Top 5 zombie films

(Don’t say you didn't see this one coming, enjoy)

Planet Terror

Rose McGowan’s character “Cherry Darling” in Planet Terror

Let’s start with the sexiest film here. Rewind to some point three years ago, and I’m disillusioned with the whole zombie genre, mainly due to the bad cash-ins and remakes following the success of 28 Days Later, and the fact that the number of zombie films being made was increasing, but the quality across the board was doing the opposite.

Cast of Planet Terror

When I saw Rodriguez’s nuclear infection-inspired gem, I instantly declared it both a modern classic and great kick up the arse for the genre. Clichéd plot, excellent location, sexy ladies, lots and lots of gore, and a ridiculous twist that only someone like Robert Rodriguez is capable of pulling off, Planet Terror is easily the most fun film on this list.

Top all this off with arguably the best set of film posters from the last decade, and a face-peeling-off Bruce Willis, and you have a film that you’d be silly to miss.

28 Days Later

Still from 28 Days Later

I am arguably one of the most pedantic people in the world, but this still goes in as a zombie film, if only because the rage-infection sub-genre doesn’t exist.

Besides, it’s appropriately apocalyptic, terrifying, violent and utterly beautiful. The shots of Jim walking through a deserted London in the early stages of the film should go down in history the best portrayals of an post-apocalyptic world ever. I think I saw this film at the cinema three times; an undisputed modern classic. Just don’t talk to me about the trying-to-do-something-different sequel.

Shaun of the Dead

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as Shaun and Ed (respectively) in Shaun of the Dead

When the initial trailer spots for Shaun of the Dead started hitting cinemas I was already going around telling anyone who would listen that it would be the best British film of all time*.

Not only does it get top marks for the comedy aspect (“He’s got an arm off!”), it’s also well up there regarding the horror and zombies. It features arguably the best zombies in this little list, and possibly ever. Being modern, British versions of the Romero shufflers, the zombies in Shaun of the Dead are slow, lumbering and stupid, subsequently lulling the survivors into a false sense of security. Classic zombie film behaviour.

* Incidentally, I still think it is. It easily makes my Top 5 films of all time, let alone this rather genre-specific post. I’ve watched it so many times I can blurt out the classic lines before they happen, but I never get bored of it.

Zombie

Still from Zombie

Also known as Zombi 2 or Zombie Flesh Eaters (catchy title eh?), this relatively underrated film by Italian director Lucio Fulci easily deserves a place in this Top 5. The plot is pretty basic, involving boats and tropical islands, and the character development, if at all evident, if largely unnecessary. It features some great scenes though, including a zombie pulling a woman’s eye onto a splint of timber (pictured), and a zombie fighting a tiger shark (yep, you read that correctly). It also has a really creepy and original musical score. Well worth it’s spot on this list, this one.

Dawn of the Dead

(George A. Romero’s, naturally)

Zombiefied Flyboy from Dawn of the Dead

Name me a better concept for a horror story and I’ll buy you a pint, you can even cite comic books. Free fact: this film is a highly satirical, marvelously gory, beautifully crafted piece of genius.

I love the moment the bikers break in, letting hundreds of zombies into the mall, starting the slow process of impending doom that increases until the end of the film. An ending that is shrouded in mystery, but also doesn’t suffer from any Hollywood cliché that plagued so many horror films of the 70s.

The alternate ending, which would have seen the last two humans commit suicide by pistol and helicopter blade respectively, would have been even better, but I guess you can’t have everything.

Hare Krishna zombie from Dawn of the Dead