The Best Zombie Films For New Fans to Check Out

Published: July 25, 2014


With the increasing popularity of AMC’s The Walking Dead, the world seems to be in somewhat of a zombie renaissance. Old and new fans alike are reveling in the mainstream status that has been bestowed upon the reanimated dearly departed. For the older diehard fans this newfound gory glory perhaps carries somewhat of a bittersweet connotation.

Long before they were called biters and walkers, the living dead enjoyed more of a cult following which in the mind of some zombiephiles made them much cooler and more appealing. I suppose it is somewhat understanding because most of us like to be a part of something, but when that club we belong to begins to grow it sometimes waters down the value of participation.

I personally do not mind the mainstream popularity of my beloved horror genre, but it does frustrate me at times to have conversations with new fans. I find enjoyment in discussing my favorite films and comparing them to others, but a lot of these newbies only know of modern day zombie flicks. In my own experience, The Walking Dead seems to be their obvious resource for zombie lore and the mere mention of the name Romero can draw blank stares.

The purpose of this “best of” is to provide my own personal list of must see zombie movies from classic to modern with the hope that it will help guide some of the newer fans of this genere. I do not intend for it to be all inclusive and I am sure my opinion will differ from others. I will not include voodoo zombies but diseased minds and the living dead will be fair game. The list is not in any specific order.

  1. Night of the Living Dead

    This is perhaps the most well known movie in the zombie genre. George Romero’s 1968 cult classic established the bar for modern day living dead zombies. The movie is filmed in black and white, but do not let that discourage you from giving it a view. If anything, it adds to the creepiness and realism of the film.

    Night of the Living Dead was the first in Romero’s “Dead” series. Due to the quality and success of that franchise of movies, he is known to many as the father of the zombie flick. You will see more of his movies discussed later in the list.


  2. The Return of the Living Dead

    Released in 1985, ROTLD was probably the first to successfully bring humor to the zombie movie genre. One of the more unique attributes of this film is the fact that the zombies have the ability to talk at least in small lines. This movie is the sole reason we associate the eating of brains with zombies. The blend of humor, gore, special effects, and the greatest soundtrack ever in a zombie film, makes The Return of the Living Dead a must see movie for any fan of the genre.

  3. Dawn of the Dead (original 1978)

    This is the second film in George Romero’s “Dead” series. Released a decade after the first installment in the franchise, Dawn of the Dead is an epic zombie movie and considered to be one of the all time greats. Mainly set inside a shopping mall, this film has the ability to make the viewer fantasize about actually being in the same situation as the main characters as they seem to have anything they could desire in the palm of their hands even though that security is a short lived one.

  4. Dawn of the Dead (remake 2004)

    Typically a remake does not hold muster to the original but that is definitely not the case with the remake of Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Director Zack Snyder decided to enhance the ability of the zombies in this flick. Instead of the usual lumbering waking dead, the zombies here were extremely animated and fast like rabid animals. Some aspects of the original movie were kept intact, but it is fair to say that the 2004 Dawn of the Dead can stand on its own as an original zombie movie.

  5. Night of the Living Dead (remake 1990)

    Legendary special effects and makeup artist Tom Savini decided to remake the most classic zombie movie ever and he succeeded. Starring Tony Todd of Candyman fame, this movie stayed true to the original with the exception of a few twists. Was it as good as the original, probably not, but this remake definitely deserves a spot on any zombie fan’s must see list.

  6. 28 Days Later

    Purists might argue that this film and its sequel are not zombie movies. I suppose that is a matter of opinion. In my opinion 28 days later is a very good zombie movie. The ghouls in question might not necessarily be the dead returned to life, but they are in fact virally brain dead lunatics taking over the land in an apocalyptic manner which gives them a place in the zombie world.

We have reached the end of my list. As I stated previously, this is not all inclusive. My intention of this best of is to give new fans of the genre a starting point from a lifelong zombie fanatic. Of course there are numerous other titles that I could have included , but in my opinion this is a very good starting point.