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).
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.
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.
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.
About a boy and his zombie. A refreshingly original dark-comedy that is surprisingly heart-warming for a zombie flick.
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.
This brilliant 5 episode British horror TV show takes the zombie apocalypse to the set of Big Brother and it’s surprisingly awesome.
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. ;)