Zombi 2 (1979)
The Zombie Movie: The confusingly titled Zombi 2 (making it look as though it were the sequel to Romero’s Zombi , better known as Dawn Of The Dead ) is probably the best known of Lucio Fulci’s splatter movies, following the exploits of a gang of seafaring explorers and the fun they have on a zombie-infested island in the tropics.
The Moment: Deciding that zombie versus human isn’t a fair fight, Fulci decides to pit zombie against shark in a battle at the bottom of the ocean. Shamelessly silly it might be, but come on, who wouldn’t want to watch this?
Splatter-Factor: The zombie tears a bloody strip of his toothy nemesis before the shark snaps his hand clean off. We’d call that an honourable draw.
Diary Of The Dead (2007)
The Zombie Movie: With it’s cardboard cutout characters and slightly passé concept (today’s youth are indeed obsessed with cameras), Diary Of The Dead is far from George Romero’s best work. That said, there’s still enough creeping tension and copious gore to make it worth a watch. There’s life in the old shamblers yet, it would seem…
The Moment: A zombie advances on one of our young protagonists, who’s too frightened to shoot him, lest he accidentally hit a nearby gas canister. Instead, he reaches for the nearest blunt object, which just happens to be a jar of acid. Poor old zombie staggers on for a few more steps, until his brain begins to sizzle, and he finally keels over. Phew!
Splatter-Factor: As the acid works its magic, the undead fellow’s head slowly starts to disintegrate. Serves you right, you brain-hungry freak!
Cemetery Man (1994)
The Zombie Movie: This little-seen oddity stars Rupert Everett as the long-suffering manager of a cemetery where the dead only stay buried for a few days at a time. Gloomily taking out the undead on a nightly basis, poor Rupert’s life is one hard slog… until he spots a grieving widow and decides to make her his. Every bit as bizarre as it sounds…
The Moment: In a wonderful piece of deadpan comedy, Everett casually sends a couple of zombies back into the hereafter before grumpily exclaiming, “all this extra work… it’s not as if they pay me any more!” The man has a point.
Splatter-Factor: Not bad, but this isn’t the goriest zombie film on the market. That said, it is one of the strangest, and indeed, one of the most chucklesome.
Return Of The Living Dead (1985)
The Zombie Movie: A trashy horror-comedy in which a gang of teenage punks find themselves charged with repelling a horde of slightly comical but thoroughly bloodthirsty zombies from their unsuspecting town. Interestingly, this is the film to which the zombie’s love of brains is commonly attributed to…
The Moment: A hideous, flesh-free zombie advances on a teenage girl, trapping her in a metal locker and howling “BRAINS” at her through the door. Fortunately her friends turn up just in time, only for the zombie to exclaim, “MORE BRAINS!” and take a chunk out of the nearest kid’s head. Yum!
Splatter-Factor: Taking the zombie’s appearance out of the equation (difficult, considering how gruesome he looks), the kill is pleasingly grisly. Most zombies knock their prey down before striking, but this one takes a bite out of the head straight off the bat! A zombie who knows what he wants…
Dead Heat (1988)
The Zombie Movie: It’s the mismatched buddy cop movie, but not as you know it… that’s right, one half of the crime-fighting double-act is a zombie. Together, human cop and zombie cop set about thwarting the evil schemes of wily old Vincent Price, who’s creating an army of zombie gangsters to do his bidding. A real gem, this one…
The Moment: A thoroughly grisly body-melting sequence, in which a twentysomething girl transforms from pretty young thing to steaming puddle of viscera in the space of sixty seconds. “I’m sorry Roger,” says her smoking, disembodied skull, kindly…
Splatter-Factor: As comical as it is icky, the best bit of this sequence is when the girl’s body hits the floor with such force that her head goes bouncing off out of shot. Now that’s what we call splatter!
Land Of The Dead (2005)
The Zombie Movie: George Romero returns to the zombie genre nearly forty years after first popularising it, with this embittered attack on contemporary American society. This time it’s the conflict in Iraq that’s irking him the most, although there’s still plenty of time dedicated to blood-soaked zombie slayings to keep the gorehounds happy.
The Moment: Romero is still finding ingenious ways of keeping zombie attacks fresh, and there are none fresher than the apparently headless zombie who whips his skull from behind his back at an unsuspecting prey. Top marks for ingenuity!
Splatter-Factor: There are far gorier scenes to be found elsewhere… this one is all about the shock factor!
Dead Snow (2009)
The Zombie Movie: This Norwegian horror takes the obvious next step in zombie evolution by replacing flesh-eating monsters with Nazi flesh-eating monsters. If you thought that mixing zombies and sharks was the ultimate combo, think again…
The Moment: Poor old Martin has just been bitten on the arm by a zombie, forcing him to go all Ash Williams on our asses, hacking the infected limb off with a chainsaw. However, just as he’s recovering from that onslaught, a zombie pops out of the snow beneath him and bites him in the crotch. Ah, man …
Splatter-Factor: The arm-severing is fairly gory, but the sight of a zombie feasting on a man’s groin is enough to test even the strongest of constitutions.
Dawn Of The Dead (2004)
The Zombie Movie: Zack Snyder’s update of the Romero classic might have pissed off purists by replacing the original’s shamblers with a new breed of sprint-happy zombies, but taken on its own merits, it’s still a cracking action film. Whisper it, but some would say it’s even scarier than the film it’s based upon…
The Moment: Crack marksman Andy picks off celebrity lookalikes with his trusty rifle, ushering “Jay Leno” and “Burt Reynolds” into the hereafter with a pair of well-aimed head-shots. A welcome dose of humour that alleviates the tension without skimping on the gore.
Splatter-Factor: As zombie kills go, these are fairly clean and efficient. That said, the back of Burt Reynolds’ skull still caves in a treat.
The Zombie: Ruben Fleisher resurrects the twitching corpse of the zombie movie with this gory zom-com, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone as a group of mismatched survivors attempting to make their way cross-country across a zombie-ravaged America.
The Moment: Bill Murray’s cameo is admittedly great, but our favourite moment is the entire opening sequence, in which Jesse Eisenberg explains the basic rules of surviving Zombieland. Cue a series of hilariously grisly zombie attacks, followed by an ace set of opening credits, sountracked by Metallica’s For Whom The Bell Tolls .
Splatter-Factor: There’s gore galore on show here, with the “seatbelt rule” (in which a luckless lady gets her face painted all over the tarmac) probably the pick of the bunch.
City Of The Living Dead (1980)
The Zombie Movie: Gore maestro Lucio Fulci brings an operatic touch to the zombie genre with this tale of other-wordly terror. When the gates of hell are unexpectedly opened, all manner of zombies make their way into the land of the living… zombies that can teleport, zombies that can levitate and zombies boasting super-strength. Yikes!
The Moment: In one spectacularly queasy scene, a young woman literally coughs her guts up thanks to the influence of a malign priest. She cries blood and everything! Meanwhile, her boyfriend gets his brain ripped out the back of his head for good measure.
Splatter-Factor: The regurgitation of organs, intestines and God knows what else is a slow, drawn-out process, accompanied by some truly disgusting sound effects. It wouldn’t be so bad if it all came out in one go!