Everyone loves a good zombie movie! For some reason, zombies are the epitome of a great scare. They aren’t supernatural. They aren’t intelligent masterminds. They are you and me and they never stop until they get your brains! Zombies represent everything that scares us – a disease that spreads rapidly, is fatal, and isn’t so far off from reality that we can’t imagine truth emerging from the film. Here are five favorite zombie films of all time. See if yours is on the list!
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
In a testament to the power of zombies, this movie was the number one top grossing movie in 1968, making over $30 million! Many consider this the zombie movie that started it all. It wasn’t, but it is the first in the metamorphasis of what zombie movies are today. Anything preceeding this movie were child’s play by comparison. This is the movie that made George A. Romero on the lips of horror-movie goers everywhere. Shot completely in black and white, this independent film shows the unstoppable power of zombies. It was highly criticized for its graphic violence in 1968, but in 1999, it was placed in the Library of Congress for its historical significance. This movie came out one month before the MPAA film rating system was launched so young children were allowed to purchase tickets. The movie was considered so horrifying, even film critic Roger Ebert chastized parents for allowing their children to watch this film. You have to love zombies…
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
This was a British spoof on American zombie films starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. It pokes fun of zombie movies (taking it’s name from Romero’s Dawn of the Dead) while telling the tale of Shaun, a lackluster loser who needs to learn responsibility. While he’s losing his girlfriend, his family, and his buddies to an apocolyptic disaster, Shaun finds light at the end of the tunnel when people start to take him seriously. The film met critical and box office success in the U.S. and Britain considering it was only available in limited theaters. Since then, it has become a cult favorite at the video stores and on cable television. This is a must-see movie for any zombie fan.
28 Days Later (2002)
This is another British movie that takes a look at zombies from a biological apocolyptic crisis rather than a supernatural horror. It follows the lives of four Londoners as they try to deal with life in the wake of a biological disaster after animal activists unknowingly unleash a deadly virus, called “Rage”. It spreads and destroys life in most of England. This movie was a box office success and spawned a 2007 sequel (28 Weeks Later) and a graphic novel – 28 Days Later: The Aftermath. You’ll want to check out the DVD on this, because it offers three alternative endings.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Don’t mistake this movie with the 1978 film of the same name. They are both good, but this remake is better, which is difficult to do with films – especially horror flicks, but they did it. One of the attributing factors to its success is that it was directed by Zack Snyder (The Watchmen, 300) in his first time at directing. This guy is a genius when it comes to bringing his imagination to the big screen. The movie, like it’s predecessor, brings horror to the shopping mall and is chock full of blood and guts, but the two differ in plot elements. This is also a great film for any zombie fan.
OK, so maybe you haven’t heard of this one. It just came out this year and is a Canadian film along the lines of 28 Days Later. Pontypool is set in a radio station in Pontypool, Ontario where the morning team discovers zombie-like people through its newscast. This movie is very clever in its approach to the disease and technically, while not undead zombies, the masses are portrayed the same way. The movie was based on the novel by Tony Burgess entitled, Pontypool Changes Everything and was inspired by Orsen Welles’ War of the Worlds radio broadcast. If you are looking for something new in zombie horror, check out this film.