When it comes to horror, perhaps the most immediate image that comes to mind these days are zombies. After all, the popularity of The Walking Dead has pretty much reached everyone in some way, shape, or form. Now everyone thinks they know how to survive a zombie apocalypse. Pfft…
Indeed, similar to the ways vampires benefited from the simultaneous emergence of Twilight and HBO’s True Blood, reanimated corpses are more in vogue these days than ever before, particularly to people who’d otherwise not seek out movies directed by Lucio Fulci or George A. Romero. And due to the mass presence of zombie-themed media these days, it can be hard to sift through the bad in order to find the good. So we’ve decided to help you out.
So, nut up or shut up; it’s time to split up and look for survivors among the 50 Greatest Zombie Movies Of All Time. And don’t forget to aim for the head.
50. The Children (1980)
Director: Max Kalmanowicz
Stars: Martin Shakar,Gil Rogers, Gale Garnett, Shannon Bolin, Tracy Griswold, Joy Glaccum
“You can’t hug your children with nuclear arms.” It’s not clear where this particular phrase originated, but it was almost certainly on the minds of the creators of The Children, an anti-nuclear parable dressed up as a zombie movie, with a twist. The twist is that all the zombies are rugrats from a school bus that drives through a toxic cloud leaked from the nearby nuclear power plant.
While the adults are unaffected by the gas, the children are turned into little black-fingernailed goths-in-training that have been fed too much Ritalin. With arms outstretched, they get all affectionate and huggy on you, which is bad news since a hug from one of these kids burns your flesh up until you resemble a pepperoni pizza. Nice job polluting the planet, boomers – now you’re the main course for the next generation’s barbecue.
49. The Battery (2012)
Director: Jeremy Gardner
Stars: Jeremy Gardner, Adam Cronheim, Niels Bolle, Alana O’Brien, Jamie Pantanella
If you’re looking for a beautifully shot film with impeccable character development and sheer badass style, you need not look any further than The Battery – a zombie film that uses traditional sub-genre elements sparsely and concentrates on the story and characters foremost. It’s a gripping picture that really has no business being overlooked (as it indeed has been).
The Battery takes its moniker from the name given to the partnership between a pitcher and his catcher in baseball. It is an essential part of the game which can lead to amazing effects in the sport, as there have been many successful batteries in baseball history. Here, the term takes on a deeper meaning when our main leads are eventually introduced as survivors from a New England baseball team traveling through Connecticut just trying to survive each other… as well as the zombie outbreak happening all around them.
48. Quarantine (2008)
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Stars: Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris, Columbus Short, Jay Hernandez, Johnathon Schaech
Angela Vidal is a plucky television reporter who spends a night covering the everyday heroes at a local fire department. Events take an ominous turn when the firefighters respond to a call from a spooky old apartment building that’s home to an apparently rabid old woman. The building is quickly quarantined, and Angela, her cameramen, and firefighter Jake wind up battling obstacles from all sides: zombie-like ghouls in the building, and shadowy government operatives on the outside trying to keep them from escaping.
If this plot sounds familiar, then you’ve probably seen the 2007 Spanish horror movie of which this is a remake, namely [REC] (which we’ll get to in a minute). With the cameraman continuously rolling, Quarantine utilizes POV camera angles that are actually quite effective. Watch out for the moment when the lens is mashed repeatedly into the blood-spattered face of one crazed assailant – it’s surely the best example of the camera-as-murder-weapon since Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom.
47. Dance Of The Dead (2008)
Director: Gregg Bishop
Stars: Jared Kusnitz, Greyson Chadwick, Chandler Darby, Carissa Capobianco, Randy McDowell
It’s prom night in middle America. Tuxes have been rented and dresses have been bought. But when the departed unexpectedly rise from their graves to eat the living, it’s up to the geeks, the nerds, the outcast and the losers who couldn’t get dates to the dance to save the town from the undead. Unlikely heroes will rise to the challenge as they are forced to put aside their differences and band together to fight for their lives. Armed with bats, sledgehammers, garden tools and guitars, this rag-tag group of high-school teens are in for a prom night they’ll never forget.
At first glance, Dance Of The Dead seems to be just another cheesy low-budget horror film. But what we ultimately get is an endearing horror comedy with characters we root for and zombies that alternate between menacing and purposefully dopey. If you love zombie movies, teen comedies or just guilty pleasures, then Dance Of The Dead is definitely the movie for you.
46. Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead (2006)
Director: Lloyd Kaufman
Stars: Jason Yachanin, Kate Graham, Allyson Sereboff, Robin L. Watkins, Joshua Olatunde
In North America, obesity levels have risen by very large percentages. People are taking the quick and easy food alternative over the healthy choice simply because it’s cheaper and easier to access. Fast food chains are popping up on every corner of Smalltown, USA and enticing children while they’re still young and impressionable. It’s actually quite scary stuff since it’s causing a rise in diabetes cases across the board and leading to generally unhealthy lifestyles.
You wouldn’t expect anyone to literally take these headlines and apply it to a horror formula, but you have to give it up to the good folks at Troma for not only doing that, but elevating it further into excess by making it a horror-musical-cult comedy with chicken zombies! This is fast food for thought and it’s about to get even messier than what happens in the washroom 10 minutes after eating greasy fried chicken. This is Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead. It’s violent, over-the-top, crass, at times disgusting, and all around insane. But if you can handle having your sense of disbelief waterboarded, it’s one of the wildest and best rides you’re likely to come across.