The 40 Best Zombie Movies Ever Made: Part One
You asked for it and we’re delivering the goods. We’ve watched over 150 zombie movies in order to compile this list. We nearly lost our minds in the process.
And yes, this includes many different types of zombies. Whether they’re infected with a virus, or turned undead by a voodoo curse or radioactive goo, as long as they resemble a zombie they’re still zombies to us. Zombie purists will probably disagree with some of our assessments, but we steadfastly believe that the genre has evolved quite brilliantly over the years, broadening the definition of what a zombie is. Well, anyways…hold on to your butts and enjoy our list of the 40 best zombie movies ever made.
40) Dance of the dead
We went into this film not expecting much and were pleasantly surprised. Dance of the Dead is a nice combination of low budget horror and teen angst comedy. Just think of John Hughes mixed with Return of the Living Dead. Although the film has its flaws–as virtually all zombie movies do–it’s non-stop fun.
39) Nightmare City
There are brilliant zombie films (Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later), and then there are zombie films that are so cheesy and ridiculous that you can’t help but love them. This film is one of the latter. Nightmare City, which was Eli Roth’s inspiration for Planet Terror, has to be one of the cheesiest movies ever made. Yet somehow, it is every bit as entertaining as anything that Romero ever directed. The best part is: the zombies in this movie are radioactive, which means they are capable of piloting planes and wielding weapons of mass destruction. Sound familiar? Nightmare City has to be seen to be believed. If you’re a zombie gorehound who who appreciates campy horror movies that transcend bad…order yourself a pizza, pop open a cold brew, and press play.
38) The Horde
Influenced by the gritty crime movies of the 70s, this French zombie gore-fest doesn’t let up from the moment the film begins. Unfortunately, due to the unappealing characters, an underdeveloped storyline, and the “let’s get out of the building” plot, this film is a far cry from a classic horror film. But if you love zombie-mayhem and violent action packed gore this film will make a perfect Friday night viewing for any hardcore zombie fan.
This Canadian zombie flick takes place in a small radio station during a snow storm. The claustrophobic atmosphere of the radio studio is where this film builds its psychological creepiness. The true horror comes from what we hear and not what we see. The plot revolves around the idea that words can travel like a virus into our subconscious (memes anyone?) and turn people into zombies. Many people will be disappointed by this movie because there is very little zombie action until the last 20 minutes. If you want an apocalyptic zombie movie with desperate survivors fighting off hordes of the undead, this may not be the best zombie movie for you. But it’s still a cool watch.
36) Let Sleeping Corpses Lie
One of the better zombies shockers of the 70s, this artfully made zombie movie fills in the missing link of the early Romero films and the Italian zombie movies that would later come. Although the majority of this film may be too slowly paced for the average film viewer, there are some nice payoffs at the 50 minute mark of the movie. We think we counted maybe 10 zombies in the entire movie. That being said, these are some seriously sinister zombies.
35) Dog House
For fans of Shaun of the Dead comes the outrageous and inventive zombie comedy Doghouse. First off, this film is by no means a masterpiece. But it’s definitely one of the most enthusiastically hilarious zombie gore movies we’ve ever seen. The plot is as simple as it gets: a group of immature men leave town for a crazy weekend of boozing and womanizing — but when they show up at their intended destination, it becomes clear that a horde of zombies are on the loose. Unfortunately for the boys, these zombies turn out to be man-hating feminist zombies intent on killing all men. This movie is perfect for a boys night. In other words, your girlfriend will most likely hate this movie. FYI, this movie is much better than the Lesbian Vampire Killers.
34) White Zombie
White Zombie is generally believed to be the first Hollywood picture that featured zombies. It’s not a horror film by today’s standards but more of a dark atmospheric visual poem about the consequences of obsession. The film has a surreal, gothic, and other-worldly tone to it. If you’re a fan of the original Universal monster movies than you’ll find that White Zombie fits in nicely with the classics. Plus, Bela Lugosi is absolutely mesmerizing as the Haitian voodoo master who brainwashes hoards of zombies to assist his sinister deeds. This movie is not for the average film viewer but for true horror fans who are interested in the history of horror cinema.
33) The Dead (2010)
The Dead is a refreshing tribute to the early Romero films, building suspense and atmosphere rather than overusing the shaky cam gimmick and CGI gore that we have grown so accustomed to. It doesn’t offer anything new to the genre but its cinematography is absolutely breathtaking. And despite its low budget, the effects are incredibly well done. Filmed in West Africa, this superbly crafted film uses bleak and desolate settings to portray the dread and fear of the zombie apocalypse.
32) The Beyond
Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond has amassed a large cult following over the years. Many hardcore horror fans believe it to be one of the best Italian horror films ever released. The story takes place in an old New Orleans hotel built upon one of the seven gateways to hell. Unfortunately, the gateway is accidentally opened by a plumber, who unwittingly unleashes a sinister force. If you have the patience for it this movie will stay with you long after the credits roll. The Beyond is a supernatural nightmare with plenty of retro-styled gore and zombies to make most hardcore horror fan smile.
