I wasn’t always a zombie fan. I was introduced to the flicks by my husband, and over the years I’ve grown to understand their fascination. After all, what is scarier than your loved one, neighbor, or local convenience store clerk turning into some raving, flesh-eating, maniac? Is it the moment you realize they are covered in blood, or that dead stare that gets you every time? Although my husband will argue over some of these movies being actual “zombie” flicks, I am using the general meaning of scary crazy people after your flesh as the guideline.
- Night of the Comet, 1984
My all-time favorite zombie flick, that by my husband’s definition is not a zombie flick because the flesh-eaters did not die and come back to life. But I don’t care. The comet-crazed monsters act like zombies and want the same thing—your flesh! With B-movie scream queen Kelli Moroney and 80s hottie, Catherine Mary Stewart battling the freaks with woman power, I feel like I might actually have a chance if it ever happened in real life. Plus, who can resist a movie with a Ric-Ocasek-looking zombie master and a fashion montage?
- Shaun of the Dead, 2004
This flick was a break-out success, I think because it took the zombie movie to a whole other level. Whether it’s the two leads singing “White Lines” while zombies moan in response, Shaun’s master plan, or his ridiculous flat-mates, this movie is sure to bring laughs into an otherwise dismal situation. When they start killing zombies by throwing records, but first have to go through them and discuss why each record should be saved, you know they aren’t taking themselves too seriously.
- Dawn of the Dead, 1978 & 2004
Although I like the remake better, George Romero’s original idea of holding up in a mall during the zombie apocalypse is a fun one. After all, where better to hunker down than a place that stocks enough clothes, food, and sporting equipment for a lifetime? Each of these films has qualities to admire. The 1978 version, although sometimes cheesy and racist, has some of the best tips on fortifying a public building. Modern viewers will find the 2004 version easier to watch and the opening sequence is the most terrifying to imagine. Waking up to the zombie apocalypse in full bloom is one of my biggest fears.
- 28 Days Later, 2002
Waking from a hospital bed to find the entire town deserted is a frightening thought and is just slightly scarier than being surrounded by the zombie apocalypse. It harkens back to The Twilight Zone episode, “Time Enough to Last” in which a man finds himself alone on Earth. But which is worse? Being completely alone on Earth, or being the only human surrounded by flesh-eating zombies? This movie is especially scary because the blood transfer is so quick and the zombies are wicked-fast.
- Zombieland, 2009
The American’s stab at zombie comedy actually came out quite good. I love the zombieland rules and this flick has the best slow-motion kill shots ever. Add a little comedy and Bill Murray to the recipe, and you’ve got a fun zombie movie that can appeal to a wide range of horror enthusiasts. The thought of a geeky little nerd like Jesse Eisenberg beating out the zombie horde to save sexy siren Emma Stone just adds to the likeability of this film.
- Night of the Living Dorks, 2004 (or) Die Nacht der lebenden Loser
This German film is corny and hilarious. All the things you want in a zombie flick, right? With English dubbed over these silly German teens, we can experience one of the raunchiest moments in zombie humor. This flick shows what might really start happening to your body (and what might fall off) as it decomposes. Add a goth witch coven performing spells in a graveyard, and that about sums up this 89 minutes of fun.
- The Crazies, 2010
Okay, so this is really pushing it on the zombie category, these people aren’t even dead, but what could be scarier than your neighbors standing around not saying anything? I mean, usually you can’t get them to shut up! Slowly leaking that this epidemic is some sort of plague the government has been monitoring, you’ll wonder if it’s all been a set up, but that doesn’t stop this from being a scary film. The true-to-life situations and terrifying attempted murder scenes will keep you up at night.
Emerian Rich is the author of the vampire book series, Night’s Knights. She’s been published in a handful of anthologies by publishers such as Dragon Moon Press, Hidden Thoughts Press, Hazardous Press, and White Wolf Press. Emerian is a podcast horror hostess of HorrorAddicts.net. To find out more about Emerian, go to: emzbox.com.