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60 best zombie movies of all time

  • 60 best zombie movies of all time

    Ever wonder why we are fascinated with zombie movies, where crowds of flesh-eating corpses come back to haunt the living? According to Stanford literary scholar Angela Becerra Vidergar, the idea that we as people can survive seemingly bleak situations against all odds is an appealing one.

    “Even if as a society we have lost a lot of our belief in a positive future and instead have more of an idea of a disaster to come, we still think that we are survivors, we still want to believe that we would survive,” she says.

    Of course, cultural fascination with the undead has existed long before “The Walking Dead” terrified audiences every Sunday. The first feature-length zombie film, “White Zombie,” was released back in 1932. While it popularized the idea of Haitian voodoo zombies, it was George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” franchise (which began in 1968) that truly popularized the modern concept of the flesh-eating undead.

    More recently, movies like “Train to Busan” and “ParaNorman” have adapted the concept for a 21st-century audience, adding contemporary action sequences and cutting-edge animation to the mix. Many more zombie films, while maligned for their gory content, have gone on to become cult classics appreciated in the years after their release.

    Stacker compiled horror film data from the horror-centric website They Shoot Zombies, Don’t They?, which has weighed and aggregated rankings from over 2,900 editorial lists to create the most definitive ranking of horror movies. Going from there, Stacker ranked the top 60 zombie movies on the list as of May 2020. Nearly 7,900 films were considered in total, with IMDb user ratings and Metascores from Metacritic presented here for critical and popular context.

    Here are the best zombie movies of all time, starting at #60 and counting down to #1.

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  • #60. The Children (1980)

    - Director: Max Kalmanowicz
    - IMDb user rating: 6.0
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 93 minutes
    - Country: Canada

    As “The Children” begins, a busload of school children drives into a cloud of nuclear waste and turns them into zombies. It’s up to the town’s adults to stop them, in a plot that pays obvious homage to George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead.”

  • #59. Sole Survivor (1984)

    - Director: Thom Eberhardt
    - IMDb user rating: 6.1
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 85 minutes
    - Country: US

    “Sole Survivor” follows Denise (Anita Skinner), who is wracked with guilt after becoming the only survivor of a massive plane crash. She’s soon haunted by zombie-like people, but even as people around her begin dying, no one believes her story.

  • #58. Nightmare City (1980)

    - Director: Umberto Lenzi
    - IMDb user rating: 5.7
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 92 minutes
    - Country: Italy

    In “Nightmare City,” a television reporter comes across an Italian city that has become overrun by blood-thirsty zombies because an airplane exposed to radiation landed there. Because of the nature of how the zombie epidemic started, the film contains clear anti-nuclear warfare themes.

  • #57. Wild Zero (1999)

    - Director: Tetsuro Takeuchi
    - IMDb user rating: 6.4
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 98 minutes
    - Country: Japan

    This Japanese horror comedy stars Masashi Endō, a young man who is thrilled when he meets his favorite band. However, his loyalty is tested when he finds himself in the midst of a zombie outbreak with them. “Wild Zero” features members of Thailand’s military and their families as members of the undead.

  • #56. Mulberry Street (2006)

    - Director: Jim Mickle
    - IMDb user rating: 5.5
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 84 minutes
    - Country: US

    In “Mulberry Street,” a deadly Manhattan virus begins turning people into homicidal rat creatures. As the outbreak occurs, six evicted tenants must band together to survive the night and protect their building from the creatures. Mickle has said that the film is meant to emphasize themes of gentrification.

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  • #55. The Grapes of Death (1978)

    - Director: Jean Rollin
    - IMDb user rating: 6.2
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 85 minutes
    - Country: France

    “The Grapes of Death” stars Marie-Georges Pascal as Élizabeth, a young woman who discovers that wine made from contaminated grapes is turning the people who drink it into zombies. One difference from other movies in the subgenre is that these zombies sometimes return to consciousness and become aware of the terrible things they’re doing.

  • #54. Return of the Evil Dead (1973)

    - Director: Amando de Ossorio
    - IMDb user rating: 5.9
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 91 minutes
    - Country: Spain

    A direct sequel to 1972’s “Tombs of the Blind Dead,” this film focuses on a group of survivors who take refuge in an abandoned Madrid cathedral. In Ossorio’s zombie franchise, the undead are blind and hunt victims through sound.

  • #53. ParaNorman (2012)

    - Directors: Chris Butler, Sam Fell
    - IMDb user rating: 7.0
    - Metascore: 72
    - Runtime: 92 minutes
    - Country: US

    “Paranorman” protagonist Norman befriends the ghosts and zombies that he’s able to speak to, but when a witch’s curse raises bloodthirsty zombies from their graves, he’s the only person who can stop them. The film was the first stop-motion movie that used a 3D color printer to create character faces.

  • #52. Quarantine (2008)

    - Director: John Erick Dowdle
    - IMDb user rating: 5.9
    - Metascore: 53
    - Runtime: 89 minutes
    - Country: US

    As “Quarantine” begins, a TV reporter (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman (Steve Harris) are filming a story about night-shift firefighters. However, they’re soon trapped inside a building quarantined by the CDC when a virus begins turning people into zombies.

  • #51. Diary of the Dead (2007)

    - Director: George A. Romero
    - IMDb user rating: 5.6
    - Metascore: 66
    - Runtime: 95 minutes
    - Country: US

    In the fifth installment of Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” franchise, several young film students are shooting their own horror movie when a zombie outbreak occurs. Soon, they’re picked off one by one as they travel to their friend’s isolated mansion in search of safety.

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