Monday, July 11, 2005


In the comments to last Friday's post, Archangel Rokan asked if I'd name my top ten zombie movies. Never let it be said I don't take requests. (Unless your request is that I stop eating your brains, which I must respectfully but firmly decline.)

I'm excluding Land of the Dead from consideration. It's too recent, and I've only seen it once; it has yet to become fixed in its proper historical context. But as for the others:

10. Return of the Living Dead 3: A tender love story between a boy and his zombie girlfriend, Julie. Hey, any movie featuring Adam-12's Kent McCord has got it going on right from the start. Includes the immortal line: "Julie, are you eating him?" Yes. Yes, she is.

9. 28 Days Later: For a zombie movie that wants to pretend it's not a zombie movie, it's a pretty darn good zombie movie. Brendan Gleeson is brilliant. Darn that monkey virus!

8. Zombie: I have not seen nearly enough of Italian director Lucio Fulci's work, but I intend to correct that; of what I have seen, this is the best. A zombie fights a shark in this movie. A ZOMBIE FIGHTS A SHARK IN THIS MOVIE!!!

7. Cemetery Man: Another Italian film, and Rupert Everett's finest role. By turns darkly humorous and intensely, emotionally cruel, this is a most bizarre and affecting zombie movie.

6. Shaun of the Dead: The best of the recent crop of zombie flicks (again, with Land of the Dead taken out of consideration), it succeeds as both comedy and horror. I just wish it had led to Spaced getting an American DVD release. Damn it!

5. The Return of the Living Dead: The original fast zombie movie! (I'm pretty sure.) Also, the original zombie comedy! (I think.) In the middle of the vast '80s glut of horror movies, this stood out as one of the rare films to possess some real character and inventiveness. Plus Linnea Quigley's graveyard dance is super hot. I think I identify with these zombies the most. Brains!!

4. Night of the Living Dead: The godfather of the modern zombie genre; the benchmark against which all followers must be compared. A devastating snapshot of a nation's psyche; a terrifying exercise in claustrophobic dread and horror. "They're coming to get you, Barbara!"

3. Day of the Dead: George A. Romero created a masterpiece, then outdid himself twice. This second sequel took on the gung-ho military mindset so prevalent in the '80s, and also introduced the world to Bub, the best zombie ever.

2. Dead Alive: The goriest film ever made. Also a tremendously funny one. And, as in 28 Days Later, it all starts with a monkey. Pesky zombie monkeys! Peter Jackson is wasting his talents on giant chimps and talking trees. He needs to make more movies with evil zombie babies and ninja priests who say, "I kick arse for the Lord!"

1. Dawn of the Dead: I've already attested to the fact that this is the greatest movie of all time, so it should be no surprise to find it at #1 on this list. Great zombie effects, even by today's standards, and even accounting for the very fake, bright red paint-like blood, which is oddly charming. The intensely paranoid atmosphere outstrips the first, making this the scariest of Romero's Dead canon. This was a quantum leap forward for zombies, and horror films in general.

Missing from this list: Sam Raimi's Evil Dead series. Those movies seem to be more about demon possession than straight-up zombies. But if I were to count them, Evil Dead II ("Groovy!") would go right behind Dead Alive, with Army of Darkness ("Come get some!") following immediately after.


Blogger Archangel_Rokan said...

Thanks a lot. Looks like a need to make a trip to blockbuster. But it is I who kicks arse for the Lord.

5:35 PM  
Blogger HP said...

It's not easy to find, but if you can, try to see Messiah of Evil, aka Dead People.

It's the original, original fast-moving zombie movie, from 1973.

In a small northern California coastal village, the transformed spirit of a Donner Party survivor (or is it a demon?) returns on the night of the lunar eclipse to transform the villagers into flesh-eating zombies. Ask anyone who's seen it about "the grocery store scene" or "the movie theater scene."

Written and directed by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz ("American Graffiti"), and featuring one of the last performancs by the great Elisha Cook, Jr. ("The Maltese Falcon").

(My goal in life is to promote this movie until Criterion digs up some 35MM negatives and gives this the release it deserves.)

8:09 AM  
Blogger Zombie_Tom said...

HP -- nice recommendation! I'll have to try and find that one, sounds excellent.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot:


7:48 AM  
Blogger brainpoop said...

BrainPoop say that your list is 100% absolutely perfect. I agree with every choice and it's placement. WTG Zombie Tom.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Sef Gray said...

You are right that about Dawn of the Dead being the Greatest film ever Made.
You should check these two cool ass Zombie flicks.Let Sleeping Corpses Lie and Lucio Fulci's The Beyond.
I think Either one would be better than Return of the Living dead 3

3:37 PM  
Blogger Kadachi said...

rawr nice list of movies thanks ill maybe check them out

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Viagra Online without prescription said...

I would say that one of my favorite movie is 28 days later. I like the way that they focus in that kind of zombies that are faster and more aggressive and the way that the virus can be transmitted.

7:10 AM  

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