The 37 greatest zombie triumphs

8. Zombi 2 (film)

Zombi 2 (released in the US as Zombie) is Lucio Fulci’s watershed zombie movie, and is largely responsible for the zombie mania that engulfed Europe. Despite appearing to be related to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead — which was titled Zombi in European releases — the film was actually written before Dawn of the Dead and was not an official sequel. It can be presumed that the title was meant to cash in on Romero’s success. Nevertheless, it is heralded as a classic of the genre, and is packed with Fulci’s signature gore — as well as an underwater zombie vs. shark fight (see below…really).

7. Day of the Dead (film)

The third of Romero’s series, Day of the Dead was described by the director as a “tragedy about how a lack of human communication causes chaos and collapse even in [a] small little pie slice of society.” The film takes place as the zombie apocalypse reaches its peak. The few remaining survivors, a group of soldiers, scientists, and civilians, have retreated to an underground military bunker where they enter into a nihilistic struggle to determine how best to spend their days in a devastated world. Though it wasn’t as well received as Romero’s other films — partially because it was scaled back after a huge budget cut — few would say that it was an overall failure, and some fans swear by the film’s darker, more cynical direction.

6. Shaun of the Dead (film)

Shaun of the Dead is the best zombie parody ever, no contest. In fact, Romero himself was so stricken by the film that he gave its creators, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, cameos in Land of the Dead (they insisted on being zombies) — an unbelievable honor for zombie aficionados. Besides classic horror, the film references several videogames, including Resident Evil (which has been praised by Simon Pegg as an influence), TimeSplitters 2, and Zombies Ate My Neighbors.

5. Left 4 Dead (game)

Valve made a zombie game — nothing more, nothing less. Four survivors, one path to safety, and horde of writhing infected in the way. They took everything great about zombie flicks and stuffed it into a cooperative experience that wholly lives up to Valve’s record of delivering impeccable packages. It has an armory of classic zombie killin’ guns, a cast of typically gruff, hard-as-nails characters, and B-movie posters with taglines like “No hope. No cure. No problem.” — what more could you possibly ask for? Other than Left 4 Dead 2, maybe:

4. Land of the Dead (film)

In terms of grossed revenue, Romero’s fourth film (released in 2005) is the second most successful film in the series, just behind Dawn of the Dead. Land of the Dead, like Day of the Dead, takes place well after the zombie outbreak began. The film is set in Pittsburg, which has been transformed into a feudal colony of survivors, and chronicles the class struggle between the rich — who live in the center of the city on “Fiddler’s Green” — and the poor. To complicate things, the zombies have begun to act more intelligently, communicating with each other, and returning to some of the activities they did when they were alive.

3. Resident Evil (game series)

Of course it’s here — one of the greatest zombie anythings ever, Resident Evil has influenced the whole of videogames and pop culture, and continues to be one of the most beloved and entertaining game series ever.

2. Dawn of the Dead (film)

Every zombie film, videogame, and book made after 1978 took inspiration from
this movie and its predecessor, Night of the Living Dead. Dawn of the Dead is the zombie movie. It’s the reason Dead Rising takes place in a mall. It was the inspiration for Leon’s SWAT armor in Resident Evil 2. It’s why the hearses in Grand Theft Auto are called “Romeros.” Its title has been repeated in popular culture so many times that it has become a cliche — and some aren’t even aware it’s a film. Well, it is, and it’s worth several viewings.

1. Night of the Living Dead (film)

George Romero’s first zombie flick created a genre. It wasn’t the first zombie movie, and it isn’t the best, but it was the first wholly-realized apocalyptic zombie outbreak scenario, and that makes it very special. It weathered some harsh criticism when it was released, but as time passed it became to zombies what The Lord of the Rings is to fantasy, and film historians have recast it as a bold statement on racism, the Vietnam war, and other issues prevalent in ’60s culture and politics. If you haven’t seen it, well, that’s absurd, because not only is it a must-see, it’s public domain (unfortunately, a mix-up with the copyrighting screwed Romero), and can be downloaded just about anywhere videos are served. Hell, watch it right now:

Oct 27, 2009

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  • nikrusty - September 15, 2010 9:22 a.m.

    Stubbs the zombie rocks...pls make more for pc like that. I love being the zombie with humour Captcha - Experiment itudeamo
  • TheGodEmperor - November 5, 2009 7:57 a.m.

