Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007)
Synopsis: Over the course of five films, including the groundbreaking first installment, George A. Romero used zombies as a device for installing terror and making a political statement on issues from race to government to technology. Each film generally follows the premise of people being trapped by the living dead and often turning against themselves. Threatened from within and without, the human play is enacted on a small and bloody stage.
Killer Scene: In the original Night of the Living Dead, a group of zombies graphically feed on a body, tearing bits and pieces off and removing, then consuming, the bowels.
Violence: Despite their age, the films still have shocking examples of violence, gore, and brutality spread throughout the series. There are dozens of gunshots, scientific experiments, bites, decapitations, and virtually every imaginable way of destroying a head.
Sex: Not known for their sex appeal or depictions of nudity, there are still the occassional glimpses of a zombie breast or a nude woman exposing a buttcheek here and there. Your pants won’t tighten during these films, but you still might steal a glance.
Scares: Zombies abruptly pop out of nowhere, but the films focused more on the poignancy of human relations when the world collapsed around them rather than making you pee your pants. That said, some will be frightened by the bloody ghouls and their propensity for ravenously tearing their prey apart.
Final Thoughts: No discussion of horror or zombies is complete without mentioning George A. Romero and his films, though in the interest of getting as many individual titles and series on the list as we can, we’ve compressed all of Romero’s zombie work into one post. If you only watch one of these films, Night of the Living Dead is without a doubt Romero’s masterpiece. For great gore, the historical value of really introducing the Zombie to the world, and social commentary in an often ignored genre, the Living Dead flicks are appropriate every October.
What’s your favorite Romero zombie film?