Top 20 best zombie movies

Dawn Of The Dead and Evil Dead to 28 Days Later and REC, the run down of the 20 best zombie horror movies you must see before they bash down the door

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Dawn Of The Dead best zombie filmIt’s hard to think of a subgenre of horror as consistent as that of zombie movies in face of such seemingly limited scope, where the only breathing space is merely shuffling the action to uncommon locations. Have we tried zombies in space yet? Oh, we have.

Yet zombies remain popular, as despite their myriad of classical origins (what’s Frankenstein’s monster if not a zombie?) they represent wholly modern fears. While our old friend the vampire’s contemporary depiction is rooted in the Victorian worry of uncovered table legs exciting the servants to sexual frenzy, the zombie came of age and grew hair on its chest during the Cold War when fears of a lingering death from radiation, the collapse of society due to catastrophe and the struggle to survive, saw itself reinvented as the rise of the walking dead, where mankind’s survival hinged on libertarian rednecks with stockpiles of guns.

Wherever people feared social change or social collapse, the zombie was on hand to depict it on a grand scale. While American furrowed its brow and rubbed its hands over the communist menace, Italy combined its lingering wartime memories (Lucio Fulci, for example, would have been 18 when World War II ended), religious neuroses and the political upheaval of the ‘Years of Lead’ into an even more shocking and profane depiction of the end of humanity – fitting for an era where just over two decades witnessed an estimated 2,000 political murders, from both left and right wing bombings and violence.

Any film that trucks with those fears can be considered zombie movie as far as we’re concerned, regardless of how the shuffling hordes are handled. It’s whether or not they’re treated as such, or whether they’ve had a noticeable impact on films which followed them is the real dealbreaker – hopefully explaining why 28 Days Later makes this list, but George Romero‘s excellent The Crazies doesn’t, and nor does Dario Argento‘s Demons. Good films, but history hasn’t exactly accepted them as zombie flicks, while Danny Boyle’s meditation on a collapsing world had a bigger impact on the genre than any other horror flick of the 21st Century so far.

Not that every zombie film has to be laden with subtext, and indeed many of our favourites aren’t, but the same rules still apply – if it looks like a zombie movie, than it is one, regardless of which page of the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual you find the particular critters filed under.

Versus best zombie movie20. Versus

People annoyed by the modern propensity for zombies to hoof it at the pace of a thousand Linford Christies are going to have a field day with Versus. The upper tier fiends in Ryuhei Kitamura’s mental action horror don’t just run, they’re proficient in martial arts, heavy ordnance and bad acting. Luckily our unnamed protagonist is some kind of pre-ordained super cool monster slayer with a sword and a sweet-ass trenchcoat, so limbs aren’t going to be attached for long.

At its worst Versus is admittedly a bit slow, and it’s easy for your concentration to waver. It’s got a negligible plot and proper cringe inducing dialogue. At its best though, it’s basically the best thing ever. Beautifully choreographed fight scenes, buckets of blood and some genuinely funny characters, it’s no surprise that it’s garnered a cult following. It basically amounts to Devil May Cry in a forest (an appropriate comparison, as the choreographer of Versus went on to direct the dazzlingly silly, cornball violence in Devil May Cry 3).

Two enemies, two swords, big guns and a load of undead chaff to slice through. Perfect. Truly we are creatures of simple grace.

You said: “Kung Fu zombie film, how did I miss this????” @spocksgoat

Resident Evil best zombie movie19. Resident Evil

I think we can all agree to feeling rather uncomfortable with the idea of any Resident Evil film making the greatest zombie movies ever list but there’s no denying the sheer stylishness, the boldness of its reinvention of zombie conventions as a vacuous action-fest, and just how massive the franchise has become. Oh, and the antics of ass-kicking’s patron saint, sultry come-hither face Mila Jovovich, who spends most of the film in a red dress, cradling a massive gun like the sexy centre-fold for Stunted Adolescence Monthly.

Eschewing any one game’s narrative (and latter games’ racism, hurray!) to the point where devices from the film were actually copied by later entries into the videogame series, Resident Evil took some vague plot shapes from the first and second games, littered the preceedings with fanboy high fives that grew overwhelmingly prevalent in later, increasingly dreadful instalments, and just got on with the important business of linking up action sequences.

