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Best (Non-Zombie) Epidemic Infection Horror Movies

Infections, Diseases, Viruses and Parasites, Oh My!


The next time you find yourself complaining about having a cold, remember that there are plenty of worse things you can catch -- at least, if you happen to be in a horror movie. Here are some great horror movies featuring epidemic infections, viruses and diseases that would make anyone's skin crawl. (Zombie infections deserve a list all to themselves.)

22. I Drink Your Blood (1970)

© Cinemation

In this cheesy, sleazy yet enjoyable cult film, a crazed, violent Satanic gang eats meat pies spiked by rabies-infected blood, turning them into...an even more crazed, violent Satanic gang! They proceed to infect the rest of the town with rabies, raising the film's mouth foam budget exponentially.

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21. The Grapes of Death (1978)

The Grapes of Death
© Synapse

Perhaps the most accessible of French erotic horror director Jean Rollin's films, The Grapes of Death tells the story of a small French town whose residents are turned into homicidal maniacs by a pesticide sprayed on local grapes. It's surprisingly well-paced and relatively action-packed for a Rollin pic, and with loads of seeping open wounds, it's become known as the first French "gore film."

20. Warning Sign (1985)

Warning Sign DVD
© Anchor Bay

Something of a precursor to Resident Evil and 28 Days Later, this overlooked chiller with an impressive cast (Sam Waterston, Kathleen Quinlan, Yaphet Kotto) takes place in a government facility that's locked down after an experimental virus contaminates the workers, turning them into rage-filled maniacs.

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19. 28 Weeks Later (2007)

28 Weeks Later
© 20th Century Fox

28 Weeks Later overcomes a few plot issues (How do a couple of kids just waltz into a quarantined area?) to deliver a worthy follow-up to the great 28 Days Later -- even if the best part comes within the first 10 minutes. If there's ever a 28 Months Later, let's hope it doesn't devolve into I Am Legend.

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18. Cabin Fever (2002)

Cabin Fever
© Lionsgate

Eli Roth's startling debut about a flesh-eating virus that ruins a weekend getaway at a cabin in the woods is tense, paranoid and uncomfortable with a dark streak of humor -- all good things for a horror movie.

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17. The Crazies (1973)

The Crazies
© Blue Underground

Zombie maestro George Romero turns his sights to the living in this tale of a town infected by a biological agent that drives the residents insane. Unlike the remake (see below), this Vietnam-era original is ripe with political commentary, focusing largely on the military's behind-the-scenes strategizing to curtail the spread of the disease -- at the expense of human casualties (and cinematic pacing).

16. Rabid (1977)

© Somerville House

In a story that could only come from the warped mind of David Cronenberg, a woman who receives an experimental skin graft ends up growing an orifice in her armpit that sucks blood from victims who in turn develop a "rabid" craving for blood themselves.

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15. The Thaw (2009)

'The Thaw' DVD
© Lionsgate

This entry in the Ghost House Underground 2009 lineup is Cabin Fever meets The Thing, as deadly prehistoric parasites are unleashed upon ecology students who discover a woolly mammoth in a melting ice cap. It's tense and unnerving with a clever commentary on global warming.

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14. Salvage (2010)

© Revolver

A woman desperately seeks her estranged teenage daughter in a suburban neighborhood cut off by a secretive military operation. It's a thrilling tale that overcomes a low budget with strong acting, great direction and intriguing, well-rounded characters we actually care about. Tense, scary and efficiently told, it's part The Crazies, part Quarantine, part Night of the Living Dead and part something else entirely.

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13. Carriers (2009)

Carriers DVD
© Paramount

Carriers captures the sobering desperation of humankind in the midst of a highly contagious global pandemic. Dark, emotional and deliberately paced, it's as much drama as it is horror, avoiding played-out Hollywood theatrics, stylized gore and any semblance of a happy ending.

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