The closing season of ‘The Walking Dead’, despite the notorious decline that has dragged the series for a long time, only endorses the attraction that zombies continue to have for the public, decades after its appearance, and after suffering abundant reformulations. His versatility and ability to adapt to the times is the secret of his incredible resistance to fashion, crisis and styles.
First as children of Haitian voodoo, then as unfathomable chunks of meat slowly wandering through cemeteries feeding on human flesh, later reinventing themselves as ferocious cannibal beasts that take the world to the brink of viral speed chaos, zombies have found new ways to unsettle us The reason for this implacable survival is twofold.
First, its condition as a blank canvas in which to capture the conjunctural fears of society. From “The monster is evil” to “No, wait, we’re the monster”, going through “The guilt of all these monsters is society”, the zombies have managed to reflect as few creatures of cinema terror the fears that palpitate among the spectators, sometimes unconsciously. They have been the protagonists and the backdrop, and have figured in action movies, comedies and horror metaphysical indie. There is no genre, style or theme that resists the voluble undead.
The second reason for their eternal relevance is that they appeal to our most ancestral fear: the impossibility of resting in peace. The dead that do not stay dead is the definitive existential aberration and it has taken many forms, from the impossibility of reaching God to being condemned to a life of eternal despair and hunger, going through the classic panic to be buried alive. There is nothing more essential and primary than a living dead, and although vampires or the Frankenstein Creature also play with the concept, the zombie is its essential incarnation.
So to celebrate the universal reach of this monster unable to die (literally and metaphorically), we have selected a few appropriate movies for a good zombie movie marathon. We have tried to make it as varied as possible above any other consideration, so you will no doubt miss more than one key title. What we do guarantee is that all these pieces are highly essential.
1‘The Night of the Living Dead’ (1968)
The movie that started it all remains amazingly current today. On the one hand, his tenebrous and expressionist aesthetic remains as disturbing as in the sixties. On the other, his argument, abstract and essential, which steals equally from ‘I am a legend’ by Richard Matheson and the myth of the redivive and cannibalistic ghoul, appeals to our most primordial fears and has not aged an iota. An absolute masterpiece and, along with ‘La matanza de Texas’, one of the great defining elements of modern horror cinema.
If you liked, look: As we will now talk about the official sequels and the extraordinary remake of 1990, we recommend an authentic rarity: ‘Children should not Play with Dead Things’, which in Spain was titled, for more inri and with everything el morro, ‘The Night of the Living Dead 2’. An almost amateur film directed by Bob Clark (later responsible for ‘Porky’s’) and in which a group of young people judiquean with a corpse, in a mixture of the film of Romero and ‘This dead is very alive’ completely delirious.
2‘Shock Waves’ (1972)
Before becoming a reason for chufa pop, the idea of the Nazi zombies was certainly terrifying and original, and connects with that magnetic idea of the minions of Hitler as crazy students of the occult arts. In this atmospheric and very cheap film prior to the explosion of Romero’s ‘Zombie’, Peter Cushing plays a Nazi officer who is resurrecting a group of National Socialist soldiers killed in a submarine. The best, the nightmarish atmosphere and the imposing appearance of the zombies.
If you liked it look for: The icon of the Nazi zombie has been recently revitalized with the two films of the saga ‘Nazi Zombies’. The second one above all, much more excessive and hooligan than the first, are great digital splapsticks to the tail of ‘Piranha 3D’ and it does a great job in demonstrating that trench coats, swastikas and panzers from beyond giving rise to great villains.
3‘Do not desecrate the dream of the dead’ (1974)
The top of the Spanish productions of the genre is this extraordinary film by Jordi Grau, of British atmosphere and that outside our borders is considered a top of the genre. Very attentive to the dead of Romero, narrates an outbreak of zombie infection in Manchester (hence its international title, ‘The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue’) with a classical atmosphere and gore explosions absolutely disheveled.
