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The Top 10 Zombie Movies of All Time

Top 10 Zombie Movies

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.

#10 Re-Animator

Re-Animator | October 18, 1985 (United States) Summary: After an odd new medical student arrives on campus, a dedicated local and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, German

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

Evil Dead II | March 13, 1987 (United States) Summary: The lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holes up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Latin

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

I Walked with a Zombie Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Romance | April 30, 1943 (United States) Summary: A nurse is hired to care for the wife of a sugar plantation owner, who has been acting strangely, on a Caribbean island.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

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

The Return of the Living Dead Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi | August 16, 1985 (United States) Summary: When two bumbling employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to rise again as zombies.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

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

Dead Alive Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller | February 12, 1993 (United States) Summary:
Countries: New ZealandLanguages: English, Spanish

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

Dawn of the Dead | 1979 (United States) Summary: Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge i... Read all
Countries: United States, ItalyLanguages: English, Spanish

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…

28 Days Later... | June 27, 2003 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United KingdomLanguages: English, Spanish

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.

#3 Zombieland

Zombieland | October 2, 2009 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Spanish, French

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

Night of the Living Dead (1968) 96min | Horror, Thriller | 4 October 1968 (USA) Summary: A ragtag group of Pennsylvanians barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a bloodthirsty, flesh-eating breed of monsters who are ravaging the East Coast of the United States.
Countries: USALanguages: English

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 Comedy, Horror | September 24, 2004 (United States) Summary: The uneventful, aimless lives of a London electronics salesman and his layabout roommate are disrupted by the zombie apocalypse.
Countries: United Kingdom, France, United StatesLanguages: English

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!

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Shawn has been infatuated with the post-apocalyptic genre since he wore out his horribly American-dubbed VHS of the original Mad Max as a child. Shawn is the former Editor-in-Chief at Joystiq's Massively.com, creator of the Aftermath post-apocalyptic immersion event, and host of the Through the Aftermath podcast for over 11 years. He currently resides on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with his wife and four children.

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