3. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Who said the ‘60s were not good enough for the cinematic industry? Under the magic wand of George A. Romero, we got a black and white masterpiece. The movie starts with Barbra (Judith O’Dea) and her brother driving to their parent’s resting place, when they are attacked by a zombie. Her brother dies protecting her, and so she runs away to a farm. Despite being surrounded by many other zombies, the farm is actually the shelter of a couple of more survivors.
One of them, a young girl named Karen, was bitten by a zombie and her health is decaying. The others are informed that the entire country has been under a killing spree and so they become part of the same problem. Hunted by the zombies, the humans are slowly dying, with only a few remaining by the end.
When you have a cult classic, expect people to try bringing it back for two reasons – one for the money, two for the show. A first remake was made in 1990, mainly identical to the original; the ending differs with the zombie outbreak being slowly put to an end and Ben not being killed accidently, but shot due to his transformation.
Another version was pulled in 2006 and it features Barb and her brother running late for a relative’s funeral, only to find the graveyard flooded by zombies. Barb is abandoned by her brother and rescued by Ben, who brings her to the infamous barn. The movie also features a mortician, Gerald Tovar Jr. as the antagonist, character who got his own spin-off in 2012, in Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation, which reveals the backstory of Tovar and his implication in the creation of the vicious zombies.
How to turn into a zombie for dummies
It starts simple – you are either bitten by a zombie – process that will last three days of suffering – or you die, with your brain still intact, after being exposed to certain radiations. Then you transform into a creature that feeds not for hunger, but for the simple reason that it can feed on living humans. Any mental activity has been developed and improved throughout Romero’s movies, the zombies being shown as capable of learning at the level of a young child.
Emotions are just something taught to zombies. Also, the slow movement of zombies is scientifically based on their decaying organs and decomposition; yet, unlike humans, who can run but not for too long, zombies have no concept of exhaustion. So the only way one can get rid of them, is by damage to their brains.
2. Zombieland (2009)
This comedy presents us Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin as a group of survivors of the zombie apocalypse, created from a mutated strain. College student Columbus, the violent Tallahassee and con artists sisters Wichita and Little Rock make a team, despite their problems and constant arguments – it is all about survival, not making friends.
Their bond gets deeper once they reach Hollywood and accidentally kill fake zombie Bill Murray. The group discovers that Tallahassee was not grieving after his puppy, but after his son, Columbus gets over his phobias and tries to surpass his parents’ death, he and Wichita fall in love and the boys manage to save the girls from the zombies.
New type of zombies
While some movie teams prefer using some standard themes and standard monsters, some prefer bringing something new to the genre. Being a comedy, Zombieland introduces a unique brand of zombies.
Unlike most zombies, the ones presented here are not the product of an evil plan, actual mutation or virus; it all started when a man ate a contaminated burger made out of a cow sick with an advanced form of the mad cow disease. So the mad cow made mad people suffering from fever, unable to speak, with swollen brains, greenish skin, black blood and hungry for some human flesh.
Sequel and TV series
Not many comedies, and especially those involving zombies, are so praised by critics and are a box office success like Zombieland, which earned no less than 60.8 million dollars in half a month since its release. Therefore plans for Zombieland 2 were made and in 2010 it was confirmed the return of some actors, while the screen writers started working on the script.
But the odds were not in the sequel’s favor and so the second movie was postponed. Plans for a TV series with a different cast were also made, after the decision of cancelling the sequel. Though, the pilot episode was not what was expected and the show was abandoned before it even started. Plans for reviving the sequel were mentioned in 2014, but we are still waiting for something concrete.
1. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Just because Night of the Living Dead has so many versions, it does not mean that the story itself has no continuation. In fact, there is an entire series, out of which, Dawn of the Dead is the most successful zombie film ever made and the greatest movies of all times. In Dawn of the Dead we have the United States of America in state of fear and panic.
With the dead who were not buried coming back to life as disgusting zombies, the entire population must follow strict laws concerning their dead relatives. Finding themselves in an uncomfortable situation in which a raid ended up with the residents of a building getting killed, two SWAT members befriend each other. After they escape the town with two other people, they think they have found salvation, but soon things get bad and this time not everyone will escape the zombie’s hunger.
Day and Land
The third part, Day of the Dead (1985) finds the entire world overrun by zombies. The last members of the US government and army are hidden away and are secretly trying to find some solutions to exterminate the zombies once for all. But once the idea that zombies can be trained as pets is out, a state of tension is created between scientists and military men. When the secret of how the training was possible is out, the base commander Captain Henry Rhodes kills the doctor responsible for the research.
But his death angers his zombie pet and he is looking for revenge, as his comrades are looking for the fresh flesh of the survivors. Land of the Dead (2005) shows us the world many years after the zombie apocalypse. With the survivors following a feudal like system, making them regress, a trip to a zombie area proves them that their enemies are evolving, starting to show that they are capable of learning. Yet just because some are an exception, it does not mean that the rest are like them, nor that the war is over.
Diary and Survival
The fifth part of Romero’s work, Diary of the Dead, starts with the story of a man who kills his family and then commits suicide, only for his family to come back as zombies. The story switches to a group of college students who are making their own horror movie, without knowing that they are soon going to be part of a real horror, as they get attacked by zombies.
Trying to find shelter at their family’s homes, the youngsters either find their loves ones transformed, already eaten by zombies or end up bitten and transformed themselves. The film ends with one of the characters questioning herself whether it is worth saving the human race or not.
The most recent movie, Survival of the Dead (2009) introduces two families on an island: one fighting against the living dead and one keeping their beloved ones turned into zombies hidden until a cure is out.
While most of the warrior family members are killed, the other family is trying to make the zombies live their original normal lives, but only manage to fail. The film ends with a few humans fleeing the island, while the reanimated members of the two families are still fighting each other.