I was watching Zombi 2 last night, having just received the 25th Anniversary edition DVD in the mail. While I was watching I was chatting to a friend about the new millenium zombie movie glut and how neither of us are enjoying it. I think for me the issue is that the movies are way too self-aware, and don’t even get me started on the mentality of people who wish for zombies to be real.
At least wish for vampires to be real if you’re gonna wish for mythical creatures, because becoming a vampire would have practical uses. I mean, how many movies can you watch in one human lifetime versus how much viewing time you could log if you were the sentient, stylish, wealthy undead? If you were part of a rotting horde your fingers would fall off and then you wouldn’t be able to work the remote, not to mention that you’d most likely be too stupid anyway. Plus, who wants to eat organ meats all the time? Think of the gout.
Anyway, the zombie oversaturation has gotten me in the mindset that I don’t even like zombie movies, but that’s not entirely true. So I decided to challenge myself to find twenty zombie movies I do like from the Wikipedia list of zombie movies. I’m not putting them in order because it’s too hard to like, quantify art, man. Difficulty: no Fulci. Here goes.
Shock Waves – I need to do a whole article on this one. This is the best of the small yet mostly undistinguished sub-genre of Nazi zombie films. The look of the film has that 70s je ne sais quoi, and what better device is there to represent the way in which the evil past won’t (and shouldn’t) stay buried than zombies?
Cemetery Man – Michele Soavi gets a pass for making an homage film because, duh, he was part of the original cycle of Italian zombie horror. The feel of those older films is perfectly replicated, but with intentional humor this time. Rupert Everett was looking so fine here, as was Anna Falchi.
Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things – This is just a fun movie. Bob Clark didn’t make enough horror movies. Also, star Alan Ormsby did the effects in Shock Waves.
The Video Dead – This movie is like a time capsule of the 80s video store experience. It’s also that very rare intentionally bad movie that actually works. If you’re thinking of writing a parody, this is how it’s done. The Garbageman forever!
Dead and Buried – This one has a twist: the zombies don’t know they’re zombies! What a weird and wonderful film. Scarring to me at first because, hey Jack Albertson is supposed to be Grandpa Joe, not some diabolical zombie undertaker.
Day of the Dead – Actually my favorite of the original Romero trilogy. If you’re gonna fantasize about living in a zombie holocaust, imagine yourself in a military bunker with a sympathetic zombie buddy.
Burial Ground – This one falls under so bad it’s good, but the music is so good it’s awesome. Features zombies using tools to kill, some noooooooooodity, and a midget actor playing a kid very unconvincingly.
Night of the Seagulls– I’ll admit I only saw this one and the awful third entry in the Blind Dead series, but I like Seagulls. Great trippy music and a palpable feeling of needing to escape. Plus, stunning actresses.
Garden of the Dead – I bought this on a Troma set, but they obviously didn’t make it. Features an unusual explanation for, and way of combating, the horde. Not very gory, but just a solid drive-in era cheapie.
Hard Rock Zombies – This is another intentionally bad but funny one. A must-see for 80s junkies. Lead actor E.J. Curcio is super hawt even with a flyback mullet. Includes a zombie that eats itself as well as the line, “this whole day has been like a cheap movie!” Indeed.
The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies – Points for the crazy title. Probably only watchable as an MST3K episode, but what an episode! “This was digitally recorded, then erased, then RE-recorded on a Dictaphone.”
Let Sleeping Corpses Lie – Ray Lovelock is smokin’ hot, as is Cristina Galbo. Interesting explanation for the zombies; falls under eco-horror. Love the crypt scene. Under pressure, I might call this my #1 zombie movie. What situation would pressure me into making such a choice, I have no idea.
Messiah of Evil – Love the main character’s house and the way art figures heavily into this one. The movie theater and supermarket scenes are standouts. I don’t know why it has been in public domain limbo. Really a criminally underrated film.
The Serpent and the Rainbow – I’ve been loving this movie so long, there is no way I’m gonna stop now. When you like a movie equally at age 13 and 36, it’s a quality film. One of the last best Craven films, and my favorite in the voodoo zombie category.
Hide and Creep – I need to re-watch this one and write it up for the site, cause all I remember is that I caught this budget, Alabama-made movie on TV late one night about five years ago and it charmed me against my will. A cubic zirconium in the rough.
P.S. I know the month is halfway over, but you’d be missing out if I didn’t point you in the direction of Goregirl’s Dungeon’s Undead August. It started here on the 3rd and you can figure out the rest. She’s featuring zombie movies all month and she really knows her stuff. You better hurry too, cause I don’t know what the weather is like where Goregirl lives but here in Georgia U.S.A. the zombies are not looking or smelling too fresh in the August heat.