Zombie Movie Gallery: 1932-2013

Ever since WHITE ZOMBIE (1932) introduced movie audiences to the classic image of the zombie (a mindless revived corpse, directed by a Voodoo houngan [priest]), the restless dead have been shambling across the silver screen in various shapes and sizes, eventually throwing off the shackles of their masters and developing strange new appetites (first for human flesh, then for brains). Here is a representative sample.
WHITE ZOMBIE: Murder Legendre (Bela Lugosi, left) directs his mindless minions.
WHITE ZOMBIE (1932): Murder Legendre (Bela Lugosi, left) directs his mindless minions. The corpses have no will of their own; the film’s true monster is their master.
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Revolt of the Zombies (1936) posits the idea of an unstoppable undead army in WWI.
REVOLT OF THE ZOMBIES (1936): This week follow-up to WHITE ZOMBIE posits the idea of an unstoppable undead army in WWI – offering the first suggestion of zombies as a worldwide threat.
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The Ghost Breakers (1940): This is probably the first zombie film to mix horror and comedy. Although the zombie (Noble Johnson) is revealed to be a fake planted to scare away Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard, his scenes are played for scares more than laughs.
THE GHOST BREAKERS (1940): This is probably the first zombie film to mix horror and comedy. Although the zombie (Noble Johnson) is revealed to be a fake planted to scare away Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard, his scenes are played for scares more than laughs.
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King of the Zombies (1941): Comic actor Mantan Moreland gets some laughs from his reaction to WWII era zombies, under the direction of a Nazi scientist.
KING OF THE ZOMBIES (1941): Comic actor Mantan Moreland gets some laughs from his reaction to traditional-looking zombies, who turn out to be under the direction of a Nazi scientist.
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I Walked with a Zombie (1943): Darby Jones as the zombie Carrefour, in the classic produced by Val Lewton
I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943): Darby Jones as the zombie Carrefour, in the classic produced by Val Lewton. The Voodoo element is strongly represented here. Directed by Jacques Tourneur, this is probably the greatest film every made using the traditional zombie theme.
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Zombies of Mora Tau (1957): This low-budget effort is memorably only for the novel concept of water-logged zombies guarding a sunken treasure.
ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU (1957): This low-budget effort is memorably only for the novel concept of water-logged zombies guarding a sunken treasure.
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Night of the Living Dead (1968): Though the word "zombie" is never mentioned, George A. Romero's film changed the genre forever, reinventing the walking dead as cannibal corpses, driven by instinct to consume the living.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968): Though the word “zombie” is never mentioned, George A. Romero’s film changed the genre forever, reinventing the walking dead as cannibal corpses, driven by instinct to consume the living. Romero wrote but did not direct the 1990 color remake – a worthwhile film, but not classic.
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Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971): Amando de Ossorio's film introduced the zombie-like Knights Templar, who would return in three sequels. Despite their desiccated appearance, the Templars were more of an undead cult than mindless corpses.
TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (1971): Amando de Ossorio’s film introduced the zombie-like Knights Templar, who would return in three sequels. Despite their desiccated appearance, the Templars were more of an undead cult than mindless corpses.
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Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (a.k.a., The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue, 1974): This Spanish film, obviously inspired by NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, is the first to show zombie cannibal carnage in color.
LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE (a.k.a., THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE, 1974): This Spanish film, obviously inspired by NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, is the first to show zombie cannibal carnage in color.
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Dawn of the Dead (1978): George A. Romero's sequel to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD offers cinema's first vision of the zombie apocalypse, which plays out in the microcosm of a shopping mall.
DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978): George A. Romero’s sequel to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD offers cinema’s first vision of the zombie apocalypse, which plays out in the microcosm of a shopping mall. Tom Savini’s graphic makeup effects, including exploding heads and disemboweled intestines, set the standard for all zombie films to follow.
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Zombie (a.k.a., Zombie 2, 1979): Directed by Lucio Fulci, this Italian film the graphic splatter approach of DAWN OF THE DEAD with the zombies' more traditional roots in Voodoo. The result launched an army of Italian zombie gorefests.
ZOMBIE (a.k.a., ZOMBIE 2, 1979): Directed by Lucio Fulci, this Italian film combines the graphic splatter approach of DAWN OF THE DEAD with the zombies’ more traditional roots in Voodoo. The result, presented as an ersatz sequel to DAWN OF THE DEAD (which was released as ZOMBIE in Europe) launched an army of Italian zombie gorefests.
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The Beyond (1981): Director Lucio Fulci offers two kinds of living dead: corporeal walking corpses and a more magical variety, able to appear and disappear at will
THE BEYOND (1981): Director Lucio Fulci offers two kinds of living dead: corporeal walking corpses and a more magical variety, able to appear and disappear at will.
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The Evil Dead (1981): Sam Raimi's sleeper hit features human bodies possessed and sometimes resurrected by evil spirits. The grim, low-budget intensity echoes THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.
THE EVIL DEAD (1981): Sam Raimi’s sleeper hit features human bodies possessed and sometimes resurrected by evil spirits. The grim, low-budget intensity echoes THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. The 2013 remake emphasized the possession angle, so that there were few if any walking corpses on screen.
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Return of the Living Dead (1985): Dan O'Bannon's black-comedy pseudo-sequel to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD re-imagines zombies as unkillable brain-eaters.
RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985): Dan O’Bannon’s black-comedy pseudo-sequel to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD re-imagines zombies as unkillable brain-eaters.
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Re-Animator (1985): Stuart Gordon's unrated gore film offered a more energetic species of living dead, resurrected by Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs)' formula.
RE-ANIMATOR (1985): Stuart Gordon’s unrated gore film offered a more energetic species of living dead, resurrected by Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs)’ formula.
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Diary of the Dead (1985): Romero's third living dead film presents us with the world's first "domesticated" zombie, Bub (Sherman Howard), capable of some primitive human thought.
DAY OF THE DEAD (1985): Romero’s third living dead film presents us with the world’s first “domesticated” zombie, Bub (Sherman Howard), capable of some primitive human thought. Romero would continue to explore the zombie apocalypse in LAND OF THE DEAD, DIARY OF THE DEAD, and SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD.
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Evil Dead 2 (1987): Sam Raimi's sequel to THE EVIL DEAD (1981) pushes the unrated gore to comic levels.
EVIL DEAD 2 (1987): Sam Raimi’s sequel to THE EVIL DEAD (1981) pushes the unrated gore to comic levels.
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The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988): Wes Craven's film, based on a non-fiction book, returned zombies to their West Indies roots, suggesting a realistic explanation: drugs to induce mindless catatonia.
THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW (1988): Wes Craven’s film, based on a non-fiction book, returned zombies to their West Indies roots, suggesting a realistic explanation: drugs to induce mindless catatonia.
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Braindead (a.k.a. "Dead Alive," 1992): A pre-Tolkein Peter Jackson tries to outdo Sam Raimi in the gleeful gore department, and almost succeeds.
BRAINDEAD (a.k.a. “Dead Alive,” 1992): A pre-Tolkein Peter Jackson tries to outdo Sam Raimi in the gleeful gore department, and almost succeeds.
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Resident Evil (2002): based on the popular game, writer-director Paul W. S. Anderson's film offered a videogame version of zombie violence.
RESIDENT EVIL (2002): based on the popular vidoegame, writer-director Paul W. S. Anderson’s film offered an amped-up version of zombie violence. Several sequels followed, the best being RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION (2012)
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28 Days Later (2002): Instead of traditional zombies, director Danny Boyle's film featured living people infected by a virus that drives them to mindless homicidal rage.
