10 Brilliant Zombie(ish) moments for Halloween.
Halloween is upon again, and while there’s a cinematic gold mine of different horror subgenres that can be enjoyed in October, my favourite is definitely the zombie film.
Here are but ten of my favourites, and I want to point out that I’ve gone for the loose terminology for what a zombie is. I’m side-lining the technicalities of whether they’re running or walking or if they’re officially ‘dead’ or not and am going for the definition that if it used to be functioning human, looks vaguely deceased and now wants to eat or kill you, then it’s here.
1. Night of the Living Dead
A go-to whenever I’m asked to reel off a few favourite films, Romero’s original ‘of the dead’ film is an absolute classic in the zombie genre. Made on a minuscule budget, the horror goes to show that a film doesn’t need a super sized budget to do exactly what it needs. Eerie, creepy and uncomfortable, the film is brilliantly atmospheric and is still influencing film-makers today. And that ending…
2. Dawn of the Dead
I could’ve gone for another Romero with this title, but I’ve decided to go for the 2004 remake instead. It’s a pretty loose take on the classic, but with countless sub-par remakes being churned out recently, Zack Snyder should be applauded for making one of the good ones. The mile-a-minute chase in the bathroom at the beginning is particularly effective.
3. Shaun of the Dead
When Pegg, Wright, Frost and co set about on their self-coined ‘RomZomCom’ they couldn’t have imagined quite the impact it would have on pop culture. But it was a roaring success among critics and cinema goers alike, and it’s not hard to see why. Often laugh out loud funny with jst the right amount of sad, it works so well because you can tell they all genuinely love the genre they’re playing with. And the script is so well written you’ll still be uncovering multi-layered jokes after several viewings.
4. Evil Dead 2
Ah, Bruce Campbell. You have to love him. The original Evil Dead was a stab at a proper, bona fide horror made to terrify, which eventually led to the baffling (but still weirdly amazing) Army of Darkness. Here, we meet in the middle, with surprisingly good equal Evil Dead 2. There’s a lot to enjoy here, but I defy you to find a more enjoyable use of ‘Groovy’ in a film outside the Austin Powers franchise.
5. Evil Dead
Another remake, but I was also surprised by how much I enjoyed the modern retelling of Evil Dead from 2013. Gory as hell with plenty of gloopy blood and slicing and flesh ripping, it was a ton of fun and energy and proved once again that Jane Levy should be in more stuff.
6. [REC] Genesis
Controversial, but I’ve sidestepped the original critically acclaimed Spanish shaky-cam film in exchange for it’s much less well received sequel (the third in the series). I think a wedding is such an inventive and interesting place to kick off a zombie apocalypse, and though I see it’s flaws there’s still a lot here to enjoy.
7. Planet Terror
When Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez teamed up to create two Grindhouse style B Movies, I was surprised to find that it was Tarantino who delivered the dudd. We know he likes his lengthy dialogue, but it was so dense in Deathproof that it made the film feel flabby and dull. Rodriguez however handled thing much better, and knew just how to make the film work; tacky, cheap and cheerful. There’s plenty of oozing blood and a stripper with a machine gun leg and it’s so much fun that it’s difficult not to get in the spirit of things.
8. 28 Days Later
One of the main films that ignites the ‘is it a zombie film or not?’ debate, I’m going for yes (and don’t fight me on it; I can’t be bothered). The opening scenes of deserted London are incredibly effective, and though many disagree with the notion of the fast zombie, they certainly add a new dimension of fear – I still feel uneasy watching the tunnel scene.
A zombie film that’s about 90% comedy 10% horror, Zombieland works for the most part. The rules are a nice touch, the cast are good but the best segment of the film hands down happens with a visit to Bill Murray’s house.
10. Zombie Flesh Eaters
Zombie Flesh Eaters, or ‘Zombie 2’ is one of the infamous video nasties from the seventies. Now time has passed and we’re all horribly desensitised to everything, it’s lost a lot of it’s impact. However, it’s still worth a watch and is gross enough to satisfy.