To prepare for the upcoming Halloween celebrations, EMToast has done extensive market research and delved deep into EMToast personal memory banks to bring you the top 10 Zombie sightings of all time.
1. Night of the Living Dead (1968 Film)
This movie is best watched on a worn out 1980′s VHS video tape purchased from a Jamesway bargain bin. Make sure to get the one that includes the movie Reefer Madness.
This film is the origin of all modern zombie movies. If you claim to be a zombie lover and you haven’t seen this film, don’t tell anyone you just lost all your zombie street cred.
This movie set the rules for all real zombie movies. Zombies rise from the dead. They eat flesh. They move SLOW. If they bite you, you get infected, die and come back. The only way to kill a zombie is to destroy the brain.
Gives a true sense of what it would be liked to be trapped in a Pennsylvania farmhouse with hoardes of zombies trying to get in to cannibalize you. So well crafted, this horror masterpiece will still bring chills to even the most jaded horror fans.
2. Walking Dead (2003-Present Comic Book)
Billed as a Romero movie that never ends, this engrossing black and white comic has plenty of action, character development, horror, and most importantly zombies. It’s the tale of one man and the small group of survivors who live and die along side him during his travels across the zombie wasteland.
Robert Kirkman, also writer of the Marvel Zombies series, does a much better job here than he was able to do in the limited issues he had with Marvel. He delves deep into characters, dialogue, and plotlines to create a rich and rewarding zombie experience. The issues take forever to come out, but they’re worth the wait. The series so far is available in trade paperback format.
3. Resident Evil (1996 Video Game)
Heavily influenced by Night of the Living Dead, this early Playstation title is the first “Survival Horror” game.
Capcom’s Resident Evil taught gamers everywhere to value the shotgun, ration their typewriter ribbons and avoid windows – zombie dogs can’t resist jumping through. Unlike more recent sequels of the game, the first was heavy on the slow moving Romero style zombies. Game controls are said to be intentionally bad on this game to make it feel scarier.
4. Dawn of the Dead (1978 Film)
The next best Romero zombie film after Night of the Living Dead takes place in a mall rather than a farmhouse. It’s basically NOTLD on a larger scale. Not quite as scary as it’s predecessor due to the movie being shot in color, which reveals a bizarre blue zombie makeup effect. The silliness of the biker gang breaking into the mall and throwing pies in zombie faces doesn’t help either.
Still it’s a classic, must watch zombie flick. Romero introduces the concept of a thinking zombie here, but sticks basically to the zombie rules set in NOTLD. This means “no running in the halls zombies”.
Interesting fact: The theme music from Robot Chicken is taken from the closing credits of Dawn of the Dead.
5. Zombie Survival Guide (2003 Book)
Max Brooks, son of filmmaker Mel Brooks, began writing what was meant to be a parody survival guide. What he actually created was your best hope for surviving a zombie outbreak.
The book is now the zombie bible for many filmmakers and writers. With the exception of Solanum the invented virus cause of zombie outbreaks, this tome follows all Romero’s rules, expands on them and gives many real world examples useful not only for the real world, but also for creating a fictional one.
6. Dead Alive (1992 Film)
Peter Jackson, director of Lord of the Rings & King Kong made an extremely bloody zombie film early in his career. It is reputed to be one of the goriest movies of all time. It’s more comedy than horror, but still this movie delivers the goods. With scenes like mowing through crowds of zombies with a raised lawn mower, it’s no surprise.
Dead Alive deviates slightly from the Romero established formula. Major offenses are the fact that the zombie infection is started by the bite of a sumatran rat monkey and that the original mother zombie infectee grows to enormous size.
Interesting fact: The sumatran rat monkey from this movie was captured on the fictional Skull Island. King Kong originates from the very same island. If you look closely, in the first scene of Jackson’s 2005 Kong film, you can see a cage with a sign that reads Sumatran Rat Monkey.
7. Dead Rising (2006 Video Game)
Ten years after Resident Evil, Capcom recreates the atmosphere of another Romero film DOTD, this time for the Xbox 360. Greatly influenced by Dawn of the Dead, Dead Rising also takes place in a shopping mall. The game has more accessible controls than Resident Evil and allows you to take a more hands on approach. You can destroy hoardes of zombies with items ranging from sledge hammer to shopping cart. There are a few annoying flaws, like people calling you constantly and having to take photos all the time, but you can just ignore that and smash zombies like crazy. You’ll never see so many on screen at once and smashing them down with a sledge hammer or slicing them to pieces with a katana sword is the most satisfying zombie slaying experience to date.
8. Zombi 2 Movie aka Zombie (1979 Film)
Marketed as Zombi 2 to capitalize on the Zombi title that Dawn of the Dead was released under in Europe, this film started the zombie craze overseas. It sticks to the Romero formula and it a great addition to any zombie lover’s collection.
Zombie is most noteworthy for the excellent makeup special effects. Fulci zombies are famous for their trademark rotted worm infested faces. The one must see scene in this film is zombie vs shark in the ocean. So realistic, the film was banned in 21 countries for cruelty to sharks.
9. 28 Days Later (2003 Film)
Technically not a zombie movie. The creatures are not living dead, but living people who are infected with the rage virus. Because of this, we don’t deduct points for it’s fast running zombies that deviate from the slow shuffle that is zombie law. This movie is directly responsible for a rash of recent fast running zombie movies including 2004′s Dawn of the Dead remake.
Great visuals and soundtrack make this one of the better zombie films.
10. Pool of Radiance: Dungeons & Dragons SSI Gold Box Series (1988 Video game)
This Commodore 64 classic is technically not a zombie game, it’s the first in a great, but very involved, series of Dungeons and Dragons role playing games. The early part of the game makes the list because of the awesome campaign to clean out Sokol Keep. This area is infested with hundreds of undead zombies that your party must clear out before the citizens can return. If you are wise enough to have a cleric in your party, you can experience one of the most amazing zombie holocausts in gaming history. Have your cleric do a “turn undead” command and watch hundreds of pixelated undead warriors turn to dust (represented by a red skull and crossbones.)
This game is also great because if you level your party up enough, you can put the battles on automatic and let the computer do the fighting for you. Some battles can be pretty lengthy with your 8 characters having do duke it out with literally hundreds of creatures. Thankfully you can switch over from C64 to TV using the tv/video switch from your Atari 2600 and watch new epodes of Alf and Family ties while your party battles it out.
They didn’t make the top 10 list, but don’t skip the following zombie classics.
Re-Animator (1985 Film)
Herbert West is a mad scientist who starts his own zombie outbreak.
Army of Darkness (1993 Film)
Chainsaw hands and zombies galore. Bruce Campbell at his finest.
Tombs of the Blind Dead (1973 Film)
Zombie knights with stick hands attack! So bad it’s good.
Day of the Dead (1985 Film)
The last good Romero zombie movie. Introduces the loveable zombie Bub.
Return of the Living Dead (1985 Film)
Solid film. Alternate reality continuation of NOTLD.
So there you have it, the top 10 EMToast Zombie sightings plus 5 honorable mentions.
What are your top zombie sightings?