Zombies have a rich history dating back hundreds of years.
Derived from voodoo traditions and their ideas of the living dead, the zombie is a creature that Americans adopted from West African culture and turned into a big-screen star. Now almost 90 years on from the first zombie movie White Zombie, the creatures have spanned horror, romance, comedy and sci-fi, proving that not only do the public love them but they can adapt to any genre.
These eerily undead demons have taken many forms throughout cinema: there are the haunting, slow walkers of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, the frenzied monsters in World War Z, the decaying type… the exploders…. the haunters… the stalkers and more. We’ve seen zombies learning to love again, zombies fighting sharks, nazi zombies, zombies acting as a metaphor for society. The list is endless but if one thing’s for sure, the creatures have allowed for exciting, important and interesting cinema over the years.
In the hands of gore loving, passionate filmmakers, zombies are always a tool for great movies, and here are ten of them that you have to see. They might not necessarily be the top ten of all time, but they’re all either landmark for the genre, great films or feature major talking points. Have fun digging into this list.
10. City Of The Living Dead (1980)
Lucio Fulci is the Italian King of Zombies, and City of the Living Dead is his masterpiece. An over the top gore fest of vomiting guts and brain ripping, the film has taken on a life of it’s own becoming a must-watch for both its quality and insane sequences. Fulci is a director known for his epic dedication to filming the unfilmable and pushing things further than before (AKA the zombie vs shark scene in Zombi 2) and City of the Living Dead features boundary pushing to the extreme.
Maddening and full of excess, the film focusses on a mismatched group of characters battling against a zombie outbreak in their town. Like many of the great zombie films, it was made on a shoestring budget and doesn’t overstay its welcome however it manages to pack in loads of entertainment and a genuine commentary on the hopelessness of humanity.
Fulci treats City of the Living Dead like a nightmare you will never be allowed to wake up from, delighting and terrifying to equal effect. He may have made films as satires, sequels and in homage to George A. Romero’s zombies, but he’s also created a style of filmmaking uniquely him, and it’s gruesomely brilliant.