If you liked it, search: When talking about Spanish zombies, the international success of Rec is the first one that comes to mind, but here we will leave it aside because they are rather demonic entities (especially after the arrogance and superior ‘Rec 2’), which connects the mythology created by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza with one of the films that has most influenced the cinema “of infected”: Demons by Lamberto Bava.
But there are Spanish undead that stand out: The night of the blind terror and its sequels, Amando de Ossorio, raised a zombie mythology inspired by the completely Hispanic Templars. And the crazy thing The invasion of the atomic zombies, a coproduction with Italy that invented the zombies that run at full speed (almost three decades before the fashion of the infected) and that even use firearms.
4‘Dead and buried’ (1981)
An absolute wonder, unclassifiable and unique and with a spectacularly sinister atmosphere, in a very dark update of American Gothic. Here a policeman from a small coastal town must face a series of corpses that rise up after being victims of hordes of peaceful residents. The story has a final twist that also leads to a very interesting reformulation of the living dead, just at a time when these had become the new official villains of genre film after the success of Romero’s ‘Zombi’.
If you liked it look: We are not going to enter into spoilers, but ‘Dead and buried’ forms a perfect double program, with an equally original argument, but much less serious: ‘We are dead… or what?’, A buddy movie in which one of the protagonists is a zombie who must solve his own murder before rotting at all.
5‘The beyond’ (1981)
The metaphysical horror films of Lucio Fulci are increasingly modern, and have not lost over the years or a whit of the aggressiveness that characterized them in their day. Although all are very remarkable, some for their atmosphere, others for their reinvention of the Gothic codes, the most unclassifiable and nightmarish remains ‘El más allá’. An authentic delirium (in the literal sense) where the zombies, the slowest and most static in history, are a kind of demonic entities. The zombie girl or the unspeakable conclusion are real gold in the mythology of the genre.
If you liked it, look for: ‘Fear in the city of the undead’ and ‘That house next to the cemetery’ complete the trilogy of abstract zombie horror and emaciated, essential to understand the icon in the eighties. It is convenient to round up with ‘New York under the terror of the zombies’, the fake sequel to Romero’s ‘Zombi’ which also has an overwhelming conclusion and one of the great landmarks of the genre: the sequence of shark vs. zombie.
The total masterpiece of zombie cinema in the seventies had an impact on the genre that has not been matched. There is more to see the European horror film of the time, increasingly violent, to calibrate it. Romero’s genius was in the intuitive mixture of classic terror – inheriting the formula of the locked and besieged people that gave him such a good result in ‘La noche…’ – high-voltage action – with the support of Tom’s revolutionary effects Savini- and a great burden of social criticism, sometimes metaphorical and sometimes directly verbalized in fascinating dialogues of high density.
If you liked it, search: Check, without hesitation, ‘The Day of the Dead’, the movie that definitively established the topic of military against scientists in the zombie cosmos. The rest of the films of undead of Romero are inferior, but nothing despicable, like the buzzing and corrosive ‘The land of the living deads’.
7‘The night of the comet’ (1984)
Absolutely delicious and very strange zombie comedy that, undoubtedly, was ahead of current movies in which the monster is a teenager chufla reason. The plague is unleashed when a comet passes over the earth that turns those who see it into dust and turns the rest into zombies. Series B action, aesthetics more eighties that ‘Flashdance’ and memorable couple protagonist: Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney.
If you liked it, look for: The spirit of ‘The night of the comet’ is well reflected in many teen horror films of the time, from ‘Terror knocks at your door’ to ‘Terror has no shape’, passing through ‘The Stuff’. Its desert and post-apocalyptic city also recalls the start of ‘The Day of the Dead’, just one year before.
An authentic miracle, still amazing today for its balance despite the large number of proper names there are: Richard Band and Brian Yuzna to the production and Stuart Gordon to the direction. Together, adapting a story of the unsuitable HP Lovecraft, half satirical, and loading the inks in two aspects that would disgust the writer: sex and violence. And yet… it works. The story of Herbert West, a scientist who resuscitates the dead, become crazed ghouls without reason, comes together thanks to his daring (the beheaded cunnilingus!), His violence, his humor and his lucky cast, headed by Jeffrey Combs.
