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The Most Unique Zombies in Movie History

Updated on August 15, 2014


There are over 570 zombie movies that has been made or is in the process of being made. With so many movies, directors have more pressure to make their movie stand out. These are nine movies that have the most unique zombies or have changed the zombie genre forever by introducing new characteristics: aka speed, ability to hold weapons, consciousness, etc.


1.Night of The Living Dead (1968)

Even though they had been zombies movies since 1930s, this is still considered to be the start of the zombie phrase. The movie described as haunting and terrifying back in the day follows a woman and man that board themselves inside of a farmhouse with a family. This was also the first movie that had a black man as a lead in a horror movie. The girl is pretty much useless throughout the movie, being over dramatic and fainting a lot while the slow moving zombies just bang on the windows and just moan. Still for given the time, the make-up really was quite impressive and it really showcased the start of a genre that would be going strong for centuries


2. The Children (1980)

This is a pretty unknown zombie film about a schoolbus carrying five children who traveled through a toxic fume from a busted pipe at a chemical plant, turning the children into zombies. The zombies didn't look like the typical zombies, in fact the only difference seemed to be in their hands. They had black fingernails and they could burn with their hands. From there the five children go on a killing spree and the uninfected in the town struggle against finding a way to stop them since guns did not seem to work. In the end they used swords and other objects to do the trick and all five children were killed without the infection spreading.

The burning hand type zombie never picked up amongst other zombie movies but it is an interesting concept that made this movie stand out. Low budget made this movie fell flat but if it had a higher budget who knows how the average zombie be like now.

The Children DVD


3. La Mort Vivante (1982)

This is a very strange French film about a woman who was dead and came back to life due to a combination of earthquake and a chemical spill. What makes this film interesting is that she can actually think and her friend actually taught her how to speak, her friend actually traps her in a house and delivers victims to her to eat because the dead woman needs to eat. After the dead girl starts to have her humanity back she refuses to kill victims leaving for the rest of the movie to be full of tension as her friend starts to act more like a zombie than herself. The ending is shocking and bleak and rather depressing.

Even through this isn't popular use in zombie movies, the conscious zombie had been used in some newer zombie movies like 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead Remake as well as some shorts that focus on the zombie itself and not survivors of the outbreak.


4. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

This is the real start of the whole zombies eat brains instead of flesh. Once again the cause of the zombies came from a chemical spill in a form of a gas. The zombies also are seen to be a little faster and a little cleverer but still pretty dumb and brainless. The story is a more complex about toxic rainfall, zombies surrounding building, using another chemical as a way to kill both survivors and zombies in order to prevent the spread.

It is almost questionable if this should be on the list since the only real difference is that the zombies wants to eat the brains and not that many movies after this really took off with this idea. However if you look at zombies at large and what people think when they hear the word, many link them to eating brains so I guess this is a rather important movie but did it have any effect on any movie afterwards?


5. 28 Days later (2002)

Oh yes the rage virus where Zombies have red eyes and are quick and vicious and is caused by testing done on animals. The story starts off in a classic way as a man wakes up in an abandoned hospital to a wasteland of London. Walking around endlessly he ended up in a church where he first gets introduced to zombies when they the mass of bodies in the chapel all start standing up and running after him. He eventually ran into a man and woman who tells him what he had missed during his coma. After an incident that left one dead, the main character and the woman ran into a father and daughter who talks about a safe haven where they would be safe and they decide to try to get to the place.

The movie was bleak and depressing but still held a feeling of hope that made it worth watching and showed that even in the worst of times, humanity and beauty and love still exist.

Another note, this was one of the movies where most of the time zombies only came out during the night. This was also the start of more realistic looking zombies.


Resident Evil Series (2002-)

The zombies in the movies were caused by a character throwing the T-Virus into the research lab deep under the ground. The zombies were quick,could carry weapons,and as seen as the series progress, the virus causes them morph into weird creatures that can do things that no other zombies before could do. Dogs can split in half, there is a huge monster like zombie, and zombies can gain grills or fins or other mutations. They were also harder to kill and could dig underground and can break doors.

