Greetings, boils and ghouls! 'Tis the season for me to regale you with another list of horror movie classics. Last year we covered the Top 20 Horror movies of All Time. This year I'm feeling a bit more specialized, so let's dive feet-first into the rotting sub-genre of zombie movies. Zombies have undergone a huge resurgence in the last five years in theaters, on television and in recreational drugs. There is even a zombie-themed nationwide sporting event making this list will be somewhat apropos. As such, more of the movies that have made my list were made in this century than last century, which is very different than the first horror movie list.
So, without further ado, I give you Daniel P. Daniel's Top 20 Zombie Movies of All Time. Enjoy.
20. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006): OK. Admittedly this musical-comedy horror exploitation film from Troma Entertainment doesn’t make too many lists, but if you can somehow muster the fortitude to sit through the whole movie I’m sure it will make one of yours.
19. Night of the Creeps (1986): Zombies, exploding heads, creepy crawlies, and Tom Atkins…kinda sounds like a few of our keggers in college. This movie is classic teen scream fun.
|Jason is not a zombie, people. Get over it.|
18. Night of the Comet (1984): This movie is mostly about a Valley girl that shops her way through the apocalypse, but I had such a crush on Catherine Mary Stewart when I was in middle school this one had to be on the list.
17. Aaah! Zombies!! (2007): Told from the point of view of the zombies themselves, this horror-comedy is a refreshing addition to the zombie genre. Although this is a relatively low-budget affair, somehow Matthew Kohnen manages to avoid the B-movie feel despite mixing soft serve ice cream with beer.
16. Day of the Dead (1985): George A. Romero’s third in his zombie series. This one plays more like an extended Twilight Zone episode than Night and Dawn.
15. Dead Alive (1992): The next addition to the list was directed by Peter Jackson before he went on to secure his mainstream fortune by directing homo-erotic hobbit movies. It is almost universally recognized as the goriest film ever made. Where else will you find mass slaughter via lawnmower or priests that kick ass for the lord? I mean, other than Colorado Springs.
14. Zombie Strippers (2008): Robert Englund. Jenna Jameson. Zombies. Strippers. What else is there to say? Seriously.
13. Fido (2006): This is a hilarious take on the genre. What could possibly go wrong when we decide to keep zombies around to perform menial tasks? My favorite line in the movie comes from hottie Carrie Ann Moss: "Fido, is Timmy in trouble?"
12. The Crazies (2010): This is a remake of the 1973 Romero film with a few modern twists. It’s a mad, mad world.
11. Land of the Dead (2005): George Romero triumphantly returns to the genre that he created by remaking one of his own films. Dennis Hopper plays the part of the bad guy brilliantly, but the zombies are learning.
|Didn't make the list.|
10. Night of the Living Dead (1990)/(1968): The 1990 remake follows the 1968 version almost shot-for-shot. The only thing that the remake has going for it are more modern special effects and color film. If I was forced to choose between the two I would go with the original.
9. Dead Snow (2009): This movie had me saying something that I don’t believe anyone has ever said in the history of human existence - "There sure aren’t enough Norwegian zombie comedies out there." What do you get when you add a group of medical students to frozen Nazi zombies? I think you know.
8. Planet Terror (2007): I immediately fell in love with this nonstop action-horror masterpiece. Originally released as part of Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's ambitious Grindhouse double bill, Planet is a throwback to the early days of drive-in horror complete with intentionally gritty cinematography and completely implausible story lines. Brilliant.
7. Zombieland (2009): This is one of those films that broke onto the scene in the midst of the zombie revival and kicked it into high gear. I could argue Columbus’ 33 rules to live by have more basis in reality than most religions…but I won’t.
6. The Return of the Living Dead (1985): Dan O’Bannon’s work shook up the zombie horror genre by introducing us to fast-moving zombies and giving us the now-ubiquitous zombie call-to-arms, "Braaaains!" Plus, any movie with James Karen in it is automatically creepy by default.
5. Re-Animator (1985): First in the Re-Animator series of sci-fi horror comedies and based on H.P. Lovecraft’s book, “Herbert West – Reanimator,” this is the movie that truly cemented my addiction to low-budget horror. I must have watched this 47 times while in high school. That probably explains a lot now that I think about it.
4. 28 Days Later (2003): Super-fast, rage-infected, blood-puking zombies, need I say more? Danny Boyle’s dystopic view of the future is both frightening and involving. This nod to Dawn of the Dead quickly devolves into a gore-fest, but, remember, it’s the animal rights activists’ fault.
3. Shaun of the Dead (2004): When the dead walk a hero rises…from his sofa. This is the first of the Three Flavors of Cornetto series from director Edgar Wright in which he manages to somehow combine a British romantic comedy with homages to the more traditional powerhouses in the genre like George Romero and Sam Raimi.
2. Evil Dead II (1987): Sam Raimi and the ultimate horror movie hero, Bruce Campbell, enter the list with this brilliant horror-comedy sequel. The joy which the cast and crew take in creating a masterpiece of slapstick gore is obvious. Evil Dead 2 is a must-see for all connoisseurs of truly demented films.
1. Dawn of the Dead (2004): I chose Zack Snyder’s take on George Romero's 1978 horror classic for one reason: Richard Cheese singing “Get Down with the Sickness.” Zombies, shopping malls, gore (the zombie birth scene is particularly hard to take) and celebrity assassinations – what more could you ask for?
Honorable mentions: Plan 9 From Outer Space, Waxwork, Pet Cemetery, Resident Evil, Serpent and the Rainbow, and I Am Legend.
What do you think? Did any of your favorites make the list?