28 DAYS LATER (2002): Instead of traditional zombies, director Danny Boyle’s film featured living people infected by a virus that drives them to mindless homicidal rage – an idea used by George A. Romero way back in THE CRAZIES (1973). The sequel 28 WEEKS LATER expands upon and surpasses the original.
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Dawn of the Dead (2004): This remake of Romero's classic substitutes speedy zombies in place of the familiar shambling walkers. It's entertaining in a slick professional way, with some good characterization, but it lacks the social satire of the original.
DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004): This remake of Romero’s classic substitutes speedy zombies in place of the familiar shambling walkers. It’s entertaining in a slick professional way, with some good characterization, but it lacks the social satire of the original.
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Shaun of the Dead (2004): Riffing off Romero's films, this comedy combines the zombie apocalypse with a love story; the end offers another glimpse of a domesticated zombie.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004): Riffing off Romero’s films, this comedy combines the zombie apocalypse with a love story; the end offers another glimpse of a domesticated zombie.
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Fido (2006): Billy Connolly plays a literally domesticated zombie, serving a human household as combination butler-pet.
FIDO (2006): Billy Connolly plays a literally domesticated zombie, serving a human household as combination butler-pet.
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[rec[ (2007): This Spanish film filtered zombies through the lens of a hand-held shaky-cam, in the style of "found footage" films. The explanation for the zombies is a combination of virus and supernatural, an idea explored in the first of two sequels. There was also an American remake, QUARANTINE.
[REC] [ (2007): This Spanish film filtered zombies through the lens of a hand-held shaky-cam, in the style of “found footage” films. The explanation for the zombies is a combination of virus and supernatural evil, an idea explored in the first of two sequels. There was also an American remake, QUARANTINE.
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I Am Legend (2007): Are they vampires or zombies? It's not clear, but thanks to the star power of Will Smith, this adaptation of Richard Matheson's novel reached a wider audience than any zombie movie before.
I AM LEGEND (2007): Are they vampires or zombies? It’s not clear, but thanks to the star power of Will Smith, this adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel reached a wider audience than any zombie movie before.
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Dead Snow (2009): Nazis-had been done before but never better than in this somewhat comic horror film from Norway
DEAD SNOW (2009): Nazis-had been done before but never better than in this somewhat comic horror film from Norway
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Zombieland (2009): This comedy took the concept of zombies as living humans infected by a virus, and turned it into blockbuster success at the box office.
ZOMBIELAND (2009): This took the 28 DAYS LATER concept of zombies as virus-infected-humans, and mainstreamed it for the masses with a comedic approach, achieving blockbuster success.
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The Crazies (2010): This remake of George A. Romero's 1973 film offers another version of viral zombies - not the living dead, but infected humans.
THE CRAZIES (2010): This remake of George A. Romero’s 1973 film offers another version of viral zombies – not the living dead, but infected humans.
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The Walking Dead (2010-2013): This AMC series, based on Robert Kirkman's graphic novel, hews close to the zombie concept laid down by Romero but appealed to non-genre fans with its characterization and story-telling
THE WALKING DEAD (2010-2013): This AMC series, based on Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel, hews close to the zombie concept laid down by Romero but appealed to non-genre fans with its characterization and story-telling. The graphic make up and effects are courtesy of Greg Nicotero, who had assisted Tom Savini on DAY OF THE DEAD.
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Warm Bodies (2013): This comedy-romance gives us zombies with a heart as "R" (Nicholas Hoult) finds his human emotions revived when he falls in love with Julie (Teresa Palmer)
WARM BODIES (2013): This comedy-romance gives us zombies with a heart as “R” (Nicholas Hoult) finds his human emotions revived when he falls in love with Julie (Teresa Palmer).
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World War Z (2004): This big-budget blockbuster played out the zombie apocalypse on a bigger scale than ever before.
WORLD WAR Z (2013): This big-budget blockbuster played out the zombie apocalypse on a bigger scale than ever before.
[serialposts]

