Love ’em or hate ’em, zombie movies are a staple in the entertainment industry. Whether you like your zombies slow or fast, this list of my personal favorites should appeal to everyone.
This movie really stuck with me as a kid because it’s about a scientist who successfully brings dead tissue back to life. There’s no crazy apocalypse or big event that happens to suddenly create zombies; the undead are a result of science.
#9 Evil Dead II
This is the movie that put Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi on the map, and for good reason. I remember going to the video store as a kid and staring at that amazing cover, trying to figure out how they got a human head inside of a skull.
#8 I Walked with a Zombie
This movie came out 25 years before Night of the Living Dead, but really is one of the first looks at how to deal with undead (shout-out to 1932’s White Zombie). It’s not gory, and it has some boring romantic parts (gross!), but it truly is a classic in every sense of the word.
#7 The Return of the Living Dead
Uh oh, did I just add a non-Romero “of the Living Dead” movie to this list?! John Russo’s Return of the Living Dead came out when I was 10, and it really is the one that’s probably stuck with me the most. Not only did it introduce us to the concept of a fast-moving zombie, but it also gave us the classic trope about zombies eating brains.
#6 Dead Alive
Before he took the hobbits to Isengard, Peter Jackson made one of the bloodiest zombie movies ever. Yes, it’s another comedy on the list, but it’s also funny in a dark, dark way.
#5 Dawn of the Dead
1978’s sequel to Night of the Living Dead goes way deeper into the apocalyptic event that NotLD ever did. For one, it actually explains what happened, and shows us humanity’s response as a whole. I consider Dawn of the Dead to be the Road Warrior to Night of the Living Dead’s Mad Max.
#4 28 Days Later…
In stark contrast to Night of the Living Dead’s slow, lumbering zombies, we get the infamous fast-running zombies that really ramp up the horror aspect of these types of films. 28 Days Later has become synonymous with that new kind of zombie that everyone hopes doesn’t exist in a real zombie apocalypse.
Just like with Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland expands the zombie comedy genre into new directions. Released in 2009 when video games were exploding in popular media, Zombieland takes the same approach to deliver a game-like experience that doesn’t try to be more than it is. This movie also made the most money out of any other on this list.
#2 Night of the Living Dead
Adding this 1968 classic makes me look like a giant hipster, but there’s no denying the movie’s quality story and effect it’s had on the entire zombie movie genre. Sure, it’s not the first movie to feature zombies (there’s an earlier one on this list!), but it really brought out the horror factor and and introduced us to the group-of-survivors trope that just seems to work over and over again.
#1 Shaun of the Dead
Shaun of the Dead is known for its comedy and wit, but the movie really is so much more than that. Using everyday found objects as weapons against the undead is something that’s not covered much (yet very helpful!). No matter how many times I get tired of people calling me “Shawn of the Dead,” this movie still deserves #1 in my book.
Of course, this list is strictly my opinion, but I’d love to hear your own top 10. Leave them in the comments below!