Zombies are cool again. In all aspects of media – literature, movies, comicbooks, and games – zombies have lurched back into the limelight. And really, what’s not to love about the living dead? They are a relentless force that just keeps coming and coming.
A zombie horde is not so much a walking horror but a force of nature. This is probably the reason why zombies are so loved by so many. Zombies are a great nemesis especially since they are innumerable, but they are also a great metaphor for our time – about how our abuse of the environment may come back to haunt us.
Here are some great movies that should be part of your zombie movie watching platter.
1. White Zombie
As seminal movies go, White Zombie is a trailblazer and one of the earliest films to feature zombies. The 1930s movie starred Bela Lugosi in one of his scariest non-vampire roles. Of course, it is also notable for establishing one zombie canon – don’t aim for the chest if you want to permanently stop a zombie.
2. Night of The Living Dead
If there’s one movie that really put zombies on the map, it will be Night of The Living Dead. The first movie in George Romero’s celebrated Living Dead saga, Night of The Living Dead basically gave the roadmap for how modern-age zombies are portrayed. The vagueness of how the zombies came about and the almost documentary-like feel of the movie are some of the elements that made this movie such a resounding success not just for horror fans but for film fans as well. Recently, Night of The Living Dead entered the public domain so it can even be downloaded for free and without fear of being branded a pirate. This unprecedented accessibility has made Night of The Living Dead a popular zombie movie until now.
3. Dawn of The Dead
The second part of George Romero’s Living Dead saga is not just a cool horror movie. It’s also Romero’s indictment of the growing consumerism in America. Watching the movie operate on two different levels is a joy for every cineaste. But horror fans shouldn’t feel left behind because when the proverbial crap hits the fan, you’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat until the very satisfying ending. This was the first zombie movie I saw when I was a kid and this is the standard by which I judge other zombie movies. And for good measure, this may probably be the best zombie movie ever made.
4. Diary of The Dead
Day of The Dead was a worthy follow-up to Dawn of The Dead, while Land of The Dead was a decent enough movie that resumed Romero’s undead saga. But for some reason, it’s the follow-up, Diary of the Dead that calls to me. A ‘reboot’ of sorts of the Living Dead saga in that this movie’s timeline supposedly coincides with what happened in Night of The Living Dead, Diary of The Dead sees Romero again wielding the powerful tool of social commentary in telling the story of a bunch of college students making a student film when the zombie outbreak begins. It’s Romero telling us his thoughts about the invasion of privacy that reality shows pose. And it’s a damn good indictment.
If the US has George Romero as its certified zombie connoisseur, then Italy has Lucio Fulci who directed the Zombi films, which are probably the best zombie films to come out of the slew of genre films that Italy produced in the 70s and 80s. The first Zombi movie was notable for not just having introduced us to Fulci’s vision of zombies but also for what is probably one of the most famous scenes in zombie movies – the encounter between a zombie and a shark. Yes, a zombie and a shark.
6. They Came Back
They Came Back is not really a horror movie in the strictest definition of the genre. But it still deserves a mention in this list because of the originality of the movie. What will you do if your dead loved ones abd all of the dead people you know came back to life and try to reintegrate themselves into society? That’s the premise of this very tought provoking film and one that will leave you pondering this question well after you’ve watched it.
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