8 Zombies Movies That Define The Genre

8 Zombies Movies That Define The Genre

Zombies may be on their way out, but before they disappear take a look at what defined the zombie genre and how they've evolved.

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"Sean of the Dead"? Okay, unless that gets fixed within the next hour, I call the list worthless as that movie is called "SHAUN of the Dead"

Bindal:
"Sean of the Dead"? Okay, unless that gets fixed within the next hour, I call the list worthless as that movie is called "SHAUN of the Dead"

Fixed! I think Schuyler was sending us up. We were talking in the office the other day how many different ways you can spell Shaun in the English language. I'm pretty sure there's some Shaun spelling it "Zqeuannn".

Greg

Ok I never heard of Fido until now and now I want to watch it (I had just watched the trailer)!

eerrr Dawn of the Dead? 28 days later? ZombieLand - icon concepts in all these.

I think your missing "Outpost" on your list there.

Scarim Coral:
Ok I never heard of Fido until now and now I want to watch it (I had just watched the trailer)!

It's really fun. It's like a '50s alternate reality where zombies are domesticated into servants, playthings, pets and (once) sex slaves through the use of a mass-produced collar that keeps them in check. And the titular Fido is basically zombie Lassie.

/OP I would've unchecked Army of Darkness and put 28 Days Later in there somewhere. Come on, it's the movie that gave us fast zombies and contagion paranoia. Ooh and the Spanish REC films (first one anyway) because of the shakycam / night vision thing.

Johnny Novgorod:

Scarim Coral:
Ok I never heard of Fido until now and now I want to watch it (I had just watched the trailer)!

It's really fun. It's like a '50s alternate reality where zombies are domesticated into servants, playthings, pets and (once) sex slaves through the use of a mass-produced collar that keeps them in check. And the titular Fido is basically zombie Lassie.

/OP I would've unchecked Army of Darkness and put 28 Days Later in there somewhere. Come on, it's the movie that gave us fast zombies and contagion paranoia. Ooh and the Spanish REC films (first one anyway) because of the shakycam / night vision thing.

Same. I also would have taken out White Zombie and Dr. Blood's Coffin and replaced it with REC and Zombieland.

To me just because it's an old movie doesn't mean it's good or defined something. The genre basically started with Night of the Living Dead, from there on you had the rest of the movies on the list build upon that, reinvent and give it new flavor.

djl3485:

Johnny Novgorod:

Scarim Coral:
Ok I never heard of Fido until now and now I want to watch it (I had just watched the trailer)!

It's really fun. It's like a '50s alternate reality where zombies are domesticated into servants, playthings, pets and (once) sex slaves through the use of a mass-produced collar that keeps them in check. And the titular Fido is basically zombie Lassie.

/OP I would've unchecked Army of Darkness and put 28 Days Later in there somewhere. Come on, it's the movie that gave us fast zombies and contagion paranoia. Ooh and the Spanish REC films (first one anyway) because of the shakycam / night vision thing.

Same. I also would have taken out White Zombie and Dr. Blood's Coffin and replaced it with REC and Zombieland.

To me just because it's an old movie doesn't mean it's good or defined something. The genre basically started with Night of the Living Dead, from there on you had the rest of the movies on the list build upon that, reinvent and give it new flavor.

Yeah, everything we know/think we know about zombies comes from Romero and Night/Dawn of the Dead. Everything afterwards is a variation of the same thing - they're faster, they're stronger, they're more infectious, whatever. Movies like White Zombie and the like used the voodoo definition of the word, which ranged all the way from a hypnotized servant to an undead servant (servitude being the key word here). Things like outbreaks, infections, massive hordes, contagion, "turning cycles", conspiracies, siege situations, headshots, wound treatment and (mostly) lack thereof... that's all Romero.

Six words:

"I kick arse for the lord!"

12th_milkshake:
eerrr Dawn of the Dead? 28 days later? ZombieLand - icon concepts in all these.

I would have to second 28 Days for being the first to speed up zombies.

I know maybe two of those films by name and I've seen none.
Really expected 28DL like some people pointed out.

