The classic light gun zombie shooter has been an arcade staple since 1996. The story can mostly be boiled down to: there’s a house full of zombies, so shoot them. That’s partially what makes it great. The series is only marred by Uwe Boll’s flaccid film adaptation, but it shouldn’t be too hard to avoid watching that.
15. Michael Jackson in “Thriller” (zombie)
Yeah, we know. Too soon. Still, zombie MJ did for zombies what Dan Akroyd did for ghosts. Well, actually, not really at all. In fact, he may have set the zombie genre back a ways – zombies don’t generally dance around and put disclaimers before their videos, after all. But it’s such a charming performance that it remains one of the most famous zombie portrayals ever. You could say that it was infectious, but don’t - we just did. And now, to avoid making any inappropriate jokes, here’s the video:
14. Dead Rising (game)
Capcom likes zombies. First Resident Evil, then Dead Rising — a superb tribute to George Romero (so much so that they put a disclaimer on it to avoid anyone thinking Romero was involved) — and an overall great game. You’re a photo journalist in a zombie-infested (really, really infested) mall, and you have 48 hours to take photos, rescue survivors, bash zombies with stuff, and uncover the cause of the outbreak. Dead Rising 2 is on the way, but details on it are about as scarce as a rescue helicopter, though we have seen the new multiplayer mode. In general, we expect more epic zombie-ness.
13. Infected (novel)
Scott Sigler knows how to write about horrible, horrible things (while still forcing us to keep turning pages). In Infected, a group of humans are compromised by alien seeds which metamorphose them into raging, homicidal “zombies.” The novel is as compelling as it is grotesque and sickening. If you don’t believe a book can induce a physical fear reaction, read Infected and get back to me.
12. The Beyond (film)
Another classic Italian film from Lucio Fulci, The Beyond is not strictly a zombie film, but part of a series of three films exploring the border between the dead and the living. The film was originally planned to be a more experimental study of a haunted house with little plot, but zombies were written in at the request of the film’s distribution company. Despite the changes to Fulci’s vision, The Beyond is considered one of his best films. It was released in a heavily edited form in the US, but didn’t amount to more than a cult favorite. Thanks to Quentin Tarantino, however, the uncut version has since been made available on DVD.
11. 28 Days Later (film)
28 days after entering a coma, Jim awakens in an abandoned London hospital. The entire city — maybe world — has been infected by a “rage virus” which renders its victims mindless killers. This post apocalyptic sci-fi thiller isn’t necessarily a by-the-book zombie flick, but its homicidal infected are zombie-like enough to deserve inclusion. If I excluded it, I’d be leaving out one of the best recent zombie films.
10. DellAmorte DellAmore (film)
This 1994 Italian zombie film was released in the US as Cemetery Man, but failed to catch on with the mainstream audience. It has nevertheless gained a cult following in the US, and even famed director Martin Scorsese is among its admirers. The film depicts a cemetery caretaker’s search for love amidst a constant battle with the dead who rise from their graves every seven days. It’s a strange, absurd, must-watch gem of ’90s Italian cinema.
9. The Return of the Living Dead (film)
This film is vaguely related to Romero’s Night of the Living Dead in that it is loosely based on a novel by John A. Russo, who co-wrote Night of the Living Dead with Romero. The film’s director and screenwriter, Dan O’Bannon, sought to distance his film from Romero’s with more slapstick comedy, nudity, and a new interpretation of zombies which would heavily influence subsequent pop culture portrayals. Return of the Living Dead’s zombies hunger only for brains, and make that apparent with what are now-universally accepted moans. They also retain their intelligence and the ability to (gasp!) run. Braaaaiiiins!
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