For nearly a century, zombie films (and various other media) have held a strange but enduring place in our hearts. Whatever the reason for the continued fascination, not all zombie films are created equal. Here’s a list of seven worth watching.
“White Zombie” (1932)
Heavily based on the myth of voodoo reanimation, Victor Halperin’s “White Zombie” is considered the first feature-length zombie film. An engaged couple visiting “the West Indies” stumble across a funeral – the villagers seem to be burying a body in the middle of the road. Why? Because it’s the easiest way to discourage graverobbers. “White Zombie” is available on YouTube.
“Night of the Living Dead” (1968)
“They’re coming for you, Barbra.” Although “zombie” never appears in the script, George A. Romero and John Russo’s “Night of the Living Dead” has more or less defined the word. The film follows a young woman named Barbra, a man named Ben and a group of strangers as they find themselves trapped and surrounded by a hoard of reanimated corpses led by a strange man from a nearby cemetery. “Night of the Living Dead” is available on Tubi.
“Dead Alive” (1993)
Set in Wellington, New Zealand, “Dead Alive” – also titled “Braindead” – was an early project for “The Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson and co-writer Fran Walsh. Lionel’s domineering mother, Vera, suddenly dies after being bitten by an illegally imported Sumatran rat-monkey. When her corpse reanimates shortly after, Lionel struggles to keep the situation under control, but it isn’t long before Vera’s crazed killing spree begins leaving dogs, nurses, friends and neighbors in her wake. “Braindead” is available on Amazon Prime Video.
“Cemetery Man” (1994)
Rupert Everett stars as Francesco Dellamorte, an Italian cemetery caretaker forced to kill reanimating corpses a second time to prevent them from prowling the land as zombies. An outcast with only his mentally handicapped assistant, Gnaghi (François Hadji-Lazaro), for company, Francesco spends most of his time alone. He falls hopelessly in love with a young widow (Anna Falchi), but the pair are irrevocably separated when her dead husband rises from his grave. “Cemetery Man” is available on Vudu.
“28 Days Later” (2002)
The U.K. is overrun by the infected just 28 days after a mysterious viral breakout. A group of survivors band together in search of safety. But the likelihood of their surviving another 28 days seems slim to none. “28 Days Later” is available on Hulu.
“Dawn of the Dead” (2004)
Adapted from Romero’s 1978 film of the same name, “Dawn of the Dead” follows a nurse, police officer, young married couple and salesman, among others, as they flee the rising tide of a zombie epidemic. The group attempts to hide out in a shopping mall, but their barricades can only hold for so long. “Dawn of the Dead” is available on Amazon Prime Video.
“Shaun of the Dead” (2004)
Departing from the rest of the list in a major way, “Shaun of the Dead” approaches the zombie horror genre with a comedian’s eye. Shaun (Simon Pegg), a less-than-enthusiastic electronics salesman, finds his boring life suddenly interrupted when he realizes he’s been living in the middle of a zombie apocalypse for days without noticing. The city is overrun, but with his best friend Ed (Nick Frost) by his side, Shaun just might make it through. “Shaun of the Dead” is available on Hulu.
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