First off, there is a lot of debate about what makes a great zombie flick.  I realize this, but that is not what this post is about.  This post is about my favorite zombie movies and it is worth noting that I have left off some of the old trail blazers that probably will make some hard core enthusiasts want to smack me.  That’s okay.  I understand, I really do.  Take for instance my feelings about Black Swan — I loathed this film, and for some horror fans to include it in some of their “best of” lists makes me want to puke.  So, yeah I get it, but nonetheless, here you go:

Return of the Living Dead

10.  Return of the Living Dead 2, 1988

Not a masterpiece by any stretch, but still a lot of 80’s fun to be had here.   Important note:  take the time to watch the first film before this one or you simply won’t get the full, intended enjoyment factor.

9.    28 Days Later, 2002

A foray into stupid-fast zombies, a poor guy who has no clue that the world has gone to shit while he took a nap and whacked out  military dudes.  Good clean flesh-eating fun for all!

8.   Dawn of the Dead, 1978

I shouldn’t have to say much here, but of course I do anyway.  You really don’t get any more scary than being stuck in a mall with zombies, bikers and hari krishnas.  (PS.  I hate malls)

7.  Day of the Dead, 1985

This film really never got the props it deserved.  What zombie fan (real zombie fan) doesn’t love the idea of being stuck in an underground bunker with a whacked out military, a completely nuts scientist and a loveable imp named “Bub”?  It is also worth watching just for the evisceration-by-zombie scene alone.  Rumor has it those were real entrails (pig, iirc) that were left out between shootings and were rank with a capital “R”.  Kudos to the actors for not adding puke to the special effects.

6.  Night of the Living Dead, 1968

Okay, this film started it all, but that’s not why it’s on my list.  I actually considered leaving it off entirely, but two things stopped me.  One, the scene in the basement with the little girl and her mother was classic filmmaking at its best.  She hacked her mother to death, right?  Shot in a very “Psycho” shower scene way, you never actually see the trowel hit her mother, yet you know it does.  Awesome.  Second, there is actually a moral here and is probably the only of Mr. Romero’s zombie films to ever make its point so damn well.  If you don’t know what the moral is, you need to go watch this flick again — right now.

5.  [Rec] 2, 2009

This is the second installment of the [Rec] franchise (a third one is already in the works) and boy is it awesome.  It is a new spin on the zombie idea (well, sorta) in that there is no “virus” (like say, rabies, ugh) that is causing all of the mayhem.  I won’t spoil it for you and encourage you to see the first one before watching this one, but it’s not totally necessary.  Either way, do not miss it.

4.  Return of the Living Dead, 1985

Classic and way ahead of its time.  One of those rare gems that manages to make you laugh and cringe at the same time.  Sheer perfection.

3.  Resident Evil, 2002

I understand that some gamers were not too thrilled with the Resident Evil movie franchise, and perhaps rightfully so, but I don’t give a rip.  For those of us who had never even heard of the game when we saw this, it was a thing of beauty.

2.  Dawn of the Dead, 2004

There are a lot of good reasons for criticism of remakes out there, but this ain’t one of them.  Same basic recipe as the original, but with it’s own meat and potatoes.  Again, another great one liner I love “You better get that shit right out your head.”   But then, I liked Andre, even if he did go batshit crazy in the end.  Did I mention I hate malls?

1.  Shaun of the Dead, 2004

As you can probably tell by now, I am a huge fan of the art that is blending horror with comedy.  I love it so much because — get this — it’s really fucking hard!  To do it this well, you have to be able to scare me and make me laugh at the same time, and that my friends, is what I call a slice of fried gold.

YOU PROBABLY DON’T CARE, BUT:  I did not include [Rec], the obvious precursor to [Rec] 2,  on this list but would have if it were a top 11 list, but alas, it was not meant to be.  Anyhoo, if you have not seen any of the films listed here, do not delay — you have a great zombie flick to watch!!

UPDATE 7/26/11:  After this writing, I discussed this list with my husband.  He feels that I am not being true to the genre by making Shaun of the Dead my number one zombie film.  I thoughtfully considered his input and decided that he has no idea what he is talking about.

UPDATE 7/30/11:  I thought about this list a bit, and decided to give Zombieland an honorable mention.  However, it will never be in my top 10 list based on the fact that I don’t really consider this a “real” zombie film.  Don’t get me wrong — it was a fun movie, had a great cast and had some zombies running around, but if we are to be honest with ourselves, it was really a road trip flick with some zombies tossed in.  Some of you will vehemently disagree with me here, and that’s cool, but I maintain that you just can’t put “zombie” in the title and magically make it a zombie movie.