As I’ve said in the past, zombie movies are hit and miss. As a tool to prepare yourself in the event of a zombie invasion, most of the are beyond useless. The worst of them are outright dangerous horror movies, filling our minds with misconceptions about the true nature that the Zombie Outbreak represents.

These zombie movies are, in our humble opinions, the best zombie movies of all time. Watch these zombie movies. Rewind them. Watch them again. There’s important stuff in these movies, and you don’t want to have missed it on the day the Undead arrive.

The ZombiePhiles’ Top 10 Zombie Films

Land of the Dead

horror_movie_poster_LOTDProbably the weakest of the George Romero zombie movies, Land of the Dead was hailed as his masterpiece by marketers. Far from his best, Land of the Dead is a weak but valuable entry in Romero’s zombie universe. Set far, far into the zombie pandemic, Land of the Dead focuses on what may be one of the last bastions of civilization, a city encampment, run by Dennis Hopper, that leaves some people wondering if their chances aren’t better with the zombies. Basically lacking in the social commentary that Romero’s become famous for over the years, Land of the Dead instead tries to compensate by piling on the gore – and they really don’t shy away. Viewers might actually consider not watching the Unrated Version, since the gore doesn’t add anything to the plot and can actually be quite distracting sometimes. Remember, ZombiePhiles, we know what happens when the zombies get us! We don’t need to see it graphically played out on the movie screen.

Brain Dead

Another career launcher, Brain Dead (also called Dead Alive in the United States) was the brain-child of Peter Jackson, who later went on to direct the expansive Lord of the Rings Trilogy. A tongue-in-cheek frightfest, Brain Dead is really more of a comedy than it is a horror movie, although that doesn’t stop Jackson from piling the gore on liberally. Brilliantly acted by a handful of New Zealand and Australian upstarts, Brain Dead chronicles the story of a zombie rat who infects the main character’s overly possessive mother with zombieness, just as he’s about to score with his new girlfriend. An outrageous farce that culminates in a hysterical gore fest, Brain Dead is refreshingly different and remains timeless and humorous long after its release.

Army of Darkness

horror movie - army of darknessOne of those Zombie movies that isn’t really a Zombie movie, Army of Darkness deserves to be included because it may be one of the greatest cult hits ever. Launching the careers of Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi, the young director who woudi later be tapped to direct the first three Spiderman movies, Army of Darkness invented an archetype that persists throughout the zombie genre to this day. Campbell’s dialogue is hilariously overacted in the style that he later became famous for, and Raimi’s budget-cutting, creative camera work influenced directors for decades. Still an underground hit to this day, rumblings of an Army of Darkness sequel have fans of the original moaning in their graves.

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  1. zombie-nut

    Shaun of the Dead is totally the best zombie movie ever! Not only is it really funny, but it follows all of the zombie rules that people like George Romero and Max Brooks do. Definitely one of the best zombie films out there!

  2. Seanomenon

    I feel compelled to point out that the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead was not directed by Romero, but by Zack Snyder, who went on to direct Slither and 300.

    Fantastic list, fantastic site!

  3. Good catch, Seanomenon – Our fact checker suffered a bite last week and was under the weather when this one was posted…

    Welcome to the Zombiephiles!

  4. great list…one thing though, i thought land of the dead had plenty of social commentary. especially having to do with rich people and poor people and the rising gap between classes..

    anyway, love the site…keep it going!

  5. Land of the Dead does have social commentary. It is the first Romero movie where the handicapped (the slow guy) appear in a Romero film, eventhough it wasn’t as blatant and strong as his feminist statements in Dawn of the Dead (original) and to a lesser degree in Day of the Dead. It also comments on the Post-9/11 Security craze and immigration. They lived in this perfect city where they used walls to keep out people and keep in people. They had tons of guys with guns and security measures and everything still failed and the city was overrun! Moral of it being that all the security in the world can’t save you, you will always be vulnerable in some way. And in the case of some measures you take to secure yourself and others you may actually hinder yourself in the long run (ie. nukes in reality, the electric fences that prevent them from leaving the city in the movie). And as the one person who posted mentioned the movie also focuses on the gaps between the rich and poor in society, and it shows the humans (like Day of the Dead) in a negative light. Humans should be strong and united yet they are weak divided and still killing and screwing each other over while zombies are wiping them out. This movie also continued the developing theme of intelligence and memory in zombies and it actually showed Big Daddy as a leader of zombies in almost a positive light, because the humans were mostly treacherous characters who you were hoping would die (ie. Dennis Hopper,etc.). So in response to what you said about it having no social commentary, I would say that it does….you just need to look deeper and think about current issues that would have been influencing him at the tiome of the movies creation.

  6. good list by the way, altho I cant agree with the order it does list all the bests minus a few. I just know many people who dislike Land of the Dead and I try to get them to watch it again with that social commentary in mind and they tend to usually agree. Also it helps to watch them all in a row, NOTLD, Dawn, Day, and then Land (the dead movies) to see the development of the zombies in the films intelligence wise and also to look for the commentary he makes in each film in respect to its own time periods social issues. Romero is an incredible thinker and a brilliant director and has been a major influence in my life.

  7. Jack Clancy

    the first movie that entered zombies to this world is “White Zombie”
    i really liked dawn of the dead (the 2004 remake)
    shaun of the dead is the greatest

  8. Bats Shotgun

    I would maybe have included Evil Dead or Evil Dead 2 instead of Army of Darkness, though I agree with the positive review of AoD. The first two in the series are just a bit more zombie-oriented.

  9. Enjoyable list, but adding to Bats S.’s comment, it was really the Evil Dead movies that launched Rami’s career. While Army of Darkness is a fun film, it was not a terribly successful or influential one.

    And you’ve got pictures of the remake DotD linked with the original version..

  10. Would My Boyfriend’s Back count? Then again, I’d bet most people would put it on their Bottom 10 list.

    Which, come to think of it, would probably make for a decent post too.

  11. i disagree with land of the dead being so low, besides shaun of the dead it is in my opinion the best zombie movie ever. you say it lacked commentary or looking at people not the zombies but i think you just got too into it, ramero just made it more obvious for people not quite as intelligent as the people who notice in his other movies. not to mention it was very creative in the idea of a class 4 which alot of zombie movies shy away from.

  12. Drew Campbell

    How the heck are Night and Dawn not the top two spots?

    Yes, some decent films, but I can’t imagine -anyone- would agree that the Dawn remake is better than the original. (and I loved the remake).

  13. Paul

    Does James Gunn know that Zack Snyder directed Slither?

  14. Joe Blow

    But can 28 days later really be considered a “Zombie” movie I mean they never died they were living people with a virus that drove them mad, not the case with zombie movies, they die first then come back to live as the “Living Dead”

    Just a thought

  15. I Know More About Zombies Than You

    Soooo, those are prettymuch the worste top 3 movies you could have picked, who the fuck are you kidding. Maybe you should change the name of your website to “I don’t know jack about zombies” thanks.



  17. shaun of the dead…. killing zombies to queen quickly made this epic in my eyes.

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