In case you haven't caught this before, here is my Top 10 Zombie movies:
Movies and zombies. The two in my mind have gone hand in hand since I was a teenager. My friends and I would watch them, dissect them, turn them every which way as we debated their merits and explored the feasibility of the agency the filmmakers used to begin the zombie apocalypse. And now, after I’ve written my first zombie trilogy, “In the Time of the Dead,” the question of which movies are my favorites comes up with a startling regularity. So to satisfy the curious, I’ve decided to provide a list of my top ten, ranked from my least favorite to my most favorite. And for good measure, since I am not a serious movie reviewer, I’ve thrown in some memorable moments that I recall when I saw some of them.
They are… drum roll please…
10- Planet Terror
I first watched this movie with my wife on our Friday “movie night.” We walked to the movie rental store downtown, picked up the flick and gave it a view. From what I recall, she was reluctant to rent it, and not impressed when it was done. I, on the other hand, enjoyed its headlong dive into the genre. Directed by Robert Rodriquez, it is by far one of the least serious, action packed, engagingly over the top zombie movie on the list. But it was so over the top, it was fun.
9- Dead Snow
Dead Snow. The night I watched this with my buddy, Kevin, my dog threw up all over the living room rug. Unfortunately, that’s the thing I first think of when this film comes to mind. That, however, has nothing to do with how much I liked the movie! It was pretty decent from what I recall. There were some tongue in cheek references to other horror flicks, plenty of blood, a chainsaw, and Nazi zombies! How could that not make for an enjoyable night (aside from cleaning up dog vomit, that is)?
8- Day of the Dead
Just watched this again last month! I think the last time I had seen it was when I was a teenager in college. Ah… college… Ahem. Anyway, this movie is so good. Captain Rhodes, that nutty whack-job, is my favorite. In each scene he was in, I found myself waiting for his reaction to whatever was going on. But the whole movie was cool; an underground bunker, running around in caves full of zombies, gunning them down- what more could you want from a zombie flick from the 80’s?
Okay, for the next four movie choices it gets to be rather difficult for me to put them into a numbered list because I like all of them fairly equally. Take Zombieland, is it better than Shaun of the Dead? That’s a tough call. I mean, Zombieland has got Bill-frickin-Murray in it! I remember watching this movie at night, lights off in the living room, and being totally sucked into the idea of Woody Harrelson craving Twinkies. Awesome.
6- World War Z
So, I know I’m gonna catch it for having World War Z all the way at number six. I can’t help it though, I just like the others so much more. I went to see this flick with my wife and a few friends (one of only two of these films that I saw in the theater! Weird but true) and a good time was had by all! Especially afterward, you know; when the quaffing of various strong beverages occurs along with a spirited discussion of the movie- which is actually one of my favorite things to do. I should go see more movies in the theater. Seriously, though, this was a decent film. The first fifteen minutes is epic!
5- Shaun of the Dead
Right up front- this is one of my favorite spoof films of all time. Maybe that’s because I don’t watch many, or maybe it’s because I enjoy zombie films and bars and think that putting the two together is classic. I don’t know. Either way, this movie is a ton of laughs and is very entertaining. The “Kill Phil” conversation is one of the most hilarious discussions in a zombie film ever. If you can’t recall it, watch it again, you’ll see what I mean.
4- 28 Days Later
Once I got past the idea that the zombies in this film were not actually dead, but just sick people, I had a great time! I think knowing that they were sick people was actually better than trying to figure out the logistics of how a virus could be capable of animating dead flesh and make it walk around. Seriously, that is what I do, I think about things like that even when I’m watching a movie. It is annoying to my wife. That being said, I loved the commitment to the cause of the apocalypse. One drop, just one drop of blood or saliva, and wham! You’re one of the horde with only 28 days to “live” before starvation kills you off. If you’re going to do a virus-caused zombie apocalypse, that is the way to go!
3- Dawn of the Dead (1978)
We’re at the top three! As you may have guessed, George Romero films make up the majority of these- that means two of the three, in case you are as bad at math as I am. This one is a classic, of course. It is the sequel to Night of the Living Dead, and I’m pretty sure I watched it with my friend, Kevin, (yes, the same guy who watched Dead Snow with me and laughed as I cleaned up dog vomit) when we were in high school. I think we were at his house. No, I know we were at his house. The movie is R rated, and since my parents didn’t let me watch R rated movies until I was seventeen, I would head to Kevin’s house and we would watch R rated movies all day without telling them. The typical rebellious teenager. As I recall, I was totally sucked into this film. I’ll never forget the purge of the mall by the survivors, the rampaging biker scenes, and the “shopping” zombies. All great stuff.
2- Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Remember when I wrote that I’d catch flack for putting World War Z at number six? I will probably catch just as much for putting the remake of Dawn of the Dead before the original. I don’t care, fire the canons! This is my list, right? My reasoning behind this is purely mood. I think they are both excellent zombie films, the difference is that the remake turned me on to the idea of fast-moving zombies. I know, I know, 28 Days Later did it first, but as I wrote earlier, those critters seemed more like sick people and not true undead. Dawn of the Dead (2004) turned that on its head. It creeped me out! And I wasn’t the only one. I went to see this in the theater with a few friends and I distinctly remember the guy in front of me squealing and saying, “Get out! Get outta there!”
1- Night of the Living Dead
Here we are! Number one! There is no possible way that this zombie film couldn’t be number one. It’s the first zombie movie I saw and it made a lasting impression- black and white images scrolling along, telling their story of stumbling undead terrorizing survivors in a remote farmhouse, the room I was sitting in made drowsy by afternoon sunlight, an armchair that smelled of cigars, and years and years ahead of me to watch zombie movies. When the movie was done, I was hooked.