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Top 100 Best Zombie Movies Part 10

Top 100 Best Zombie Movies: A Toast to the Zombie Gaming Revolution

Intro:

We love zombies. It’s our duty as geeks and/or gamers to be fascinated by the social commentary so often paralleled in modern zombie cinema; or atleast to enjoy watching people get their faces eaten. Either way they’re lovable creatures with a following that is to be truly admired. With the ever increasing boost of zombie/undead themed games, I present to the general public a list of the best zombie movies (and worst) to date. Of course this list is my personal opinion and very much open to dispute, there are also plenty of zombie movies I have not seen that probably deserve to be on this list. This is simply one zombie fan’s attempt to further the spread of zombie admiration and perhaps get some people into some of the best zombie movies they may have never before seen. Keeping the interest high keeps the zombie games coming!

Numbers 10 - 1:


10] Return of the Living Dead Series - #1 to #3

One Sheet for Return of the Living Dead
One Sheet for Return of the Living Dead 2
One Sheet for Return of the Living Dead 3

Synopsis: "When a bumbling pair of employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to re-animate..." The second one has a group of kids unearth the same barrels followed by havoc, and the third follows a kid that takes his dead girlfriend into a top secret base to use the re-animating gas on her corpse.

The first installment is a hilarious and gory attempt at catching some moolah on the zombie fad. It worked. Corny enough to be funny yet serious enough to be a horror it has plenty of brain munching and great zombie-effects to please both sides. The undead are even given the ability to speak, even though it mostly consists of them professing their love of fresh brains. Chuckle-inducing all the way to the laugh out loud ending, it's a movie specifically made for zombie fans.

Part II... This is pretty much like The Exorcist II or Resident Evil 2, it's easier to pretend it just didn't happen. But it did, and we must accept that. While it makes good with the gore and special effects it fails in the comedy, and even goes to the extent of having an exceptionally annoying jive-talking female zombie head that just takes it from bad to worse. Let's just move on.

The third installment, there we go! Back with the cheese and the humor we get a story as to why children should never be allowed near top secret military operations, especially after numerous events of disaster because of them. After he brings his dead love back to life she discovers that self mutilation helps distract her from the craving of  gray matter. It also gives us plenty of S&M zombie moments for those that like to take their love of zombies a little too far. Blood, brains, and best of all, no jive-talking heads!

There are more in this series, but seriously, after 3 it's best to just turn a blind eye... they're just horrid.


9] Dawn of the Dead (2004)

One Sheet for Dawn of the Dead Remake
Synopsis: "Survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall."

Asides from taking place in a mall, this movie is not even remotely comparable to Romero's classic. It is however, a remarkably entertaining and gory zombie movie that is jam packed with laughs and entrails. It attempts to mimic some of Romero's social commentaries but generally falls flat on it's face as it tries too hard to go against what it originally set out to do (make money). Even with the flaws this is a movie you just can't help but laugh along with as it dispenses one-liners, hilarious situations and some Richard Cheese music. This isn't just for laughs though, the movie is ripe with the red stuff and serious horror elements that make it a true horror classic. It should have just been called Mall of the Dead though. :p


8] Night of the Living Dead (1990)

One Sheet for Night of the Living Dead Remake
Synopsis: "In this remake of the original classic film, a group of people are trapped inside a farmhouse as legions of the walking dead try to get inside and use them for food."

A rather colorful and entertaining remake of the original NOTLD. The zombie makeup has been upgraded and made more earthy and bloody. The annoyance of Barbara's screaming antics are gone and we get a fresh, vibrant feature. Although not necessary, the remake provides a safe setting for middle ground zombie fans that aren't hardcore into the genre, giving them something a little more up to date to appease their yearning for a semi-classic.


7] 28 ... Later Series

One Sheet for 28 Days Later
One Sheet for 28 Weeks Later

Synopsis: "Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary." And the sequel, "Six months after the rage virus was inflicted on the population of Great Britain, the US Army helps to secure a small area of London for the survivors to repopulate and start again. But not everything goes to plan."

I'm going to be honest here. I saw 28 Days Later in theater and I almost walked out on it. I don't know if it was the hyped advertising of "Zombie Movie!" combined with the annoying yet in your face "Scary as HELL!"  line that took up the entire bottom of the poster, but I just felt pissed when I saw it (asides from when Cillian gets fed up and parallels a blood thirsty zombie). "Those aren't zombies!" "That wasn't scary!" "Braaaa, what the Hell?!"

