20. Zombie Oasis (1981)
The zombie genre has long had a very offensive “Nazi” subsection and this is a perfect example. Members of Rommel’s Afrika Corps are still alive in the desert as zombies, guarding a cache of Nazi gold. So at least they are concerned about something other than their own selfish flesh hunger.
19. Zombie Land (2009)
This zombie comedy stars Jesse Eisenberg as the nervous, obsessively compulsive survivor of a zombieocalypse, who goes on the road with Woody Harrelson.
18. Graveyard (1981)
AKA Le Notti Del Terrore, or The Nights of Terror, and a perfect example of Italian zombie-ism. A professor accidentally triggers an ancient curse, causing those buried at sea to rise from the waves and attack the surrounding wealthy.
17. V/H/S (2012)
Tape 56 is the overarching “framing narrative” that assembles the news footage found in this portmanteau film. Some criminals watch a series of mysterious video tapes they find on a television, in front of which lies the corpse of an old man. But this man is a zombie.
16. The Man from the Cemetery (1984)
Unloved in its time, this zombie horror comedy from Michele Soavi (an apprentice of Dario Argento) now has a cult following, especially among Rupert Everett superfans. Their idol embodies a cemetery guard whose corpses are agitated.
15. Night of the Creeps (1986)
Another gruesome and gross mashup, with hints of sci-fi alien invasion, slasher horror and animalistic antics to go with the zombie-ism.
14. Paranormand (2012)
Zombie animations for kids are rare but this one has a weird charm. A child named Norman attempts to save his community from zombie attacks in the 16th century.
13. White Zombie (1932)
Here’s a perfect example of Hollywood’s love of sensational creepiness before the Hays Code was enforced – it’s the first-ever full-length zombie film, starring Bela Lugosi as a voodoo leader. Haitian who commands a horde of – gulp! – zombies.
12. Shockwaves (1977)
Otherwise known as Almost Human, it’s another in the fiercely vapid “Nazi” subgenre with no less of a star than Peter Cushing playing the fugitive SS commander secretly training a battalion of zombies.
11. Resuscitator (1985)
There might be some scholarly debate among zombielogists about whether this counts as a zombie movie or if it’s more neo-Frankenstein. An adaptation of a series of HP Lovecraft novels about a scientist who, deplorably, revives corpses in a zombie state.
10. End Zeit (2018)
Carolina Hellsgård directs this instant cult film, adapted by Olivia Vieweg from her graphic novel – and hailed as the first feminist zombie film; one that also satirizes the paranoia of migrants in Europe. Two young women travel through a post-zombie-apocalyptic Germany in which most of humanity has been wiped out. In a city, Weimar, zombies are slaughtered. In another, Jena, the hunt is on for a cure – and that’s where the women go.
9. The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
It’s the zombie movie that has the distinction of being based on a (supposedly) true story, sketched in abook of the same name by historian Wade Davis. He recounted his experiences investigating the case of Clairvius Narcisse, a man in Haiti who was allegedly turned into a zombie by a voodoo potion containing paralyzing puffer fish venom.
8. Brain Dead (1992)
Prior to his work on Tolkien and World War I, peter jackson created this much-loved, splashy zombie comedy classic about a zombie outbreak triggered by a rat bite. Those suspected of zombie bites are treated without sentimentality, to say the least. Roger Ebert hailed Braindead as one of the most disgusting horror films ever made, and also one of the funniest; it contains the immortal exchange: “Your mother ate my dog!” “Not all of that.”
7. 28 Days Later (2002)
Danny Boyle made pioneering use of lightweight digital cameras and shot early in the morning in London to snap photos of a seemingly deserted capital on the verge of being overrun by zombies. It was in the spirit of British post-apocalyptic fantasies such as Threads and Survivors: animal rights activists released chimpanzees infected with a dangerous ‘rabies’ virus that spreads to humans. It was the film that kickstarted zombie-ism into the 21st century.
6. A Cup of the Dead (2019)
This modern classic from Japan gives us something that can only be called meta zombies. It’s a self-decomposing on-screen zombie nightmare that has been compared to Michael Frayn’s stage comedy Noises Off. A low-budget zombie horror shoot is overrun – to the ecstasy of the jaded director – by a horde of real zombies. But is this really what is happening?
5. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Two years after Boyle’s Zombies directing, Edgar Wright created his masterful homage to the genre – a zombie story in London’s leafy Crouch End, which revived Britain’s corpse-like industry and also awakened interest in the grand master George A Romero. . The film contains the classic description of the zombie’s perpetual air of morose, malignant resentment: “Like a drunk who’s lost a bet.”
4. Zombie 2 (1979)
Lucio Fulci’s modern zombie classic is terrifyingly gruesome and was meant to become notorious in the UK as a “nasty video” shock. It’s “Zombie 2” in the sense that it was conceived as Fulci’s own sequel-style homage to Dawn of the Dead: a woman travels to a remote Caribbean island on the trail of her missing scientist father. A voodoo curse means corpses roam free, attacking the living.
3. I walked with a zombie (1943)
It’s one of the great zombie classics and a chilling version of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. It features a nurse who travels to a Caribbean island to care for a plantation owner and encounters voodoo rituals and reanimated corpses. It’s a fable satirizing colonial guilt, the legacy of slavery and the paranoid fear of “the other” – an almost poetic zombie adventure.
2. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
A zombie classic that fuses American and Italian traditions of delirium and shock. It’s co-written by George A Romero, the man who practically invented the zombie movie, and Italian horror genius Dario Argento. After a horrific and mysterious environmental disaster, corpses are reanimated as zombies, and key scenes are set in a shopping mall, as zombie-ism satirically portrays the spiritual undead of American consumerism.
1. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
A year before Apollo 11 made its triumphant moon landing – for some the greatest moment in US and world history – Romero created this paranoid and subversive film, articulating a heretical skepticism about the adventure spatial. A virus is brought back from outer space, which revives the corpses as malignant, murderous ghouls who want to eat the living. This Swiftian satire attacked racism, conformity, consumerism and fear of the future: our horror at the idea of our own mortality, our own obsolescence, the realization that we all must die and that we we’re just walking dead men and women.