Zombies have had a major resurgence in popular culture in the last decade. The rise of these murderous, brain-eating undead has been based in part on the success of scary movies that feature them, as well as on the numerous zombie survival guides that have been released.
What this zombie film guide intends to do is provide a mix of ghoulish modern and classic zombie movies that represent zombies using different styles and storytelling techniques.
Night of the Living Dead (1968), Directed by George A. Romero
The classic of all classic zombie films, Night of the Living Dead was strongly criticized when it was released for having vulgar, explicit content. In 1999, however, the film was placed on the United States’ National Film Registry for its cultural importance. Though it wasn’t the first zombie film, it ushered in the concept of zombie-takeover films, which heavily influences the depiction of zombies today.
Trapped in a farm house in rural Pennsylvania, Ben (Duane Jones), Barbra (Judith O’Dea) and five others struggle to survive when the dead come back to life and start feeding on human flesh. The group later learns, after finding a television, that attacks are occurring all across the eastern seaboard. The only way to stop the ghouls — a gunshot or heavy blow to the head.
Evil Dead (1981), Directed by Sam Raimi
Probably actor Bruce Campbell’s most memorable film, Evil Dead is a lot of campy fun with plenty of blood, guts and gore. Oh, and there’s also a chainsaw. Excellent. Thought not a zombie film in the classic sense, it deals with undead demons that transform humans into mindless killing machines, and friends who have to turn on each other for their own survival. These are two themes that run rampant in zombie films.
The story takes place in a cabin in the country. Ash (Campbell), his sister and their friends find a demonic text as well as taped incantations of the damned. Not knowing what the recordings are, they play them and unwittingly release demonic spirits that try to devour their souls.
Shaun of the Dead (2004), Directed by Edgar Wright
Can there be such thing as a zombie romantic comedy? Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg thought so and penned a killer script to prove it. The British duo wrote this zombie film, which also stars Nick Frost, with plenty of humor, pop culture references and scary moments in their own right.
The plot revolves around Shaun (Pegg), a lovable loser whose girlfriend breaks up with him right as a zombie apocalypse has begun in England. Throughout the film, Shaun’s relationship with his mother and stepfather are also mended, and friendship is truly tested. The funniest thing about this movie is the way it resolves the problem of the new English zombie population.
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