Not even so bad its good, that would be disingenuous. 2002′s  Resident Evil is a sort of graceful, overstimulating high art that values balletting combinations of explosions, martial arts, showers of glass, gunfire and hair-flicks.

You said: “Surely it’s hard to top a man being sliced into chips and a zombie dog being kicked through a window? Once watched it with a Labrador called Nelly who hid behind the sofa from the zombie dogs.” @RJMrgn

Dawn Of The Dead remake18. Dawn Of The Dead

Despite horror’s near pathological hatred for remakes, possibly because it’s the only genre where producers are shameless enough to just call them what they are instead of dancing around the subject with a reboot or prequel, 2004′s Dawn Of The Dead is tellingly the most enjoyable addition to George Romero’s ‘Of The Dead’ canon since 1985′s Day – and arguably it trumps even that.

The directoral debut for the now unstoppable Zack Snyder, Dawn Of The Dead has all of his widescreen, blockbuster sensibilities with none of his over-stylised, vapid slowmo. The powers that be knew right from the off that the best way to sell the film to the hostile hordes was to actually show people the film, and that amazing opening sequence of Ana (Sarah Polley) going to sleep after a hectic day and waking up in a world gone to bloody chaos was shown in its entirety on Jonathan Ross’ Film 2004.

You’re invested from the off, immediately giving you a reason to care as you witness one woman’s family turn Karen Cooper, her entire life lost in a four minute fug of chaos and bloodletting, and the genuinely tense fight for survival that follows.

You said:Dawn Of The Dead remake = REALLY good film, possibly better than the original in some ways.” @DrewnoD

Colin zombie movie

17. Colin

It’s pretty easy to get bored of zombie films. Most of them don’t really stray from the path forged by their shuffling, gut-soaked forebears, so it’s genuinely refreshing to find a film like Colin that does away with the schlocky boobs and blood excess.

Colin’s a bleak little bugger. Shot on a shoestring with a cast comprised of people drafted from myspace (appropriate really, as it’s shambling and decaying too) it chronicles the tale of the recently zombified Colin, as he trudges and moans around an empty, noiseless London in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.

The movie does a fantastic job of messing with genre conventions. Colin seems a lonely soul as he treks through the capital, coming across as an innocent (albeit hungry) figure. If anything the survivors are the meanies here, stopping Colin from reaching a destination unknown even to himself. It’s a quiet, contemplative effort, with minimal dialogue and some genuinely harrowing twists. Though it doesn’t let up in the grue department, the real horror here is how much we can relate to this helpless, bloodthirsty protagonist.

You said: “Colin is a charming indie zombie film” @3NFilms

Pontypool best zombie film16. Pontypool

One of the few truly innovative zombie movies of the last few years, Pontypool follows a shock jock in a local radio station whose early morning graveyard shift takes a turn for the literal.

Confined entirely to the radio studio, you don’t even lock eyes on a zombie until the very end but with information coming entirely from interrupted phonecalls and news feeds, there’s an incredible feeling of tension and claustrophobia that reaches fever pitch just in time for this ingenious strand of the zombie apocalypse to make itself known.

As with many films in this list, you can make the case that it’s not really a zombie film – they’re not dead, but they are in thrall of some violent infection transmitted through the English language, like a beautifully thoughtful cousin to 28 Days Later‘s rage virus.

And further underline how remarkable Pontypool is, this Canadian flick came out 2009 the same year as George Romero’s unforgivably stupid Survival Of The Dead.

You said:Pontypool is the most intelligent and morbidly funny Canadian thing since @jamesrocchi.” @EricDSnider

SARs Wars best zombie movie15. SARS Wars: The Bangkok Zombie Crisis

A year after the 2003 SARS outbreak held South East Asia in its grip, Thailand dealt with the trauma the only way it knee how – by chopping SARS zombies in half across 95 minutes of martial arts, anime, dreadful CGI, grotesque black comedy and Monty Python-style collage animation interludes.

