- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Are zombies even real? I consider the question invalid because, frankly, I’m not taking any chances at not being prepared should I ever come face to face with one. Case in point, here’s my plan of action should I ever meet one in a dark alley or a deserted street or graveyard or family reunion or whatever: I will karate chop its head with my rock hard hand until its brain splits in two [Editor’s Note: The author apologizes for the grotesque nature of that last comment, but, according to all those zombie flicks he once owned (see other Editor’s Note or just keep reading), brain splitting is the only way you can stop a zombie.] or maybe I will just run in the opposite direction. I haven’t settled on the appropriate action because, well, neither seems very smart when faced with the dilemma of actually meeting a zombie.
I also don’t like’em because they don’t make any sense. They don’t follow the rules of logic as it applies to basic human functions; they are dead and yet they walk. Really? They are dead, but also very, very hungry and, as a result of being mostly dead and mostly hungry and maybe just a little angry at being cursed as a zombie, they feed off of the flesh of the living. The dead feeding off the living? Grrr. I mean, really, it gives me the creeps just imagining their rotting faces chomping away at the flesh of another living person, well, maybe not so much if it were the flesh of my third ex-wife… (Editor’s Note: The author apologizes for the grotesque nature of that last comment, but, according to the divorce papers he signed, his third ex-wife now has his prized collection of zombie movies and he feels very unsafe without their constant reminders of what NOT to do in the case of a zombie attack.) (Author’s Note to the Editor’s Note: I KID, I KID. I wish no ill will upon anything especially my prized collection of ex-wives... or zombies.)
Oh, and another thing, I have it on good authority that they make poor pedestrians in heavy traffic and that keeping them as a pet, as someone once suggested to me, is out of the question. Why? Because zombies suck at life and I hate them all.
Yet, as much as I might hate them, I do celebrate their existence on celluloid – especially around Halloween. Below are the top ten best Zombie movies of all time that I feel must be viewed by any brain-eating, flesh-chomping, love-zombie connoisseur.
10. I Walked with a Zombie – Made in 1943, this Val Lewton production, directed by Jacques Tourneur, features disturbing atmosphere that sees its female stars, Christine Gordon and Frances Dee, taking a long and lonely walk through some haunting fields of sugar cane.
9. Dead Alive (aka Braindead) – Directed by Peter Jackson in 1992, this campy Zombie flick – aided by the dangerous Sumatran Rat-Monkey - has the distinction of being one of the goriest films ever made.
8. Zombie 2 – While it may know life under a slew of other names, this 1979 classic, directed by maestro Lucio Fulci, is the first time we get to see a zombie take on a tiger shark (yes, it’s underwater). This film single-handedly saved Fulci’s career for several reasons, the zombie vs. shark scene is just one of ‘em.
7. Shaun of the Dead – Made in 2004, Edgar Wright’s zombie horror comedy is a delightful bloodbath and – considering Wright’s run of GREAT films – is not to be missed or left off of any fan-made (or fan-obsessed) Zombie list.
6. Dawn of the Dead (1978) – Director George A. Romero combines the burgeoning mall-life mentality of the late ‘70s with the brutal world of his beloved Zombies. With make-up effects by Tom Savini, how could this not be a cult classic?
5. The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue – Written and directed by Jorge Grau, this 1974 “hidden” gem revolves around a brilliant conspiracy plot that features an experimental bug-zapping machine being used by the Department of Agriculture. It works alright; it also reanimates the dead. Great physical make-up effects and a genuinely satisfying plot make for one helluva good Zombie scare.
4. Zombieland – Released in 2009, this high-spirited take on Zombies and America’s fascination with them scores for being a rockin’ good time. Bloody, brutal, and down-right gruesome, this comedy – directed by Ruben Fleischer – features a great cameo from Bill Murray that sees him playing around with his Ghostbusters persona.
3. The Evil Dead – Written and directed by Sam Raimi back in 1981, this made-for-the-drive-thru film is a massive can of ingenious brutality. Violent, gross, and – at times – way too extreme (giving new meaning to the idea of having a “woodie”) for its own good (it opened to mediocre reviews), Raimi’s masterpiece of the undead certainly still manages to be a good fright for the desensitized modern viewer.
2. White Zombie – Made one year after 1931’s Dracula, this independent production got killed by some massively unfavorable reviews. It’s not too hard to see why. There are some pretty awful performances, but Victor Halperin’s film has two things going for it: Bela Lugosi and Caribbean zombies. Yes, this is the film that started the undead craze and, yes, it is better than it was originally given credit for. Forgive it of its over-the-top plot and some shoddy acting and you’ll be in for a darkly disturbing good time.
1.Night of the Living Dead – Best zombie movie of all time. This classic from 1968 gave us zombies and social commentary from director George A. Romero. It also established the rules on how to kill a zombie, as well as a lot of highly quotable lines of dialogue; quotes that constantly roll through my mind at the worse possible times; quotes that, once identified by strangers on the street, let me know that you are, in fact, one of us.