As you have probably heard by now the 13th b’ak’tun of the Mayan long count cycle ends on Dec 21st. Some have speculated that this will mean the end of the world.
Though there is massive speculation, 12.21.2012 has also been cited as the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse or Z-Day. Maybe you are a true believer or just think some people have way too much time on their hands but it may be a great time to celebrate the Zombie movie genre. Think of it as research. Grab some popcorn, sharpen your machete, and watch some of the best films with the walking dead.
Night Of The Living Dead (1968) The George A. Romero classic that started it all. The black and white classic was shot on a shoestring budget with Romero speculating that the films popularity was tied to it mistakenly being ‘public domain’. Why you should watch: Simply it is a classic both as a horror film and as a piece of American film history.
Shaun of the Dead (2004) Quite frankly the best zombie comedy ever made. The film stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost a couple of hapless idiots that are faced with the zombie apocalypse. Their solution – get their loved ones and head to the safest place they know – the Pub. Why you should watch: There are too many great scenes to name but a personal favorite is Pegg and Frost trying to kill zombies with Pegg’s record collection.
Dawn Of The Dead (1978) and Dawn Of The Dead (2004) Though they are very different movies, we found you can not talk about one with out the other. The 1978 classic with George A. Romero at the helm has the classic Romero feel and builds upon the story from 1968′s Night Of The Living Dead. The added bonus of legendary horror special effects man Tom Savini. Why you should watch: It’s another classic of the genre that can’t be missed. The 2004 re-imagining of the Dawn Of The Dead had director Zack Snyder (300, The Watchmen) and stars Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, and Mekhi Phifer. Most of the action takes place in suburban shopping mall and the film is as gory as it is entertaining. Why you should watch: Two words – zombie newborn.
[REC] (2007) This Spanish zombie movie features a local news crew on a routine ride along with local a fire station that goes horribly wrong. Because most of the film is done ‘point of view’ style there are some real scares as soon as you get used to the shaky camera. It also inspired multiple sequels and an American film series Quarantine. Why you should watch it: It is genuinely creepy.
Dead Alive (1992) aka Braindead What many have called one of the goriest films of all time the New Zealand film Dead Alive is a true gore-fest. The Peter Jackson (yes – the same guy who brought us Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit) co-wrote and directed this story of zombie infection from a “Sumatran Rat-Monkey”. The movie is as funny and it is blood and puss filled. Why you should watch: Creative use of gardening equipment is key to a classic scene. Make sure you get the unrated or directors/extended cut.
Zombieland (2009) Another comedic take on the undead, Zombieland stars Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, and Abigail Breslin. The on going ‘rules’ to zombie survival are hilarious and Woody Harrelson as a Twinkie obsessed bad ass played against Eisenberg’s nerdy nervousness works perfectly. Why you should watch: Bill Murray makes a cameo as himself plus the inclusion of a zombie clown!
Dead Snow (2009) Eight medical students on a ski trip to Norway get a little more than they bargained for when they awaken a horde of Nazi Zombies. Why you should watch: Someone has to solve the mystery is it Nazi Zombies or Zombie Nazis?
28 Days Later (2002) Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle is at the helm of this British zombie flix. The movie centers around a just awoken coma patient 28 days after a viral outbreak. Hey and if you want to make a film fest out of it you can watch the 2007 sequel 28 Weeks Later. Why you should watch: Fast running zombies are key to the film (and to some of the film’s detractors).
– Bradford Hornsby, CBS Local/San Francisco