As the series progressed, the level of infection spread from underground to Raccoon City and then to the rest of the world. Alice and other survivors struggled to find a safe place that are free from zombies only to be stopped by Umbrella every step of the way. The last film that was released, the fifth film finally showed Umbrella company willing to work with Alice after they realize they are losing the war on the mutated zombies.

The version of zombies didn't seem to really influence other zombie movies, however it does show to influence is how quickly the spread is and how quickly the world collapsed due to them in such movies like World War Z and Dawn of the Dead.


7. House Of The Dead (2003)

The greatest thing about this movie was just the total destruction of the rave on the island in such a short time period before the main characters arrive. Although the zombies didn’t really change much, the reason behind the zombies made this go on this list. A doctor who longed to be immortal did a type of spell to never die. He got his wish. In a way to protect himself he made zombies in order to be his slaves and to watch over his land. In the end the survivors of the main characters end up having to kill him in order to stop the virus and save their lives. The most interesting adaption to zombies: they can walk under water which can be seen in many zombie movies like Dawn of the Dead.

House Of The Dead


8. Dawn Of The Dead Remake (2004)

This movie showcased zombies who could actually think. The infection rate to turning is almost immediately and the zombies use skills that are otherwise unheard of. One of these skills was learning how to get to a sharp-shooter by watching survivors trapped in the mall send a dog with supplies to the man. The zombies soon kill the man leading the rest of the survivors to be in complete shock, Meanwhile this was the first movie to have a pregnant woman get bit and go into labor. The newborn, much to everybody’s disappointment and shock, was also a zombie.

The movie had a lot going for it. The kills were creative, the acting was good, the scenario was excellent, but what made this movie stand out is the way the characters responded during the slow times. You see how these people deal with being trapped inside a mall without knowing how long it would hold. Some drew into sadness and isolation, some needed physical contact, some needed to find something to hold onto. You see characters evolve in ways that many zombie movies lack and that what makes the ending that much more depressing.


War World Z (2013)

Rather you liked the movie or not, you have to agree that the zombies in this movie is a brand new vicious type. Looking like ants climbing a wall, they can get over anything to get what they are after. They are also the first breed of zombies to be selective of whom they attack leading the survivors to try a daring way of escaping, infecting themselves with a fatal yet curable disease. Still this seems to be the supreme breed of zombies based on their quickness and their violent attitude. The story itself is pretty basic. A man and his family find themselves stuck in the mass of zombies. After being saved, the main character is stuck going on a mission on trying to find a way to stop them in order to keep his family safe.

It is through his UN history and his observation skills that he is able to be the first person to realize that they do not like weak and sick individuals. It is also a movie that gives the feeling of hopelessness as cities release nuclear bombs in order to try and stop the invasion and every place he goes has lost or is losing the battle against the zombies. The first zombie movie to really be pg-13 and still have some violent and terrifying scenes, the only really weak part of the movie is the end which feels like something is seriously lacking.


In the end, the future for zombies in cinema will be very interesting. With each generation, zombies have changed and adapted to what is considered frightening. No longer is the slow walking zombies of the Night of the Living Dead considered scary, in fact to most of the younger generation it is viewed as more of a comedy.

Do you agree with the list of zombie movies I have above? Do you think there is a film that has a unique spin of zombie that I have missed? Let me know in the comments below.


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    • Melissa Noon profile imageAUTHOR

      Melissa Noon 

      4 years ago from California

      I agree with WWZ. I was not expecting to see everything the movie had in a pg13 movie and there are so many scenes that you have to hold your breath. As for the Walking Dead, all I can say is that October is too far away. I miss the show so much.

      Thank you for your comment. Glad you liked it

    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 

      4 years ago from Louisiana, USA

      I love a good zombie movie. World War Z was probably one of the more intense movie of this genre. I love the Walking Dead series and think that they come up with some of the most clever zombie ideas in modern times. Great hub.


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