hacks the mother zombie he also severs his dependent ties with his mother.
DIARY OF THE DEAD
With this film, Romero proves yet again that he’s a master of the genre he invented and can reinvent himself each time. Romero draws attention to horror film conventions with this film and highlights the way media is all-pervasive in our lives. “If it’s not on camera it’s like it never happened right?”
Diary of the Dead
SHAUN OF THE DEAD
This movie is a crazy zom com with its tongue-in-cheek tone about the humdrum of everyday London life and that of the central characters: the comic duo comprising Simon Pegg and Nick frost. In a world where the living seem to be leading dead lives, there was nothing better than a zombie breakout to jolt them into action. But besides all this, I’ve never seen zombie comedy done so well. The zombie in the backyard with the hole in the stomach is just one such instance. What takes the cake is the two buddies and the bond they share. The last scene of the movie bares testimony to their friendship as Simon Pegg checks on his buddy Nick Frost (now a zombie) in the garage. Frost sits there in shackles, playing videogames. Looks like nothing’s actually changed.
Shaun of the Dead
The combination of a hand held camera, and a clamped down apartment complex where a bunch of former humans now turned into flesh eaters could pop out of any door to tear you apart, is a sure shot recipe for horrifying hell. But the brilliance of this Spanish horror flick is the supernatural twist. Or at least that’s how I interpreted it. The genre lends itself to yet another degree of horror when we realize that these symptoms are a manifestation of demonic possession and can spread in the form of a bio hazardous, contagious virus! OUCH! This film also has the scariest child zombie to ever hit the screen.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
George Romero, the godfather of this genre, is a man who’s passion for the undead is unparalleled. No zombie top ten list can be complete without this indie black and white cult gem. This is the film that kicked off the Living Dead movies. Who can ever forget, “They are coming to get you Barbra!” Romero’s ghouls were the first slow-shuffling, flesh-eaters that functioned as critiques of everything from the government, to bio-engineering to slavery. With the hypothetical zombie apocalypse sweeping across, Romero made zombies resonate on more than a superficial level of horror.
Night of the Living Dead
28 DAYS LATER
Talk about subverting the genre and making a survival film adrenaline pumping and human. 28 Days later makes it to the top of my list because the feet-shuffling ghouls are now transformed to fast and fierce zombies who could beat you to the race. To top it the human bond between perfect strangers made the film worthwhile. Here again the real enemy isn’t just the zombies but humans desperate to preserve and restart their race.
28 Days Later
It doesn’t matter where the infestation comes from or what causes it. Once it’s out you better run. And when there’s no more place you can run, it’s time you cocked that gun and took a final stand. You may not be the strongest or even the fittest, all that the last man or woman standing needs is a strong enough desire to not become part of the hoards that form this decaying corpse land.
So even if you don’t have the appetite for brain or guts or gore, I suggest you sample a zombie flick and you’ll be surprised at what the genre has in store. Besides they are bloody entertaining and extremely funny.
A zombie infestation may be a far-fetched idea to many, but maybe that day’s not far when hell will be so crowded that the dead will walk the earth. Hopefully my love for the undead and staple of zombie films should prove a good survival guide in case the dead do walk the earth
There are tons of fairly recent zombie flicks I haven’t mentioned and please forgive me for that. This by no means is an exhaustible list considering there are so many gems out there that have come recently: the Walking Dead and other gems like Land of the Living Dead, Survival of the Dead, Zombieland, just to mention a few.
I’m sure there are many yet to come and filmmakers and zombie lovers will find newer meaning and means to tell a zombie tale.
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