Top 10 Zombie Movies

by Eric Melin on August 26, 2008

in Top 10s

After Lawrence, KS Scene-Stealers sitegoer Tony Sams’ kickass list of Top 10 Voyeuristic Films two weeks ago, we have decided to really open Top 10 Tuesdays up to the community. This week, Aaron Hale from Kansas City weighs in with a list he submitted of his favorite zombie movies. If you’d like to submit a Top 10 or an idea for one, email Eric at We’ll try to have a user-submitted Top 10 every other week. In the meantime, enjoy this list of zombie flicks from Aaron Hale:

You could call me a zombie enthusiast. People who know me know that I frequently have dreams involving zombies, and make up ideas for zombie movies. I even wrote a song about zombies. In fact, I’m listening to Max Brooks’ “World War Z” audiobook as I type this. Sometimes my wife gets a little freaked out (or annoyed) at my enthusiasm for zombies. Maybe it’s because, when we visit our local Blockbuster, I’m always digging around the horror section for zombie movies that I haven’t seen. Or maybe its because our Netflix queue is filled with them. Now, I haven’t seen all the zombie movies ever made, and some of you zombie purists may find my list a bit disappointing, and you may think it shows a naïve lack of education, but please understand that this is a silly zombie enthusiast’s opinion based only on a few years of experience in the genre…and as a 26-year-old guy who also enjoys a good comedy. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s move on to the list. Hopefully it will spark some discussion!

junk japanese zombies10. Shiryô-gari/US title: Junk (2000)

So I started the list with a Japanese flick that – when a group of friends and I watched it – we laughed hysterically at for its entire 83 minutes of exploding-head-gory greatness. Some of you who have seen this movie may stop reading the rest of my list because this movie is so terrible. But don’t. This one is so bad, it’s awesome! Four jewelry thieves rob a jewelry shop in Japan and then head for an abandoned factory where they plan to fence the goods to the Yakuza. Unfortunately, their chosen location happens to be the same place where American scientists had previously experimented on resurrecting the dead… and it worked! Please rent this – if you can find it.

braindead peter jackson9. Braindead/ North American title: Dead Alive (1992)

Okay, so another ridiculous movie on my list. But a classic, for sure. Peter Jackson (of “Lord of the Rings” fame) is a gory, violent bastard. When a young man’s mother is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey, she gets sick and dies and (of course) comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbors (including babies) and turning them into zombies. The young man eventually has to hide all the bodies in his basement and chain them down so that no one else “dies.” There is plenty of vomiting and lots of fake blood and guts in this film. In fact it holds the world record for the most fake blood used in a single movie. If all that gore doesn’t make you sick, it’s possible that a dead mother’s very literal attempt at a Freudian rebirth with her son (Lionel, our hero) might.

evil dead sam raimi8. The Evil Dead (1981)

Sam Raimi (“Spider-man”) and Bruce Campbell (“Army of Darkness”) team up for one of the most frightening/hilarious horror movies of all the time. These two old friends made this movie a long time ago for almost no money. Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons. Scenes of self-cannibalism, beheading, and even tree-rape help to make this a classic. It’s acted out like any good B-movie – poorly, and unbelievably. Awesome! Gore abounds, and everyone gets possessed. By the end, Campbell is covered in all sorts of body fluids and you aren’t even sure he made it through the whole ordeal. That is, unless you are curious enought to rent “Evil Dead 2″ and “Army of Darkness.”

day of the dead bub romero7. Day of the Dead (1985)

Finally, a George A. Romero movie makes my list. Now, of all of his classics (not including the recent “Diary of the Dead” and “Land of the Dead”…ugh), this one is my least favorite. And, to be honest, the only reason this one made my list is because of the character “Bub” – a lovable zombie, who begins to learn to act like a living human being and becomes somewhat of a hero by the end. I have a hard time with a zombie movie that the main characters are military-personnel-gone-crazy. I just can’t relate. But between this one and the Steve Miner (“Friday the 13th” 2 and 3) version, this one blows the 2008 straight-to-DVD movie away.

dawn of the dead 2004 snyder6. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

This remake of the 1978 classic is pretty freaking good. There is a little more action in this film than the ones previously mentioned. A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman, and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall. Watch it after you watch the original. It’s definitely a worthy remake. The biggest difference between the remake and the original is that, in the remake, Zack Snyder (“300,” the upcoming “Watchmen”) chose to use fast-moving zombies, while Romero used the slow-moving, bumbling zombies in the original. I like both approaches here. They are both scary in their own right, but when it comes down to it, I always feel like I have to be true to Romero’s original vision.

army of darkness embeth davis5. Army of Darkness (1992)

Okay, so another Raimi movie that isn’t even about zombies. I mean, there’s some, but it’s mainly an army of Ray Harryhausen-influenced skeletons. But whatever. This movie rules. In this movie, “Evil Dead”’s Ash (Bruce Campbell) is accidentally transported back in time and forced to fight an army of the dead (close enough) in the 1300s, which is led by his clone – Evil Ash. Ridiculous, yes. Bizarre, definitely. Hilarious, heck yes! Ash is an arrogant hero who you can’t help but root for. I always wanted to be like him. I wish I could turn an Oldsmobile into a tank, and lug a shotgun and chainsaw with as much visible ease.

