Published on October 3rd, 2009 | by Darren & Lottie11
Two Sheets to the Wind: Top 5 Zombie Movies
It’s October, Halloween is just around the corner. So, what better time to resurrect Darren and Lottie’s Two Sheets to the Wind and remind you all that we haven’t taken a chainsaw to The Top Fives. Over the next few weeks we’ll be slashing our way through the swamp of horrors to deliver you our favourite movies that go bump in the night. We’ll open Dracula’s coffin, unmask the masked psycho killer and get our teeth into the torture movies, but first we’re going to use our delicious brains to introduce our Top Five Zombie Movies. Mmmm…braaaaains….
Darren’s Top Five Zombie Movies
It’s no secret that horror is by far and away my favourite movie genre. From a very early age I was addicted to the fear factor. I remember cowering behind the sitting room door as Billy’s mom jammed the Gremlin into the microwave. I still cringe all these years later at the now rather innnocent Arachnophobia (I still can’t believe it was only a PG Certificate film). Of course, even when I was still a child I progressed onto the adult horrors – staying in my Granny’s house every weekend allowed me to stay up until 3 in the morning watching Dark Night of The Scarecrow, The Omen, Child’s Play, IT and, of course, A Nightmare on Elm Street. The classics such as The Exorsist, The Shining, Psycho, Halloween, The Birds and Children of the Corn, I discovered in my teens and it was only in my late teens that I developed a taste for Zombies.
5. Resident Evil (2002)
You’re all going to die down here.
Granted, Resident Evil, a movie based on a computer game, may not seem like the most obvious choice for inclusion in my Top Five Zombie Movies, but I loved this film and have watched it a ridiculous amount of times. The viceral, high speed horror combined with a solid plot hook (Alice’s memory loss and gradual realisation of what is going on) made for a gripping 100 minutes. Other Zombie movies such as the hilarious Shaun of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead and The Evil Dead which fall outsdie the Top Five just don’t give me the same feeling.
4. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
How do you think your God will judge you? Well friends, now we know. When there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.
Abandoning the subtext and subtle character development of the original. Dispensing with the moody, slow-moving zombies, this is a remake that should not work at all. And yet, it’s a very clever, fun action movie, with all the thrills and scares you expect from a decent horror. Though 2 dimensional, the characters are fun and funny, engaging even. The effects and set pieces are probably the best off all Zombie movies on the list. It brought the genre completely up to date, turning it into something cool and bringing it to the mainstream. Brilliant.
3. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
They’re after the place. They don’t know why, they just remember. Remember that they want to be in here.
With its genius take on brainless consumerism, unique atmosphere, brilliant direction from George Romero and groundbreaking effects from Tom Savini, this is the film responsible for making people respect the genre. Set in a mall, it’s the perfect venue to set up a series of sequenses designed to make the most of the slow moving zombie killing. Overall, the original Dawn Of The Dead is proof that a gore-fest can be thought-provoking and work on multiple levels.
2. Day of the Dead (1985)
But is he alive or dead? Well, that’s the question nowadays isn’t it?
Underrated, and possibly Romero’s best Zombie movie, Day of the Dead observes a microcosm of society – how a lack of human communication leads to society’s total breakdown. It is less a Zombie move and more a film about the mad scientist vs the insane military captain, with everyone else stuck in the middle. Tom Savini’s effects reach a pinnacle with some of the most realistic zombie dismemberments – all without CGI.While 1978’s Dawn brought the Zombie Movie back to the fore – Day showed how good it could be. It’s the Exorcist of Zombie movies.
1. 28 Days Later (2002)
Repent. The end is extremely fucking nigh.
[SPOILER ALERT – DON’T READ IF YOU HAVE YET TO SEE 28 DAYS LATER]
Realism is what puts this film in top place. Directed by Danny Boyle, he set about making the best Zombie movie ever…and he succeeded. He created characters that you truly cared about – the moment Brendan Gleeson’s character, Frank, turns is one of the most heartbreaking film moments in horror movie history. I have never screamed out loud at a horror movie from instant sadness rather than fear. From the opening sequences, where Jim (Cillian Murphy) stares across a desolated London, this film is beautifully shot. I adore this film. It’s a drama and a horror; it’s scary and funny; it’s heartbreaking and extremely smart. This is not only the best Zombie movie, it stands miles ahead of all the others. It sets a standard that will never be beaten.
Lottie’s Top Five Zombie Movies
5. I Am Legend (2007)
What the hell are you doing out here, Fred? Fred, if you’re real, you better tell me right now!
Now I know I Am Legend doesn’t initially spring to mind as a zombie movie but it is a post-apocalyptic tale of the aftermath of a raging biological virus which essentially turns humans into flesh eating zombies. In fact the movie I Am Legend is an adaptation of Richard Matheson’s classic vampire survival novel. The movie however featured creatures that looked more like zombies than vampires – and acted that way, too.
The thing that makes Zombie movies work for me is tension and I Am Legend had that by the shed load. Smith manages the awesome feat of carrying the movie on his own back and the all-to-easily stereotyped story of one man and his dog is beautifully moving and hardly clichéd at all.
Trivia fact: Apparently Smith grew so fond of the Alsatian Abbey that he tried to adopt her when the shooting was finished, but the dog’s trainer could not be persuaded to give her up. Everyone say “Awwww”.
4. Pet Semetary (1989)
Sometimes dead is better.
Again, I’m thinking outside the box here. Stephen King’s tale of a unnatural burial ground which brings the dead back to life but not quite as they were.
Not convinced? Well Bruce Campbell was first choice to play Louis in the movie and George A Romero was originally set to direct but had to drop out due to delays in filming. Happy now?
3. Dawn Of The Dead (2004)
Look, he’s a twitcher.
I concede that the 1978 movie is probably the better movie but the 2004 film was more my pace. Whereas 28 Days Later revived the Zombie genre, creating a whole new animal, Dawn of The Dead (2004) paid homage to the original concept while being bigger, meaner and more slick than it’s predecessor.
2. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
We’re coming to get you, Barbara!
A veritable ode to the Zombie genre with references flying left right and center as fast as dismembered body parts. Humour is a staple of the Zombie movie and no better team to tackle that hurdle are Frost and Pegg under the direction of Edgar Wright.
Shaun of the Dead brilliantly melds slap-stick comedy with intelligent humour and gore with truly heart-wrenching sentiment.
1. 28 Days Later (2002)
A man walks into a bar with a giraffe.
(Hey! Darren stole my quote!)
Ding ding ding, we have a winner! Have we ever agreed on a #1 before?
The thing about this movie is that it makes you take a step back and think “Shit, that could happen”. As Darren says, it’s all about the realism. I’m sure that there was an earlier movie that used fast paced Zombies but I haven’t seen it and for me, that is what brought 28 Days Later to a whole new level. It upped the ante, made Zombies terrifying. Instead of the slow lumbering unfortunates now they were uber fast paced face eating creatures! WTF!
So whether you have a taste for the agile or a true believer in the church of of the slow shuffling Zombie, it seems that Zombie movies are here to stay.
Of course, as Zombieland comes out in Ireland next week this list could be open to amendment and by the looks of the trailer, I think that is very likely.