To celebrate the release of the second novella in the Dead Walked trilogy, Scary Motherfucker presents the top ten zombie flicks. You may not agree with all of our selections but one thing that is certain is that each flick should be essential viewing for fans of the chomping dead.
And so at No 10 is Peter Jackson’s, Braindead AKA Dead Alive which just may be one of the goriest zombie films in the entire history of the genre. Years before he made Lord of the Rings, the director was playing with small budgets and reinventing the wheel for this laugh out loud funny gorefest. The zombie plague kicks off when an old woman.the mother of our hero, is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey and from there on in the gore is amped up and the jokes get even bigger.
Holding the No 9 spot is The Return of the Living Dead, Dan O’Bannon’s 1985 movie was arguably the first movie to successfully blend zombies with comedy. The shambling undead who shuffle around moaning for brains are a great concept.The movie started out as a script by John Russo and was intended to explore Romero’s universe, but when Dan O’Bannon got hold of it it became an all out comedy. That’s not to say it’s not scary though because it is but in a laugh and then scream kind of way.
It’s the big 8 for Day of the Dead – Romero’s 1985 zombie flick is reported to be his favorite in his trilogy, and the movie is certainly unrelenting. However the other two films in the genre had more character humour which allowed the audience to more easily identify with them, while this one contains characters and situations that are just too depressing.It’s still a compelling movie but perhaps a little too nihilistic for some.
Lucky 7 is Shaun of the Dead – This movie really was a breath of fresh air to a genre that had started to moulder. It also showed that we Brits could deliver world conquering cinema. It owes a lot to earlier zombie comedies but contains enough originality and knowing geekiness that it’s become a classic in its own right and made Simon Pegg a superstar.
6 is Hammer’s underrated, Plague of the zombies – This 1966 effort from Hammer may seem slow by modern standards, it drips with atmosphere and once you get used to the slow pacing it becomes a compelling movie. These are different zombies to those modern audiences have grown used to and perhaps for that the film still pack a wallop. It’s errie, it’s creepy and does everything a horror movie should.
5 is The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue– this 1974 effort is one of the few so-called video nasties that can still be watched today. Seeing the zombie prowling 1970’s Britain is like a bizarre Mike Leigh movie filtered through a bad dream. The zombies here are fast movie and incredibly strong and this was long before 28 Days Later. Although this is primarily a British movie it was actually a Spanish/Italian co-production and the director didn’t want to set the film in Rome because he though Manchester seemed far more exotic.
4 is Zack Snyder’s 2004 Dawn of the Dead – I for one consider this remake to be almost as good as Romero’s original take. On the surface this seems like a run of the mill re-make, with the survivors holed up in a shopping mall just as in the original, but this one goes off in its own direction. As a remake it deserves to be up there with John Carpenter’s The Thing and David Chronebergs’ The Fly. A remake that builds on the original and becomes a worthy movie in itself.
3 is also Dawn of the Dead but this time we have Romero’s original. This movie satirizes America’s obsession with consumerism and dares to put danger next to the special offers. Filmed in a real Pitsburg shopping mall, the movie was a nightmare make with the cast and crew having to put up with c0nstant night shoots since the mall was open for business during the day.It truly is an excellent movie that changes tone when the survivors realize that although they have everything they need to the mall,there is more to life and death.
2 is 28 Days Later- this movie modernized the genre just when it needed it. This may seem a curious movie to hold such a high position, but when you consider how influential it turned out to be in kicking the genre back into life, then I’m sure you’ll agree it is worthy of such a honour. The zombies are not technically zombies and they’re not really dead, but these sprinting zombies instantly became part of the genre. An excellent and uncompromising movie.
1 is The Night of the Living Dead – Romero’s 1968 classic may be a little long in the tooth, and other movies may have outgored it, but it remains the blueprint for the genre as we know it today. Full of quotable lines and shot in grainy black and white the movie can scare like few others. It remains the genre’s most important film and one that will likely never be bettered.