October is around again, the time of year where everyone binges on horror films. To celebrate his one year anniversary on the site, Anthony has decided to bring the horror lists back from the dead. While last year he talked about slashers, this time he goes into the zombie sub-genre… just none of these zombie films are directed by horror master George A Romero, pioneer of the genre renowned for his … of the Living Dead films.
Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)
We start the list off with a serving from Spain. The film is about the Knights Templar coming back from the dead. They are blind due to having their eyes pecked out when they were hung on the gallows, but they are still pretty deadly. The film contains the great atmosphere and visuals that Spanish horror is known for and it helped kick start a boom of films from that country. The film would later get three sequels,none of which would connect story wise.
28 Days Later (2002)
Directed by acclaimed director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting,Slumdog Millionaire) this film is credited for bringing the zombie genre back from the dead! A man wakes up from a 28 day coma to a word over run by people infected by a rage virus. The film put a new spin on the genre by using a virus instead of the undead making these zombies faster and more violent. The score is also very well done something rare for scores done during this time period. The sequel 28 Weeks Later is also pretty good.
City of the Living Dead (1980)
Italian director Lucio Fulci was made many great films including some in the zombie sub genre. City of the Living Dead is one of those greats. The film is about a reporter and a psychic race to close the gates of hell after a clergyman’s suicide caused them to open. While these gates are open all kinds of strange and evil things happen as well as you know zombies! The film has good dark atmosphere as well as some really brutal deaths that you will not be able to unsee!
From writer Trent Haaga, known for his Troma films Citizen Toxie and Terror Firmer, comes a different kind of film. The film is about two teens that skip school to go to an abandoned mental hospital where they find a tied girl who is of the undead. The boys do what any person would do if they saw a zombie girl… make her their sex slave (not making this up). Thing is those shackles won’t hold forever! The film is very disturbing and caused controversy when it came out though it was also praised for being smarter than most teen horrors.
Brain Dead (1992)
Known as Dead Alive in the states, this New Zealand horror-comedy is one of Peter Jackson’s earliest films. The film is about a man whose mother is bitten by a when visiting a zoo. The woman becomes a zombie and this slowly starts an outbreak. Considered the goriest film of all time at its releases, the film is a fusion of Monty Python humor and splatter gore. Anything can possibly happen in this film.
White Zombie (1932)
This early Bela Lugosi film is considered to be the very first zombie film. In this film a man goes to a witch doctor to try to find a lure the woman he loves away from her fiance. Instead the witch doctor turns her into a zombie and then turns the man into one soon. The finance of the woman then travels to Haiti to find his lost lover after he finds out she is in fact not dead. Instead of the living dead, this film is about people under the control of voodoo. The film would eventually get a sequel called Revolt of the Zombies.
Dellamorte Dellamore (1994)
Known as Cemetery Man in the states this Italian film is a very distinct one. This genre blender of horror, black comedy and romance tells the story of a young cemetery caretaker who battles undead all awhile looking for love. With great jokes, beautiful atmosphere and visuals and very Gothic feel, this flick is a must watch for all zombie lovers.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Speaking of horror, romance and comedy fusions, Shaun of the Dead is the debut film by acclaimed director Edgar Wright. Shaun is just a man with your typical family problems… he just tries fixing them while a zombie apocalypse is going on! Though this film is normally thought of as a straight comedy, plenty of horror elements still exist.
Zombi 2 (1979)
Though films tied to Romero’s dead series are excluded from this list, Zombi 2 gets a pass for being an unofficial sequel to Dawn of the Dead. Fucli’s first attempt at a zombie film, this film is very gory and has several iconic scenes including one where a zombie fights a shark.
Carnival of Souls (1962)
A woman named Mary is riding around in a car with some friends. The car falls of a bridge and all of them die except Mary. She then gets a job as an organist for a church. She then starts seeing weird and disturbing images including zombies that seem to be coming for her. Layered with atmosphere; Carnival of Souls influenced many and is still shown at festivals to this day.
Adaptations of H.P Lovecraft’s stories tend to normally be bad, but Re-Animator is one of the few diamonds in that rough. Herbert West is a new student at a medical school who is trying to find a way to bring the dead back to life. It works but not in the way he’s planned! While really really gory, this film also has a good sense of humor and characters. The film would get two sequels, Bride of the Re-Animator and Beyond Re-Animator.
The Beyond (1981)
A woman inherits an old hotel and not too long after many bizarre and horrid events happen (including zombies of course). She later learns that this place was built on one of the seven layers of Hell. A horror masterpiece and Fulci’s best work by far, The Beyond is a must watch for anyone into horror. Mixing splatter gore with weird, artsy horror, this film unites both cinema snobs and exploitation lovers everywhere.
Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Directed by film legend Dan O’ Bannon, Return of the Living Dead is the most popular none Romero zombie film. In this horror comedy three men and a group of punks end up having to deal with a horde of the undead. These zombies crave brains instead of human flesh and can only be killed with fire or electricity. The soundtrack includes songs from punk classics such as The Cramps and The Damned. Loads of fun is to be had when watching time capsule of the 1980’s. The film would receive two theatrical sequels and two SYFY channel sequels.