Emma Stone to play Gwen Stacy

emma_stone_ZombielandUPDATED: According to Sony Pictures Studio,  Emma Stone (ZOMBIELAND) has been cast in the  the role of Gwen Stacy, not  Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man reboot.
 
Deadline.com and other online sources previously indicated that Stone had been cast as Peter Parker’s (Andrew Garfield) later girlfriend and future wife Mary Jane, rather than the (in the comics) ill-fated Gwen Stacy, his first major love interest. 
Betty Brant (JJJ’s secretary) and schoolmate Liz Allen also had an interest in Peter Parker.

For a bookworm, young Peter did pretty well with the ladies...
For a bookworm, young Peter did pretty well with the ladies...

Mary Jane Cast in Spider-man Reboot?

emma_stone_ZombielandAccording to Deadline,  Columbia is offering Emma Stone (ZOMBIELAND) the role of Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man reboot.
 
Peter Parker’s first major girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, will also be in the film.  Dianna Agron (GLEE), Dominique McElligott (MOON),  Georgina Haig (ROADKILL) and Mia Wasikowska (ALICE IN WONDERLAND) are said to be under consideration for the role.

Zombieland DVD Review: looking back on last year's hit

Often it is all too easy to be swept up in the excitement of the moment, giddy with glee over a new discover – only to find, after sober reflection, that the initial rush of joy was a bit over-stated. The passage of time has a way of lending perspective missing from the initial encounter, and that seems to be the case with ZOMBIELAND, which was a big commercial hit when it opened last October. The success is easy enough to understand: the film has a likable cast of characters carefully crafted to appeal to the target demographics; the basic premise is promising; and the combo of horor and humor is appealing. In a theatre full of eager fans, primed for the Halloween season, it is easy to imagine that the post-apocalyptic zombie scenario – loaded with bloodshed and action, but leavened with a tongue-in-cheek tone to prevent the scares from being too disturbing – would leave audiences as thrilled as horde of cannibal zombies at a train wreck. However, after the initial excitement wears off, a viewing of ZOMBIELAND on home video reveals that the film is enjoyable but hardly brilliant. Mildly enjoyable throughout, it has only a handful of must-see moments that would justify a second viewing, and almost all of them are available in previews and clips you can watch on YouTube. This is truly a film that has a hard time competing with its own trailer.

Coumbus (Jake Eisenberg) avoids zombies.
Coumbus (Jake Eisenberg) avoids zombies.

What ZOMBIELAND has going for it is the amusing idea of an apparent loser nicknamed Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), who has managed to survive a plauge that has turned most of the world’s population into “zombies.” Far from the typical movie hero, “Columbus” lives by a series of rules (superimposed in subtitles throughout the film (rather like the GUI effects in STRANGER THAN FICTION) that prevent him from making obvious mistakes; for instance, he always “double taps” the zombies he kills (meaning he delivers a second shot to the head, just to make sure they stay down). 
Columbus forms an unlikely partnership with Woody Harrelson’s Tallahasse (“I’m not the easiest person to get along with, and I”m sensing you’re a bit of a bitch”), and the two soon encounter a pair of young con-women (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin), who steal their vehicle before eventually having a change of heart and teaming up. Showing a vestige of the script’s origins as an intended television pilot, the storyline is less about zombies than about forming a surrogate “family,” because even though the Reaganite ’80s are long gone, family values are still a safe way to achieve mass audience appeal.
Stone and Breslin are adequate, and Eisenberg is reasonably funny (if occasionally a bit too convincing) as the geek. But Harrelson is the one who comes closest to achieving ZOMBIELAND’s full potential. He can do the tough-guy hero stuff, and he can tell a joke; he can also handle the film’s occasional attempts at pathos.
It is to ZOMBIELAND’s credit that it tries to blend several tones, but occasionally the mix is muddled or downright silly. In the low point, [SPOILER AHEAD] Bill Murray makes a cameo as himself: having survived by making himself up to look like a zombie (zombies do not attack each other), he for some reason thinks it would be a very funny joke to sneak up on a pair of well-armed characters, who mistake him for the real thing – with predictably disastrous results. You see the joke coming from so far away that it makes Murray look like a moron. After this kind of idiocy, it is difficult to work up much of a lump in one’s throat over the story’s sentimental moments.
A clown zombie played by stuntman Derek Graf
One of the "zombies," played by stuntman Derek Graf

It is also a bit disappointing that ZOMBIELAND features no actual zombies. These so-called zombies are not the walking dead but all-too-living victims of a ghastly plague (like the one in 28 DAYS LATER). This is basically a writer’s device that makes the script easier: humans can turn into “zombies” quickly (without having to actually die); the “zombies” can run (because they’re not dead so they are not decomposing); and they can be easily killed without having to worry about the head-shot that has been a tradition since NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD in 1968.
This may seem like a small point, but it’s symptomatic of the film’s take-the-easy-route approach: go for the broad, multiplex-safe approach. As long as you don’t expect too much, ZOMBIELAND works well enough in an amiable, funny-scary kind of way, but the film could have been even better with a little more bite – if not literally, than figuratively and satirically.

