Hello Zombie Hungry Populous,
As I am still new to the blog scene and you are still getting to know me, I though I'd give you a deeper glimpse into my psychosis. I figured the best way to do that would be a list of my top 5 zombie films. And being a man of few words (yes I know, in my last post I was way too detailed and wordy) I will not keep you in suspense. Afterwards, feel free to reply with your own top 5 films, as not only am I up for a good zombie debate, you might expose me to something I haven't seen.
(Warning- although I don't go into great detail about the plot lines of these films or individual scenes, there may be some inadvertent spoilers. I tried my best to avoid this, but you are forewarned.)
5. Undead (2003). Very rarely do you see a film that incorporates 2 very different antagonist genres well, (I will site Vampires Versus Zombies (2004) as the main example of this concept gone awry) but Undead successfully merges the unlikely paring of zombies and aliens. In its simplicity, Undead is a spoof; outlandish plot lines, outrageous gore effects, and otherworldly action sequences, but is so fresh and well executed it undoubtedly should be on anyones top 5 list. I wholeheartedly recommend this film to any horror fan who can appreciate some interjected humor.
*If you do end up watching this movie, just remember this one question... Where in the hell did he get that gun? (you will understand when you watch it... And if you are anything like me, you are now dying to know and may possibly run out to rent it tonight.)
*It should be noted that this film comes from New Zealand, which has been pouring out some of the most inventive horror comedies I have ever seen. I dare you to do a little digging into The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy director Peter Jackson.
4. The Beyond (1981). This is definitely the strangest zombie film included in my top 5. Lucio Fulci (who will appear again on this list) was truly a horror maestro who should be included among the greats like Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, Clive Barker, George Romero, or John Carpenter. In the 70's and 80's, the height of shock/disgust horror, Lucio Fulci brought some of the most uncomfortable and violent movies ever filmed, (even in comparison to Umberto Lenzi and Ruggero Deodato who I will no doubtably talk about in future blogs) including this gem of a zombie film.
There is an unintelligible plot in this film, which is common to an Italian horror film, (this period of Italian horror is most referred to as Giallo) but the shock moments and gore more than makes up for it. Fulci was known for inventive death scenes, and I guarantee you fans of movies like Hostel and Saw will be running for the exits during this movie.
*I just wanted to mention that for this spot, The Beyond just edged out another movie by Fulci, City of the Living Dead (1980) (make sure it's the Fulci movie, there is at least one other film that shares the title, and it is well beyond unwatchable.) City is ousted here because of the sheer inventiveness of The Beyond, but I would suggest both films to any zombie/horror enthusiast with a strong stomach.
3. Shawn of the Dead (2004). Yes I know, this is the second spoof I have listed, but with good reason. There are many cookie cutter zombie films (as there are cookie cutter slashers/ghosts/possessions/etc.) out there, some of which were rather successful (28 Weeks Later, Dawn of the Dead (2004), etc. and you can yell at me later for mentioning those 2), and this spoof puts them all to shame. Incredibly witty dialogue with intelligent humor coupled with a social commentary not often used (if ever) in this genre create one heck of a zombie flick. Now you might be concerned that there isn't enough gore in the movie and action sequences are nearly non-existent, but this zombie film is just too darn funny not to be a favorite. Plus, true zombie fans will be able to catch numerous homages paid to almost every zombie film that precedes it. In fact, let me know how many you catch. I think I have found them all.
2. Day of the Dead (1985). Ok, here is where the zombie purists are going to bite my head off (so to speak.) How could I only put 1 G. Romero movie on here?!? How could you put Day instead of Dawn?!? Bear with me and you will understand where I am coming from. First, I could have dominated this entire list with Romero movies, from Night of the Living Dead (1968) to the Crazies (1973), to the latest(so far, another coming in 2010) Diary of the Dead (2007), but that wouldn't really do much good. Plus, I think there are many more zombie films you should be focusing on, even though Romero zombie films are the standard.
Secondly, I chose Day of the Dead after long consideration because I believe it to be the best crafted of all the Dead films. You have a true sense of the zombie outbreak that wasn't as apparent in Night or Dawn, and you are made more uncomfortable than in the other movies (I was at least.) The social commentary of militarization in the 80's is spot on (and a major influence for 28 Days Later) and you are immersed in the claustrophobia the characters experience. Finally, I believe that the zombie and gore effects in this movie are and will forever be unparalleled. Although there are other movies in which the gore sequences made me physically ill (you will hear about one in the next bullet point, and I assure you that I am no lightweight. It takes a lot to get me ill.) the gore effects in Day of the Dead were inventive, realistic, and perfectly executed.
1. Zombi (1979). So here we are, at numero uno, and it is some Italian zombie move?? Yes. And not only is it some Italian zombie movie, it is a horror film that has provided us with 3 of the most iconic zombie scenes in horror history. First, you have the outlandish underwater zombie scene. To my knowledge, there hasn't been another underwater zombie fight scene before or since (and if there is, I can guarantee you it is nothing like this one.) Secondly, there is the iconic zombie conquistador which you have undoubtably seen if you are a zombie enthusiast (plus it appears at the top of my blog page.) And finally, the most iconic death scene in horror history.
The impaled eye.
This is a scene that I to this day, after seeing the movie dozens of times, cannot figure out how they filmed. I wont ruin the scene if you haven't watched the movie, but I will assure you that it is disturbing, slow, torturous, and stomach churning. But alas, this is not the scene that made me ill. There are others within this film where I almost lost my lunch.
I choose this movie consistently as my favorite because of 2 elements Lucio Fulci succeeded in incorporating. First, the score of this movie is very unique and fitting. Why this type of score was not used on a wider scale I do not know, but it adds to the atmosphere of the film. Secondly, it is this very atmosphere that makes this my number one choice. From the opening scene, I was uncomfortable, and as the movie progresses, I feel more and more claustrophobic. The pace of the film is perfect and the feeling of dread is overwhelming. There are definitely some silly bits to this film, (as there are in any horror film) but the shock moments more than make up for it. This is a must see for any zombie movie fan. In fact, this is a must see for any horror fan. There will be images that haunt you from this film. I guarantee you that.
*I just wanted to mention some runner ups that you should consider seeking out. 28 Days Later, City of the Living Dead, The Romero Quintilogy, and the Savini remake of Night of the Living Dead are must sees. These movies made this list rather hard for me to compile. Other notables are Braindead, Fido, and Dellamorte Dellamore.
Well, hopefully you are still with me, and a big thank you to those who are. I also hope that you enjoyed my list and possibly got a few more movies for your netflix queue. Feel free to post your own top 5 as I am very interested in what your favorites are!!
My advice until next time = Stay away from infected monkeys.
Hello Zombie Hungry Populous,