Like some sort of heavily stylised Saturday morning cartoon, albeit live action and clearly for adults, SARS Wars: The Bangkok Zombie Crisis sets up a convoluted plot (important girl is kidnapped by gang who stash her in an apartment block in which the zombie outbreak then erupts, so our semi-parody swordsman-like superhero has to chop his way in and get her out) fairly sharpish, wipes its hands on its trousers  and let’s the man-on-zombie grudgematch commence.

With side-helpings of schoolgirls, giant zombie pythons, superbly gruesome make-up, movie references (The Matrix, Terminator 2, Star Wars…) and absurd gangsters, some of the comedy is more than a little puerile and little more sophisticated than knob gags, but the whole affair an air of a far less po-faced and far more gleefully immature Kill Bill, perhaps one that was directed by Lloyd Kaufman instead of Quentin Tarantino, and was actually in some way fun.

You said: “It’s weird. Thai humour is very .. odd. Expect something different :)” @CBowmanUK

Dellamorte Dellamore best zombie movie14. Cemetery Man

Better known by its Italian title Dellamorte Dellamore and based on the 1991 novel by Dylan Dog creator Tiziano Sclavi, director Michele Soavi stepped out from under the shadow of his mentor Dario Argento (with whom he served as second unit director for Tenebrae and Demons) with this perfect mixture of stylish Italian horror visuals, black comedic heart and a hint of the Love Actually romcom, albeit a deeply macabre one, courtesy of its inspired lead.

Rupert Everett’s career was definitely in its spring, having just come off The Madness Of King George and he puts in a suitably tender and understated performance as the hang(Dylan)dog Francesco Dellamorte, a cemetery caretaker who balances his pursuit of love with keeping the town’s restless dead in their graves.

Both the romance and the horror are given ample attention, blurring the lines between the two as Francesco is repeatedly visited by the spectres of Love and Death, drawing you into the beleagured zombie hunter’s world to the point where even at his most ludricious and extreme – “The Living Dead and the dying living are all the same. Cut from the same cloth. But disposing of dead people is a public service, whereas you’re in all sorts of trouble if you kill someone while they’re still alive.” – you can help but see him as the last sane everyman in a world gone over the edge, when the truth is perhaps a little more complex and disturbing.
You said:Dellamorte Dellamore is such an underrated, brilliant film. Rupert Everett’s best performance IMHO.” @CBowmanUK

White Zombie Bela Lugosi13. White Zombie

And so we come to the great great granddaddy of the genre. We’re not shy about our love for all things Lugosi around these parts and it’s only right that we stick this eerie example of early cinema in.

Let’s forget the horrific band that pilfered the name for a moment (although they are pretty funny). 1932’s White Zombie is a simple tale of a girl, a guy and a Haitian Voodoo master. Lugosi plays a character called Murder Legendre (as if that wasn’t warning enough), who moonlights as a necromancer, raising the dead to do his bidding and start fights etc.

You’d be hard pressed to call White Zombie scary nowadays (a trait it shares with many movies of that era) but it still has a hypnotic, creepy charm to it, bolstered (much like Dracula) by Lugosi’s mesmeric, almost languid turn as Murder. This was arguably the movie that pioneered the blank, soulless menace popularised by pretty much every zombie movie since. And most cinemagoers of the modern age (ooooooh).

You said: “I find Lugosi entrancing whatever he’s in. He appeared in some stinkers but White Zombie is especially atmospheric.” @williamstafford

Zombie Flesh Eaters best zombie movie12. Zombie Flesh Eaters

Italy, 1979, and Lucio Fulci not only reignites his own flagging career but ushers in a whole new era of ultra-gory horror movies, directly triggering the ‘Video Nasty’ moral panic in the United Kingdom that made this, and so many other films of its ilk, seem disproportionately exciting for children growing up at the time. Shockingly for the state of artistic freedom in this country, it was only released in its complete, uncut version in 2005.

