Sarah’s Top 5 Zombie Movies

I can’t recall a time when I didn’t adore zombie movies. In my mind, there is no better way to spend an evening than to kick back with a few beers, some mates in tow, and watch a flick in which a few people do battle with marauding hordes of the undead. They contain two of the things that I think are great about horror; loads of carnage and a firm sense of fun. I find it very hard to fault them; in my opinion even a bad zombie movie is still, in fact, a good movie, although there are obviously hugely varying degrees in quality. Some contain vital political messages, some are a metaphor for the human condition, others just want to make you laugh, but never has a sub-genre so successfully been able to present such a spectrum of themes, all through the medium of re-animated corpses.

Those that know me will find no surprises here, those that don’t will probably find this list a curious mixture of obvious and obscure choices. I’ll no doubt be shunned by most of the zombie puritans and the horror community at large for leaving out any of Romero’s important contributions to the genre but fuck it, as flawed and incorrect as you might think my list is, these are, in no order, My Top 5 Zombie Movies.

Dellamorte Dellamore

Dellamorte Dellamore

Also known as Cemetery Man, Dellamorte Dellamore is one of the most complex films I have ever seen within any genre. There’s so much going on, not only in front of you but bubbling under the surface as well that I think it would be near impossible to touch on all of it no matter how many repeat viewings you award it. Rupert Everett heads up the cast in this thoroughly insane but hugely enjoyable movie. Less of a zombie film and more of an exercise in existentialism with a whole heap of the walking dead and general insanity thrown in for good measure; it’s a firm favourite of mine.

Shaun of the Dead

Shaun of the Dead

The fact that I was already a massive fan of UK sitcom Spaced almost guaranteed Shaun Of The Dead a spot on my favourites list. SOTD has a splash of everything that I love about celluloid; spectacular gore, hordes of zombies, a saccharine-free love story and lots of very British humour. Simon Pegg makes for an unlikely but likeable anti-hero, (back when he was a pioneer of British comedy and didn’t opt for bland, Americanised tripe). His cohorts, in the form of some of Britains best comedic talent are all perfectly cast too, and Pegg‘s real-life best bud Nick Frost is an excellent wing man. Top all that off with an enormously quotable script and I just can’t imagine a better rom-zom-com ever existing.

Zombie Honeymoon

Zombie Honeymoon

I suspect that Zombie Honeymoon will be something of a controversial choice but I honestly love this movie. It manages to blend romance and horror in a way that I’ve never seen before. Eschewing the traditional love story and opting for dark humour and oodles of blood and guts instead, it works as both a zombie movie and a desolately romantic tale of love and loss. It never succumbs to bland melodrama while exploring the relationship between our heroine and her newly re-animated husband, and the ending is truly bittersweet. Despite its flaws (and there are a few) this is my perfect ‘chick flick‘ and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the forthcoming sequel is just as enjoyable.

Return of the Living Dead

Return of the Living Dead

Spawning a franchise of five movies to date that, beyond the second in the series, bear little resemblance to the first in anything but name, this movie was ahead of its time in terms of delivering an amusing and irreverent look at zombies and it helped to pioneer what‘s now become known as ‘splatstick‘. Memorable, quotable, funny and shocking in equal measure, Return Of The Living Dead is hugely under-rated and has been surprisingly influential. It has plenty of gore, gratuitous full-frontal nudity, an awesome 80’s punk soundtrack, wry humour and one of the first instances of that now famous zombie uttering; “Braaaaaaiiinnssss!”

Evil Dead 2

Evil Dead 2

Some consider it a remake, others consider it a sequel but whatever your views, most find it impossible to argue against the fact that Evil Dead 2 is fun with a capital ‘F’. It has ridiculously imaginative scenarios, Ted Raimi in a fat suit and ‘old woman‘ make-up, a superbly silly sense of humour and an amazingly OTT turn from Bruce Campbell as the chainsaw and ‘boomstick‘-wielding hero Ash. A generation of Campbell fans cite this as the flick that first brought him to their collective attention and made them worship him, and rightly so. This, to me, is about as close to a perfect comedy-horror experience as I can imagine.

Dellamorte Dellamore, Shaun Of The Dead, Zombie Honeymoon, Return Of The Living Dead and Evil Dead 2 are all available from Amazon.

8 Comments on “Sarah’s Top 5 Zombie Movies”

  1. Jamie Carruthers says:

    I heard someone give Zombie Honeymoon a massive bashing recently. I disagreed, I thought it was solid and interesting.

    I’m not sure I would say Evil Dead II is a zombie movie though…

    • Sarah Law says:

      Not in the traditional sense, no, but in broader terms I’d call it a zombie movie. The Deadites are pretty much just zombies with a different name.

  2. Chris Ward says:

    Nice. Haven’t seen Zombie Honeymoon so I couldn’t comment. My list would run a little differently, so maybe I’ll get round to doing one on my blog. Still prefer the first Evil Dead, though! ;)

    • Sarah Law says:

      That always seems to be the big debate amongst horror fans. Evil Dead 1 or 2? It amuses me that Army Of Darkness is almost universally acknowledged as the weakest of the bunch.

      So, how would your list read? :)

  3. Chris Ward says:

    I shall get to work on it and put it on my blog – there’ll definitely be a Romero on there…

  4. Chris Ward says:

    It is tough when you actually sit down and look at how many great zombie movies there are. The other one I really wanted to mention was Zombie Flesh Eaters, but decided that I enjoyed Return of the Living Dead better.

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