by Joe Hittinger
The zombie movie is an important staple in horror movies, but that was not always so. Arguably one of the most prolific subjects within the horror genre, the zombie film had its humble beginnings in 1932 with the release of the first feature-length zombie film, White Zombie, directed and produced by the Halperin brothers. Unlike most modern zombie movies, the zombies in this film are brought about through voodoo magic for the purpose of running a sugar plantation. It was not until the godfather of all zombies, George A. Romero, released Night of the Living Dead in 1968 that zombies became the flesh-eating undead monsters that we know and love today. This cult classic set the precedent for all modern zombie films with its time-tested formula of a few survivors holding out against a hopeless number of undead brain-eaters. Since then, zombie films have continually adapted and evolved, building on the framework set by Romero. The following movies are must-sees for anybody who calls himself a fan of zombie movies.
Amid six original movies in Romero’s “Living Dead” series and countless remakes, spin offs and wannabes, Dawn of the Dead stands alone as the greatest zombie movie ever made. The story centers around a small group of survivors who take refuge in a shopping mall as they attempt to wait out the recent apocalypse. This strange assortment of characters have to figure out, not only how to deal with the countless waves of zombies wandering through department stores, but also who to trust as they realize that the zombies are not the only things they should fear.
This 1978 classic is especially memorable for the extremely bright red color of the fake blood used in the special effects, as it abounds in just about every scene.
Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert gave Dawn of the Dead four out of four stars and said that while it is “gruesome, sickening, disgusting, violent, brutal and appalling, nobody ever said art had to be in good taste.”
In search of her ailing father, Anne Bowles, played by Tisa Farrow, goes to a tropical island only to find that the inhabitants are plagued by a “strange disease,” causing the dead to rise and attack the living.
Following the aftermath of chimpanzees infected with the “Rage” virus escaping a medical facility, bicycle courier Jim, played by Cillian Murphy, wanders through deserted London in search of survivors.
Peter Jackson, creator of the Lord of the Rings movies, never ceases to impress with this bloodbath of a film.Mama’s boy Lionel, played by Timothy Balme, tries to single-handedly cover up a zombie outbreak and hysterical mayhem ensues.
Controversial in its time for its graphic blood and gore, this 1981 masterpiece tells the story of five college students spending the weekend in an abandoned cabin in the woods. After accidentally releasing evil spirits from an ancient book, they frantically try to subdue the possessed bodies of their dead friends.