Penned as an unofficial sequel to George Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead (which was titled Zombi in Italy), Zombi 2, as it was originally know (to make things especially confusing it was also released as Zombie, Island Of The Living Dead, Zombie Island and Woodoo, is a masterpiece of stomach-churning set pieces and powerful visuals, including one of those now infamous Fulci eyeball impalings, an amazing shot of an empty shanty town with a crab scuttling across the foreground,  and a jaw-dropping underwater zombie/shark face-off, and negible plot in which something something something tropical zombie island.

To emphasise how much indescribably unremarkable the storyline is, Ian McCulloch later appeared in Marino Girolami’s 1980 Zombie Holocaust as a character with the same first name who something something something tropical zombie island.

You said: “Boring but last 20 mins are OK. Eye and wood etc.” @Kneeldowne

The Happiness Of The Katakuris best zombie movie11. The Happiness Of The Katakuris

Japanese director Takashi Miike’s done an insane amount of films in pretty much any genre you can think of. He’s arguably best known for Audition and Ichi The Killer (movies that feature torture and violence filmed with ten times the panache of something like Hostel), but in the same year he directed Ichi The Killer he directed this little oddball.

The Happiness Of The Katakuris, to our knowledge, may stake a claim to being the first ever horror musical. The film chronicles the tale of the permanently unlucky Katakuri family, who own a guest house near Mount Fuji. Every guest that comes ends up dead and buried by the Katakuris, eventually resulting in a zombie problem. Cue catchy musical number with dancing cadavers.

To be honest, it’s maybe a bit questionable sticking The Happiness Of The Katakuris on the list, but at the same time, any movie that features lavish dance numbers, slapstick comedy, claymation and horror and joins them together without making a balls of it is deserving of any list. Anyway there are zombies in it so it counts ALRIGHT.

You said: “It made me giggle!”@KittytheBoo

Top 20 best zombie movies10. La Horde

Gallic horror seems obsessed with social breakdown, and that they’ve only come to horror in a big way fairly recently is a telling indicator of just where it is that French society has found itself.

Sheitan and Frontier(s) dealt with the conflict between rural, traditionalist France and multicultural, urban France, unsurprisingly as it was this conflict that elected Nicolas Sarkozy with his promises to “hose out” the troubled, ethnically divided Paris suburbs in 2005, suburbs which saw violent riots in the same year.

2009’s La Horde, taking that subtext into account, is painfully on the nose, as a group of cops go off the clock to take bloody vengeance on a drug dealer in a Paris apartment block. Locked in a Reservoir Dogs-off, they’re interrupted by the zombie apocalypse which forces them to work together to survive/escape in a predictably gory fashion reminiscent of the tooled-up gang of circumstance in From Dusk Til Dawn, and even the besieged cops and cons of John Carpenter’s Assault On Precinct 13.

Just in case you were in any danger of blocking out the background hum of metaphor (feral urban dwellers tearing apart Paris from the ghetto upwards) that clatters away like a processor fan on an aging PC, one of the residents is an crass Vietnam veteran who insists on calling the zombies by South East Asian ethnic slurs we won’t deign to repeat.

If attempting to heal a divided nation doesn’t qualify a film for Top 10 status, what does?

You said:La Horde has great scares, cool action, the zombies are intense/quick, and a unique ensemble.” @3NFilms

Re-Animator movie9. Re-Animator

That the thin-lipped, cold-eyed Jeffrey Combs looks as though he’s been embalmed only adds to experience of Brian Yuzna’s definitive cult classic.

It was the role Combs was born (or grown in a vat) to play, catapulting him to iconic status, whereby his appearance in anything acts as shorthand for “icily composed, yet dangerously driven psychopath” (from voicing the Scarecrow in Batman: The Animated Series to playing the oily Weyoun in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and elicits instant cheers from his devoted fanbase.

Directed by Stuart Gordon (Dagon) and produced by prolific shock master Brian Yuzna (Return Of The Living Dead III), 1985′s Re-Animator is a gristly, technicolored waltz through a HP Lovecraft short-story that weds the source material’s Frankenstein-like parable of intellectual obsession with some gloriously stomach-churning set pieces and nervous laughter-inducing black comedy. Herbert West’s increasingly desperate and immortal efforts to continue his experiments in resurrecting cadavers against steadily mounting madcap circumstances wouldn’t look out of place in a sitcom, you know, were it not for art direction cribbed from a textbook on forensic pathology.

