The undead have been a beloved part of our pop culture for decades. From classics like “Night of the Living Dead” to hit series like “The Walking Dead,” zombies have become an iconic figure in the horror and fantasy genre. They have been the protagonists of some of the most unforgettable and diverse movies, ranging from terrifying tales to hilarious comedies that tackle modern-day issues. This list of the 30 best zombie movies of all time celebrates the brilliance and variety of this subgenre.
George A. Romero: The Master of Zombies
It’s no surprise that the name George A. Romero appears multiple times on this list. Romero is one of the most influential creators in the zombie genre, responsible for iconic films like “Dawn of the Dead” (which Zack Snyder remade in 2004 as “Dawn of the Dead”) and underrated gems like “Day of the Dead.” His contributions to the genre cannot be overlooked, and his movies have become classics that every horror fan must see.
Beyond Romero: Exploring the Origins
Although Romero’s films are essential, the history of zombie movies dates back even further. In the 1930s, Bela Lugosi starred in “White Zombie” (1932), which marked the beginning of the zombie genre. A decade later, Jacques Tourneur delivered the captivating “I Walked with a Zombie” (1943), blending the undead with voodoo and black magic. These early films may have been considered minor at the time, but they can easily rival the greatest movies in cinematic history.
The Golden Era: The 80s Zombie Frenzy
The 1980s were a fruitful period for zombie movies. In 1985 alone, North American theaters witnessed the release of Dan O’Bannon’s “The Return of the Living Dead,” Stuart Gordon’s “Re-Animator,” Romero’s “Day of the Dead,” and Lamberto Bava’s “Demons.” This concentration of high-quality zombie films makes it a strong contender for the best year in the genre’s history.
The Zombie Renaissance of the 21st Century
The 21st century brought a new wave of zombie movies, with many leaning towards the action genre. The “Resident Evil” franchise, despite its limitations, became a multimedia phenomenon with a massive global following. If we want to explore the best zombie movies of the past two decades, we mustn’t overlook the Spanish horror gem “REC” by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, which introduced the found footage format. Additionally, the South Korean film “Train to Busan” by Yeon Sang-ho took audiences on a thrilling and heart-pounding adventure aboard a train to Seoul.
What’s Your Favorite Zombie Movie?
Once you’ve explored the best horror movies on Disney+, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video, it’s time to dive into our carefully curated list. From the classics to the modern masterpieces, there’s something for every zombie enthusiast. So, which of these zombie movies is your favorite?