Well, if we're going to get technical here, the Evil Dead films didn't actually feature zombies, they featured deadites.

I know, you could say "they're reanimated dead people, so they're still zombies", but really it's like the difference between an elephant and an elephant seal. :P

No mention of "The last man on earth"? For sea... er... shame!

(So, yeah, technically they're "slow vampires", but, well, just watch it, it's a zombie movie, and it did everything that the movies that are supposedly "challenging the genre" today did back before zombies movies were even a thing!)

Where dafug are Dawn of the Dead and Return of the Living Dead? What about Zombi 2? I have a feeling the author is taking the piss.

Hell, you could have thrown The Ghost Breakers onto this list and I couldn't have taken it any less seriously.

KungFuJazzHands:
I have a feeling the author is taking the piss.

Honestly, I think the author of this is doing that with EVERY "8 list" released on here. Putting differences of opinions aside, many times the choices are just plain weak, if not wrong.

White Zombie does nothing to define the genre, as it did little more than play off Voodoo practices. It's "zombies" in the very loosest of terms nowadays.
Just because a movie has a segment in it, doth not mean it made any differences to the overall genre. "People thought it was rad!" is hardly a reason, much less any defining reason.
Evil Dead 1 (technically 2 as well) get's a bit of a pass here, but even then they hardly define the genre. Deadites were Deadites, not zombies seeing as they could be both living and dead, and in the case of living be 'cured' so to speak. 3 though? Hardly. If anything, all it defined was both Sam Raimi's career and part of the reason why people love Bruce Campbell.

The list shows little of how they evolved or were defined, and even less so explains. Night of the Dead is so painfully an obvious inclusion of the lists that it shouldn't be listed in the first place, seeing as Romero's take on zombies has quite literally been the single film to really define the modern zombie. Everything else is just a play on it.

Of course, often times articles rely on "hits", and what better way to gain some cheap easy hits than to make lists people will nag and hate on?

Fido? Really? And though these flicks have been name-dropped by people I gotta give shout-outs to Dead Alive and the 1979 Dawn of the Dead.

And what about "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie" and "Zombie"?!?!

cursedseishi:

KungFuJazzHands:
I have a feeling the author is taking the piss.

Honestly, I think the author of this is doing that with EVERY "8 list" released on here. Putting differences of opinions aside, many times the choices are just plain weak, if not wrong.

White Zombie does nothing to define the genre, as it did little more than play off Voodoo practices. It's "zombies" in the very loosest of terms nowadays.
Just because a movie has a segment in it, doth not mean it made any differences to the overall genre. "People thought it was rad!" is hardly a reason, much less any defining reason.
Evil Dead 1 (technically 2 as well) get's a bit of a pass here, but even then they hardly define the genre. Deadites were Deadites, not zombies seeing as they could be both living and dead, and in the case of living be 'cured' so to speak. 3 though? Hardly. If anything, all it defined was both Sam Raimi's career and part of the reason why people love Bruce Campbell.

The list shows little of how they evolved or were defined, and even less so explains. Night of the Dead is so painfully an obvious inclusion of the lists that it shouldn't be listed in the first place, seeing as Romero's take on zombies has quite literally been the single film to really define the modern zombie. Everything else is just a play on it.

Of course, often times articles rely on "hits", and what better way to gain some cheap easy hits than to make lists people will nag and hate on?

Army of Darkness really should have been taken out. If we're gonna have two movies from the same series here, it should probably be Night of the Living Dead and the original Dawn of the Dead, since it was really Dawn moreso than Night of that defined the modern zombie. NotLD was just different enough from both future zombie movies in general and the other Romero movies in particular that it's still kind of its own thing. Dawn of the Dead, on the other hand, was a more polished version of the formula. Plus you're right, the deadites were never really Zombies, they're demon possessed humans that are almost impossible to destroy and are really dangerous individually. The whole thing about zombies is that they're not so hard to handle in small numbers, but in large crowds they're horrifying. Deadites are horrifying when it's just one or two, and if they outnumber any humans that don't have Ashley J. Williams helping them, forget it.