You said: “It’s great for two simple reasons. Jeffrey and Combs.” @TheBozDog

REC Spanish zombie movie8. REC

Ignore the exposition overload in the worthy (but nowhere near as brilliant) sequel, Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza’s 2007 Spanish flick REC is a perfect cocktail of everything that works in horror, shamelessly mixed up to a explosive froth.

Ticking as many boxes as it can like an AA Guide To Genre Success, REC explores the occult Vatican conspiracy gone awry as well as the feared rabies-like pandemic, ensuring that both the old school horror hounds and the post-modern technocrats stay on side as a cannibalistic disease tears apart a Madrid apartment block in a frantic, trouser-filling 78 minutes of awkward found footage camera angles, survivor-on-survivor cabin fever, distrust of the authorities and lots of good, old fashioned running around barricading doors shut and a screaming.

Tense and confusing, REC is worth of inclusion in any Top 10 for shredding its viewers’ nerves as rapidly and as mercilessly as those of its protagonists.

You said: “REC was rather good and its remake Quarantine was suprisingly not awful.” @kneeldowne

Braindead best zombie movie7. Braindead

It had to pop up somewhere. Peter Jackson’s Braindead isn’t just one of the best zombie films ever, it’s one of the best comedies ever. Actually sod it, it’s one of the greatest movies ever. And how about this, it tenuously exists in the same universe as Peter Jackson’s King Kong, as if you’re particularly eagle-eyed you’ll see that the SS Venture has an entity from the Sumatra Islands (where the progenitor of the zombie infection is discovered) in its cargo hold. We only hope this Jackson based continuity extends as far as Middle Earth, as we’d love to see lovely old Gandalf McKellen go postal on a horde of Kiwi zombies with a pair of hedge clippers.

Braindead proves that to be truly stupid, you have to be really clever. It’s like one long set of memorable set pieces. The kung fu priest, the trip to the park, the ear in the custard (which ends up being THE biggest gross out moment in a movie of gross outs) and the lawnmower massacre are just a few of the moments to prompt belly laughs and projectile vomit in equal measures.

Probably the most wonderful thing about Braindead though is that there’s something really innocent about it. This might be down to Timothy Balme’s performance as the put upon Lionel, constantly under the thumb of his overbearing mother. Actually the relationship between mother and son and the obvious allusions to Hitchcock’s Psycho (Balme is like an even more skittish Anthony
Perkins) provides a nice little subplot, as Lionel slowly slips away from his mother’s influence and finds his own worth as a man. Also a man puts a gnome in a zombie’s neck stump and it’s so funny we might have done a little piddle.

You said: “Still the best thing he ever did, bollocks to the LOTR.” @robmcauslan

Night Of The Living Dead best zombie movie6. Night Of The Living Dead

The father of the genre, there’s no underselling just how striking Night Of The Living Dead is as a film, from its striking monochrome visuals to its clanking score, eerily lit and framed scenes, and infamous set-pieces. Many would argue that Tom Savini’s 1990 remake is far superior as a slab of entertainment, and they may be right, but few things come close to the sheer impact of Night Of The Living Dead.

George Romero and John Russo’s 1968 shocker not only kickstarted an entire subgenre of horror, but in fact birthed the contemporary zombie legend – although like many films, the word ‘zombie’ isn’t used once – as the two sought to find their own spin on Richard Matheson’s classic post-apocalyptic vampire text, I Am Legend. It’s almost impossible to believe that two men just dreamt up the premise that’s infested every corner of popular culture, from roleplaying games and videogames, to comic-books, movies and music videos, and with it the whole zombie-as-breakdown-of-society allegory.

“I thought I Am Legend was about revolution,” explained Romero to Cinemablend. “I said if you’re going to do something about revolution, you should start at the beginning. I mean, Richard starts his book with one man left; everybody in the world has become a vampire. I said we got to start at the beginning and tweak it up a little bit. I couldn’t use vampires because he did, so I wanted something that would be an earth-shaking change. Something that was forever, something that was really at the heart of it. I said, so what if the dead stop staying dead? … And the stories are about how people respond or fail to respond to this. That’s really all [the zombies] ever represented to me.”

