Movies and zombies. The two in my mind have gone hand in hand since I was a teenager. My friends and I would watch them, dissect them, turn them every which way as we debated their merits and explored the feasibility of the agency the filmmakers used to begin the zombie apocalypse. And now, after I’ve written my first zombie novel, “The Zombie Axiom,” the question of which movies are my favorites comes up with a startling regularity. So to satisfy the curious, I’ve decided to provide a list of my top ten, ranked from my least favorite to my most favorite. And for good measure, since I am not a serious movie reviewer, I’ve thrown in some memorable moments that I recall when I saw some of them.
They are… drum roll please…
10- Planet Terror
I first watched this movie with my wife on our Friday “movie night.” We walked to the movie rental store downtown, picked up the flick and gave it a view. From what I recall, she was reluctant to rent it, and not impressed when it was done. I, on the other hand, enjoyed its headlong dive into the genre. Directed by Robert Rodriquez, it is by far one of the least serious, action packed, engagingly over the top zombie movie on the list. But it was so over the top, it was fun.
9- Dead Snow
Dead Snow. The night I watched this with my buddy, Kevin, my dog threw up all over the living room rug. Unfortunately, that’s the thing I first think of when this film comes to mind. That, however, has nothing to do with how much I liked the movie! It was pretty decent from what I recall. There were some tongue in cheek references to other horror flicks, plenty of blood, a chainsaw, and Nazi zombies! How could that not make for an enjoyable night (aside from cleaning up dog vomit, that is)?
8- Day of the Dead
Just watched this again last month! I think the last time I had seen it was when I was a teenager in college. Ah… college… Ahem. Anyway, this movie is so good. Captain Rhodes, that nutty whack-job, is my favorite. In each scene he was in, I found myself waiting for his reaction to whatever was going on. But the whole movie was cool; an underground bunker, running around in caves full of zombies, gunning them down- what more could you want from a zombie flick from the 80’s?
Okay, for the next four movie choices it gets to be rather difficult for me to put them into a numbered list because I like all of them fairly equally. Take Zombieland, is it better than Shaun of the Dead? That’s a tough call. I mean, Zombieland has got Bill-frickin-Murray in it! I remember watching this movie at night, lights off in the living room, and being totally sucked into the idea of Woody Harrelson craving Twinkies. Awesome.
6- World War Z
So, I know I’m gonna catch it for having World War Z all the way at number six. I can’t help it though, I just like the others so much more. I went to see this flick with my wife and a few friends (one of only two of these films that I saw in the theater! Weird but true) and a good time was had by all! Especially afterward, you know; when the quaffing of various strong beverages occurs along with a spirited discussion of the movie- which is actually one of my favorite things to do. I should go see more movies in the theater. Seriously, though, this was a decent film. The first fifteen minutes is epic!
5- Shaun of the Dead
Right up front- this is one of my favorite spoof films of all time. Maybe that’s because I don’t watch many, or maybe it’s because I enjoy zombie films and bars and think that putting the two together is classic. I don’t know. Either way, this movie is a ton of laughs and is very entertaining. The “Kill Phil” conversation is one of the most hilarious discussions in a zombie film ever. If you can’t recall it, watch it again, you’ll see what I mean.
4- 28 Days Later
Once I got past the idea that the zombies in this film were not actually dead, but just sick people, I had a great time! I think knowing that they were sick people was actually better than trying to figure out the logistics of how a virus could be capable of animating dead flesh and make it walk around. Seriously, that is what I do, I think about things like that even when I’m watching a movie. It is annoying to my wife. That being said, I loved the commitment to the cause of the apocalypse. One drop, just one drop of blood or saliva, and wham! You’re one of the horde with only 28 days to “live” before starvation kills you off. If you’re going to do a virus-caused zombie apocalypse, that is the way to go!
3- Dawn of the Dead (1978)
We’re at the top three! As you may have guessed, George Romero films make up the majority of these- that means two of the three, in case you are as bad at math as I am. This one is a classic, of course. It is the sequel to Night of the Living Dead, and I’m pretty sure I watched it with my friend, Kevin, (yes, the same guy who watched Dead Snow with me and laughed as I cleaned up dog vomit) when we were in high school. I think we were at his house. No, I know we were at his house. The movie is R rated, and since my parents didn’t let me watch R rated movies until I was seventeen, I would head to Kevin’s house and we would watch R rated movies all day without telling them. The typical rebellious teenager. As I recall, I was totally sucked into this film. I’ll never forget the purge of the mall by the survivors, the rampaging biker scenes, and the “shopping” zombies. All great stuff.
2- Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Remember when I wrote that I’d catch flack for putting World War Z at number six? I will probably catch just as much for putting the remake of Dawn of the Dead before the original. I don’t care, fire the canons! This is my list, right? My reasoning behind this is purely mood. I think they are both excellent zombie films, the difference is that the remake turned me on to the idea of fast-moving zombies. I know, I know, 28 Days Later did it first, but as I wrote earlier, those critters seemed more like sick people and not true undead.
Dawn of the Dead (2004) turned that on its head. It creeped me out! And I wasn’t the only one. I went to see this in the theater with a few friends and I distinctly remember the guy in front of me squealing and saying, “Get out! Get outta there!”
