1. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
I was about twelve or thirteen when I first saw this movie and dude, when that zombie took a bite out of that woman’s neck! I had never seen anything like it. Holy shit! I mean I was a big fan of horror movies and loved the Christopher Lee Hammer films and whatnot, but this was gore on a level that was LIGHTYEARS away from anything I had seen up to that point. I watch the movie today and yeah, the gore isn’t as shocking as it once was and the color of the blood is a bit on the flourescent side, but it is still an awesome zombie movie which set the bar high enough that few movies since could top.
2. Day of the Dead (1985)
I hated this movie the first time I watched it. The whole film takes place underground. There isn’t really any zombie gore until the last act. You loathe more than half the cast of the movie. But as I’ve gotten older, and hopefully wiser, I have grown to appreciate Day as one of the best zombie films ever made, and comes pretty damn close to overtaking Dawn of the Dead as my favorite. This film is so somber and dreadful and claustrophobic that after watching it you have to run immediately outside and soak up the sunshine and remind yourself that there is such a thing as LIGHT! This is not a Hollywood production. This is not a Zombie movie with “Fresh Young Stars” or good-looking flavor-of-the-month actors. Oh no, Romero casts average-looking or even kinda fucked-up-looking actors in these roles. This movie uses a microcosm of our society to showcase how we might cease to function when the shit hits the fan. Oh, and Savini’s gore this time? Fantastic!
don’t watch if you just ate.
3. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
This movie is a total blast! Sure it’s completely dated as an “80′s” movie but the writing here is so wonderfully tongue-in-cheek. A little bit of trivia for you: George Romero and John Russo made Night of the Living Dead. But they had a falling out over the rights. In a court of law it was decided that Romero would have the rights to the word DEAD and Russo the rights to the word LIVING. Yeah I know, weird. Anyway, this is why Romero didn’t name the Night of the Living Dead sequel Dawn of the Living Dead. Well Russo wanted to capitalize on his rights and made Return of the Living Dead, which really sounds more like a proper sequel title. Romero tried to sue Russo over using this title but failed.
4. Zombie [or Zombi 2 for you purists] (1979)
Zombie vs. shark! Nuff said. Well, okay, one more thing said – the zombie pulling the woman’s head into the wooden stake and showing it going right into her eyeball. FUCK!
watch at own risk!
5. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The one that started it all. There had never been a zombie film like this before. They had all been tame, voodoo-type stories with zombies that just lumbered around doing their evil masters’ bidding. No eating of human flesh. But then NOTLD came out and showed zombies fighing over intestines and eating freshly gorged-out livers. At first relegated to midnight showings and drive-ins, this movie slowly became a classic and then people started to read between the lines of what Romero was saying about America and race relations. And now this film is perserved forever in the national film archives. A true work of art.