Popular entertainment goes through trends almost as fast as a teen girl uses up her cell phone minutes. When thinking of the original four classic horror monsters (vampires, werewolves, mummies and zombies); until most recently, vampires ruled.  They were everywhere you looked, from video games, to RPGs and weighing down the shelves in book stores. You couldn’t swing a dead werewolf pup without hitting a new novel or movie. 

But now zombies are getting their due.  

The first zombie flick I remember seeing was Dawn of the Dead at the drive-in with Mother’s Day and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  I am also guilty of writing zombie fiction. My first published zombie piece was in the Epitaphs anthology edited by Tracy Carbone and published by Shroud Magazine ( and the NEHW (  The book was nominated for the Stoker Award but fell prey to the mastery of John Skipp.  I have also written a zombie novel, Fountain of the Dead due out sometime this year, I hope.  And now as fate has it, I’m co-editing a zombie anthology.

Sometimes I hate to admit it, but I do dig the flesh eaters.  Grey skin and jagged teeth rending and tearing human flesh…  Gotta love it!

When you look at Zombie Fiction who do you think of?  I know personally the names that ring around in my skull are Joe McKinney, Jonathan Maberry, Max Brooks to name a few.  But I’m not here to talk about Zombie novels, short stories or novellas.  Nossir.  Let’s talk Zombie movies.  In no random order (yes you read that right) my top five.

Night of the Living Dead – Romero is the king of all zombie flicks.  And this is the one that started it all.  I am ashamed to say it took me quite the long time to see it.  I saw two of the sequels before seeing the original.  But now it sits up on my DVD rack next to its spawns.  The film wasn’t particularly gory, maybe it’s the B&W that makes it so creepy.  It’s one of those iconic films that is embedded in pop culture and everyone knows the line “They’re coming for you Barbara.”

Shaun of the Dead – I knew nothing about this movie when I saw it.  I bought it purely for the name the day it came out at the store.  It was the first combination of Pegg / Frost I saw and now every time I see something with their names on it I rush out to the theater to see it.  SotD had an amazing combination of horror, heart and comedy.  I’m not sure what makes this movie what it is. It’s that indefinable coming together of writing, directing and acting that makes it damn near perfect.  And it has some decent gore in it too.  The one scene that always pops to mind when I think of the film is the survivors holed up in the Winchester Tavern beating the bartender with pool cues to the Queen song “Don’t Stop Me Now.”  And on an aside, several members of the cast, Pegg included, have gone on to appear in Doctor Who.

Dawn of the Dead – This sequel to Romero’s Night of the Living Dead follows a group of survivors into a shopping mall.  They live like high hogs until they’re discovered by a pack of roaming bikers.  Look for a very young Tom Savini starring in and also doing the make-up.  Savini would go on to be one of the greatest in the biz for make-up.  The first flick I remember seeing Savini’s work in?  Friday the 13th circa 1979 I think I was 11 or 12.  

Walking Dead – Based on the comic book of the same name, this brought Zombies to prime time TV.  Who would have thought that a show about Zombies would be competing against and winning viewers from the big networks?  Set in the south, it follows a group of survivors trying to find safe places to stay while fending off the zombies.  And like most adaptations from book / comic books it takes the aspects of the original pages and then runs with the stories.  I do admit one of the things I really like about the series, is they keep killing off the characters that I dislike.

Zombieland – One of the recent zombie blockbusters.  The thing with Zombieland as with Shaun of the Dead, is an incredible mix of comedy and intriguing characters and great writing.  Zombieland follows a cross country trek of apocalyptic survivors from the south to the west coast all in search of an amusement park and a Twinkie.  The surprise guest at the end of the movie truly made this awesome.

I realize that I’m leaving out tons here, from the ultra-freaky Japanese horror to the Italian zombie flicks.  There are thousands of them out there, literally.  So sit back, load up the DVD player and get your zombie on.

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4 Responses to “TOP FIVE ZOMBIE…”

  1. Have to admit, Zombieland is my favorite of the group. Though Shaun of the Dead is a close second. I guess I prefer the funny undead.

  2. There were a lot more I left off the list – I was going by what was on my DVD rack at the time. I would have listed FIDO just for the fact that Billy Connolly was in it.

  3. Shaun of the Dead tops my list. Zombieland is a close second, at least as far as movies I own. It’s very sad that Dish Network dropped AMC–I want my Walking Dead!

  4. I like them all.
    Of note, I was 17 when Dawn of the Dead was released and, of course, was standing near the front of the line on opening day. We always hear the advertising copy about moviegoers rushing for the exits due to the extremity of what was up on the screen. but I witnessed it that day. Some people literally ran up the aisle covering their mouths…

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