Top 12 Favorite Zombie Movies

A few friends and I joined a theater full of film geeks last Thursday for a live streaming of Rifftrax, as they riffed on George A. Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead. This movie pretty much gave birth to the flesh-eating, brain-munching monsters we’ve come to know and love today. And while Romero’s first stab at a horror film isn’t necessarily thrilling or terrifying by today’s standards, it set the stage for other countless zombie horrors to evolve from his original creature concepts. If you aren’t already aware, I’m a bit of a zombie aficionado (that’s a fancy word for obsessively and shamelessly enthusiastic). Rewatching where it all began got me reflecting back on some of my favorite films that followed. So here’s a top 12 list of my favorite zombie movies of all time (in no particular order).

Dead Alive

Before I go any further, let me just say that Dead Alive is my absolute favorite zombie/horror/splatter/movie-in-general movie ever (right next to Evil Dead, but you already know that). It’s pretty much a requirement that in order for us to be friends, I’ve made you endure this movie at least twice. A zombie movie created by Peter Jackson (yes, that Peter Jackson) and deemed to be one of the bloodiest in horror history.

Planet Terror

I don’t totally consider this one a zombie flick, but (spoiler alert) Quentin Tarantino’s penis melts off. So whatever sub-genre that falls under, that’s what kind of movie this is. And it’s great.

Re-Animator

A fun cult classic (because Jeffrey Combs) filled with camp and old-school gore to make you laugh and puke at the same time.

28 Days Later

A serious one, but still one of my top picks. It’s more about interpersonal conflict between humans than it is about fighting zombies. Also, Cillian Murphy is kind of a megababe, in a sickly I-just-woke-up-in-the-apocalypse kind of way.

Shaun of the Dead

The only zombie comedy spoof the world really needs.

Day of the Dead

In my opinion, this is arguably Romero’s best “Of the Dead”. I might be biased just because I love Tom Savini’s gore fx work so much. But I think this one has the best zombies, best kills, and best story pace.

Dawn of the Dead

Speaking of Romero’s “Of the Dead” movies, I’m not a huge fan of the original Dawn of the Dead. I much prefer Zack Synder’s 2004 remake. I think it’s one of the most successful remakes of its kind and breathes new life into the old with brilliant gore effects (watch the special behind-the-scenes making of if you get the chance!) and a much-needed faster-paced story delivery.

Fido

About a boy and his zombie. A refreshingly original dark-comedy that is surprisingly heart-warming for a zombie flick.

Zombieland

This movie will always hold a special place in my heart considering I got to see an advanced screening of it in a theater full of people dressed as zombies (myself included). Aside from that tidbit, it’s clever, hilarious, and the characters are undeniably lovable.

The Return of the Living Dead

Okay, mostly this one is just a horribly campy 80s zombie flick full of gore, boobs, intentionally hilarious dialogue. It’s also one of the only movies I know of that the zombies actually say “BRAAAAIIINNSSS”. Plus Tarman zombie is in this; so it’s a must-see to maintain your horror fan cred.

Dead Set

This brilliant 5 episode British horror TV show takes the zombie apocalypse to the set of Big Brother and it’s surprisingly awesome.

Quarantine

Although it’s an identical repeat of it’s Spanish original, [Rec], I still love this movie (I love both of them, but when I’m feeling lazy, Quarantine is easier to watch). It’s one of the only zombie movies that genuinely freaks me out and gets my heart racing.

Hope this list gives you some ideas of movies to watch this Halloween! Let me know in the comments below what are some of your favorite zombie flicks and let’s nerd out over them together. ;)

6 comments on “Top 12 Favorite Zombie Movies

  1. My brother got me into zombie movies when I was in high school and 28 days later has to be my favorite. What did you think about World War Z? These make me want to live in a compound haha.

    • 28 Days Later was probably one of the first ones that really got me hooked on zombies. So good!

      I was entertained by World War Z, but I didn’t love it by any means. I had been anticipating the movie version for years after reading the book. And when in the early screenwriting stages, Max Brooks said that it had to be “The Lord of the Rings of zombie movies” or else he didn’t want it made, I can’t be blamed for having maybe way too high of expectations. But the movie hardly used any of the awesome sequences from the book, and just seemed like a waste of the title rights since it hardly did so much as nod at the original story. It felt like it had too many corporate puppet-masters pulling the strings to ensure it would be a blockbuster (with an equally successful impending sequel). It wasn’t a movie made for zombie fans; it was a movie made for the general movie-going public that has an affinity for the latest apocalyptic thriller, and Brad Pitt. Also, as a snobby gore queen, I’m adamantly against horror/thriller/disaster movies opting out of necessary blood splatter just for the sake of maintaining a PG13-friendly rating. End rant, haha.

  2. I am still devastated that the screening of RiffTrax didn’t happen at our theatre due to some technological screw up. I blame solar flares! But this list gives me a few more zombie movies to watch. Thanks!

  3. I’ve to admit: Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland are my fav zombie movies. Watched World War Z not long ago and got really mixed feeling about it – poor script disguised by good VFX. The Walking Dead TV series is getting worst with every new seasons.. Good zombie movie – ParaNorman. Ok, maybe not 100% zombies, and yes, it’s LAIKA stop motion animation, but it’s good :)
    Betty
    betty-art.blogspot.com

    • Ha, read my rant about World War Z above.

      I might be one of the only people who doesn’t have anything bad to say about The Walking Dead. I hear people complain about it constantly, but I’m personally still thoroughly entertained by it. Granted, I’m totally frustrated by the decisions the characters continue to make, but my boyfriend and I still enjoy yelling at the TV together every week, haha.

      I’ve yet to see ParaNorman, but lots of people have recommended it to me. I’ll have to check it out!

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