1- Night of the Living Dead
Here we are! Number one! There is no possible way that this zombie film couldn’t be number one. It’s the first zombie movie I saw and it made a lasting impression- black and white images scrolling along, telling their story of stumbling undead terrorizing survivors in a remote farmhouse, the room I was sitting in made drowsy by afternoon sunlight, an armchair that smelled of cigars, and years and years ahead of me to watch zombie movies. When the movie was done, I was hooked.
And that’s it! Thanks for sticking it out till the end. I hope you had as much fun reading this as I had writing it.
The Eternal Undead
In the Time of the Dead
Genre: Horror, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Severed Press
Date of Publication: October 1, 2015
Number of pages: 280
Word Count: 100,579
Cover Artist: David Monette
They thought they had escaped.
The battle for Washington DC is behind them, and the last remnants of the human race have fled from their undead enemies to a remote Caribbean island where they try to salvage what is left of humanity. But even here, the zombies have come. Led by the architect of the holocaust, an invading army wreaks havoc trying to acquire the one thing that can stop them, and the one thing a small contingent of soldiers knows they must never get.
Join with Sasha, Terrance, Virgil, and the little girl, Max, in an all or nothing gamble as they fight down the road to either salvation or horrible defeat in the thrilling conclusion of this series.
Available at Amazon
As the day slipped away far off to the west, the darkness of the jungle became a living thing. Knit together by the slow creep of lengthening shadows, it grew by degrees into a massive being, shapeless and black. For nourishment it ate the weak or the unlucky. In return it exhaled moist heat and a cavalcade of sound, the sound of thousands of separate voices, large and small, all coming together to meet the ear in a constant sheet of noise. Those who were responsible for the making of this chaotic ballad were invisible to the naked eye of man. This was so not just because of the darkness, but because most of the performers—the frogs, birds, and insects—were hidden within the surrounding vegetation, frightened of being killed by their neighbors, either eaten, or as was the case with the troop of humans quietly slipping along a trail, flattened under a boot.
For one of the six members of this troop of humans, such an act would have been celebrated with a certain degree of relish. Terrance hated the sound of the jungle at night. There were not many things in his life that he gave away for free, but in his hatred he was quite generous. He hated the bleats, the croaks and hoots, and he hated the creatures that made the noise. He hated the darkness and the fact that he had to wear a pair of thermal goggles to plumb its depths. He hated the heat, and the plants, and the bugs. He hated the head-to-toe leather suit he wore… and most of all he hated the reason he had to wear the suit, the reason he was out in the jungle at night in the first place. He hated the zombies. Or more accurately, he feared the zombies and he hated them for that fear.
His terror of these beasts was not unfounded. Since the first day of the apocalypse when a host of diabolical necromancers eradicated most of the human population on earth and then raised the dead as zombies, the resulting creatures could, with a single bite, turn any living person into one of them. Terrance had seen it done before. It was not pretty. The resilient leather he wore formed a fairly reliable barrier between a bite and death, so day or night, no matter how hot it was, whenever he or anyone else left the barricades surrounding the city of St George’s on a patrol, they wore the protective clothing. The safety it provided far outweighed the bladders of water they needed to carry or the periodic “cool downs” they had to perform while nestled in the boughs of a tree.
Either way, Terrance hated it all.
In fact, he was so busy nursing his various hatreds that he barely noticed when Danger, the woman on point, suddenly raised her fist head-high and froze.
The fire team immediately came to a stop.
Terrance’s finger slipped from outside the trigger guard of his MP5SD sub-machinegun to curl around the curve of the trigger. The contact made him feel safer, more in control.
Around the task force the sound of the jungle withered and slowly died.
The point person opened her fist, laid the flat palm parallel to the ground, and took a knee.
Seeing this, Lieutenant Burgis, the officer in command, looked back and motioned those behind to follow suit.
They crouched and in the dark waited.
There was something out there.
About the Author:
David Monette was born and raised in the cold rural hinterlands of upstate New York. As a typical kid in a typical community, life for him was pretty... typical. He liked to draw creatures and contraptions but as the second born of four sons, such ability was merely a convenient way of standing out from the crowd. As he inexpertly stumbled through high school, his talent for capturing the images in his head onto paper was noticed and encouraged by both teachers and family members.
Without any other idea of what to do with himself after graduation, besides a vague idea of doing something art oriented, he decided to attend Mohawk Valley Community College where he received his associate's degree in Advertising Design and Production. Acting on excellent advice from his teachers at this institution, he went on to Syracuse University where he learned a great deal about art and eventually wound up with a bachelor's degree in Illustration.
With a disturbingly large amount of student debt and a decent portfolio, he learned what it was to be a starving artist. Namely, he found that artists don't starve; they simply pick up an endless series of part time work to pay the rent while continuing to plug away at their true passion. This was essentially what he did until he received his first illustration job and from that point on, he didn't look back. As an illustrator, his highly detailed fantasy and science fiction work has appeared in many books, magazines, board games, and collectible card games for such varied publishers as Dell Publishing, Wizards of the Coast, and Atlas Games. Initially, he had completed these diverse projects utilizing oil and acrylic paints as well as pen and inks.
As digital technology continued to improve, however, he decided it was time to tackle the arduous task of mastering the computer and eventually figured out a way to adapt his style to a digital format. With this knowledge and experience, he went back to school and received his master's degree in Illustration from the University of Hartford. While there, his instructors reviewed his written work and had strongly suggested that he combine his writing ability with his talent as an illustrator to chart his own path.
And hence, an author was born.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/davidmonetteauthor
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7334521.David_Monette
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/David-Monette/e/B00FMX73DM