And that’s without even getting down to the impressive budget effects, the black character in an era of emerging Civil Rights, the shock ending and the quotable lines, Night Of The Living Dead is absolutely essential viewing for any fan of cinema.

You said: “It came first and it was a ‘socially aware’ movie.” @jhenrikpersson

Shaun Of The Dead best zombie movie5. Shaun Of The Dead

Everybody loved Spaced, but only the most desperate of Edgar Wright apologists would claim it hasn’t aged. Disagree? Try watching that Matrix episode again without cringing at least a little bit. Go on. In fact it’s Edgar Wright’s propensity for stuffing everything he’s involved in with reference after reference after reference that speeds up the aging process. Yes man, we get it, you like films and computer games.

Shaun Of The Dead (like Hot Fuzz) mostly survives the Wrightification process because it’s so daftly British and charming. Nick Frost and Simon Pegg (pre-Toby Young film adaptation) are a fun pair of leads, and the whole film hangs together thanks to their interaction. It’s maybe a bit schizophrenic (the perils of a genre mish mash) but people of a certain age will have fun spotting the sitcom stars and thespians in the midst of all the exploitation nonsense. The best bit is watching Bernard Black getting eviscerated. We wish there was another series of Black Books.

You said: “You care about the characters because they are well written, also the humour isn’t forced.” @Gavin_J

Evil Dead 2 best zombie movie4. Evil Dead II

There’s something that really gets zombie purists grinding their teeth about Evil Dead II. Some claim it’s not entirely, hand on heart serious, but Shaun Of The Dead, Return Of The Living Dead, Black Sheep, and Re-Animator are all arguably cranking up the laughter track to a equal or greater pitch, and few of that number would be discounted from inclusion in the big yellowing parchment of great zombie movies.

Mainly though its critics claim that the protagonists aren’t shuffling zombies as the dictionary defines, they’re demons. It’s true on paper, but this is all Top Trumps semantics – Pan’s Labyrinth all took place within the main character’s head, but fans don’t hesitate to rank the film as fantasy. It’s true that within the mythology of the Evil Dead trilogy the critters don’t call themselves zombies, they’re Deadites, disembodied Sumerian demons reanimating corpses (and possessing the weak minded living in some cases, and also, er, hands). They’re not completely brainless either, but the ghouls in Return Of The Living Dead were capable of entire conversations and pithy bon mots (“Send more paramedics!”), and their origins are in demonic possession, but weren’t the rabid antagonists of REC infected by some sort of demon entity dwelling in the penthouse?

It’s not the internal mythology that really calls the shots when it comes to genre, it’s the style, and the tone of the movie which features them and as far as the great movie-going masses are concerned, Evil Dead II is unequivocally a zombie movie. Arguably David Cronenberg’s Shivers is too, but let’s not get off topic.

A group of teens (and Bruce Campbell, who’s always looked about 36) take a break in a creaky forest cabin, and stumble across the Necronomicon, the fabled (and fictional, by the way, I went to school with someone who insisted it was a real eldritch artefact) book of the dead, unleashing an evil force which turns them against each other, set-piece by shocking set-piece. The effects and prosthetics are splendid, the direction inspired as the camera whizzes around from the elemental perspective of an unseen evil force, and the film has entered zombie lore as a clichĂ© codifier, getting referenced in 2004’s Dawn Of The Dead, Shaun Of The Dead, Resident Evil: Extinction, Dead Snow and almost every single zombie-based survival horror game to feature a chainsaw. Grooooovy!

It’s a zombie movie, then, and not just that but it’s one of the all time greatest zombie movies in horror history and you can chop my hand off if you don’t believe me.

