Sure, vampires are all the rage these days. You can't swing an undead cat without hitting a bunch of those pretty, sparkly, moody, mopey bloodsuckers. But they come and go, whereas zombies are forever.
Zombies are the discerning horror fan's monster of choice. Be they the slow, shambling, easy-to-behead traditional type or the super-fast face chompers of some more modern films, there's something about the singularity of purpose that makes a zombie do that zombie thing that makes them the ultimate scare.
In this article, we're going to dish up the five greatest zombie movies of all time. For added difficulty, no George A. Romero films are included, since he basically invented the modern zombie-film genre and is thus in a class by himself.
So read on! You might even find some movies you didn't know about. In fact, we'll just bet you've never heard of this first one ...
No. 5: "Dead Snow" (2009)
That's right, kids, zombie Nazis! If you think Jake Blues hated Illinois Nazis, you'll quickly see he had nothing on the cast of Norwegian unknowns in "Dead Snow" who find their backcountry skiing weekend interrupted by Hitler's undead minions.
"Dead Snow" is the only zombie flick to win an award at the Sundance Film Festival, and despite the no-name cast and occasionally cheesy dialogue, it delivers the goods. The zombies are implacable, and exhibit a level of cunning and strategy not often seen among the undead.
And there's plenty of leftover World War II weaponry laying about, leading to some truly epic zombie killfests with tons of gore polluting pristine Scandinavian snowscapes.
"Dead Snow" also wins, hands down, the title of Best Zombie Flick Tagline Ever: "Ein, Zvei, DIE!"
A good tagline is one thing, but great quotes are another, and our next selection is full of them ...
No. 4: "Army of Darkness" (1992)
The world might never have known the wonder that is Bruce Campbell if not for Sam Raimi's trilogy of "Evil Dead" movies, the greatest of which is "Army of Darkness." As shotgun-toting S-Mart clerk Ash, Campbell spits out quotable one-liners almost as often as he dispatches zombies, skeletons, miniature versions of himself and all manner of other bizarre creatures.
Discussion of the plot is pointless, as it is but a loose framework designed to set up fight scenes so over-the-top that they almost beggar reason.
Take for example the climactic tussle, which begins with Ash driving his beat-up Oldsmobile into the enemy army fitted out with everything up to and including a spinning skeleton-whacker.
Ash is the ultimate zombie movie hero, shifting from shotgun-fueled bravado and bloodthirst to screaming, fleeing, pants-wetting terror in the space of seconds. Basically, he's just like us.
Like your zombies with a dose of motherly love? Then try our next selection ...
No. 3: "Dead Alive" (1992)
You know Peter Jackson, right? He's that furry little New Zealander who put roughly half of his countrymen to work on the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Did you know he also made one of the most twisted zombie flicks ever?
"Dead Alive," originally released as "Braindead," centers on a young man who's trying to woo a local shopkeeper's daughter. His mother, snooping on their canoodling, is bitten by a monkey and becomes a zombie. Our hero does what any loving son would do: He hits mom with a truckload of tranquilizers and keeps her in the basement. More zombies soon join mom down below and, well, things get messy.
That should give you a taste (pardon the pun) for the events that follow, which end in a scene so horrifying in its Oedipal implications that you'll find yourself calling your mom just to make sure she's still among the living.
Our next selection takes us back to a decade we might not mind seeing get eaten ...