A year or two later I figured I'd give it another shot and low and behold I not only loved it, it became one of my favorite horror movies. It's amazing how strongly marketing and hype can affect your movie-going experience. The movie feels like a painting come to life, it's art in movie form that just so happens to be a zombie flick at the same time (oh crap, now I'm hyping it aren't I? Oh vicious circle). Although not flawless the movie is a fine example of Danny Boyle and Cillian Murphy's talents, and although at first odd feeling it is a refreshing take on the zombie genre. What really takes the prize home for me though is the haunting opening scenes of an unpopulated desolate feeling England, the 'zombies' that have no problem running for their meal, and an amazing closing segment in the mansion. Seriously grin-inducing stuff.

28 Weeks Later is a whole different kinda movie. They did a decent job trying to keep the colors, camerawork and mood similar to Danny Boyle's, but tried a little too hard (ie: overuse of the main song from the first). However, we get plenty of zombie action, Robert freakin' Carlyle, enough red sauce to feed a blood bank, and lots of 'bad things happening to good people'. A strong sense of despair is present, and you can really feel the panic as the military tries to isolate the outbreak. Luckily for us, they fail! Great characters and horrific zombies makes for a welcome sequel to the original. Now, where's 28 Months Later? I want to see zombies in France!


6] Versus

One Sheet for Versus
Synopsis: "There are 666 portals that connect this world to the other side. These are concealed from all human beings. Somewhere in Japan exists the 444th portal.... The forest of resurrection."

Firstly, you MUST see this movie, it's freaking amazing. Secondly, do NOT watch it dubbed! Everybody's voice is done, I swear, by one guy that just does a Clint Eastwood impersonation the entire time, eg: Imagine Dirty Hairy saying in a matter-of-fact tone, "Hey man, you're a real a-hole". No, this movie must be watched subtitled, whether you like it or not! Two convicts on the run find temporary solace in the deep woods. Then the mobsters show up, and go in after. Oh yes, and everyone knows kung-fu.

But where do the zombies come in? Well this is the Forest of Resurrection my friend! Once someone goes for the big sleep, they come back for seconds. Once things get going, our lead dons a trenchcoat, makes a little jab at The Matrix, then starts kung-fuing the crap out of mobsters, turning them zombies. This of course means he must proceed to kung-fu some zombie ass, all while toting around a little Asian chick that he one-punches unconscious before every battle. Oh, and of course the police get involved, and there's more Matrix ripping and gun fun added into the fray. Plenty of swordplay, amazing knife fighting, melee kung-fu fighting, major gun play, and serious barrels of blood.


5] Resident Evil Series

One Sheet for Resident Evil
One Sheet for Resident Evil: Apocalypse
One Sheet for Resident Evil: Extinction

Synopsis: "A special military unit fights a powerful, out-of-control supercomputer and hundreds of scientists who have mutated into flesh-eating creatures after a laboratory accident." Followed by the lackluster sequel, "After an outbreak in a top-secret facility, Umbrella ponders on covering up their mistakes by releasing the deadly Nemesis to eliminate surviving STARS members in Raccoon City." Then redeems itself with the third installment, "Survivors of the Raccoon City catastrophe travel across the Nevada desert, hoping to make it to Alaska. Alice joins the caravan and their fight against the evil Umbrella Corp."

Resident Evil was the first movie I saw more than once in theaters, that is how much that movie rocked my ass. It's got humor, horror, gore, catchy music, great leads, good twists; it's an all around great flick. The suspense is laid on thick, the characters are charismatic (Kaplan, and Colin Salmon's character) and the dialogue is witty (although silly at times, it's forgivable). Not since Hal2000 has a computer been so diabolical.

The sequel, 'Apocalypse', is a lackluster disappointment. While it has all the trademarks of a good zombie movie it has terrible acting (Jill Valentine seems like she must [insert derogatory tampon reference here]), terrible dialogue (black comedic relief, doesn't belong here), stupid acting (a well timed motorcycle crashing through a church window, surprisingly so lame it feels like it was written in by a 14 year old) and a really shoddy Nemesis that reminded me more of a really lame Frankenstein (ala, "friend?"). Simply put, it's worth avoiding unless you haven't seen the series, but it has enough explosions and tomato sauce to keep you interested between the amazing first and third installments.

Finally 'Extinction' brings back the intensity and seriousness of the first, along with the same rocking music and amazing storyline. Lots of action that, unlike it's predecessor, isn't cheesy and is filled with adrenaline and gore. The movie introduces a large cast and still maintains the ability to give each person character and a level of care (because really, odds are they're gonna die and it's gonna be sad).  Alice becomes a true force to be reckoned with, and her foray into Umbrella begins to feel like a scene right out of the Doom 3 video game. Great finale, with an apparent fourth in the works!


