As a child I remember the first black and white film that I ever watched by choice. It was late on a Saturday night and back then the USA Network had Elvira hosting what they called the "Up all night" movie marathon. I remember them talking about George Romero's cult classic from the year 1968 titled Night Of The Living Dead. I watched it and was immediately hooked on zombie flicks from that day as a child to even now as an adult.
Now over the course of time zombies certainly have evolved. So first I wanted to compile a list of how things are different now.
Zombies use to be slow moving.
Zombies use to be stupid / dumb / unintelligent.
Zombies use to not like fireworks or machine guns.
Zombies use to not be able to run or scale walls.
Zombies use to not remember how to do "living" things.
So now that I have covered that lets get to my top 10 zombie flicks of all time.
10. Film : Return of the Living Dead
Writer: Dan O'Bannon
Return of the living dead part one was in my opinion the best of ALL the ROTLD films. There where 5 total, yes 5 and I bet my bottom dollar that nobody that reads this column will have seen all 5. This one and the second installment had many of the same actors in the films yet part one was more serious with some minor comedy and part two became more of a flat out piece of shit comedy film. I'm not into mixing comedy with zombies that is why I couldn't stand Shaun Of The Dead. I want to see zombies trying to eat brains and humans shooting them that's about it. Save the jokes for the next Freddy Krueger or Jason Vorhees film. Oh yeah and if you actually rented part 4 or part 5 I feel really sorry for you because even the writer disowns the films that were made.
9. Film : Resident Evil
Director: Paul Anderson
Resident Evil was a complete surprise for me. Number one because it was a great zombie film and number two was that it was a great zombie film that was based on a video game...which usually spells disaster for ANY film if a video game existed before the film was produced. The creatures were pretty scary and they came up with some really cool elements to set the film apart such as the laser grid that cuts off body parts. Also plenty of weaponry and even a mixture of different zombie creatures such as the rabid zombie dogs that seem to plague the series. Add a few hott chicks that can kick ass in the film like Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez and you have a pretty good recipe for a good ghoul flick. I just wish they would have tried harder with the sequels.
8. Film : 1985 Day Of The Dead
Writer: George A. Romero
If you were unlucky enough to see the Day Of The Dead remake before seeing the original then understand that the remake isn't a remake at all, but a whole different movie with just the same title and a couple of the same character names. The original DOTD is my least favorite of the three original zombie films that Romero put out but its still a good film. I didn't really grasp the characters and some of the actors in this one just annoyed the piss out of me so I always watched it the least. Now as far as blood and guts this one has some really great gore scenes such as the zombie sitting upright on a bed and his intestines falling out or a woman hacking off the arm of a non-zombie to keep the virus from spreading. It just lacks in overall excitement.
7. Film : 1990 Night Of The Living Dead
Director: Tom Savini
I really like this version of NOTLD. Its a little different but really the same they just made some improvements to the script. The one thing that I like the most is that for one its in color and for two there is more then ONE gun in the house this time, cause zombie films without guns equals boring. Tony Todd is one of my favorite horror actors of all time and he really brought Ben to life in his take of that character. Also I have spoken to William Butler who plays the character of Tom, many times and he is so nice that it makes me like the film even more. I also think that it was very fitting to have Tom Savini direct this one since he made magic happen for zombie kills in Dawn Of The Dead.
6. Film : Land Of The Dead
Writer:George A. Romero
I saw this film in the theatre and remembered being disappointed. About a year later HBO picked it up and I found myself watching it almost once a day. Every time I saw it I got more and more hooked and really started to dig the film. Its so different and well thought out when you look at the plot which capitalizes on social issues such as greed, big business, terrorism and basically the whole idea of the rich getting richer and the poor not getting a fucking thing (yes that was a quote from New Jack City.) I do not like the fireworks being able to keep zombies occupied from their soul purpose of eating brains but there are several elements of this film that really bring this genre to life.