shaun of the dead simon pegg nick frost4. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright are an unforgettable trio, and slowly becoming big names thanks to this movie. Pegged (pun intended) by some as a rom-zom-com (That’s romantic-zombie-comedy, duh), the stort revolves around Shaun (Pegg), who decides to turn his life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend (Kate Ashfield), reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living. Shaun and his idiotic best friend, Ed (Frost), become pretty good zombie killers. If you haven’t seen this, I guess I’m not sure why.

night of the living dead 1968 romero3. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

The one that started it all and made George A. Romero a legend. I know what you’re thinking. Why is the original zombie film only at number three?! I’m not exactly sure, but I guess it’ s simply because I liked two other zombie movies better. I’m no expert, but there you have it. A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse in this low-budget classic that started the zombie craze, and became one of the most influential horror films of all time. Another thing that makes this movie so important is its portrayal of a black man as the protagonist during a time when race was an extremely sensitive issue in the United States. When you first start watching, you can’t help but laugh a little. Then, as the movie progresses, you start to get a little more terrified and, by the end, you don’t really want to turn the light out or sleep by yourself.

28 days later danny boyle2. 28 Days Later (2002)

I saw this movie in the theater by myself and I think I can pinpoint this as probably the moment when my zombie fascination began. It creeped me out so bad. “28 Days later” is not just a great zombie movie, but a beautifully filmed piece of art. Of all the zombie movies I have seen, this one was the most believable. Director Dammy Boyle takes the “undead” idea and turns it into a virus that is spreading like wildfire. A young man (Cillian Murphy) and his friends try to find refuge. But even when they think they find it, it turns out that safety isn’t really for real in a world gone mad with rage.

dawn of the dead 1978 romero1. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

My favorite zombie movie of all time. I think Romero got better with this one. Maybe it’s because, out of all of the zombie pics, I related to this movie the most. I could actually see myself in the characters of this movie. If zombies had taken over my city, these people did exactly what I would do and acted exactly how I think I would. An ever-growing epidemic of zombies has risen from the dead and two Philadelphia SWAT team members, a traffic reporter, and his television-executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall. This is the movie where the famous line “When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth” came from. Classic.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ChrisKnudsen August 26, 2008 at 3:13 am

Too much Romero. Where is Zombie with the famous shark/zombie fight? Dead and Buried? Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things? Serpent and the Rainbow? Let Sleeping Corpses Rise? Night of the Creeps? Return of the Living Dead? Tombs of the Blind Dead? The Cranberries music video for “Zombie?” Dead Heat? The funny Cemetetary Man? Shock waves? The way fucking funny Wild Zero starring the greatest rock n roll band Guitar Wolf? The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue? So many missed titles dude.


2 RCM August 26, 2008 at 4:40 am

Chris, you’ve seen a lot of movies in this genre. I like Aaron’s list. Like he said, Romeo’s a legend.

Does anyone else like “Evil Dead 2″ more than the others? And then, believe it or not, I like “Army of Darkness” more than the original, too.

Shout out to Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror”!


3 RCM August 26, 2008 at 4:41 am

Or course, it’s Romero, not Romeo.


4 Clark August 26, 2008 at 6:33 am

Well, she is not a zombie, but I really enjoyed “The Corpse Bride”. Best living deads ever!
If you like funny zombie movies, I also recommend “Fido” (with Carrie-Anne Moss, the Trinity from the “Matrix” movies).


5 Kevin Elliott August 26, 2008 at 7:45 am

My hat’s off to anyone that puts ‘Junk’ on ANY top ten list! I hate to be “that guy” that puts in his 2 cents about someone else’s favorites, but ‘Zombi’(aka the famous shark vs. zombie) should have taken the place of the ‘Dawn’ remake.
I’ll shut up now…


6 Josh August 26, 2008 at 7:53 am

Solid list. I really like this user submitted list idea.


7 TonySams August 26, 2008 at 8:30 am

Awesome list, zombies make me happy.

“Dawn” is a perfect number one. I always say “Dawn” has everything you need in a movie (zombies, bikers, helicopters, pie fights, social commentary, Hare Krishna’s).

If you are interested in checking out more titles, I recommend Re-Animator, Pyschomania (zombie bikers), Nightmare City (fast zombies with guns), Burial Ground aka Nights of Terror (zombie nipple biting), The Beyond, City of the Living Dead (puking up entrails)…in fact any Lucio Fulci zombie film is worth checking out and all of the titles Chris listed above.

Happy watching.


8 Reed August 26, 2008 at 9:41 am

When I stumbled onto Braindead on IFC many years ago, I flipped back and forth thinking that I was watching the worst movie ever made and then the best movie ever made. The acting is horrendous, but the gags are brilliant. By the end (somewhere around the scene with the baby), I fell decidedly to the side of loving it.

