The 37 greatest zombie triumphs

Stubbs, the star of Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel without a Pulse, is one of the few playable videogame zombies, and probably has the best sense of humor of any zombie I’ve seen. Stubbs is also notable for inspiring the absurd remark from Joe Lieberman that the game’s “cannibalism” is “the worst kind of message to kids.”

Developer Wideload Games responded in the only way it could: “Stubbs fails all the classic litmus tests for cannibalism. He does not wear a bone through his nose. He does not help FBI agents track down serial killers. He has not written a cookbook. He is not named Jeffrey Dahmer. The list goes on and on. Stubbs is a zombie. Thus the title Stubbs the Zombie. Zombies eat brains. That’s what they do. Stubbs cannot just saunter into the cafeteria and order a plate of Freedom Fries. He has to fight for his meals. In fact, actual cannibals only make it harder for Stubbs to eat, which is why this “cannibalism” story is insulting as well as injurious. It’s no surprise that the all-human media cartel resorts to distortions and name-calling; their anti-zombie bias has been evident for decades, and Stubbs is just the newest target.”

23. Plague of the Dead (novel)

R. A. Zecht’s Plague of the Dead has everything you’d expect from a zombie story: a scientist whose warnings weren’t heeded, a virus that turns humans into ¬ flesh craving beasts, worldwide panic, bloody military/zombie clashes. It doesn’t disappoint.

22. Fido (film)

It’s a boy and his dog movie, except the dog is a zombie who, to the boy’s dismay, eats one of the neighbors. Fido has been compared to Shaun of the Dead for its deadpan comedy, though it’s a bit less of a gory zombie flick and more of a strangely heartwarming satire of modern culture through the lens of ’50s family values and pulp films. Just see it.

21. Zombies Ate My Neighbors (game)

LucasArts’ classic SNES/Sega Genesis/Mega Drive horror spoof is a simple run-around-and-shoot-the-undead game crammed full of horror parodies. While it may not be the best gameplay experience ever devised, its absurd charm (highlighted by spoofy levels like “Evening of the Undead,” “Nightmare on Terror Street,” and “Seven Meals for Seven Zombies”) earns it a lot of respect. The game is beloved enough to have earned a reference in Shaun of the Dead, in which its premier mode of transportation —jumping over fences via trampoline — is mimicked.

20. The Serpent and the Rainbow (novel)

The Serpent and the Rainbow was written by a Harvard grad (Wade Davis) about his experiences in Haiti discovering the secrets of Voodoo magic and zombies. The book has been mostly brushed aside as mysticism by the scientific community, but it’s nevertheless an entertaining and informative exploration of some of the real origins of zombies. The film of the same name is only loosely based on the book, and is an okay watch, though the book’s author called it “one of the worst Hollywood movies in history.”

19. White Zombie (film)

White Zombie represents the first appearance of a zombie in film. The film’s villain, a jealous plantation owner in Haiti, turns his friend’s fiancée into a zombie to convince him she’s dead, and then revives and attempts to woo her once he’s gone. It was a groundbreaking film at the time, and influenced many of the horror films which followed it. And the full movie is available free… right below this text, even.

18. Wild Zero (film)

Japanese cult classic Wild Zero pits the greatest rock band in the world (Guitar Wolf) against an alien invasion and subsequent undead rising. If that sentence alone didn’t convince you to watch it, how about this: the hero rides a motorcycle with a custom liquor holder and plays a guitar which contains a concealed samurai sword. This film will change your life — mostly because you will want to scream “ROCK AND ROOOOOOOOLLLL!!!” constantly, and your less cultured friends will slowly begin to desert you. Who cares though? ROCK AND ROOOOOOOOLLLL!!!

17. The Evil Dead (film series)

Sam Raimi may now be best known for Spider-Man, but that’s not why he has a special place in our hearts. We love him for writing (sometimes co-writing) and directing three of the most brilliantly campy horror flicks ever: The Evil Dead, The Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness. In them, Bruce Cambell earned an even specialer place in our hearts for his role as Ash Williams, the sometimes timid, sometimes badass retail employee who, by the end of the series, has a chainsaw for an arm and more memorable one-liners than inches of chin. “Hail to the king, baby.”