4] Re-Animator Series

One Sheet for Re-Animator
One Sheet for Bride of Re-Animator
One Sheet for Beyond Re-Animator

Synopsis: "A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus." Things get weirder when, "Doctors Herbert West and Dan Cain discover the secret to creating human life and proceed to create a perfect woman from dead tissue." Then get even weirder when, "A dozen years later we find West is an inmate at a forbidding old Prison. In spite of his incarceration, West has been continuing his Re-animation research..."

The original Re-Animator is a true cult classic. Jeffrey Combs is one of the best actors in the horror genre, and his early releases like this show why. The movie has hilarious black humor (all about the dead[ish] cat), a witty dark character (West's ego maniacal rantings), and red syrup abundance. It has a stellar gory ending, including a decapitated head getting down and dirty with our naked heroine. Fun.

The sequel is not nearly as stellar, but is more of a slapstick fans-only release. Lots of silly effects and "interesting" acting but it still has all the gravy needed for a Re-Animator release. Here West convinces our lead that he can bring his love back to life using his special neon green serum. They then build a body using bits and pieces of other people, like some sort of psycho's blow-up doll.

The third installment is a brilliant piece of work. I'll get it out right now: If you have ever wanted to see a kung-fu rat battle a zombie penis watch the credits to this, it is a hilarious cap-off to a wonderful addition to the series. West uses his superior ability to befriend and manipulate vulnerable people to get a young doctor to assist in his experiments. Things go awry. Zombies start popping up, multiplying slowly until the final explosive segment where we see how West's little green juice effects everyone in the prison... and asides from West it's generally a negative effect (Lucky us!).


3] Dead Alive / Braindead

One Sheet for Dead Alive / Brain Dead
Synopsis: "A young man's mother is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey. She gets sick and dies, at which time she comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbors."

Taking tongue in cheek comedy and buckets upon buckets of blood, Peter Jackson creates a funny and deeply disturbing zombie classic. With goopy pus, a killer zombie colon, a 'Boomer' battle finale, and one of the most hardcore ass-kicking priests you will ever meet, Jackson took the serious zombie flick and made his own little 'Evil Dead' flick. His cameo in the start is among some of the greatest cheese in cinema history.


2] Shaun of the Dead

One Sheet for Shaun of the Dead
Synopsis: "A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living."

I know this is not a movie that would make #2 on too many people's list, but in all honesty this movie is responsible for the re-animating of the zombie genre. This movie got non-zombie lovers interested, which of course got execs and aspiring young film-makers interested, and created a large uprising in the zombie lovers community. Without this movie there would be a severe lack of zombie movies and games in general.


1] George A Romero's "... of the Dead" Series

One Sheet for Night of the Living Dead
One Sheet for Dawn of the Dead
One Sheet for Day of the Dead
One Sheet for Land of the Dead
One Sheet for Diary of the Dead

Synopsis: A group of people hole up in a house when the first of the dead rise. Then we follow the story of a group of survivors attempting to survive in a mall. The story then shifts to an underground military bunker, and the soldiers/scientists living there. Then we move on to a world where society is slowly being rebuilt only for the outbreak to breach the new city's walls. Lastly we follow a group of film students as we rewind to the first day of the zombie outbreak again.

Night of the Living Dead really kicked off the zombie movement and terrified masses at the same time. Although tame by today's standards, the movie is much more than zombies, and as only Romero can really pull off, is a commentary on society more than anything else.

Dawn of the Dead continues the commentary, and adds more moral dilemmas for the audience to ponder. Longer and gorier than it's predecessor, it paved the continuing popularity of Romero. It is also many's favorite zombie setting, the last stand in the zombie infested mall.

Day of the Dead dragged the story along in a less action packed way. However, it introduced us to a spiteful character, a charming / demented scientist, and everybody's favorite zombie, Bub. It also started the change that Romero was bringing with the attempt to tame the beast of the undead foe with the hopes of eventually living back in peace.

Land of the Dead angered some fans as George began to remake some of the rules. Rules like intelligence, capability to speak and the sudden ability to reason. In my opinion, I believe a man responsible for the creation of such a fad is allowed to tinker with his monsters in any way to keep them interesting. Silly, yes, but still wholesome and entertaining.

Diary of the Dead took the hand-held cam fad to the zombie masses. While this way of shooting is frowned upon by most, it is rather well done despite the obvious realistic flaws of the entire setup. But frankly, the movie has plenty of funny moments combined with a plethora of gory horrific moments that continues Romero's legacy of the zombie master.


Movie synopses care of IMDB or each film's respective Official Website.

 

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