31 Days Of Horror returns to the Outpost for Day 2. October means it’s time to watch nothing but horror movies for the entire month. I like to try watching movies I’ve not yet seen, but here are what I’d call the best of zombie movies, all of which I’ve seen more times than I can count. Now I look at this list again, I think all of them can use a revisiting.
Let me know what you think in the comments and what are your favorite movies in the zombie genre, and make sure to check back every day for more 31 Days Of Horror for the rest of the month.
White Zombie, directed by Victor Halperin, is often regarded as the first zombie movie in cinematic history. This classic horror film stars Bela Lugosi and introduces viewers to a world where the dead are reanimated through dark and mystical means. Lugosi’s haunting portrayal of Murder Legendre, a malevolent Haitian voodoo master, remains an iconic performance in the genre.
It not only set the stage for the countless zombie films that would follow but also established many of the tropes and themes associated with the zombie subgenre. From the use of mind-controlled undead servants to the eerie, atmospheric settings that would become a hallmark of zombie cinema.
To be fair, I think today it comes off more like a mummy movie than a zombie movie, but it remains a zombie movie at its heart.
Night of the Creeps is a cult classic horror-comedy film, directed by Fred Dekker. Set on a college campus, the movie seamlessly blends elements of science fiction, horror, and humor to create an entertaining experience, with a healthy dose of 80s nostalgia.
The story revolves around alien parasites that turn their hosts into zombies, unleashing chaos on the unsuspecting students. It has earned a dedicated fanbase over the years. The film is celebrated for its campy charm, practical effects, and affectionate homage to B-movie horror tropes. It also stars Tom Atkins, you can never go wrong with him in your 80s cheesy horror movie.
28 Days Later is an intense post-apocalyptic horror film. It was arguably the start of running zombies being popular. I’m not saying it was the first to have them, but it was around this time that zombie movies seemed to start that switch to running rather than shuffling. There is an argument made by some as to whether this is actually a zombie movie at all.
The film is known for its raw and gritty portrayal of a world on the brink of collapse, as well as its exploration of the human capacity for both cruelty and compassion in the face of extreme circumstances. With its fast-paced action, haunting atmosphere, and thought-provoking themes, 28 Days Later remains a standout entry in the zombie horror genre.
Pontypool is a thought-provoking and unconventional horror film that stands out for its unique take on the zombie genre. The movie is set in a small Canadian town where a radio DJ, played by Stephen McHattie, and his team find themselves trapped in their radio station as a mysterious and contagious virus begins to spread, turning people into mindless killers.
What sets the movie apart is its focus on language and communication as the vector for the virus, exploring the power of words and their ability to be both a source of salvation and a weapon of destruction, that causes the breakdown of society. With its claustrophobic setting, tense atmosphere, and intelligent writing, Pontypool offers a refreshing and cerebral take on the horror genre. A must-see for fans of psychological horror and innovative storytelling.
Another change to the zombie subgenre comes from Maggie. It’s thought-provoking, leaning more into being a drama than a horror movie. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and he is surprisingly great. It’s unlike Schwarzenegger’s typical action-packed roles, he shows he can do more than throw out one-liners.
The movie takes a more subdued and emotional approach as it explores the devastating effects of a zombie apocalypse on a family. The story revolves around a father’s unwavering love and determination to protect his infected daughter, played by Abigail Breslin, as she slowly succumbs to the zombie virus. The film offers a unique perspective on the genre by focusing on the human aspect of the apocalypse, delving into themes of family, love, and sacrifice.
Maggie is a slow-burning, character-driven movie that leaves a lasting impact, showcasing a different side of Schwarzenegger’s acting abilities and challenging traditional zombie movie conventions.
The original Dawn of the Dead, was directed by the legendary George A. Romero and released in 1978, a full decade after his most famous zombie movie. Spoiler alert, it’s coming up. Don’t scroll ahead!
This film is the second installment in Romero’s influential Living Dead series and it’s celebrated for its social commentary and satirical take on consumerism in America. Set in a shopping mall overrun by hordes of flesh-eating zombies, the film brilliantly juxtaposes the mindless consumerism of the living with the mindless hunger of the dead. Its gritty, visceral depiction of a world on the brink of collapse, along with its groundbreaking special effects for its time, has cemented its status as a classic of the zombie subgenre.
Train to Busan is a thrilling South Korean zombie apocalypse film that’s captivating, with its heart-pounding action and emotional depth. The movie follows a group of passengers on a high-speed train from Seoul to Busan as they struggle to survive a sudden and catastrophic zombie outbreak.
What sets this movie apart is its gripping and dramatic storytelling and well-drawn characters. It also has its fair share of intense, fast-paced action sequences. Beyond the blood-soaked horrors of the undead, Train to Busan explores themes of sacrifice, parental love, and the human capacity for both selfishness and selflessness. With its superb performances and relentless tension, the movie has rightfully earned its place as a modern classic zombie movie. Great for horror enthusiasts and mainstream audiences alike.
When it comes to horror comedies, it doesn’t get much better than Shaun of the Dead. It’s also the first of the “Cornetto Trilogy”, and easily the best.
The movie seamlessly blends elements of horror and satire with a generous dose of wit and humor. Starring Simon Pegg as the titular character, Shaun, and Nick Frost as his lovable, clueless best friend. It follows their misadventures as they attempt to survive a zombie apocalypse while navigating the challenges of their mundane lives. What makes Shaun of the Dead different, is its clever use of social commentary and sharp writing. Making it not just a zombie movie, but also a smart and heartfelt exploration of friendship, adulthood, and the importance of taking action in the face of adversity.
This cult classic is a perfect blend of laughs, scares, and heart, making it a must-see for fans of both horror and comedy.
The Dawn of the Dead remake, released in 2004, brought new life to George A. Romero’s classic 1978 zombie classic and it’s better. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone now, it’s higher on the list. It’s directed by Zack Snyder in his feature film debut. This modern adaptation managed to both pay homage to the original while injecting an action-packed and intense tone.
Another zombie movie where the zombies run, making it high-energy and relentlessly paced. It also hosts a stellar ensemble cast, including Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, and Mekhi Phifer. The movie plunges into a world overrun by zombies while still creating a chilling commentary on consumerism and societal decay.
Snyder’s keen eye for action and suspense lent itself well to the harrowing scenario of survivors seeking refuge in a shopping mall, making the remake a pulse-pounding, visually striking horror experience that earned its place among the pantheon of great zombie flicks. Just don’t let Snyder also write the screenplay for his zombie movies. Looking at you Army of the Dead.
Night of the Living Dead was directed by George A. Romero and stands as a groundbreaking and genre-defining film that forever changed the landscape of the zombie subgenre. This low-budget, black-and-white horror film introduced audiences to a new and terrifying vision of zombies. By portraying zombies as slow-moving, relentless, and cannibalistic creatures driven by an insatiable hunger for human flesh.
Romero revolutionized the way we perceive these monsters. The film’s gritty realism and social commentary, particularly on issues of race and society, added depth and relevance to the horror genre. Night of the Living Dead challenged traditional horror tropes, ushering in an era of more psychologically complex and socially conscious zombie films, leaving an indelible mark on both the horror genre and popular culture. It remains a timeless classic that continues to inspire other zombie movies and terrify audiences to this day.
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