    No world war Z? Wtf, you guys are so fail it's unbelievable lol. That's by far the best Zombie book compared to the rest of that crap and better than almost every movie and game on that list. Left 4 Dead is overrated btw, not bad, but not up to the hype they promised.
  • randohsix - November 3, 2009 3:10 p.m.

    good article. its really interesting to think how widely zombies are used in games. i noticed that all the shortcuts for the games on my desktop have some form of zombie influence in it... WoW, D2:LoD, L4D, Guild Wars, Bioshock, Fallout 3, Stalker: Clear Sky, Half-life 2, Plants Vs. Zombies... zombies ftw
  • OddWoN ER - November 3, 2009 4:31 a.m.

    and where is I AM LEGEND? or even its precursors (please forgive me, i forget their names) and i'm sure there are a few other things... but otherwise good article
  • aliEnRIK - November 2, 2009 4:09 p.m.

    Im happy to see 'Return of the living dead' in there Truly an awesome film (Quality soundtrack too)
  • Jedipimp0712 - November 2, 2009 5:48 a.m.

    Night of the Living Dead brought to you with limited commercial interruption by none other than... DISNEY!! LMAO thats too funny. captcha = tiptoes Vetnamization ?? what the fuck?
  • Red_Badger - October 30, 2009 6:46 p.m.

    Morningstar Saga
  • Red_Badger - October 30, 2009 6:44 p.m.

    "Plague of the Dead" was written by Z.A. Recht, NOT R.A. Zecht. And you might as well throw in the fact that it's an ongoing trilogy known as the "MorningStar Strain". The second book is Thunder and Ashes, the third is on it's way. This series is quite possibly the best addition to zombie lore (literature wise) ever. This book has walking AND running zombies and a very clever explanation as to why. Like Zombies? MUST READ!
  • wraith509 - October 30, 2009 1:05 a.m.

    what?!?!? no zombie survival guide FAIL at least it had 28 days later on the list
  • mrandydixon - October 29, 2009 9:18 p.m.

    @Tyler First off, not trying to be a dick, these are just my thoughts... I did read the intro, and I do understand (and respect) having a difference of opinion. What I don't understand is how a chainsaw controller can be part of a "genre’s defining relics" when one of the most well-respected and frequently-referenced zombie authors of our time isn't. I went to a David Sedaris reading a few years back and he liked Brooks' books so much he brought them with him on tour and sold them at the autograph table, just to spread the word. Sounds pretty "genre defining" to me :)
  • RaIdEn - October 29, 2009 8:39 p.m.

    my cousin and her boyfriend went to zombie walk. she had him on a leash and wen they passed a pub he would go "beeeeeeeeeeeeer" haha i miss that guy
  • grappler51 - October 29, 2009 8:08 p.m.

    How can you not like World War Z?!?!? It's literally one of the best books I've ever read. I DEMAND you add it right now! Also, has anyone read Death Troopers, which just came out. It's a star wars zombie novel and is pretty good.
  • diddly - October 29, 2009 6:52 p.m.

    Man, usually these lists are dead on (pun intended) but one of if not the best piece of zombie literature on the market is "World War Z" written by Max Brooks. Truly a defining piece of art, it actually made me check to make sure their weren't zombies walking around on the streets.
  • montyburns - October 29, 2009 1:03 a.m.

    Hey! You forgot the Braindead (Dead Alive) film, from Peter Jackson...!!! Goriest movie of all times!!! Awesome!
  • Russianred90 - October 29, 2009 12:28 a.m.

    wild zero DO WANT
  • Champion - October 28, 2009 11:23 p.m.

    I was Surprised at the lack of Plants vs. Zombies
  • zenbater - October 28, 2009 11:13 p.m.

    Wow, looks like a zombie fans are a pretty harsh crowd. Allow me to add fuel to this flame. Night of the Creep IS available on both DVD and BlueRay: at least in Canada, cheers.
  • Samael - October 28, 2009 10:28 p.m.

    @Ty-Wi I kind of want to. Try as I might I just can't see how someone doesn't enjoy WWZ or ZSG. They're...they're just so good. Oh well...agree to disagree and to each his own and all that shit.
  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - October 28, 2009 10:01 p.m.

    LOL @ Brooks comments. I take it you all read the first paragraph. Yes, I'm not that into them. Sue me.
  • chairmanofthebar - October 28, 2009 9:14 p.m.

    "Night of the Creeps" was released on blu ray and DVD yesterday, 10/27/09. Go buy it.

Showing 1-20 of 73 comments

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