Not really sure I'd include much of anything else that was on this list, to be honest. This series, like you said, really seems to be cheap clickbait, with intentional mistakes thrown in to get people arguing. They had a list of "early" Pokemon art recently that wasn't early at all, it was just the current official art for some of the Gen 1 Pokemon. It seems to be something that keeps the interns busy and gets some mild discussion going from people complaining, thereby getting more page hits.

White Zombi was rather one of the first takes at the classic vodoo-concept of the zombie that didnīt have so much influence on the modern zombie-genre.Dr.Coffin and the sequence from "Heavy Metal" are interesting oddities but definitely not genre-defining.
Fido was a great movie but I would rather include "Dead Alive/Braindead" as a much earlier take on the zombie-commedy.

At the end of the list, I would include "The Walking Dead", even though it is not a movie, cause with a TV-Serial about a Zombie-Apocalypse, the undead have finaly arrived in mainstream-entertainment.If you told me, that something like this would happen 20 years ago, I would have thought you were nuts.Downside of the medal is the incredible number of shitty zombie movies and games that flooded the shelves of video and game shops, after the success of the Dawn of the Dead Remake.

Kmadden2004:
Well, if we're going to get technical here, the Evil Dead films didn't actually feature zombies, they featured deadites.

I know, you could say "they're reanimated dead people, so they're still zombies", but really it's like the difference between an elephant and an elephant seal. :P

I was actually debating whether or not it would be a jerk move to nit pick the same detail.

Even though they're re-animated corpses, they're technically corpses possessed by Candarian demons, so I'd never personally considered them zombies. Perhaps that's just me though haha.

Fido is fantastic and anyone who hasn't seen it is seriously missing out.

How many zombie movies has the author seen exactly?
Here's my pics:
Romero's trilogy, the whole trilogy. Night basically invented the idea of zombies that we know today. Dawn perfected all of that and broadened the scale. If I had to pick just 1 movie that defines the whole genre, it would be Dawn of the Dead. Day went further and played around with the ideas established in the previous 2. It even gave us a zombie hero to root for:

image

To this day when making a zombie movie, people are still ripping off Romero's concepts.
Fulci's Zombie flesh Eaters. While it may not be the most popular one these days, many zombie movie makers were inspired by it. It has a lot of awesome brutal scenes, including one of the best things ever:

Return of the Living Dead. Essentially a parody of Night of the Living Dead, it keeps a good balance between comedy and horror (although it's more funny than scary). Again, it was influential among zombie movie makers and it started a franchise (decent until ROTLD 3).
Peter Jackson's Dead Alive. It put romance and humor (including physical slapstick gags) into a zombie movie plus it went to the next level with the gore.
Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake. You can argue whether it was this movie or 28 Days Later which brought back zombies but in 28DL they weren't really zombies (they turned in seconds so they weren't really reanimated, they died of starvation etc.) so I'm going with this one. It's much more memorable, it's better made and it doesn't get weak in the end like 28DL (yes, I'm talking about the part with the military). Also, in my opinion, it's one of the best remakes ever and Snyder's best movie.
Shaun of the Dead. One of the best comedies of the last decade and a good zombie movie. Even people who don't like zombies seem to like this one.

I know this is nitpicking but I probably would have called it "8 movies that defined the zombie genre"

I could (and have) easily argue that the "rage virus" zombies in 28 days later are zombies (just a different kind)because I'm not real picky with that stuff but I sort of have to draw the line with evil dead.

They were possessed, not zombified. Once you have people using telekinetic devil powers and speaking, it seems like the label doesn't fit and applying it to any "humanoid baddy" just makes the word lose meaning completely.

To put it in perspective, Jason could be considered a zombie but calling Freddy Kruger a zombie would just be too much of a stretch.

Also, I love that you are getting people to go see Fido (it's awesome) but a little surprised that you have Evil Dead and Army of Darkness and no return of the living dead. That movie, if I'm not mistaken, pretty much invented the "fast zombie" but also had brilliant ideas I haven't seen since, like the idea of zombies that don't die when you destroy the brain or even chop them up into pieces and then to make it worse they show problem solving abilities in some situations.