If you liked it, look for: ‘Re-Sonator’ is extraordinary, but inferior to the explosive alchemy of ‘Re-Animator’. But, literally, nothing is like ‘Re-Animator’. You will have to delve into the abyss of the B series videoclubera, being aware that Dr. West there is only one. A good start can be ‘The Video Dead’.
9‘The Return of the Living Dead’ (1985)
The great masterpiece of the zombie comedy of the eighties bears the stamp of the great Dan O’Bannon, co-writer of ‘Alien’ or ‘Total Challenge’. Posed as an official pseudo-school, it proposes that Romero’s original film was not fiction, but a documentary. Enriched the zombie universe with two incomparable icons: the punk stripper in cemeteries Trash, interpreted by Linnea Quigley; and Tarman, a half-melted hilarious zombie who popularized the cry of “Cerebrossss”
If you liked it, look for: The sequels of Dan O’Bannon’s film have continued to extend the original and punk universe of the original and the first two have great interest. The fun night of the zombies has an unfair 0% in Rotten Tomatoes and is a version to the ‘Land as you can’ of something more subtle first delivery. The second, ‘Mortal Zombie’, is a wonderita of Brian Yuzna, pure New Meat through his Mindy Clarke as a zombie full of piercings and that raises the idea that the voracity of the dead mitigates a horrible pain.
10‘Terror knocks at its door’ (1986)
It is not strictly a zombie movie, because it has elements of leeches from outer space and ax killers, but the result of the concoction is one of the peaks of the teen horror of the eighties, which also includes an iconic zombie sequence: the harassment of a lots of young people resuscitated to the residence where their partners are for the end of year dance. The icing? The already legendary phrase of the great Tom Atkins ” Girls, I have two news: The good news is that the boys are here, the bad news is that they are dead“.
If you liked it look: The rest of the films directed and / or written by Fred Dekker are purely eighties glory , from ‘A hallucinating gang’ to ‘House’. This is, however, the most excessive, adult and compact.
11‘The snake and the rainbow’ (1988)
A relatively unusual film for Wes Craven – except for that ending, in keeping with his disastrous catalog of film closures – that delved into the Haitian origins of the zombie myth. With a very slight social touch, the best of the film are, without a doubt, the sequences of pure terror, with the protagonist, an anthropologist investigating the mysteries of voodoo and the drugs that propitiate it, being buried alive.
If you liked it, search: go to the voodoo horror classics, the atmospheric ‘I walked with a zombie’ by Jacques Tourneur in the lead. ‘The legion of soulless men’ is inferior, but historical because it is the first film in history with zombies on board. And ‘The Plague of the zombies’, of the Hammer, is a delight: it abounds in the idea of the zombie as cheap labor and has one of the best sequences of dead people coming out of their graves in a cemetery of all time.
The zombie comedy par excellence is also one of the bloodiest films of all time, and a much more sophisticated than it seems. The reason is that he understands perfectly the origins of gore cinema and with an unpretentious naturalness links viscera and trompazos. The result is deservedly mythical, chaining a visual tour de force after another, and involves the swan song of a Peter Jackson artisan and genuinely fun that we would almost never see again.
If you liked it, search: We have left out of this list the movies of the series ‘Evil Dead’ for not entering exactly the zombie canon. But his second installment, ‘Terroríficamente Muertos’, is the clearest precedent of ‘Braindead’ and, zombie or not, the other great referent of splatstick cinema, or comedy mixed with gore.
13‘My girlfriend is a zombie’ (1994)
Michele Soavi signed with this ‘Dellamorte Dellamore’ of horrid Spanish title one of the essential pieces of the zombie cinema of the nineties. Dreamy and sickly romantic, he does not renounce humor or gore in the guise of a purely Italian lyrical caricature, and with the disregarded history of a plague of dead people in life that the guard of the cemetery of an Italian village must face.
