Tuesday, May 25

Shamblin' - My Top 13 Zombie Movies

 No self respecting mad scientist worth his test tubes could go through life without creating a favorite zombie movie list. So, just so I don't lose any street cred, I thought it high time I did the same. Now first off I have to qualify what makes a zombie on my list. I disqualified the Evil Dead movies, because those are demons. Yes there are reanimated dead beings, but this is because of demon possession, so they're not on my list.

I also disqualified the Reanimator films. Once again, while there are dead beings now moving again, they are more Frankenstein creations brought to life through science. If I qualified them I'd have to accept Frankenstein and all the variations of that story, so no, that's out.

I also disqualified 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later. The "creatures" in those movies were infected humans and not the actual dead coming back to life. So any films along those lines, viral infections that affect the living, are out as well.

The zombies in my list are the classic undead - shambling once-living lumps of flesh that seek the living to feed upon. Your classic zombie archtype.

I realize there are many, many more zombie movies than the ones I've listed here. These are my favorites among the ones I've seen. There is no way I (or anyone else for that matter) could watch every zombie movie out there. Take a look at the list below if you don't believe me. There are hundreds of them now, and the list is growing all the time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombie_movies


now... let the brain munching begin!!
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#13 - White Zombie- 1932
This one makes the list simply because it's the grandaddy of all zombie films. The difference between these zombies and the rest on the list are these are your traditional voodoo zombies, controlled by the zombie lord played by Bela Lugosi. Zombies, voodoo, Bela Lugosi, and it's a pretty good movie, too.



#12 - Zombieland - 2009
This is a VERY entertaining movie. Funny, fast paced and high production value. Definitely worthy of being on my top 13 films list. Doesn't add anything new to the zombie genre, however, which had been pretty well played out by the time this one was made (2009) - but it is a soild movie nontheless. Highlight of the movie is definitely twinkie-challenged zombie hunter Woody Harrelson.



#11 - Children shouldn't play with dead things - 1972
I love this movie. Directed by Bob Clark - who would go on to make A CHRISTMAS STORY and PORKY'S - it tells the story of a group of college actors who travel to a remote island as a prank. They hold a mock seance to resurrect the dead, all in jest - until the dead actually do come to life! Very low budget film, but that adds to the creepy vibe of this movie.



#11 - Cemetary Man - 1994
This is an Italian film directed by Michele Soavi. It is the story of a caretaker named Francesco in a cemetery where the dead won't stay dead. Along with his assistant Gnaghi he buries the dead by day and kills them again by night. Interesting job. This film is part horror, part humor, and part romance - a unique blend that has a dreamy quality to it.



#9 - Tombs of the blind dead - 1971
The Blind Dead films are a truly unique take on the zombie mythos. This is the first in the series of four Blind Dead films. Made in Spain by director Amando de Ossorio, it features undead horsemen called the Knights Templar who were executed for their evil atrocities. While their bodies hung on the gallows their eyes were pecked out by crows.  They managed to return from the dead blind, however. They hunt by sound and feed on human flesh. Truly creepy stuff.




#8 - Night of the Creeps - 1986
Another zombie comedy - of which several entries in this list fall, interestingly enough. This was written and directed in 1986 by Fred Dekker. Aliens brain slugs crawl into people's mouths and turn them into zombies. Lots of homages to other films in this one, such as lead character Chris ROMERO, his girl Cynthia Cronenberg, and police detective Landis and Sergeant Raimi. A really fun movie and direct inspiration for the 2006 film SLITHER.




#7 - Brain Dead (Dead Alive) - 1992
Also known as Dead Alive. Made by a young Peter Jackson this might well be the goriest movie ever made. The incredible lawn mower scene at the end has me howling every time I see it. An incredible movie with a wicked black sense of humor throughout. Zombie horror romance. Good stuff.




#6 - Day of the Dead - 1985
Romero's third entry in the series has some really interesting elements to it, primarily Bub the zombie, a zombie that seems to possesses some limited intelligence. This film takes place primarily in a military institute where the humans have holed up from the zombie hordes and are actually studying them in hopes of finding a cure for this epidemic. It is an interesting study in human nature, and like all Romero movies, thick with social commentary.




#5 - Zombi 2 - 1979
Made by director Lucio Fulci this film takes place primarily on an island where a zombie plague has broken out. Fulci titled this Zombi 2, misleading many to believe it a sequel to Dawn of the Dead (whose alternate title is Zombi). It is, however, one bloody good zombie movie. Among the gorrier of the entries in the field, it features my favorite scene from any zombie film - the infamous zombie vs. shark scene.You have to see it to believe it.




#4 - Shaun of the Dead - 2006
I struggled with where to place this one on the list. It is a comedy, so i wasn't sure if I felt comfortable placing it this high... But after much reflection, I realized that I consider this not only a great zombie movie, but my favorite film of the entire decade of the 00s. It is a smart, funny, and charming film about a bumbling pair of knuckleheads in the midst of a zombie outbreak. I stop and watch it every time I see it on tv. Great movie.




#3 - Dawn of the dead - 1978
Ten years after the original George Romero resurrected the dead again. This time we follow the story of a group of survivors of the zombie plague who hole up in a shopping mall. They battle the dead and each other in a movie many consider the finest zombie movie ever made. Shot in color this time, the gore factor was ratcheted up. Tom Savini's groundbreaking special effects make this one a fan favorite.




#2 - Return of the Living Dead - 1985
How could I possibly list Return of the Living Dead above Dawn of the Dead? Blasphemy! Well, this is my list, and I happen to enjoy Return a bit more. Made in 1985 by Dan O'Bannon, this movie is a horror-comedy, with lots of humor injected throughout the film. But it also has some pretty intriguing moments - watch the scene with the half-corpse that is strapped to the table. They interrogate it to see why it wants to eat human brains. "Because it makes the pain go away." The corpse informs them it is in pain because it can feel itself rotting. Creepy stuff! This movie has lots going for it - great special effects, killer punk rock soundtrack, and Linnea Quigley's boobs. Nuff said!




#1 - Night of the Living Dead - 1968
The penultimate zombie movie. Made by director George Romero in 1968, this movie inspired legions of filmmakers to follow in his footsteps. Romero's original set the benchmark for zombie movies and is as powerful today as when it was made. The fact that it slipped into the public domain due to a copyright notice being left off the final print probably helped bring this film into notoriety - not that it helped Romero in the pocketbook any. Very disturbing movie. Shot in black and white as a monetary decision, it actually works in the film's favor to make it even scarier. Definitely my all-time favorite zombie movie.




And last but not least, if you have a favorite zombie film that didn't make the list drop me a comment and let me know. I'd love to hear what you guys think...

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