DVD DETAILS

click to purchase
click to purchase

The DVD presentation of ZOMBIELAND offers a solid widescreen trasnfer and good sound, along with numerous bonus features: trailers, featurettes, audio commentary, and more.
Theatrical Promo Trailers: There are five of these, which consist of Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg doing stand-up routines, pretending to answer viewer questions about zombies:

  1. Bounty Paper Towels
  2. Bowling Ball
  3. Buddy System
  4. Skillet
  5. Swiss Army

Visual FX Progressions: These are four brief bits, featuring before-and-after footage from ZOMBIELAND’s visual effects scenes – first the live-action as filmed on set or location, then the computer-generated enhancements. It is interesting to note that most of the blood was added via CGI, and scenes of zombies being clobbered were achieved by having actors swing only the handle, for example, of a baseball bat, with the rest added in post-production. The four scenes are:

  1. Washington
  2. Seat Belts
  3. Banjo Zombie
  4. Falling Zombie

Deleted Scenes: These are mostly brief snippets rather than complete scenes. One specifically states something unspoken in the film, that these zombies are plague victims, not walking corpses. Another scene explains the change of heart that the two young women undergo after scamming our two heroes – a plot point that is taken for granted in the final cut. The deleted scenes are:

  1. Ziploc Bags
  2. This Did NOt Just Happen
  3. Mom and Dad Would Have to Wait
  4. The Joke’s on Them
  5. The Slow and the Weak
  6. Girls Play at  Park
  7. You Always Think of Something

Featurette: “In Search of Zombieland”:This is a standard promotional featurette disguised as a making-of piece, combining interview soundbites with footage from the film. It’s no worse than most – except for the stupid gag of having one of the zombies give a talking-head interview that consists of inarticulate grunts and growls.
Featurette: “Zombieland Is Your Land”: This is a much more informative look behind the scenes, focusing on the use of set design, locations, and art direction to convey a post-apocalyptic landscape.

Jake Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson
Jake Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Woody Harrelson

Audio Commentary: Director Ruben Fleischer, stars Harrelson and Eisenberg, and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick get together to chat about making their film. Like most audio commentaries recorded too soon (i.e., while the film is still in release), this one suffers from a lack of perspective on the work, with everyone in full-bore promotional mode, repeatedly mentioning that ZOMBIELAND is currently numero uno at the box office. If you can stomach the continual back-patting (“We are very self-satisfied people,” Fleischer notes repeatedly), there are some interesing tidbits, such as the fact that the “Zombie Kill of the Week” concept (so prominent in the trailer) is a vestige of the script’s gestation as a pilot for a weekly television series – which would have included a “Zombie Kill of the Week” in each episode.
Woke Up Dead” is a weird, four-minute comedy episode about a guy hit by a truck who wakes up on the coroner’s table. It has no connection with ZOMBIELAND; although presented as a bonus feature, it is basically a promo for a later DVD release, which will presumably include many more episodes.
ZOMBIELAND (2009). Directed by Ruben Fleischer. Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick. Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Amber Heard, Billy Murray.

Zombieland 2 director talks 3D

At the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, ZOMBIELAND director Ruben Fleischer spoke about developing the sequel with 3D in mind:

“We’re writing it with 3D in mind,” Fleischer said. “I took the writers to the 3D workshop. We’re really going to try and make it something that’s intentional as opposed to some of the movies where it’s just another component to market or a way to make more money at the box office. For us we really want to make it something that just elevates the entertainment value of the film.”
[…]
“I think Zombieland, what it’s best at is just being pure entertainment,” he continued. “I feel like 3D has that component of, in a way like a ride at an amusement park, it’s just a form of entertainment. To me, it enhances entertainment value, especially with a movie with the tone of Zombieland.”