When there's no room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth
When the term 'a fate worse than death' was first coined, was it to describe the horrors one must face after receiving a fatal bite from a zombie? Possibly not. Yet it fully encapsulates the experience of losing a fight with an undead flesh-eater -- the fear of death surpassed by the inevitable transformation that awaits every victim. The desire to chomp down on our nearest and dearest. It really doesn't bear thinking about.
And still those pesky frothy-mouthed hordes continue to plague our most popular forms of entertainment. While there's a slew of novels and TV shows that feature zombies at their core, it's the movies that explore the threat of coming back to life as a ravenous ghoul with such expert terror. So join us, to celebrate the 30 greatest zombie films...
30. Dance of the Dead (2008)
The zombie movie: Nerds, outcasts, dweebs, geeks, you name 'em they're out in full force as none of the above manage to secure dates for the prom. So when a tide of zombies invade their town, it's up to this loner squad to save the day.
Why it's great: Combine the sweetness of a John Hughes movie with the self-aware vibe of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and you're close to what director Gregg Bishop pulls off in this cheeky teen horror.
29. Shock Waves (1977)
The zombie movie: This seventies piece of trashy fun is more than simply the first zombie flick to include Nazis -- it's also the first zombie flick to include Nazis that takes place on a boat. Peter Cushing stars as an SS commander in charge of a genetically-modified crew of soldiers on a secluded island. His peaceful and deranged plottings are disturbed when a tourist boat crashes nearby and the survivors stumble ashore.
Why it's great: This is a B-movie cast to die for with John Carradine and Brooke Adams joining Cushing to face the uniformed army of the undead. On an island. What's not to love?
28. Resident Evil (2002)
The zombie movie: First and foremost this flick is about kicking ass, and this stylish adaptation of the videogame series - from which it drew inspiration - does that without making any excuses. Taking its overall story from the first two games it tells of Alice's quest to stop the Umbrella Corporation's zombie-monster-making schemes, making a bona fide action heroine out of Milla Jovovich.
Why it's great: Say what you will about the sequels it spawned, Paul WS Anderson's first foray into the zombie milieu delivered on its promise. Tons of action sequences and plenty of one-liners. Oh, and flesh-eating monsters cooked up in a lab.
27. Warm Bodies (2013)
The zombie movie: A romance between the living and the dead might stir up Twilight comparisons, but this adaptation of Isaac Marion's warm and witty novel strikes out into a new arena with Nicholas Hoult in the role of a zombie who realises he has growing thoughts and feelings.
Why it's great: Expanding the inner world of its protagonist by imbuing him with feeling and warmth is great. But perhaps its greatest strength is in what that implies about every other zombie movie. Do flesh-eaters simply need somebody to love?
26. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
The zombie movie: When zombie pioneers George A. Romero and John Russo parted ways, the latter went on to create this. This splatter-tastic comedy completely flies in the face of Romero's straight-laced approach, instead spinning off into its own world when a couple of warehouse workers accidentally set loose a toxin that turns people into zombies. A bloodbath ensues.
Why it's great: Ever wondered why whenever someone attempts to do a zombie impression they immediately start jibbering about "braaaaaains"? Return was the first of its kind to incorporate the zombies' love of grey matter into undead mythology.
25. Pet Sematary (1988)
The zombie movie: Stephen King's stab at the undead put its own spin on the lore, as the Creed family patriarch Louis makes some poor decisions concerning an ancient Indian burial ground. Namely, burying his son in the 'sour' ground only to have him return as a hateful pint-sized simulacra. He doesn't learn and continues to bury everyone up there until his wife Rachel comes back...
Why it's great: As well as the 'burial ground' twist, the subplot about Rachel's very-much-alive sister Zelda is just as terrifying as the main storyline and those graphic visions of Victor "Paxcow" Pascow end up revealing a sweet, supporting character.
24. Dead Snow (2009)
The zombie movie: Tommy Wirkola thought zombies themselves were not fearful enough, so opted to blend them with one of the most villainous parties from history - the Nazis. This hideously graphic tale plots its way through the Norwegian mountains when a bunch of students stumble across a horde of resurrected soldiers.
Why it's great: Jet black comedy courses through its veins, yet unlike its contemporaries, that doesn't mean it holds back on the guts. Or should we say, braaaains.
23. I Walked With A Zombie (1943)
The zombie movie: Laden with awful reviews at the time of release, this later went on to become somewhat of a cult classic. Story-wise, it follows a young plantation worker who recants the time she once 'walked with a zombie.' Does she actually meander alongside a member of the undead? Or is the supposed zombie just in poor health? You decide.
Why it's great: A tense little thriller it's all the more scary because you don't even see any zombie flesh eating.
22. Rammbock (2010)
The zombie movie: This 63-minute German entry into the zombie canon is an underrated masterpiece. Forget character studies and nuanced drama. Rammbock captures all of the intensity and scares found in more high-octane fare and packs them into a concise story that follows a a young guy attempting to get his girlfriend back right as the epidemic hits.
Why it's great: Traces of some of The Walking Dead's more compelling episodes can be felt throughout, particularly as it dabbles in love and loss through a tumultuous period.