31) Dead and Buried
This underrated 80s horror gem mixes zombies, witchcraft, and murder mystery all into one movie. The story revolves around a string of grisly murders in the small town of Porters Bluff, where the victims are mysteriously coming back to life. Without giving away too much of the plot, Dead & Buried is one creepy film viewing experience–haunting, imaginative, and highly recommended if you enjoy 80s horror movies!
30) Night of the Comet
Another excellent cult classic zombie gem is Night of the Comet. We’re not sure we’ve seen another movie that encapsulates Reagan era nostalgia. This movie is a must see. Let’s put it this way, you’ve got zombies, a cheerleader, some Uzis, a shopping mall, and evil scientists–what more could you ask for? If you’re seeking an brilliantly 80s cheesy zombie romp this Bud’s for you.
29) Night of the creeps
This certifiable zombie classic pays homage to the B-horror movies from the 1950s atomic age. Low-budget and highly entertaining, this film effortlessly throws in aliens, axe-wielding murderers, flesh-eating zombies, nudity, drunken frat boys, and rolls them all into a campy horror movie burrito. There’s plenty of witty one-liners and references to dozens of other horror movies sprinkled into the mix as well. So tip yours hats to one of the funniest, most entertaining B-flicks of the 80s and prepare yourself to enter horror movie nerd-vanna.
28) Night of the Living Dead Remake
Yes, this is how remakes should be done, thoughtfully re-imagined and done with the highest respect to the original. Directed by special effects wizard Tom Savini, the horror genius responsible for the zombie effects in Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead. Savini does a respectable job of bringing Romero’s masterpiece to life and adds enough new twists and turns to make the movie worth watching. Our only real complaint is that although the film is sharp and suspenseful, it fails to be truly scary. That being said, there’s plenty here to whet the appetite of any zombie lover.
27) Dead Snow
This Norwegian Nazi-zombie effort became a cult classic sensation after it was released on DVD and you can currently stream it on Netflix’s Instant Watch. Dead Snow tells the story of a group of Norwegian medical students who head into the mountains for a winter holiday. After only a short while, an evil Nazi zombie curse is unleashed and all hell breaks loose. Dead Snow doesn’t bring anything new to the table but it’s wickedly funny, outrageously gory, and it offers all the over-the-top zombie mayhem you could ask for. There’s even a few scares thrown into the mix for good measure. Highly recommended for any fan of the zomcom genre.
26) Resident evil
If you’re looking for highly stylized zombie mayhem, in-your-face scares, gory animatronics, a good workout for your home stereo system, and model Milla Jovovich in a torn mini-skirt drop kicking zombie dogs…well friends, look no further than the first Resident Evil! Yes, it’s derivative, mindless, and kind of cheesy, but it’s also incredibly entertaining.
25) The Serpent and the rainbow
Horror master Wes Craven departed from the slasher genre in the 80s to bring us this creepy thriller zombie movie, which was filmed on location in Haiti. The movie was inspired by a book by Wade Davis, “a Harvard scientist who investigated the voodoo society of Haiti and identified two of the drugs used for “zombification” – drugs that lower the metabolic rate of their victims so much that they appear dead, and are buried, only to be dug up later and revived.” Craven’s depictions of the Haitian voodoo rituals are bone chilling. In one of the film’s scariest scenes, Bill Pullman’s character is drugged and then buried alive with a tarantula. The Serpent and the Rainbow is a superbly crafted horror film, both eerily atmospheric and visually stunning. It’s a must-see for Wes Craven fans and zombie hounds alike.
Lucio Fulci’s Zombi is an over the top gorefest that has amassed a huge cult following among zombie fans over the years. Featuring some of the most gruesome looking zombies ever to be seen on film and plenty of memorable scenes to boot (including the infamous splinter in the eye scene and the beautifully shot but ridiculous battle between a shark and a zombie). Sure the plot is horrendous and the acting is cheesy, but but for fans of cheap Italian gore films this is a dream come true.
23) Blood Creek
Blood Creek is a top-notch zombie-esque horror film that has inexplicably gone completely under-the-radar. Slickly shot, creepy, and highly entertaining. There’s even a zombie horse in the movie–yes, a zombie horse that pulls a victim through a window with its zombie horse teeth. Directed by Joel Schumacher (The Lost Boys, Flatliners), this movie tells the story of two brothers who fight for their lives on a remote farm against a satanic Nazi-zombie. In a nutshell, Blood Creek is a solid B-horror movie that moves at breakneck pace, providing wall to wall horror action. There’s also some legit scares in it that will please even the most rock-steady horror fans.
22) Day of the dead
The third and final entry into Romero’s “dead series” has aged remarkably well compared to other zombie movies from the 80s. Although it’s a little too bleak and depressing for our taste, it has enough scares, stunning zombie effects, and thought provoking social commentary to make it a minor classic.
21) Flight Of the Living Dead
This straight to video oddity is an instant classic that is beyond entertaining. The set up for the plot is along the same lines as Snakes on a Plane. A bunch of passengers in the air don’t realize that below the plane, there’s “special cargo” that is being shipped with a zombie in it. During the flight the zombie runs amok and the undead infection spreads. Simply put, this film rocks! My hat goes off to whoever green lighted this gem of a zombie movie. In an industry full of cheaply made cash-in zombie flicks, Flight of the Living Dead is one of the most entertaining zomcoms out there. As zombie aficionados, we highly recommend this film.
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