The 10 Best Zombie Movies of All Time 2014 List
2014 List of the 100 Best Zombie Movies Ever
Zombies are by far the most popular horror monster right now. From books like Pride & Prejudice & Zombies-yes, that's a real book-to t-shirts and memes, zombies are showing up all over pop culture. But zombies aren't a new fad. They seem to just keep going, like they're - well, like they're undead. As any good horror fan knows, zombie movies have been popular for decades.
*Here is my review of ten of the best zombie movies of all time. Before you go don't forget to vote in my interactive Top 100 zombie movies of 2014 poll. This poll determines the order of the movies below!
#10 White Zombie
White Zombie, released in 1932, is considered to be the very first feature-length zombie movie. It's not nearly as action-packed or blood-spewing as modern zombie movies, but it set an excellent precedent for zombie movie creepiness.
The main character, Margaret, travels to Haiti to be married to her fiancé, Neil. When they arrive at the home of Charles Beaumont, where the wedding is to take place, Beaumont becomes instantly infatuated with Margaret's beauty. He appeals to the ominously named Murder Legendre, a local voodoo expert and creator of zombies (played by Bela Lugosi) for help. Once Margaret is zombified, however, Beaumont is unhappy with her lack of emotion (honestly, you'd think he'd never seen a zombie flick before), but Murder refuses to return Margaret to life. Meanwhile, Neil breaks into Beaumont's fortress to save Margaret, and in the ensuing fight, Murder dies and his mental hold over his zombie plantation workers-and over Margaret-breaks.
White Zombie wasn't a big hit when it was first released in 1932, but it's become a cult classic now, thanks to Bela Lugosi's fame and the current zombie fad. The film's atmospheric horror scenes make it a must for zombie fans.
Fido is definitely a zombie comedy. What could be funnier than a movie about a boy and his zombie? It's set in a 1950s-ish world, where space radiation has turned the dead into zombies. (That's a nice change from the ever-common zombie virus, in my opinion.) Zombies now either live in the wild, or are used as household servants. Young Timmy Robinson's family names their first zombie Fido, and he becomes Timmy's best pal.
Sadly, Fido kills one of the Robinson's neighbors, so he's taken away by Zomcon, the company that controls the zombie servants. Timmy rushes to save Fido, Timmy's father rushes to save Timmy, and Timmy's father is killed in the process. Timmy eventually gets Fido set free, and the film ends with Fido as both a father figure for Timmy and a replacement husband for Timmy's mother.
Fido is still a zombie movie, and it’s rated R for violence, but it’s not the graphic gore-a-palooza that most zombie movies are. It’s a great send-up of the zombie genre, as well as a funny parody of other 1950s-type films.
#8 Resident Evil
A few die-hard zombie fans will argue that Resident Evil doesn't belong on this list. I argue that it does, despite its lack of plot, because it's very popular and has a whole lot of zombies in it.
Resident Evil was, of course, spawned by the video game of the same name. The film begins with an underground research complex called The Hive, which has been locked down because an engineered virus has leaked into the air filtration system. The virus quickly infects all of The Hive's employees, turning them into-yes, flesh-eating zombies! Alice and Rain are two members of a team that's deployed to get to The Hive's supercomputer, the Red Queen, and disable it to stop the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, the team has to deal with not just zombies, but also amnesia, lasers, a mutant monster called The Licker, and the ominously titled "Nemesis Program."
If you’re in the mood for a zombie movie that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but does have a ton of carnage and zombie glory, then this is a great movie for you.
#7 Zombie (also known as Zombi 2)
Zombie 2 (released as Zombie in the US; I’ll refer to it hereafter by its US title) is the masterwork of the Italian director Lucio Fulci. There is technically no Zombi 1, although Romero’s Dawn of the Dead was released in Italy under the title Zombi, so this film is presumably a follow-up to that.
Zombie actually has nothing in common with Dawn of the Dead, besides zombies. It begins with an apparently abandoned boat floating into New York harbor, with a zombie hiding inside that attacks two harbor guards. Anne, the daughter of the doctor who had owned the boat, wants to find out what happened to her father, so she sails to the island of Matool with a reporter named Peter. There, zombie chaos ensues (including a fight between a zombie and a shark!), and when Anne and Peter eventually escape, they hear on the boat’s radio that zombies have taken over New York City.
There is no subtext in Zombie, no social commentary, no metaphors…just plain old zombie gore and horror. If you’re in the mood for a mindless, creepy zombie romp, this is the film for you.
Re-Animator is one of those classic comedy-slash-horror films of the 1980s. It's funny, but it's also very violent and contains nudity-no zombie movie is made for kids, but this one really isn't. The plot is a little bit complicated, so stick with me here.
Herbert West is a new medical student at Miskatonic University. West's roommate is Dan, who discovers West's strange experiments going on in the secret laboratory in the basement. Dr. Halsey is the dean at Miskatonic University, and his daughter, Megan, is Dan's girlfriend. Dr. Hill is a professor at Miskatonic's medical school, who hates West. And that's just the characters! Still with me?