People to this day will argue that the zombies saying "braaaaains" was in night of the living dead. I can't think of any other zombie movie that does that but I have seen it done in countless zombie movie parodies, most notably the simpsons.

Carpenter:
People to this day will argue that the zombies saying "braaaaains" was in night of the living dead. I can't think of any other zombie movie that does that but I have seen it done in countless zombie movie parodies, most notably the simpsons.

I'm not going to call it for definite, but I think the "braaaaaains" thing actually came from the first Return of the Living Dead (the gloopy zombie that gets released from one of the barrels of toxic waste). Romero's zombies just grunt, groan and growl - apart from Bub!

And while there are nits to be picked:
1) in NotLD, the creatures are never referred to as "zombies", although "ghouls" gets a mention (and would be more historically accurate for a monster that craves human flesh...)
2) in 28 Days/Weeks Later, the infected aren't trying to eat their victims - biting is just a way of doing more damage

With that said, I'd rather include 28 Days Later and remove the Evil Dead movies from the list and, since the "zombie genre" didn't exist until Romero made NotLD, I'd exclude White Zombie and Dr Blood. Definitely on board with Braindead/Dead Alive going on the list, though!

What kind of an article is that? 8 pictures on 8 separate pages, one sentence description without any analysis or real reason why they're on the list. A preschooler could do this in his 'computing - basics' class. This is just blatant hit-grabs, isn't it? Disappoint, Escapist.

Regardless, when something says "define a genre", I'd expect there to be a bit more thought gone into the choices. 28 Weeks? Zombieland? Hell, even the Dawn of the Dead remake played a big part in "revamping" the Zombie by making them fast. Surely at least one of those would deserve to be in there. Evil Dead is great, sure, but those are Deadites and supernatural beings more then zombies.

At least WWZ isn't on there. Some blessings I guess.

DocZombie:

Carpenter:
People to this day will argue that the zombies saying "braaaaains" was in night of the living dead. I can't think of any other zombie movie that does that but I have seen it done in countless zombie movie parodies, most notably the simpsons.

I'm not going to call it for definite, but I think the "braaaaaains" thing actually came from the first Return of the Living Dead (the gloopy zombie that gets released from one of the barrels of toxic waste). Romero's zombies just grunt, groan and growl - apart from Bub!

And while there are nits to be picked:
1) in NotLD, the creatures are never referred to as "zombies", although "ghouls" gets a mention (and would be more historically accurate for a monster that craves human flesh...)
2) in 28 Days/Weeks Later, the infected aren't trying to eat their victims - biting is just a way of doing more damage

With that said, I'd rather include 28 Days Later and remove the Evil Dead movies from the list and, since the "zombie genre" didn't exist until Romero made NotLD, I'd exclude White Zombie and Dr Blood. Definitely on board with Braindead/Dead Alive going on the list, though!

That's what I was saying. Maybe that wasn't clear the way I said it, I was pointing out that the Return of the Living dead movies, despite being forgotten by most have heavily influenced people's perception of zombie movie lore.

And that's all fine nitpicking but it doesn't matter what they are called, a zombie is a zombie. A werewolf is still a werewolf even if they just call it a monster.

Yes they were not trying to "eat their victims" but that isn't what defines a zombie, in fact the idea of zombies eating people is something that was invented later in the movies. Keep in mind that zombie mythology existed long before movies depicted zombies in any way.

Saying the "zombie genre didn't exist before Romero's NOTLD" is a bit unfair considering Romero did not invent zombies, he just formed what is now considered a zombie.

Carpenter:

That's what I was saying. Maybe that wasn't clear the way I said it, I was pointing out that the Return of the Living dead movies, despite being forgotten by most have heavily influenced people's perception of zombie movie lore.

Yup - totally agree!

Carpenter:

And that's all fine nitpicking but it doesn't matter what they are called, a zombie is a zombie. A werewolf is still a werewolf even if they just call it a monster.