If you liked it, look for: The rest of the Italian zombie cinema moves by more extreme coordinates, but if you like Soavi do not stop checking his other films, ‘The sect’ and ‘The devil’s monster’ in the lead. ‘Dellamorte Dellamore’ is an apocryphal version (the script is based on a novel by its creator, Tiziano Sclavi) of the mythical Italian comic character Dylan Dog , but he flees from his official adaptation, ‘Dylan Dog: The Dead of the Night’.
14’28 days later ‘(2002)
Responsible for revitalizing the concept of zombie along with ‘The Dawn of the Dead’ by Zack Snyder, through the always controversial “infected.” That is to say, creatures more alive than dead, possessed by uncontrollable fury and who have lost the characteristic slowness of Romero’s dead, but still start from the same root: the fierce ghoul who devours human flesh. The first bars of the film remain absolutely iconic and the film revitalized the zombie as a fearsome and mysterious creature.
If you liked it, look for: Of course, the sequel ’28 weeks later’, by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. Without being as iconic as the first installment of Danny Boyle, and despite some script problems, has one of the most heartbreaking sequences of modern zombie cinema , in which the protagonist leaves behind his condemned woman while running at full speed, field through, fleeing from an army of zombies.
15‘Resident Evil’ (2002)
Before the arrival of the infected, ‘Resident Evil’ was the great icon of the mainstream zombie , still dependent on the aesthetics and rhythms of Rome. Nothing strange considering that the video game that inspired the film has much of ‘The Night of the Living Dead’ and was thought of an adaptation directed by Romero himself. In the end the franchise has ended up finding a very personal identity, quite unclassifiable and where the zombies are only the backdrop.
If you liked it, look for: ‘Resident Evil’, inside the zombie cinema, it only looks like itself (despite clear imitators such as the very funny and very funny ‘House of the Dead’ – based on another videogame – or the saga ‘Underworld’, with vampires instead of zombies), so enjoy the sequels. They are not exactly zombie movies, but they are one of the most peculiar combinations of action and horror of the moment.
16‘The Dawn of the Dead’ (2004)
The remake of Romero’s classic works on its own terms, and the lineage to which it really belongs is that of a midway point between those infected ’28 days later ‘and the original undead. The social commentary is here replaced by a caustic humor brand of the house very own the writer, James Gunn (that baby!), While the director, a debutante Zack Snyder, is responsible for injecting a feverish rhythm to an adventure with impressive initial compasses.
If you liked it, look: The rest of the remakes of Romero’s work is not very interesting, except for one exception: Tom Savini’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’ of 1990, an absolute gem of splatterpunk that respects and venerates the original, updated its effects, aesthetics and characters (especially notorious is his new Barbara) and reformulates the myth with an even more bitter ending than the original.
17‘Zombies Party’ (2004)
If ‘Braindead’ was the movie that linked the visual language of gore and zombie cinema with comedy, ‘Shaun of the Dead’ was the one that did it thematically. And with a total brilliance that makes it work also as a pure zombie cinema, to such an extent it understands the springs of the genre: all the cinema of the living dead is intermingled with the conventions of romantic cinema thanks to some adorable characters, played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost And to top it off, ‘Shaun…’ is a one hundred percent movie by its author, Edgar Wright, who would carry out the same maneuver in the even better ‘Fatal Weapon’.
If you liked it, look for: The transformation of the zombie into a mainstream icon in the last decade is based on three bases: the success of ‘The Walking Dead’, the minor but very influential impact of ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and the acceptance massive ‘Zombieland’, the closest thing to an approach to the subject for all audiences. Despite not being overly original and sin of some complacency, the parody winks and overwhelming titles of credit save the function.
Up to here our selection arrives. It’s your turn: do you agree with the list, what are the best zombie movies ever made?