PART 4: No.# 50-41
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to conduct my own list of Top 66 Zombie films is the fact that the article in SFX Magazine Special Zombies kept putting films that they didn’t even like at the bottom of the list. This is a huge travesty as there have been hundreds of zombie films produced and not one zombie film on that UK magazine’s list they should have been ashamed of. On my list I am not ashamed of any of them. I’ve seen a whole lot of bad zombie films (ZOMBIE LAKE and FLESH EATER come immediately to mind) but despite the questionable quality of some of the films on my list (and I’m sure you dear zombie lovers won’t agree with all my choices nor their placement on my list) they are all entertaining and films that I would gladly include in my video collection.
In this part of the series I’m going to go into some of the films I deem some of the most entertaining in the bunch. The one thing to remember about zombie films is that the majority of them are made to simply be entertaining (although there are a few that surpass this expectation) and if it isn’t entertaining then it isn’t any good (hence why PLAGA ZOMBIE and THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING are definitely on this list). Enjoy them as much as I have.
50. SUGAR HILL (1974)
I lucked out with this film as I just recently saw this film within the last six months and despite the fact that it may be dated it is now a personal favorite of mine. It’s one of the better “old school” voodoo zombie movies available out there which has a strong female lead that drives the film. The other big selling point to the film is that it has an almost all African American cast (it is a Blaxploitation film by the way) and it makes no compromises. It’s one of those films that needs to be seen to be believed.
49. THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING (2000)
A guilty pleasure of mine. I don’t know if the film is any good but it’s one of my favorite zombie films to just through into the DVD player any day at any time. It never gets old. It’s a love song to horror and zombie films and any self respecting fan will pick up on all the homage in the film to other popular horror films.
48. RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE (2010)
This is my second favorite in the RESIDENT EVIL film franchise as it takes a lot from video games to create one of the most satisfying of horror film sequels. It’s also one of the few 3-D released films that I loved watching in 3-D as the extra added dimension added to my enjoyment of the film. Great action and suburb make up and visual SFX makes this an excellent addition to the popular franchise.
47. I, ZOMBIE (1999)
Probably the most depressing zombie film ever made as it shows how a man slowly becoming one with his zombie nature after being bitten by an undead ghoul. Most people think this a boring excuse for a zombie film but I always thought that it explored territory in the zombie genre that just hadn’t been tackled before. It got into the dark mind of zombie and just continued to decay from there. Not a film for everyone and certainly not a film for those who simply want to be entertained.
46. DANCE OF THE DEAD (2008)
Filmed in Georgia at locations where I have myself filmed similar indie films this holds a special place on the list because I know many of the actors in the film. The story also takes a few liberties with the zombie mythos while telling a coming of age story about teenagers who get stuck in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. It both horrifying and heartwarming while also manages to mix both the comedy and horror in a satisfying way.
45. ZOMBIE HONEYMOON (2004)
The Honeymoon is over for the just married couple in the film when the groom is bitten by a zombie and the bride must figure out a way to cope with her husband’s new appetite for the flesh. A low budget gem in terms of story and direction as it is a very minimalist film but survivals because of the actors and how authentic they make their characters in such an unusually circumstance.
44. DEAD SPACE: DOWNFALL (2008)
More animated zombies in this of the first DEAD SPACE films. This is an unrelenting horror masterpiece that is a prequel to the popular video game. No flesh is spared in this over the top zombie massacre that will have zombie fans wondering why this film didn’t get a theatrical release (I would have loved to have seen this on the big screen).
NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986)
If you’re wondering why this film is sandwiched in here it is because when I made the original list I somehow forgot to number this film and didn’t realize it until it was too late but I decided to keep it where it would originally fall on the list.
This is probably one of my favorite horror films from my childhood. I’ve probably seen this film a hundred times and it never gets old. This is a flawless film that mixes sci-fi with horror and a big dose of humor. And it helps that Tom Atkins is along for the ride. I’ve never met a person who didn’t love this film.
43. PLAGA ZOMBIE: MUTANT ZONE (2001)
The most fun you’ll ever have watching a home-grown Mexican zombie film (if you watch both films at the same time its twice as much fun). This is another one of those it’s so bad its good films. Despite the questionable logic (which you can forgive because it’s an indie film) this is one of those films that you play in front of a group of your friends (with similar interests in film) while getting drunk and having a good time because that’s what you’ll have from beginning to end with this film.
42. DEAD & BREAKFAST (2004)
The only zombie musical worth watching. Great cast and over the top violence makes this an excellent time waster. The musical numbers just put this film on the top. There is no better fun to be had than in this film. If you never thought that a zombie film could also be a musical than look no further than here.
41. CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980)
If you’ve never seen a Lucio Fulci film than this would be a good one to start off with. Fulci’s zombie’s are like anyone else’s from those in his film ZOMBI to those in HOUSE BY THE CEMETARY to those in THE BEYOND. He has created a type of zombie film that is all his own that has not been easily emulated by others. His films are gory and uncompromising and not for the faint of heart…which is why I love them so much. Those with a love of Italian zombie mayhem will love this film and despite the holes in logic (as is the case with most Italian horror films of this decade) it is highly enjoyable from beginning to end.
Zombie films have become a regular diet in the film industry. After years of being the bastard step child to the vampire and werewolf genres, the zombie film has been the most consistent and successful genre in the past decade and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of wear as this year will see the release of RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION and WORLD WAR Z, to name a few.