Hollywood's been fascinated with the living dead since the 1930s when Bela Lugosi starred in White Zombie, and since then hundreds of zombie movies have gnawed the scenery for the audience’s pleasure. Without biting off more than we could chew, here’s just a taste of our favorite modern movie zombies.
By Stacie Hougland
The First Zombie - Night of the Living Dead
Let’s just get Romero out of the way. This 1968 cannibalistic charmer is George Romero’s pioneering granddaddy of all zombie flicks, reinventing the horror genre that heretofore never showed gory scenes as much as implied them. They're coming to get you, Barbara!
Bub - Day of the Dead
Sympathy for the zombie? Who knew it was possible in a Romero film, but Bub’s goofy antics as a zombie being "tamed" was about the only thing to like about the third in Romero's 6-movie Living Dead series.
The Underwater Zombie - Zombi 2
Zombies apparently don't need scuba gear when it comes to fighting toothy underwater predators like sharks.
Big Daddy - Land of the Dead
In the fourth of Romero's movies, the leader of the pack is "Big Daddy," a former filling station owner who pumps shotguns instead of gas and has taught his fiendish cronies how to overcome human defenses. Finally he realizes all they have to do is walk on the riverbottom to reach the humans barricaded in Pittsburgh. Smartie!
Tarman - The Return of the Living Dead
This ludicrous 1985 zombie comedy claimed Night of the Living Dead was really a documentary altered by the government. As corpses start coming to life via a toxin that has leaked, panic ensues. Best line: the oil-covered cadaver Tarman pops up to greet a young woman screeching, "Brains!"
Celeb Zombies - Dawn of the Dead (2004 remake)
Director Zack Snyder’s terrific remake of Romero’s 1978 film of the same name. Any movie in which a sniper picks off his zombie victims based on the celebrities they look like is dead on. (Hey, is that a popular talk show host in his sights?)
Undead Ed - Shaun of the Dead
Poor Ed. One of our favorite irreverent revenants, Shaun’s long-suffering sidekick helps stave off the zombie apocalypse taking over London after a wicked bender the night before. Unfortunately, as he tries to Molotov-cocktail a bunch of walking corpses, he gets bitten. Lucky for him, Shaun keeps him in the shed as his videogame partner instead of dispatching him for good.
Zombie Cop - Night of the Comet
Two Valley sisters are, like, totally the last people on Earth after a comet turns everyone bloodthirsty. It's got "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," purple neon and Asteroids, everything you'd expect in a 1984 zombie funfest.
Zombie Baby - Dead Alive
The twos are terrible, but who are we kidding? You're not really supposed to laugh at babies in blenders, but this time it's OK. All you parents have been there.
The Nazis - Dead Snow
The living dead are bad enough, but when they're "Heil"ing Hitler, they're even worse. These snowstorm troopers make life hell for some Norwegian college students on vacation. Not for the squeamish!
Fido - Fido
In a sort of man-bites-dog-bites-man tale, Fido is a zombie owned by a family in the radiation-plagued 1950s as a "pet" for young Timmy in an age when zombies mow lawns, deliver milk and otherwise wait on their human caretakers. When Fido bites a neighbor, authorities threaten to destroy him. Noooo!
The Children - The Children
Violence and children is usually taboo in the movies. These young 'uns microwave anything and everything, kill all the adults, and--gasp!-- even each other. These children should not be seen OR heard.
All of Them - 28 Days Later
"Aw man, this is FUBAR!" The London soldier who makes that statement is more than right. These zombies move at lightning speed, scream like banshees and won't hesitate to rip your heart out. Enjoy!
Don - 28 Weeks Later
All Don wants to do is get back to a semi-normal life after reuniting with his kids. When his infected wife gives him a smooch, dear old dad has one objective -- kill those kids, and anyone else in his way.
"She" - Cemetery Man
Angelic Anna Falchi plays the deceased object of caretaker Rupert Everett, whose cemetery residents come to life every few days. That's when everything comes to life…so to speak.
R - Warm Bodies
The cool thing about R (Nicholas Hoult) - the protagonist in Warm Bodies - is that he doesn't want to eat flesh and blood Julie (Teresa Palmer)...he wants to romance her. Ahhhh. We're suckers for zombies who break the mold, and apparently, so were millions of other moviegoers who flocked to the surprise hit.
Super Fast Zombies - World War Z
The zombie apocalypse is here and Brad Pitt tries to figure out what's going on and how he can stop it. WWZ was one of a handful of summer blockbusters that was pegged for disaster but on the strength of good word of mouth, managed to be a summer hit. Besides humanity's chivalrous golden boy hero, our hats off to those ultra quick - and clever - zombies - a nice wrinkle on the classic genre.