What movies such as George Romero's original Dead trilogy did for the big screen, AMC's The Walking Dead is doing for the small screen: exploring the terror and examining the human condition under terribly stressful conditions. With the fourth season of The Walking Dead out on home video this week and the fifth set to air starting on October 12, it's a good time to consider zombies in general -- but not the usual kind.
No, we're more interested in the exceptions, the zombies with a twist, if you will, the kind of dead people returning to some kind of life that perplex, inspire and, yes, sometimes even make us laugh.
Life After Beth (2014)
Aubrey Plaza dies tragically young only to return looking perfectly normal, to the consternation of her parents and, especially, her devoted boyfriend (Dane DeHaan). What is the poor boy to do when the girl he loves starts looking and acting more and more like a zombie?
Warm Bodies (2013)
Our hero, R (Nicholas Hoult), can't even remember his name, much less what turned the world into a postapocalyptic wasteland -- and him into a zombie. Yet he retains some decent human kindness, and when he sees a lovely human girl (Teresa Palmer) in trouble, he feels compelled to save her rather than eat her brains. What gives?
The Returned (2013)
What's it like to live in a world where zombies look like you and me? This tense drama imagines a near-future world in which a worldwide epidemic killed hundreds of millions before an antidote was developed -- but the antidote is running out. Can a cure be developed in time to save the world? (Read more about it here.)
Dead Snow (2009)
More than 400 (?!) zombie-themed movies have been released since the turn of the century, but this horror/comedy/thriller was the first one in memory to feature Nazi zombies, which earns it a place on our list automatically.
In a beautiful suburban neighborhood, gardener Billy Connolly works very hard at his job. Side note: he's a zombie who's been domesticated by a giant corporation after "space dust" caused the dead to rise. Hey, instead of killing them all again, why not make them useful members of society, even if they are treated like pets?