The comedy that ensues involves a glowing reagent chemical, a corpse-turned-zombie, a bone saw, and decapitation. And that’s before we even get to the part about Dr. Hill being obsessed with Megan (who, you must admit, is naked a little too often) and having lobotomized the dean. Oh, and then there’s the mob of zombies in the graveyard and Dr. Hill as a mutant zombie…you know what? Just watch the movie. If you’re still confused, at least you’ll have seen plenty of zombie fun.
#5 Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead is the third movie in George Romero's zombie trilogy. This one takes place sometime after Dawn of the Dead, when the earth is almost completely overrun by zombies. At an underground Army base in the Everglades, a small group of scientists perform experiments on zombies, hoping to find a way to cure zombification. The soldiers on the base are afraid of the test-subject zombies and want to kill them. The tension between the scientists and the soldiers is the main focus of the film-well, that and undead monsters, of course.
The really interesting part of Day of the Dead is at the end, though. Zombies eventually break into the Army compound, and just as three of the main characters—John, Sarah, and McDermott—are about to escape, the film cuts to a scene of the three of them on a tropical beach. Sarah smiles and crosses off November 4th on a calendar—which just happens to be the Mexican Day of the Dead. You, as the audience, must decide what really happened. Sorry, but George Romero isn’t telling.
#4 Dawn of the Dead
This is George Romero's follow-up to Night of the Living Dead, and the second in his classic zombie trilogy-those zombies just never seem to die! (Hardy har har.) Dawn of the Dead doesn't have any of the same characters as the first film, but it does show the effects of a large-scale zombie outbreak on society.
Authorities are trying to contain the outbreak, but the zombie tide refuses to be stemmed. The four main characters, Roger, Francine, Peter, and Stephen, barricade themselves inside a shopping mall in an attempt to save themselves. For a while, they live it up with all of the loot left in the mall, but zombies eventually invade their sanctuary, and only Peter and Francine escape.
Like Night of the Living Dead, this film is pretty gory—there are plenty of shots of zombies snacking on corpses. Besides being a bloody horror film, though, Dawn of the Dead does have some social commentary—while the hordes of zombies are stuck outside the mall, and the main characters are living decadently inside, they begin to realize that the mall is both a sanctuary and a prison to them.
#3 Night of the Living Dead (original)
Night of the Living Dead is the definitive zombie movie-even non-zombie fans will have heard of this one. Directed by the great George Romero, Night of the Living Dead is as creepy now as it was in 1968. The story begins with Johnny and Barbra, who are visiting their father's grave. A zombie attacks them, and Barbra runs to a nearby house that she thinks is abandoned.
She meets Ben, who has driven up to the scene in his pickup truck, but she's shocked when he starts to bash in the heads of the monsters with a shovel. (See, I told you this was a classic.) Ben explains the violence he's seen, and they soon discover that five more people are hiding in the basement. The group has to try to work together to survive the horde of zombies that has now amassed outside the house.
From the film's opening scenes to its horrifying end, Night of the Living Dead is a flat-out horror film. Don't expect humor here-the acting and the special effects aren't great, but the film's story is chilling nonetheless. This is one zombie film that every zombie aficionado should own.
#2 Shaun of the Dead
As far as zombie comedies go, 2004's Shaun of the Dead is absolutely a classic. Shaun (played by Simon Pegg) has a miserable life-he's stuck working for his stepfather in a dead-end job; his best friend, Ed, is a slob; and his girlfriend, Liz, has just dumped him. Throughout the early scenes of the movie, a zombie outbreak is beginning, but Shaun is totally oblivious as he wallows in his misery, not noticing ambulance sirens, bloody corpses in the street, and panicked news reports on the television. When Shaun and Ed finally realize what's happening, they decide that they must save Shaun's mother, ex-girlfriend Liz, and the Winchester (their favorite pub).
British humor abounds in this film. It pays homage to classic zombie films, like Night of the Living Dead, without being a spoof of the zombie genre. You’ll still get to see blood and guts, amid the laughs. And really, this film is ultimately a mix of a love story and a tale of an underdog saving the day.
Top Ten Zombie Movies of All Time - #1 Zombieland
In this 2009 movie, Jessie Eisenberg plays Columbus, a shy college student, and Woody Harrelson plays Tallahassee, a zombie-hating bad boy. Their world has been taken over by zombies, and Columbus and Tallahassee have to join forces to survive. Columbus is hoping to find his family, who he hopes has survived the zombie invasion.
Tallahassee just wants to find the world's last surviving Twinkies. The two guys meet two girls, Witchita and Little Rock (played by Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin), who are looking for an amusement park near Los Angeles that is supposedly free of zombies. With a set-up like that, you know this movie is going to be funny.
Zombieland has some blood and gore, but it’s not a total bloodbath; this movie is really more of a comedy. Think corny, but in a good way; for example, mild-mannered Columbus has thirty rules that he follows to keep him safe from zombies, like “Don’t be a hero” and “Always check the back seat.” I don’t know about you, but those sound like pretty good rules to me. Bill Murray also makes a hilarious cameo appearance.