as many of you (many meaning “the eight or nine people that were forced through extreme boredom to read my internet postings”) might know, both myself and my Irish sidekick are often found to be watching zombie movies and not stockpiling guns in my bunker in case of a zombie outbreak or anything like THAT. at times like the former, one question that comes up is “is this what we’re doing with our lives?” but a more upbeat discussion prompted by the same films would go along the lines of “so what’s the most awesome individual zombie in these films?” a worthy challenge. good thing i have this list right here drawn up in case any of you internet kids needs to borrow it for your own debates!
13: “Big Daddy” (Eugene Clark) from Land of the Dead (2005)
to be frank with you, while i am willing to go to bat for Land Of The Dead (which in my opinion gets more flack for not being as good as people wanted it to be than actually being a poor movie), i must admit that the main reason for including Big Daddy on this list is that his name is, you know, Big Daddy. it’s just so Ricky Ricardo ridiculous! i even forgive the fact that he packs a Steyr AUG, though Law & Order wants me to believe America is flooded with them. UNDEAD America, they must mean.
12: “Cemetery Ghoul” (Bill Heinzman) from Night of the Living Dead (1968)
i admit that i feel obligated to put an original NotLD zombie on this list, but here’s why Cemetery Ghoul deserves it: he’s completely inconsistent with the way zombies are supposed to work; not just in cinema, but in this film itself, the very same film that kicked off this whole “zombie canon” thing that has people getting pissy about whether or not 28 Days Later is a zombie movie over (it is). awesome.
11. “Infected Priest” (Toby Sedgwick) from 28 Days Later (2002)
speaking of my insistence on 28 Days Later being a zombie movie, this is a great non-cheating zombie attack in a nice creepy scene early in the film before everyone starts debating the ending of said film. plus, his little dance-spasm is cooler than the rip-and-run antics of the standard ZOMBIES in this ZOMBIE movie that features lots of ZOMBIES.
10: “Bloated Woman” (Ermes Blasarin) from Dawn of the Dead (2004)
seriously, she/he is the grossest zombie i have ever seen on film in my entire life. that has GOT to count for something. (the runner-up is “Fat Zombie” (Captain Haggerty) from Zombi 2.) not to mention the fact that i think Ermes Blasarin is a) an awesome name and b) the name of a man in a fat girl suit in this film.
09: “that machete zombie” (???) from Zombi 3 (1988)
now, you might not know this, and it’s a real shame when you consider how awesome Zombi 2 was, but Zombi 3 is a severe train wreck of a film: they replaced the director midway through the film, the effects are lame, there’s a flying zombie head, and, my favorite, zombies that attack out of some hay on the ground that was NOT THERE in the same location in a shot about 13 seconds earlier. but forget all that, because early in the film there’s this completely over-the-top zombie that goes apeshit with a machete as he attacks Replaceable Actress, Blonde Version or whoever it was. and i mean ATTACKS, because i have every reason to believe that on a film this crappy and with a machete attack that fierce that the cinematic “victim” had every reason to believe they WERE about to get carved up.
08: “Bub the Zombie” (Sherman Howard) from Day of the Dead (1985)
Bub is sort of a thinking man’s excellent zombie – he’s stated to be the most awesome zombie in the film, yet never does any of the standard gross-out murder-and-devouring fests that flashier zombies are into (or, at least, that’s not “the thing that he does in this movie”). however, note this: not only is he super-smart (for a zombie), but he ALSO seeks revenge using the power of a .45, which happen to fire compressed American flags into their righteous victims. i rest my case.
07: “Zombie with M-16 rifle” (Jay Stover) from Dawn of the Dead (1978)
it’s possible that this is not his actual “name,” because i’m sort of guessing while looking at the credits on iMDB, but we all know who i’m talking about: that green-faced guy that’s wandering around holding guns that have been shoved into his hands late in the movie. how the hell does he manage to climb ladders and steps while doing that? he does it by being AWESOME.
06: “Crazy Yakuza with Amulet” (Minoru Matsumoto) from Versus (2000)
the name seems misleading and, to be honest, i’m STILL not sure what’s going on in this movie. but what i believe to be the case is that the aformentioned role is the guy who gets zombified and goes out of his damn MIND after- well, no, okay, he’s always crazy. but later in the film, he becomes a crazy zombie. and when i say “crazy,” i mean “more crazy than words can say.”
05: “Worm-Eyed Zombie” (Ottaviano Dell’Acqua) from Zombi 2 (1979)
two reasons. first, very cool and worm-eyed makeup on this zombie. it’s fantastic. but second, here’s the thing: when i was a child and my parents took me to the local video store (which is now out of business), there were two movies that i wanted to see based on visual advertising – Wizards (because of its excellent cover art) and Zombie (which is what we call Zombi 2 in the states). why the later? because of a massive poster behind the counter with the worm-eyed zombie and the declaration, in massive letters, of “WE ARE GOING TO EAT YOU!” you have no idea how happy i was to see that printed on the back of the case when i bought the DVD for the SECOND time. oh, i love you so much, worm-eyed zombie!
03-04 (tie): “Radio Corpse #1” (John Durbin) and “Radio Corpse #2” (David Bond) from the Return of the Living Dead (1985)
again, slight guess at the roles here, but this is the definition of a tie – who can choose between “send more paramedics?” and “send more cops?” i admit, there are a lot of crazy-ass (and thus awesome) zombies from this film getting slighted – “Tarman” and, uh, “Yellow Cadaver,” maybe – but these are the best lines in the film. it’s sort of all downhill from them, except, you know, for the part between them when it levels off.
02: any SS zombie from Shock Waves (1976)
because every zombie in Shock Waves is credited as “Zombie” and, frankly, this is less about any individual zombie in that film kicking ass than it is about the fact that nothing says “ridiculous good time” like a movie where the villain has a strike team of Nazi zombies for those occasions when, you know, you start to feel BAD about killing the living dead who don’t have a strong position on National Socialism.
01: “that zombie that fights a shark” (???) from Zombi 2 (1979)
alas, the greatest zombie of them all can’t really be identified by the credits (i have this theory that a few guys played a LOT of zombies between them in that classic film), and that is a shame, because this is THE greatest zombie scene of all time – in which a zombie fights a shark underwater and, really, it’s in the film for almost no reason. if you’ve seen it, it needs no description (girl is swimming half-naked underwater, shark comes out of nowhere, ZOMBIE comes out of nowhere and, uh, fights the shark) and if you haven’t, get your ass to Netflix or Blockbuster or whatever. A ZOMBIE FIGHTS A SHARK UNDERWATER. i mean, just look at that picture!