5. Film : 28 Days Later
Writer: Alex Garland
If you say that NOTLD from 68' invented the zombie film then I would go as far as to say that 28 Days Later RE-INVENTED the zombie film. These are not the slow stupid ghouls we are use to seeing...these are the tri-athlete Olympic runner zombies that are as fast as a cheetah and as violent as O.J. Simpson. They are actually scary which usually zombies that you can literally walk past do not tend to frighten people as much. My biggest complaint which has been argued by many was the lack of guns in the film because with any good zombie film I want to see some guns blasting and splattering heads and pieces of brains all over the place. The sequel was not bad either but failed at the box office so its possible that this series may already be at an end.
4. Film : 2004 Dawn Of The Dead
Director: Zack Snyder
Who remembers when USA aired the first 15 minutes of this film uncut before it came out in the theatres. Well I do even if you don't. I remember seeing the scene when the car is flying down the interstate and loses control to crash into the gas station which ironically enough ignites the gas pumps......YES....complete and utter chaos. This is actually one of THE BEST remakes ever made for ANY genre. Although a good bit different from the original this film takes many good elements of the 1978 version and also adds a good bit of new and exciting characters and plot settings. Ving Rhames was great in it as well as Sarah Polley. Remember at the first of this article when I was talking about how zombies have evolved? This film is a prime example.
3. Film : Zombie
Director: Lucio Fulcio
This one is a little confusing. It has so many alternate titles and has been released as part one in the United States but as part 2 in other countries so make sure you don't buy or rent the same movie twice like I did. I purchased Zombie 1 and Zombie 2 and got them home to realize that it was the same freaking movie just with different art work. Lucio Fulci is a zombie God just like Romero. This film had some unique things in it as well such as a zombie fighting a shark and also a very hard to watch scene involving a large splinter going through an eye ball....yeah it will make you cringe EVERYTIME you watch it. I also loved the extremely dated 80's sounding music that plays over and over again in the film. It starts off a little slow but once everything starts moving this exemplifies what a zombie movie should be.
2. Film : 1968 Night Of The Living Dead
Writer: George A. Romero
Like I said earlier this was the first true zombie film that I ever saw or as some put it "ghoul" film since the term "zombie" came around years later. The film is so simple but yet so effective and it brings such an impact to the audience member because you find yourself thinking "What would I do in this situation?" Probably or lets say HOPEFULLY you would not do the dumb things that they make certain characters do in horror films but imagining boarding yourself up in a strangers farm house to keep dead people from eating your brains can bring HOURS of entertaining conversation with you and your buddies. Romero started a trend and set the precedent for a new level of horror films that are still being mimicked to this day.
1. Film : 1978 Dawn of The Dead
Writer: George A. Romero
The original Dawn Of The Dead has always been my favorite zombie film. Shortly after I viewed NOTLD for the first time I quickly did my research and found out what other Romero films where out there. I got this one and fell in love with it for a few reasons. First off the zombie kills that Tom Savani came up with where just awesome. From the Helicopter blades severing the head of the one or the machete chopping through the skull of another it was just totally awesome. Also it just made sense to me..you know the type of sense that if something like this happened I too would be looting the shit out of the mall, especially with a fully stocked gun store in it. It was just fun to watch them shop for whatever they wanted, steal money from the bank even though paper money was worthless at that point and even to have the whole ice skating rink to themselves. I actually own the REAL copy of the 4 disc DVD set and its really got some great stuff on it if you are a fan of this one.
I already know ONE person that will disagree with the list and that is MatchFlick's on zombie fanatic...."ZombieBoy" because we have discussed a good many of these films before. If you do not agree with my list then make your on and save me the lecture :)
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Tim Malcolm got his first job at a movie theater in 1996 working as a projectionist. He quickly learned that there was no better job then getting paid to watch movies. Since then he has been an advid film watcher, collector, critic and writer.|
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