Dan’s Top Ten List of Zombie Stuff
With Christmas around the corner you may be looking for the perfect gift for that zombiephile in your life (we all have one). Well I don’t know about the perfect gift, but here’s some zombie stuff that I like:
Honorable Mention 5. Cell (Novel)
Steven King’s go at the zombie genre. Everything about this novel says Steven King, from the zombies’ powers of telepathy and causing hallucinations, to the very lucky intuitions of the main characters which lead them to the truth. Not the greatest zombie novel, but I’m a Mainer, what can I say, I’ve got a soft spot for King!
Honorable Mention 4. Monster Island (Novel)
The first in a series of three novels by David Wellington (who has also tried his hand at vampires and werewolves). This series is an interesting play on the zombie genre. I like the ideas about collective conscience and the mixing of magic and science. Originally released as an online serial novel (and still available in that format) it lacks a little of the polish of some of the novels higher on the list.
Honorable Mention 3. Dawn of the Dead 2004 Remake (Film)
If this weren’t a remake of one of the most classic zombie films of all time it would probably be a lot higher on the list. This film has a great soundtrack and some great zombie mayhem. The acting isn’t as terrible as it could be in this genre, and overall this remake is definitely worth watching!
Honorable Mention 2. Marvel Zombies (Graphic Novel series)
Picture your favorite super heroes as zombies… pretty crazy stuff, right? Well Marvel went ahead and made a story where this is reality. The art is awesome and the idea is really fun. If only the story weren’t so half-baked I think I would rate this higher.
Honorable Mention 1. Shaun of the Dead (Film)
This movie is a riot. It’s funny in all the right ways, pays tribute to many of the classics in the genre and even makes some good philosophical points. It was just barely outside the top ten and mostly just because it is so silly. I love the comedy of it, I also love that the story is good enough to keep me engaged, but a zombie movie that is all silly is just not quite gonna do it for me. It could almost be considered more of a spoof than an actual zombie film.
10. Pariah (Novel)
Like any good zombie story this book is more about the survivors than it is about the living dead. The greatest danger faced is starvation as the small group of survivors holes-up in an apartment building. As they start to see their lives slowly start to deteriorate they demonstrate their true character and needs. Love, anger, connection, distance, fear, doubt, and strength, and just when all hope is lost a girl obliviously walks down the street, the zombies, for seem reason, parting to let her by. This is a great stand alone novel by Bob Fingerman
9. Fido (Film)
Two topics that are almost always connected with criticizing the “American Dream” : zombies and 50′s suburbia. What could be better than putting the two together? In Fido we are introduced to a world with the values and style of the American suburbs of the 1950′s, but with a bit of a twist: this utopian suburb is not just home to the living but the undead as well. The undead are used to perform menial duties such as grocery cart retrieval, mail carrying, and milk delivery. The scariest thing about this world? When the living act more monstrous than the undead. Funny, clever, and sharp. Great zombie film (even if it does slightly break the rules!)
8. The Zombie Survival Guide (Novel)
The first zombie book I ever read. This reads just like a legitimate survival guide and never breaks character. When you finish up reading about the various preparations you should be making for the oncoming zombie apocalypse you aren’t sure whether to laugh or go out and buy 100 gallons of water and a crowbar. This book is seriously exhaustive and would probably make a really good guide assuming the dead ever return to life.
7. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Novel)
Crossover of crossovers. My wife is a huge Jane Austin fan so when I heard that one of her most famous stories had recently been infested with the undead I couldn’t resist picking it up. Honestly I thought the novelty of Elisabeth Bennett kicking Zombie ass would get old after the first few pages, but the undead element was woven nicely into the actual Pride and Prejudice story to the point where I easily read through and was engaged by the entire book. The “wood block” art work is a nice added touch.
6. I Sell the Dead (Film)
There is a downside to the modern zombie genre not starting until almost 1970. That downside is that there are no modern zombie films done by Alfred Hitchcock or in the style of some of the great early horror films. Well I thought that was true. Then I saw I Sell the Dead. Foggy and dark, this film captures the feeling of an old school horror film, but, unlike them, is about modern zombies. A great film about two grave robbers turned zombie wranglers that is full of humor and quality story telling.
5. The Walking Dead (Graphic Novel series)
I remember a few years back when a friend of mine let me borrow The Walking Dead Volume 1. I was immediately hooked and kept at the series as the adventures of Rick and co. progressed. Little did I know that just a few years later Rick and Shane and Daryl would be household names. I’m glad that they are. The Walking Dead is a great story and well worth getting a television show, and it would be impossible for them to have done the television series any better, but you’ve got to give props to the original vision of Robert Kirkman as laid out in pictures and talk bubbles.
4. World War Z (Novel)
I tend to be a contrarian so it pains me to have probably the most popular zombie novel ever written as my top pick for a novel, but the truth is that it is a damn good book (which is probably why it is so popular). Max Brooks owns zombie literature almost to the extent that George Romero owns zombie films (although Romero could be said to own modern zombies in general). This book, weaving stories from individuals all over the world collected by a journalist and released after the great zombie war is gold in every aspect: story telling, zombie mayhem, the human element
3. Dawn of the Dead (Film)
Romero’s follow up to Night of the Living Dead may have done the most for bringing zombies into the mainstream culture. A small group of survivors finds themselves trapped in a shopping mall with hordes of undead bearing down on them from the outside. This is quintessential Romero. Somehow he is able to capture the fun of the genre and at the same time make a clear statement about consumerism and the “American Dream” and do it in such a way that appeals to the masses. This film is necessary watching for any zombie enthusiast.
2. Zombie (Film)
I love spaghetti westerns, so why not a.. umm… spaghetti zombie film. This Italian made “sequel” to Night of the Living Dead has all the great stuff of a “B” horror movie. Blood and guts and tons of awesome zombie mayhem. The story crosses the Romero type zombie with the voodoo zombies that came before and does it in an incredibly entertaining fashion. For pure zombie ridiculousness this film rocks. An absolute most watch.
1. Night of the Living Dead (Film)
“They’re coming to get you Barbara.” And with that a genre is born. Night of the Living Dead is the definition of what a zombie film (or novel or whatever) has to be. It changed the horror genre and left a mark that could never be undone or outdone. In a black white film that follows a girl into an old farmhouse to outrun the undead, Romero infected the world with the love of all things zombie. Distributed anywhere and everywhere due to it’s lack of copywrite, NOTLD reached the world and firmly planted this new genre into our culture. If you haven’t seen NOTLD you are not a true zombie enthusiast.
NOTE: Click the above link to watch NOTLD in it’s entirety on youtube!