Yes they were not trying to "eat their victims" but that isn't what defines a zombie, in fact the idea of zombies eating people is something that was invented later in the movies. Keep in mind that zombie mythology existed long before movies depicted zombies in any way.

This seems to be the crux of the entire thread - what exactly constitutes a "zombie"? Since "traditional" zombies (voodoo-derived) bear few of the traits now associated with "modern" zombies, I proposed that we owe much (if not most) of what we NOW accept to be a zombie to Romero, initially in NotLD, but refined in Dawn of the Dead. That's why I put quotes around "zombie genre" - I'm not saying that Romero invented zombies, or zombie movies, but I'm suggesting that his movies define what up until then hadn't been a "genre"...

Carpenter:

Saying the "zombie genre didn't exist before Romero's NOTLD" is a bit unfair considering Romero did not invent zombies, he just formed what is now considered a zombie.

...so, yup - we actually agree again!

Bob_F_It:

12th_milkshake:
eerrr Dawn of the Dead? 28 days later? ZombieLand - icon concepts in all these.

I would have to second 28 Days for being the first to speed up zombies.

Actually The first film to have a running zombie was Night of the Living Dead. 28 Days Later was the first to show more than one zombie running.

DocZombie:

Carpenter:

That's what I was saying. Maybe that wasn't clear the way I said it, I was pointing out that the Return of the Living dead movies, despite being forgotten by most have heavily influenced people's perception of zombie movie lore.

Yup - totally agree!

Carpenter:

And that's all fine nitpicking but it doesn't matter what they are called, a zombie is a zombie. A werewolf is still a werewolf even if they just call it a monster.

Yes they were not trying to "eat their victims" but that isn't what defines a zombie, in fact the idea of zombies eating people is something that was invented later in the movies. Keep in mind that zombie mythology existed long before movies depicted zombies in any way.

This seems to be the crux of the entire thread - what exactly constitutes a "zombie"? Since "traditional" zombies (voodoo-derived) bear few of the traits now associated with "modern" zombies, I proposed that we owe much (if not most) of what we NOW accept to be a zombie to Romero, initially in NotLD, but refined in Dawn of the Dead. That's why I put quotes around "zombie genre" - I'm not saying that Romero invented zombies, or zombie movies, but I'm suggesting that his movies define what up until then hadn't been a "genre"...

Carpenter:

Saying the "zombie genre didn't exist before Romero's NOTLD" is a bit unfair considering Romero did not invent zombies, he just formed what is now considered a zombie.

...so, yup - we actually agree again!

Well we are talking about art so we can't expect to stick with a strict definition of "zombie" but personally I consider a "zombie" to be a normal creature (human or animal) turned savage and violent through some means. Usually they are reanimated corpses but they could also be living things affected by a virus.
As it stands, the only other thing I can think of is that a "zombie" is incapable of speech (zombies like "Bub" are the exceptions that prove the rule) and that they are (usually) relentless and have no sense of personal preservation. They shouldn't show too much intelligence.

But of course that's just my silly rant on the subject, as I said we are talking about art and I think the best we can do is say "I can't describe it but I know it when I see it" because personally I am more interested in zombie movies that tweak or change these types of rules.

Return of the Living dead is a series that I think deserves some better sequels, it's really fascinating. The zombies are not mindless as they appear to be but from the very first movie are shown to have the intelligence they had in life but it's overridden by their unstoppable drive to eat human brains. It's like a drug addict, they may be incredibly smart but in that moment of "I NEED" they appear to be mindless savages.

DVS BSTrD:

Bob_F_It:

12th_milkshake:
eerrr Dawn of the Dead? 28 days later? ZombieLand - icon concepts in all these.

I would have to second 28 Days for being the first to speed up zombies.

Actually The first film to have a running zombie was Night of the Living Dead. 28 Days Later was the first to show more than one zombie running.

They didn't really run in that movie, just staggered quickly.

On that note, 28 wasn't the first to show more than one running zombie, return of the living dead did it long before 28 days later.

 

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