You said: “Ash chasing his severed hand, capturing it in a bucket and covering it with the novel A Farewell To Arms makes it a classic!” @AnthoTon

Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later3. 28 Days Later

Like Evil Dead it’s not a zombie movie by any boring, fun-sapping definition, the frenzied Infected of Danny Boyle’s bleak 2002 effort 28 Days Later was a clear adherent to the genre code in every other respect. Within its allegorical Threads-like packaging lurked all the usual concerns about the breakdown of society and social mores, fear of transformation, and the inevitable, heavy handed revelation that man’s greatest enemy aren’t the unthinking hordes of flesh-tearing hellions, it’s man himself (portrayed by Christopher Eccleston’s big rubber face)

Not the first film to portray the zombie apocalypse as an unequivocal biological outbreak – which certainly had resonance amid the fears of BSE/Bird Flu-like pandemics and dirty bombs – or as fast moving (hello, David Cronenberg’s Rabid, we haven’t forgotten you), it popularised both those tropes, introducing the zombie movie to the 21st Century. Still, mention 28 Days Later within earshot of a Zombi 2 t-shirt and you’ll get your ear bent red raw by whooping fanboys with no functioning sense of perspective.

The flicks which followed Boyle’s epic clearly didn’t care whether or not 28 Days Later was a zombie movie either as the undead took off at a blood-spitting gallop in the 2004’s not-as-bad-as-you-think-it-is Dawn Of The Dead remake, 2007’s coronary-inducing REC and 2009’s wistful Zombieland amongst other unambiguous depictions. Most importantly though, it was a superb, emotionally fraught hell-train that made people otherwise snobbish about the genre accidentally watch their first zombie movie.

You said: “28 Days Later without a doubt, yes the original ‘X Of The Dead’ are good, but 28 Days Later got my pulse racing like no others.” @sixeleven

Dawn Of The Dead best zombie movie2. Dawn Of The Dead

We’ve really tried to focus on the unsung heroes of the genre in this list. Let’s face it, how many ‘definitive’ countdowns have you zoned out of because they featured the same old brain-eating, hammily acted schlock? It’s to the eternally feted Dawn Of The Dead’s credit then, that it’s still in this bloody thing. Yes, everybody loves it and it’s the film every gorehound’s nicked their ideas from, but it’s great, so it’s only right it’s here.

In amidst the social commentary, gratuitous boob shots and occasionally dodgy editing, Dawn is filled with unintentional laughs. The absolute highlight is when Ken Foree’s character Peter decides against suicide near the end, and embarks on an A-Team esque rampage to get to the chopper. Just listen to the bloody music in this bit, it’s perfect.

You said: “Also has one of the best lines from a zombie movie: ‘When there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth’” @Zombie_Phil

Return Of The Living Dead best zombie movie1. Return Of The Living Dead

The other sequel to Night Of The Living Dead. Based on the book by Living Dead screenwriter John Russo (who split the legacy with George Romero when they went their separate ways), Dan O’Bannon’s (Dark Star/Alien/Total Recall) 1985 debut as a director, Return Of The Living Dead, has as much cocky, devil-may-care swagger as its punk-rock protagonists.

One part Eighties teen movie, two parts black comedy and three parts high octane, unrelenting gore flick, Return Of The Living Dead follows are group of punks who party in a graveyard, while unbeknownst to them two employees of the nearby medical supply warehouse unleash the deadly toxin that caused the events of Night Of The Living Dead, with predictable consequences as our protagonists find themselves besieged in the warehouse while hell slips its moorings outside.

The syrupy ‘Tar Man’ zombie operated by Henson regular Allan Trautman and the exposition delivering half-zombie (responsible for the cry of “Braaaaaaaains!” being forever associated with this particular sub-category of the living deceased) a stunning animatronic courtesy of Tony Gardner, who other contributions to zombie effects include Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, Army Of Darkness, Zombieland and Evil Dead II, are all part of the incredible attention to design and atmosphere that includes its soundtrack of macabre (if upbeat) Eighties punk-rock and eerie lighting throughout.

At no point does Return Of The Living Dead relinquish its hold over the trembling viewer, from the opening scenes to the close it takes you in its ice cold deathgrip and holds you enraptured by the anarchy unleashed on screen.

You said: “Because its funny and scary all at the same time which makes you think then gives you the creeps.” @Starrynight223

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