Top Ten Zombie Films

by bloodyrenn

After reading through a like list at Horror Lovers I decided that now is as good of a time as any to come up with my own top ten zombie films list.  I made a conscious effort to only include movies where zombies played a significant part in both the story and the overall atmosphere of the film because there are, after all, many horror flicks with zombie appearances that may not necessarily be zombie movies themselves.  Make sense?  I hope so.  Anyway, enjoy the list and, as always, your feedback is more than welcome!  The order is alphabetical.

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The Beyond

The late and great Lucio Fulci has four undisputed zombie masterpieces under his belt and The Beyond is one of them.  It is atmospheric, artful and moves along at quite an impressive pace, each scene building upon the previous to create a crescendo-like build-up throughout the movie.  The dream-like end scene is one of the best I have seen from Italian cinema and the gruesome gore, in Fulci tradition, is magnificent!

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Burial Ground

This is an underrated gem that has some of the most unique and foreboding looking zombies around.  Produced in the early 80s and often called Burial Ground: The Nights Of Terror (not sure where it’s called this, my VHS copy is simply entitled “Burial Ground”), this Italian gem has a strange (almost surreal) atmosphere that has yet to be reproduced elsewhere.  The adult-child lusting after his mother is something to behold and, to be repetitive, the zombies themselves are genuinely unusual.

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Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things

This clever, lo-fi flick is a gem.  The director, Bob Clark, has since become rather well-known mostly due to his directing A Christmas Story but he is no stranger to horror either having this film, Black Christmas and Deathdream under his belt.  Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, despite being low-budget, is incredibly well-written and effective.  The zombie make-up is quite professionally done and is better than one would assume considering this 1972 movie’s budget.  The ending is great as well, being quasi-apocalyptic and clearly having an influence on the ending of Fulci’s wonderful film Zombie.

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City Of The Living Dead

Commonly known as The Gates Of Hell, this 1980 jewel is easily my favorite Fulci flick and is also one of my favorite zombies movies of all-time.  The atmosphere here is astounding, the themes and the gore extreme and the ending one of the most bizarre and unsatisfying (in a good way) around.  City Of The Living Dead is also permeated with a strong, almost abstract (perhaps even unintentional) sense of surrealism that is rare to find in more traditional horror films.  A masterpiece and one of my all-time favorites; Fabio Frizzi’s eerie, progressive score is quite noteworthy too.

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Dawn Of The Dead (1978)

George A. Romero is the ultimate zombie filmmaker, no doubt, having really initiated the genre into modernity with his magnificent Night Of The Living Dead.  Dawn Of The Dead, Night Of The Living Dead’s unofficial sequel, is a horror film of gigantic proportions that had a massive influence on the many European zombie flicks that, funnily enough, make-up half of this list.  Being laden with some of the simplest yet most effective social commentary (zombies in a mall, come on) you’ll find, Dawn Of The Dead proved that horror movies could offer more to the viewer than meets the eye; indeed, behind the blood and guts resides a potent, relevant and philosophical message directed right at American consumerism and its vacuous ways.  The zombie film perfected.

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Let Sleeping Corpses Lie

Also known as The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue and Don’t Open The Window, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie is a Spanish zombie film from the mid-70s that has an instantly recognizable, almost elegant atmosphere yet to be duplicated.  Taking place on the English countryside, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie features beautiful cinematography and very human-like zombies who, due to their expressionless yet lifelike appearances, are deliciously creepy and harrowing.  This is a very effective film that shall forever remain one of my personal favorites.  Oh yeah, and keep an eye out for the overzealous police sergeant played by the late Arthur Kennedy, he’s a menacing riot!

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Night Of The Creeps

Zombies, comedy and horror seamlessly coalesce in Night Of The Creeps to make one of the most definitive horror comedies of the 80s.  Characters are named after directors, Tom Atkins stars, zombies rise, lawnmowers slay and aliens plot mankind’s demise in this over-the-top horror comedy that is an absolute hoot in every way you can imagine.  A classic flick!

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Night Of The Living Dead (1968)

No introduction here is really needed, is it?  The most definitive zombie film ever made and, to this day, one of the best if not THE best all together.  If you haven’t seen this and are reading this blog then I suggest you shut down your computer, call-off work and get a copy of Night Of The Living Dead for your collection like your life depended on it (and who knows, maybe it does)!

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Return Of The Blind Dead

Also referred to as Return Of The Evil Dead, Return Of The Blind Dead is the second film in De Ossorio’s wonderful Blind Dead series and remains my favorite to this day.  The Templar knight zombies look incredible and have a stoic, medieval quality about them that is as recognizable as it is striking.  The social/political undertones of the film are potent and, overall, the atmosphere presented throughout Return Of The Blind Dead is amazing.  The closing sequences of the movie are some of the most tension-inducing scenes you’re likely to see in a zombie film and are wonderfully executed at that – a great flick all around!

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The Return Of The Living Dead

Ah, yes, and here we are closing this list with the almighty The Return Of The Living Dead.  This is my favorite horror comedy of all-time and is one of the most definitive movies of 80’s horror.  Every element of the movie is marvelously executed to create one of the most complete and enjoyable films of the zombie genre.  You will be laughing hysterically in no-time watching this lovely yet gruesome film, ready to restart it as soon as the credits finish rolling!  Brains, anyone?

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