Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Cardboard Dog Halloween Movie List Part 7: Zombie Movies

It's time for our final 5 movies, our best recommendations to give your Halloween night some much needed terror. By now you have held on against bloodthirsty hillbillies, saw the sunrise on vampires, evaded werewolves in the forest but now you have your final test - to survive the attack of the undead!

Top 5 Zombie Movies

5. Dead Snow (2009)
Who doesn't love Nazis? OK, bad phrasing – who doesn't love Nazis as a movie villain? They're just the best – ask Harrison Ford. What's worse than a living Nazi? A zombie Nazi! This movie hits upon the genius idea of bringing the pesky tykes back as murderous undead. The focus of the rotting horde is as usual – hapless students who happen to be on a few days vacation. The cast are more than just body count though; Jeppe Beck Laursen is effective comedy foil and pulls off a decent Schwarzenegger impression. Director Tommy Wirkola has morbid imagination and knows his stuff, the movie has a few nice references and the final battle is a gore-charged delight.

4. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The one that kick-started it all and set director George A Romero on the road to becoming a legend. Night of the Living Dead is a film which is surprisingly creepy and graphic considering when it was made. The premise is familiar by now. The dead start to walk and before we know it, the action focuses in on a disparate group of people, barricaded in a farm-house in the hope they can survive. The piece works well as a drama as the misfit personalities fire off against each other, suggesting that the biggest enemy is within. The film shrugged off convention by casting black actor Duane Jones as the lead male, a move that felt innovative and fresh and gave the film a more unpredictable feel. The genesis for zombie movies as we know them, check it out as soon as you can.

3. 28 Weeks Later (2007)
Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later was a tough act to follow but Juan Carlos Fresnadillo managed to surpass it with this movie. More energy, more momentum and more scares, right from the start. London is now a military controlled zone as the US Army attempt to contain the disease and rebuild a society. As with all best laid plans, things turn from shit to fuck in rapid time, thanks largely to Robert Carlyle. With the Rage virus taking hold of him, Carlyle's character (Don) begins to rip the place up in a fashion that would give even Begbie brown trousers. Romero's zombies on Red Bull.

2. Day of the Dead (1985)
Follow up to Dawn of the Dead (which was a follow up to Night of the Living Dead), this entry is the best in the series. The dead have pretty much killed off civilisation and the “heroes” this time are soldiers and scientists, locked away in an underground facility. With hope for a cure to the zombie problem fading and relationships at breaking point, the undead draw ever closer to the bunker... The visual effects are just the best, the horrific imagination of the make-up department operating in overdrive – you can't help but love being grossed out by them. The whole thing descends into an aesthetically satisfying bloodbath in the last act. The standout characters are Rhodes (the megalomaniac military man) and Logan (the disturbed lead scientist). And of course, the zombies themselves. Bless.

1. Shaun of the Dead (2003)
The ultimate love letter to the zombie film becomes one of the best zombie films there is. The universe and everything in it aligned to allow this film to be so fantastic. Pegg, Frost and Wright are on the sharpest form; Pegg and Frost (as Shaun and Ed) could barely be more likeable as two regular guys, trying to figure out what the hell to do with their lives, their chemistry the kind of thing Gosling and Adams wish they could've mustered for The Notebook. Director Wright meanwhile, has so many chops and riffs on display that there's barely a moment without a neat reference, sight gag or moment of coolness. For a comedy, there's lots of gore – for a horror film, there's lots of comedy. I challenge you not to care about Shaun and Ed's relationship, Shaun and Liz's relationship or who will survive the zombie apocolypse. It's a winning film, currently celebrating it's 10th year since release. Go get a Cornetto and watch it again.

So we come to the end of our journey, weary traveller. You have listened closely to my tales of woe and terror and you have lived. Flowers never smelled so good nor wine taste so sweet! Go now on your way - and may God help you! Happy Halloween!

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