These days, zombie movies are selling well: the simplicity of the subgenre makes it possible to make at least one or two movies about them every year. There are even shows like The walking dead and it all goes back to one man: George A. Romero.
After creating Night of the Living Dead, the modern zombie was created for generations to enjoy and use. Romero has evolved his zombies and humans to become even more violent and graphic, resulting in memorable and bloody murders across his Dead franchise.
ten Steve’s Two Dead – Dawn of the Dead (1978)
During the Biker War, helicopter pilot Steve tries to escape a horde of zombies via an elevator shaft. Unfortunately, the zombies bring him back in an elevator to bite him in a visceral and frightening killing spree. However, they don’t devour him, so he returns as a new zombie.
Using the memory of his life among the living, he leads the zombie horde to the heroes’ secret hideout. Zombie Steve comes to an end when Peter finishes him off with a sniper fire, the back of his head exploding all over the wall. This death alone gets credit for the fact that Steve is memorable as both a human and a zombie, and he’s technically dead twice.
9 Zombie with a Gun – Land of the Dead (2005)
The Undead Army is pretty scary with rotten flesh and torn body parts trying to eat humans. Well, before Zack Snyder’s Army of the dead, George A. Romero first showed what happens when zombies learn to use tools. All along Land of the dead, it’s been shown that zombies are getting smarter and smarter.
Big Daddy, the leader of the zombies, gives a recurring zombie an assault rifle and teaches him how to aim and shoot, killing one of the Human Soldiers as they storm the Pittsburgh Human Settlement. It’s not a super bloody kill but the concept of the kill is still well executed.
8 Double Revenge – Land of the Dead (2005)
Dennis Hopper plays the main human villain, Kaufman, a rich man who turned a Pittsburgh tower into his utopian utopia. The rich remain fed, clothed and perfectly comfortable while the less rich suffer in the holder Land of the dead. Cholo is played by John Leguizamo in a bizarre reunion of the Super Mario Bros. movie.
After making enemies of the zombies and Cholo, he meets his end with both. Cholo dies by Kaufman to return as a zombie and attack. Kaufman and Cholo meet their end when Big Daddy sets the place on fire, causing them to explode due to the gas injection.
7 Rickles is Torn – Day of the Dead (1985)
The day of the Dead was George A. Romero’s most ambitious film. Part of that was due to special effects legend Tom Savini, who was able to pull it all off thanks to the increased budget. Each kill is perfectly executed with a gore rivaling that of John Carpenter The thing.
The first of several examples of Savini’s talent can be found in the epic finale in which the men of Rhodes are overwhelmed and killed by the zombie horde. One of them, named Rickles, tears with his eyelids and forehead peeling off. Visceral and wonderfully executed.
6 Off With His Head – Dawn of the Dead (1978)
The original Night of the Living Dead started by building until the apocalypse. Dawn of the Dead, one of the most famous zombie sequels, doesn’t fire a shot while showing the death of an innocent man. Not by a zombie, but by a rampaging thug cop.
The officer goes from apartment to apartment, murdering all the zombies and civilians in his path. In a perfect way to establish the dark and more graphic tone of Dawn of the dead, the officer fires his gun and a man’s head explodes. The man did not attack and did not even have a chance to speak.
5 Bombs Away – Land of the Dead (2005)
In the aforementioned scene when the zombies start their revolt against the humans in Land of the dead, a butcher zombie uses his cleaver. Just as a soldier arms a grenade, the butcher cuts off his hand, making the grenade fall to the ground.
The soldier falls on the pain grenade before it explodes, its body exploding to pieces. This is one of the few times that the public encourages the zombies, as most of the soldiers were oppressive and dictatorial to the people.
4 A Little Off the Top – Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Most zombie killings are similar – they are either shot in the head, stabbed, or punched. In Dawn of the Dead, one of the smartest ways to kill a zombie is by stepping directly into the rotor blades of a helicopter.
The scalp comes to be cleaned, the blood flows, and finally, the zombie collapses to its death. This shows that the zombies in Dawn of the Dead aren’t bright, but can sneak up on victims if they’re not careful. It’s also an effective gore showcase using simple practical effects from Tom Savini.
3 Blood Pressure – Dawn of the Dead (1978)
The biker gang makes things worse for the heroes and for themselves when they storm the mall. One of them stupidly causes his own death when he tries to use a blood pressure monitor. If the mall was empty, that would be one thing, but this biker decides to do it in the midst of a horde of zombies.
As a result, the rider ends up being devoured alive and torn, his arm still stuck in the machine. George A. Romero has always been a fan of injecting humor into his zombie movies and he’s a prime example. It is also this style of humor that inspired Edgar Wright Shaun of the Dead.
2 Cry of Death – Day of the Dead (1985)
On paper, it looks like a regular zombie death at first. Torrez is one of the first to die after Rhodes betrayed his team, resulting in Torrez being torn apart. The practical effect of his torn limbs and head already deserves applause for Tom Savini.
However, death is magnified when zombies gouged his throat, ripping out his vocal cords. As he screams, Torrez gets higher and higher, screaming as his vocal cords are destroyed. Not only is the scream enough to send chills down anyone’s spine, but combined with the gore, it’s zombie gore at its best.
1 Captain Rhodes Sign – Day of the Dead (1985)
The evil Captain Rhodes deserved his demise, so it was already satisfying when the iconic zombie Bub shoots him with a pistol. Rhodes limping to a door trying to escape, to reveal the horde on the other side, causing him to scream. Before Rhodes can attempt to run again, he is shot down again by Bub followed by a salute, the zombie getting his revenge.
Rhodes is then pulled to the ground where the zombies continue to feast, ripping off his bottom half. Being the evil man that he is, he gurgles a last cry of “Choke them!” He repeats it over and over again, pieces of him being eaten before he finally dies. The bad guys who get their bounty are always nice, and Rhodes’ death is the epitome of a murder by justice.
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