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Got Brains? My Top 30-Plus Zombie Movies

List of the Living Dead

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Ah, the zombie movie. Pure, unadulterated carnage. Here are my top choices for this popular horror movie sub-genre, a list that began at 20 and then expanded to 30 and now has no foreseeable limit. Note: If you don't see one of your favorites listed here (for instance, 28 Days Later, REC or The Evil Dead), it might be included in the Best (Non-Zombie) Epidemic Infection Horror Movies or Top Demonic Possession and Exorcism Horror Movies.

33. Invisible Invaders (1959)

© MGM

This low-budget thriller took the popular alien invasion theme of '50s sci fi movies and made the aliens invisible (hence the title), but for some reason, the evil E.T.'s decide to inhabit the bodies of corpses, reanimating them to do their bidding. (This raises the question of why, if you have the advantage of being invisible, you'd bother to make yourself visible.) Their slow, plodding style and sullen look predated George Romero's similar-looking Night of the Living Dead zombies by nearly a decade and may have inspired the director in his creation of that landmark film. The entertainment value of this film, however, unlike Night of the Living Dead, is its pure, unintentional camp.

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32. Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

Resident Evil: Extinction
© Sony

It'll never be confused with high art, but the third entry in the Resident Evil franchise is miles ahead of the dreck that was Resident Evil: Apocalypse. It's amazing what a competent director (Russell Mulcahy of Highlander fame), a scenic desert setting and hot pants with leather stockings will do for you.

31. Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone (2001)

© Media Blasters

This outrageous Argentinean film channels the wacky spirit (and low budget) of Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead, with slapstick comedy, splatter gore and kinetic camerawork. Plus a unitard.

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30. Evil (2005)

© TLA Releasing

Evil is an impressive undead epic from Greece that moves at a breakneck pace, down to the near-immediate turning of people into zombies once bitten, which helps to accomplish the impossible: making a soccer match interesting.

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29. Zombie Strippers (2008)

Zombie Strippers
© Sony

This low-brow zombie comedy is better than it has any right being, thanks in part to a madcap performance by Robert Englund as a neurotic strip club owner who must deal with government-bred zombies surrounding his joint. Not every joke works, but the rapid-fire delivery ensures some laughs, plus the quality gore and, um, "gentlemanly entertainment" make for fun group viewing. Just remember: no disembowelments in the champagne room.

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28. Devil's Playground (2011)

Devil's Playground
© Vivendi
This British feature hits all the right marks for a successful zombie movie: apocalyptic scale, tense atmosphere, loads of action, bloody kills and dramatic despair, plus a likable cast of familiar British character actors.
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27. Versus (2000)

Versus
© Tokyo Shock

Martial arts mayhem, kooky characters and non-stop kinetic energy propel this oddball Japanese genre-bender. When a group of gangsters arranges a meeting in the woods where they've dumped the bodies of those they've "bumped off," they don't realize said woods have the power to resurrect the dead. Although the latter portion of the film abandons the lighthearted zombie action, Versus remains an entertainingly wacky entry in the perpetually wacky Asian zombie movie oeuvre (see also Wild Zero, Bio Zombie, SARS Wars, Tokyo Zombie). Director Ryuhei Kitamura would go on to lend his unique visual flair to Midnight Meat Train

.

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26. The Dead (2011)

'The Dead' movie poster.
© Global Cinema Distribution
Refreshingly old-school (i.e., "slow" zombies) in its approach, The Dead nonetheless presents strikingly original visuals for the genre by setting a zombie outbreak in rural Africa, with plenty of gory action and a hint of socio-political overtones.

25. Resident Evil (2002)

Resident Evil
© Screen Gems

To date, Resident Evil has stood as practically the only example of a good -- or at least, an enjoyable -- movie based on a video game, making Uwe Boll's career seem all the more pointless in retrospect. It combines traditional zombie thrills with slick video game action that, despite a couple of silly moments (flying kick of a zombie Doberman Pinscher), doesn't undermine the horror elements.

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24. Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Night of the Living Dead (1990)
© Columbia TriStar

It might seem blasphemous to remake the groundbreaking George Romero classic, but this underrated reimagining of Night of the Living Dead from makeup effects wiz Tom Savini (who previously created the fantastic gore scenes in Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead) actually does an admirable job. Featuring imaginative effects (naturally) and a strong performance from Tony Todd, it boldly avoids becoming a slavish retread -- for better or worse, since the ending isn't nearly as powerful as the original.

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