Also, I’ve always wondered if the song “Part of 2″ by 12 Rods was a reference to the movie. Um. Yeah, I realize that was a bit vague, but they were a great fucking band and I miss ‘em.


9 jamie September 19, 2008 at 3:31 pm

man i agree ‘cemetery man’ should be one this. i’d also take ‘evil dead 2′ of just about everything on here. i’d also have fulci’s “Zombie’ in here too. it’s pretty classic. i won’t complain though, you nailed ‘Dead Alive’.


10 ims September 25, 2008 at 1:01 pm

while i disagree with craig knudsen’s “too much romero,” comment, i do think you should check out cemetary man and wild zero if you haven’t. and, since you put the dawn remake (which was great), i think the night remake should have been there as well (more believable characters and better acting/zombies, but an ending that is nowhere near as satirical as the orignal’s.) also, zombi 2 or 3 should have been included to me. otherwise, great list!


11 alison October 18, 2008 at 1:09 pm

night of the comet.
Two girls from the Valley wake up to find that a passing comet has eradicated their world and left behind a mysterious red-dust and a pack of cannibal mutants. With the help of a friendly truck driver, the girls save the earth from a villainous “think tank,” karate chop their way through flesh-eating zombies, and, of course, find time to go to the mall.


12 akila October 27, 2008 at 12:23 pm

As a zombie lover since ’84, Night of the Living Dead is, by far, my favorite zombie movie of all time! Akila heart’s romero…

But…I’ll wince and be “that girl”…
While I LOVED 28 Days, they’re not zombies…they’re just pissed…via the rage virus (which you mentioned). I think that b/c they weren’t undead (how I like ‘em), it made me love the movie that much more!

If you were gonna do honorable mentions, I’d throw in resident evil, and flesh eater (aka zombie nosh). But that’s just me. :)

Awesome list, aaron!


13 Dante April 15, 2009 at 11:35 am

28 Days Later is not a zombie movie. They are humans infected with a virus, and at no time are they “undead.” In fact, according to the sequel, there is even a potential cure for the virus, as some people show immunity. No one is immune from death, hence, not a zombie movie.


14 Cockstain April 25, 2009 at 5:31 pm

I vote resident evil for president.


15 Kenneth Joseph May 12, 2009 at 3:30 pm

This is crazy! I am looking for a different zombie movie that I havnt seen. Other than all the basics Romeo and the rest.


16 Kew Alex October 22, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Zombieland <3


17 Linus November 13, 2009 at 10:18 pm

yay harsh but the list is quite round

but after the zombieland release it is really necessary to update

the list and i little miss “bad taste” if zombies turn a man to the

“Lord of the Rings” director that need to be mentioned, and i saw my

exploding sheep in these funny gore piece of art!


18 Linus November 13, 2009 at 10:29 pm

A note to alex kew

Bio Zombie really nice a Movie remake from “Zombie” out of Hk very nice,
Battlefield Baseball, funny , Versus , Japan really epic and a cool
crossover between zombie, ” the killer ” pulp fiction shoot out gangster movie all very trashy not so clean as 28 day and weeks mor a bit like brain dead dirty

but you have to see these bikini chicks like a cross over between showgirls and zombie , ” Zombie Stripper? ” or ” Zombie Killer”


19 Noah from Chicago December 29, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Not a bad list. I know I sound like the odd man out but I thought the 2004 Dawn remake was overrated. Good but overrated. It’s in my top 30 but no top 10. Here’s my top ten.

10. Planet Terror – mainly because I love Rodriguez’s work

9. Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond – WAY better than Zombie. Lots of detailed gory death scenes. Very scary, very artsy

8. Dawn of the Dead (1978) – A dated classic

7. Re-Animator – Scary, funny, gory, great acting

6. 28 Days Later – Technical crybabies can weep in the corner

5. Shaun of the Dead – Who can argue?

4. Dead Snow – Find it, watch it, you’ll love it! Nazi Zombie that can run, fight and use weapons

3. Evil Dead – My personal favorite of the three

2. Braindead (aka Dead Alive) – Fans should seek out a copy of the uncut version titled Braindead. It’s well worth the buy.

1. Night of the Living Dead (1968) – I’ve seen it a bunch of times and like it more after every viewing.


20 barnesen May 4, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Black Sheep anyone? Zombie sheep in New Zealand, and the hero has a sheep-phobia already! Great movie!

Creature from the Pink Lagoon was ok, but I imagine if I was gay it would have been more interesting.

Doghouse was good, too.


21 ZOMBIE KILLER August 3, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Hve you ever seen Zombieland??

Its alot better then most of these

and 28 weeks later, its the sequel of 28 days later, its not as good but its alot better then shaun of the dead


22 Budolf February 16, 2011 at 10:06 am

This is a very good list, but it’s definetly missing some real gems like Rec, Zombieland, Fido or Resident Evil. Check out this list:


23 Cracker November 19, 2011 at 3:57 am

I with barnesen – definitely Black Sheep


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