Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Zombie movies you may not have seen
(but should)!

Since the only "Z" words that came to mind when I tried to think of a good finish for the Blogging A to Z Challenge were Zyrtek, Z-Man, Zebra, and Zombies, the choice of subject matter was easy.

Zombies have been a mainstay of horror movies since before term "horror movies" had been coined. From the 1920s though today, shambling undead men doing the bidding of voodoo priests or just roaming around looking to eat the flesh of the living, have been scaring movie-watchers with greater regularity than even vampires--because even when they're not the focal point of a given movie, zomibes often make appearances anyway!

Here are ten suggestions for zombie movies you should check out before they get you! They are arranged in chronological order, and they are among some of the best films in the sub-genre. (Which is really TWO genres, because movie zombies completely changed in 1968, following the release of George Romero's original "Night of the Living Dead".

Click on the links to read full reviews at my various blogs.

1. White Zombie, starring Bela Lugosi and Madge Bellamy (1932): A plantation owner hires a zombie master to turn a woman he is obsessed with into the perfect bride. This classic chiller is often referenced as the first true zombie movie. It is one of Bela Lugosi's best performances.

2. I Walked With a Zombie, starring Frances Dee and Tom Conway (1943): A nurse comes to believe her charge is actually suffering under a voodoo curse and takes the logical steps to help her. A classic (and classy) movie that helped establish much of the visual vocabulary still being used in horror movies today. Oh, and it still is pretty spooky even sixty-eight years later, with some of the most effective use of the voodoo schtick in any Hollywood film made.

3. Night of the Living Dead, starring Judith O'Dea and Duane Jones (1968). A group of strangers barricade themselves in a house for protection against a ravenous zombie hoard. This is the film that changed zombies for. Here, the voodoo rituals were left behind and the modern, flesh hungry zombie was born. I remain astonished by the number of movie fans who haven't seen this genre-transforming picture, especially given how accessible its been for the past decade.

4. Dead Alive, starring Timothy Balme and Diana Penalver (1993): A nebbish man in search of romance becomes ground zero for the goriest, most insane zombie outbreak in cinematic history. One of the funniest zombie comedies to ever be made, this is not a movie for viewers with weak stomachs.

5 - 9. The Resident Evil Series, starring Milla Jovovich (2002 - Present): A bio plague unleashed by an evil mega-corp has turned most of the world's living creatures into murderous zombies. While this series has its ups and downs, you won't find more concentrated doses and zombie ass-kicking anywhere else.

10. Zombies Anonymous, starring Gina Ramsden (2008): The dead are rising, but they are not mindless killing machines. Instead, they are normal people who are unchanged, except their minds are now trapped in steadily decaying bodies. Follow the progress of a domestic abuse victim as she becomes an unlikely leader in a zombie civil rights movement.

(Oh... and if you want to READ about zombies, I recommend the following graphic novels: "The Essential Tales of the Zombie" and "Zombies Calling".


  1. Interesting. The first two on the list--the ones that predate "Night of the Living Dead"--are the only zombie movies I own. (I haven't watched "I Walked With A Zombie" yet, but it's on the stack.) But I've seen the case made that NotLD marks a radical division not only in the zombie subgenre, but the entire horror/monster movie genre as a whole.

  2. Great choices! I have seen them all except the last Resident Evil film. I will be remedying that in the very near future. And I will most definitely check out the two recommended reads.