Growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Toronto, my parents provided me a normal childhood by rearing me on a steady diet of cartoons, sitcoms and movies. TV introduced me to a world of characters I would have otherwise not known. Some of those characters possessed the skill to frighten me in ways that would prevent me from having a good night’s sleep. Dracula, Frankenstein, the werewolf, and to some extent, the mummy creeped me out. Zombies never did anything for me.
Shocking, isn’t it? It’s Monday Mayhem. Would you expect anything less?
I mentioned this once before in another post that as a kid I considered zombies cartoonish, pasty, disfigured anomalies I didn’t take seriously until I saw the movie 28 Days Later. That’s when I knew my life had changed and couldn’t look at zombies the same way again.
Since then, I have a staple of movies I recommend to everyone interested in understanding zombies better. By no means are these the best zombie films, but they are defining works for the genre.
If you’ve read me long enough, you’ll know how much I enjoy George A. Romero’s undead compendium—The Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Land of the Dead. Produced over the course of thirty years, these films set the rules for subsequent zombie behavior. Although some may consider these B movies, every year these titles have withstood the test of time by attracting new audiences with their original concepts and stories.
I’ve learned from these movies The Three Commandments of the undead:
I—The Dead Have Come Back to Life
II—The Undead Crave Human Flesh
III—The Undead Will Die with a Blow to the Brain
As noted, 28 Days Later is the perfect introduction for new film students feeling the need to want to appreciate the zombie genre. The movie contains ideas some viewers may find interesting. For instance, the work presents a solid case regarding a zombie apocalypse fashioned after a virus running rampant among the population. Also dominant in this film are fast zombies, something explored fully in World War Z.
These last two movies are my favorites. Without these, folks would take zombies much too seriously. I’m talking about Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead. Both films have their quirks. Both films are equally hilarious. The more useful of the two, Zombieland details a set of rules zombie apocalypse survivors can utilize to remain alive. Instructions such as “beware of bathrooms” and “cardio” made it into the Top 10. Shaun of the Dead makes an impression by the amount of gags it pulls. In one scene, the boys throw vinyl records on the oncoming undead all the while arguing as to which records to throw, always having a favorite they’d rather save as a keepsake.
Indeed, I could mention many other movies, but these ones provide a future zombie film enthusiast something to think about when perusing online for a title to watch on a cold Friday night. Who knows, maybe they’ll even find the Resident Evil franchise to whet their appetite (pun fully intended).
What movies would you recommend your friends to watch that would act as a primer for learning about zombies?