The gore, the location, the characters, there are a ton of factors that make a zombie movie really great. Over the years, some truly spectacular zombie movies have appeared on the big screen, though not all of them are created equal. Some might be great due to the human story at the center of it, while others excel in the makeup department, featuring some truly terrifying iterations of the undead.
Whether you’re disgusted or infatuated with the resurrection of the dead, there have been some hugely memorable scenes over the years featuring the undead and those desperate to live as long as they can against impossible odds. Zombies swarming like ants, perfectly chosen music, and welcome comic relief all contributed to some of the greatest scenes in zombie movie history.
ten Zombieland – Opening Credits
Easily one of the best zombie movies in years, zombieland Perfectly combines comedy, gore, and classic zombie movie tropes for a wild and memorable experience. While there are tons of iconic scenes in this movie, like Bill Murray’s hilarious and sad prank scene, the opening credits scene stands out among the rest. With crazy blood, hilariously gross zombies and Metallicas’ “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, the opening credits set the stage for a wild and bloody ride.
9 Train to Busan – Infected on the train
One of the few foreign-language films to achieve mainstream success in the United States, anyone who’s seen the Korean zombie thriller can easily see why. With a new approach to the genre, Train to Busan is probably the best zombie movie in over a decade. High-speed and claustrophobic, the whole movie really feels like a bullet train that you can’t get off of, even if you wanted to.
Unlike many films of the genre, Train to Busan starts off relatively slow, building up human relationships and issues before the undead start showing up. When the first infected arrives on the train, things go from bad to worse in a hurry.
8 28 Weeks Later – The Opening Escape
Although 28 Weeks Later is considered by many fans to be far weaker than its predecessor, the opening scene is still one of the best the genre has ever seen. When infected he arrives at a rural farm, a desperate father tries his best to save his wife and child before abandoning them when it’s too late and trying to save himself. The panic on the man’s face is multiplied by the close-up camera angles, and the slowly rising score only adds to the drama as he races desperately through the countryside, followed by a horde of living dead.
seven Dawn of the Dead (2004) – The Sharpshooter Game
One of the most important things when making a zombie movie is to humanize those who are still alive. Zack Snyders dawn of the dead remake does just that as the characters argue and find ways to entertain themselves in a mall surrounded by thousands of zombies. Rather than shopping, the characters choose to go to the rooftop and tell the owner of the gun shop across the street which zombies to shoot his gun. With names like Jay Leno and Burt Reynolds written on the whiteboard, the scene is both morbid and hilarious.
6 Shaun of the Dead – Don’t Stop Me Now
Edgar Wright is no stranger to syncing music with intense scenes on screen. With movies like baby driver and Scott Pilgrim vs the World, to his credit, one of his most memorable scenes comes from the comedy Zombie Shaun of the dead. After turning on the power and luring hundreds of undead to the pub they’ve taken refuge in, the survivors embark on a hilarious synchronized zombie attack to the tune of Queens’ “Don’t Stop Me Now.” , creating one of the funniest scenes in a movie full of them.
5 Night of the Living Dead – They’re coming for you, Barbara!
The quintessential zombie movie that changed the horror genre forever, 1968 by George Romeros night of the living dead, has managed to stand the test of time in the horror genre. Popularizing the zombie genre itself, the film is full of memorable scenes and storylines that are still referenced in many horror and zombie movies today.
The film also delivered one of the most iconic lines in horror movie history. With Johnny mocking the temperamental Barbara, the line’s irony is fully realized soon after as things take a turn for the worse. “They’re coming for you, Barbara!”
4 World War Z – Jerusalem
Despite mixed reviews upon release, World War Z had several of the most memorable and impressive scenes in any zombie movie. Although the film begins with a terrifying escape from Philadelphia, it’s a later scene that stands out among the rest. As the main characters search for Patient Zero in a desperate attempt to understand the virus, they find themselves in Jerusalem where things haven’t completely gotten out of hand.
However, the singing and the microphone’s feedback cause the zombies to attempt to scale the wall that protects the survivors. The scene is understandably terrifying as the undead clamber over each other like insects, pouring down atop a 100ft wall and destroying everyone in their path.
3 Army of the Dead – Zombie Tiger
Zack Snyder’s first installment in a Zombie franchise proposal was bonkers, to say the least. An impending nuclear bomb, alpha zombies, a zombie horse, and a casino heist are just a few of the elements that add to the tension in the film. However, by far the most memorable scene involves an undead tiger roaming the Las Vegas strip looking for survivors. After stabbing the rest of the survivors in the back, Martin doesn’t make it far before being torn apart by the zombie tiger.
2 Dawn of the Dead (1979) – The Biker Finale
The original film from the 2004 remake largely follows the same plot. A group of survivors take refuge in a shopping center in order to protect themselves from the mobs of undead who try to eat them. Rather than a daring escape finale, the 1978 version sees a biker gang attempting to take over the mall so they can use it for their own protection. The result is an agonizing gunfight between bikers and early survivors, as the threat of the undead looms in the background.
1 28 Days Later – Empty London
A film that helped revitalize the genre and reimagine what is possible in independent cinema, 28 days later is still a favorite among horror fans today. After waking up in a hospital after a biking accident put him in a coma, Jim wanders the streets of abandoned London while trying to figure out what happened in the past month. The score slowly rises as he begins to realize that something is seriously wrong until he wanders into a church full of corpses who are just starting to wake up.
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