Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Are there 40 good zombie films?

As usual I have time on my hands so I've been playing the Amazon basket game with zombie movies.  At one point I had around 20 zombie films I've never seen in my basket before I pinched myself and realised that they would all be big piles of shit.  The zombie movie experienced a renaissance in the early 2000s and it shows no signs of slowing down, possibly because small scale film makers recognise, as did the Italians in the 70s and 80s, that script-wise there isn't much to it.  Creative special make up effects, enthusiastic zombie extras, a winning scenario (and what is better than the end of the world) and a digital camera or two can overcome any requirements for a talented screen writer, decent acting and/or a pure creative vision.  See a tepid British effort like The Zombie Diaries for details.  Of course even zombie genre veterans are not immune to churning out derivative crap in order to keep the flame sputtering along, as evidenced by George A Romero's Diary of the Dead, the even worse Survival of the Dead or original Romero collaborator John Russo's genuinely appalling Children of the Living Dead

Last week I had a brief online discussion with an old forum pal regarding zombie films and I posed the question, 'Are there even thirty good zombie films out there?' He, to his credit, rattled off a pretty convincing list of 30 and threw them in my dirty, cynical face. I had a couple of issues with his list but of course there is no accountig for taste in such things, therefore I decided to have a bash myself and, once I put my mind to it, I surprised myself.  In order to establish a list that I thought of as 'good' I just thought, 'Would I watch it again?'

So, just in case any of the three people who read this have a stroke and decide to play the amazon zombie film basket game here is a list of worthwhile zombie flicks that would not disgrace your basket, or indeed your shelf:

1. Dawn of the Dead 78
2. Day of the Dead 85
3. The Return of the Living Dead
4. Night of the Living Dead 68
5. Night of the Living Dead 90
6. Dawn of the Dead 04
7. Shaun of the Dead
8. Re-Animator
9. Zombieland
10. The Beyond

11. City of the Living Dead
12. Zombie AKA Zombi 2 AKA Zombie Flesh Eaters
13. Nightmare City
14. The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue
15. Bride of Re-Animator
16. Pontypool
17. Resident Evil: Extinction
18. Hell of the Living Dead
19. Feeding the Masses
20. The Stink of Flesh

21. Beyond Re-Animator
22. Cemetery Man
23. Fido
24. Return of the Blind Dead
25. Tomb of the Blind Dead
26. Return of the Living Dead 3
27. The Dead Next Door
28. Dead Alive
29. Biozombie
30. The Horde

31. REC
32. REC 2
33. Quarantine
34. Zombie Holocaust
35. Zombi 3
36. Dead Set
37. Siege of the Dead
38. Burial Ground: Nights of Terror
39. The Dead Outside
40. Zombie Honeymoon

To avoid (unlikely) debates about validity there are also a number of movies that are effectively (IMO) zombie films with a twist or with the serial numbers filed off that I also regard highly:

28 Weeks Later
The Crazies (original)
The Crazies (remake)
The Fog
The Evil Dead (all three)
Night of the Creeps
Planet Terror
Outpost: Black Sun
Dead and Buried
G.P. 506
Shock waves

And yes, I am a lonely (while she is at work at least) geek with too much time on my hands.

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