The Zombie Movie: Peter Jackson illustrates the danger of an encounter with a Sumatran rat monkey in this deliriously OTT caper set in Wellington, New Zealand. When a bite from said monkey turns an elderly woman into a brain hungry zombie, it's up to her son to prevent the plague from consuming the city altogether…
The Moment: Lionel takes on a horde of marauding zombies with a giant rotor-blade attached to his chest, bringing about one of the most gore-drenched scenes of limb-severing violence ever committed to celluloid.
Splatter-Factor: Not for nothing is Braindead oft spoken of as the goriest movie in history. Most stomach-churning moment? Probably the still-sentient head that ends up jammed into a food processor…
Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
The Zombie Movie: George Romero relocates the undead action to an abandoned shopping mall, where a host of survivors flock to escape the growing ranks of the undead. Consumer society gets it from both barrels, as do huge numbers of the undead. Superlative stuff.
The Moment: A moaning zombie advances menacingly upon a helicopter pilot who's busy refuelling his bird. It looks as though he's about to be rudely interrupted, but luckily for him, the zombie hasn't taken the copter's whirling blades into account… poor, mindless bastard.
Splatter-Factor: This one is fairly restrained in the blood stakes, with the blades lopping off the top of the poor blighter's head with near clinical precision.
Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
The Zombie Movie: Edgar Wright's loving riff on the zombie movie is crammed full of Romero in-jokes, but can more than hold its own in the brain-munching stakes, and is probably the funniest zombie movie ever made. You got red on you.
The Moment: As a pair of shambling zombies advance upon Shaun and Ed, they desperately search for weapons with which to defend themselves. Having exhausted the cutlery drawer, they turn to Shaun's vinyl collection (the Batman soundtrack is chucked with little remorse) before finally finishing the job with a spade and cricket bat respectively.
Splatter-Factor: There's not much in the way of gore, but as Shaun and Ed go to work with their blunt instruments, there are some satisfyingly squelchy sound effects.
Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
The Zombie Movie: George A Romero launches the undead upon an unsuspecting audience with this black and white shocker, filmed on a shoestring budget with a cast of unknowns. Stark, claustrophobic and utterly bleak, it paved the way for an entirely new form of horror movie…
The Moment: The opening scene is a peach, as a brother and sister pay their respects in a graveyard, only to be attacked by a wild-eyed zombie. From the opening teasing ("they're coming to get you Barbra") to the zombie's attempts to break into the car, the tension never lets up. And it's only the first five minutes!
Splatter-Factor: Not a drop of blood to be seen, even when poor old Johnny hits his head on a grave stone. Admirable restraint from Romero, although of course, it wasn't to last...
Day Of The Dead (1985)
The Zombie Movie: Romero's third foray into the realm of the living dead remains one of the most inventive zombie movies ever made, with a small band of survivors (divided broadly into scientists and military men) squabbling over how best to combat the undead menace, as the horde gradually tracks down their location…
The Moment: Captain Rhodes has behaved like such an irredeemable prick throughout the movie, that when he finally gets his, you almost feel like cheering the zombies on. That said, it is a truly horrible way to go, with the entire horde tearing Rhodes to pieces and feasting on his innards. "Choke on 'em," screams Rhodes, a badass to the end.
Splatter-Factor: Grisly doesn't even begin to cover it. Those zombies open Rhodes up like he were a packet of crisps.