World War Z comes to home video (pre-order it Aug. 27), featuring Brad Pitt taking on ravenous, lightning-fast zombies hunting him and his family. In honor of all the gory, ghoulish and pulse-not-required denizens of cinema, we present the top 10 best living dead movies. Take a bite!
10. Night of the Living Dead (1990)
Two remakes make this list, and while the updated Dawn of the
Dead may have earned more, this '90s remake by makeup
master Tom Savini is aces, too. The story hasn't changed much from George Romero's original -- living dead attack strangers trapped in farm house! -- but this color version moves briskly, hits the highpoints, and features Candyman's own Tony Todd as the good guy for once.
9. Dead Alive (1992)
There's a reason all those orcs in LOTR look so freakin' scary. Peter Jackson knows his
horror, and in the deliciously over-the-top Dead Alive, Jackson lets his warped id run
wild. Among the delights in this scary comedy: dead moms, Sumatran rat-monkey bites, zombie
babies, lawnmower slaughters, and kung fu clergymen.
8. Re-Animator (1985)
Followed by Bride of Re-Animator and Beyond Re-Animator, it can safely be said
that there's nothing quite like this original dark horror comedy - the story of a young mad
scientist who re-animates corpses, and then watches all hell break loose. Well-received and
regarded (#14 on EW's best cult films since '83), it's not a film that's afraid to go
there...watching the bloody corpse of Dr. Hill go on the rampage is not for the faint of
7. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Billed by its creators as a "rom zom com," Shaun manages to balance laughs, hardcore
horror, and a love story (Gen X-er gets dumped for not growing up; wins love back by saving her
and taking down the newly undead). We can't help but love any movie where the main hero and his
videogame-playing roommate are so lazy they fail to realize--for the first third of the movie--
that their country's been overrun by zombies.
6. 28 Days Later (2002)
Danny Boyle of Trainspotting fame reinterpreted the zombie movie for a new generation
with this fast-paced tale of an England plagued by a deadly virus. The villains here aren't dead
yet, but they are infected, and would love nothing more than to tear you apart, eat your innards, and turn you into an infected...so...same difference.
5. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Before 300, gifted young filmmaker Zack Snyder turned
the studios' and fans' heads with this reworking of George Romero's classic. The plot is the same-strangers in a mall fighting off the undead who have them surrounded-but the approach is different. There's no real biting satire about consumerism here, just a lot
of well-paced zombie a**-kicking, and Ving Rhames (and his shotgun) at the center of it all.
4. The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
Wes Craven's made a lot of great horror movies, but this underrated chiller on Craven's resume deserves
more attention. Its "realistic" approach centers around Haitian voodoo and the concept that
certain undead aren't really dead, they've just been rendered paralyzed and zombielike by a mysterious powder, and then buried alive...which basically sounds like our worst nightmare.
3. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
Technically, some will say Dead 2 isn't a zombie flick, just an awesome horror comedy
from Sam Raimi before he started making Spider-Man movies. I'd just say, watching
Dead star Bruce Cambell go mano a chainsaw with the living dead and the "reanimated" lady spouting
"I'll swallow your soul" is one of the most hilarious things ever committed to celluloid.
2. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
George A. Romero remains the king of the zombie movie genre for a couple of films. First is
Dawn of the Dead which manages to work in all sorts of subversive messages about
brainless consumerism along with an awfully scary tale of lumbering
zombies eager to dine on the intestines of anyone not paying enough attention to get out of the
1. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Romero's best living dead movie is the original Night of the Living Dead. Other zombie entries may be more gory or techincally accomplished. But every film after owes a debt -- or at
least a spare rib -- to Romero's gang of hungry undead. They serve as the ultimate template for good, old-fashioned, scary, zombie fun.
Miss anything? Leave a comment below and let us know!