The Best Zombie Films & TV Of All-Time

The revitalization of the dead & our personal/societal demons as well as metaphor for sexual liberation & equality, zombies have folklore roots dating back to ancient Haiti – but were almost entirely defined how we know them today by the power of cinema. CLC’s Rank.

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CLC’s Official Best Zombie Films & TV Of All-Time Ranking

1. Night of The Living Dead (1968)

A revolutionary idea that shocked audiences and changed the history of cinema taking cues from Frankenstein to reanimate dead corpses with a more insidious and bloodthirsty agenda, Romero’s NOTLD is a tightly-edited, realistically-gory, scary, politically-sly, trope-establishing icon of genre history – that established one of American horror’s greatest legacies: zombies. 9.6/10.

2. 28 Days Later (2002)

‘What if there was a zombie movie that was actually.. good, intellectual cinema?’ Academy Award-winner Danny Boyle set out to answer that herculean call in the early-2000’s with jolting viscerality, bludgeoning ~realism, and slicing political allegory; a post-apocalyptica tour-de-force that’s as ghastly in 28-day societal-collapse and complex in social-commentary as it is unforgettable in the complete devolution of social order – with a haunting empty-London streets backdrop & zombies that don’t walk.. they RUN after you. Adjusted ~9.4/10.

3. The Evil Dead (1982)

While the classification of the Deadites is subject to intense debate by genre-fanatics, they are reanimated corpses and fit the description of zombies, especially in the folklore designation. Aggressively disturbing as a cult/splatter genre piece stoking paranoia in thrilling fog-set low-budget indie ways, The Evil Dead is a striking exposition of talent-over-resources with starmaking macabre by Raimi & Bruce Cambell’s Ash. 9.3/10.

4. Train To Busan (2015)

A South-Korean firecracker of zombie brilliance loaded with palpable social commentary on traditional Asian themes of hyper-cleanliness and order twisted into a heavy metal ballad of velocity and carnage, Train To Busan is a high-octane ride of pathos, prolific characterization / screenwriting, impossible cinematography stunts staging its pulse-rattling action sequences in a finite cabin space, some of the scariest zombies the genre’s ever seen, and breathtaking performances. Perhaps the best and most-complete zombie film EVER – a statement on the pure talent of the international film community taking America’s most sacred pop culture phenomenon and ~outdoing us.. on the their first attempt in the genre. Adjusted ~9/10.

5. The Walking Dead (2010)

One of the biggest & boldest modern TV series, TWD revolutionized and redefined the zombie subgenre while skyrocketing it to new heights – with just as much humanity & sociology exposition as blood-splattered carnage, emotional resonance, iconic characters/performances led by a role-of-a-lifetime by Andrew Lincoln, & palpable post-apocalyptic storytelling that changed the cinematic industry by proof-of-concepting/trend-setting a new filming capital: Atlanta, GA. For the biggest zombie franchise by far, its actual zombies aren’t as nightmarish as many others – and it does self-indulge for way too many seasons its premise can’t support. Nonetheless, one of most complete, immersive, best production-value horror TV series. 8.8/10.

6. [REC]/Quarantine (2007)

A *wild* found-footage outbreak filmed from patient-zero in real time, [REC] & Quarantine (being the same film in Spanish/American motifs, the U.S. Quarantine being superior in ~every aspect from cast to production value to setting to pace/excitement while ditching [REC]’s problematic racist/xenophobic rhetoric and tonally-incongruent comedy) have delivered one of the most pulse-rattling, creative, crescendoing visceral jolts of limewire electricity the modern pandemic genre and biological sci-fi/horror has witnessed. Found-footage’s new Queen. 8.5/10.

7. Dawn Of The Dead (1978)

Overall, Dawn Of The Dead is a groundbreaking part of zombie and movie history. Romero & co. take NOTLD’s antecedent subgenre-creation and further define the rules – sculpting the mastercraft that would eventually become one of the biggest brands of blockbusters by viral tangibility, apocalyptic exposition, and strong genre-blends of horror and comedy. The film has plenty of fun with its magnificently-set mall backdrop – a crux that supplies entertainment value in home-alone fashion with total freedom in a capitalist’s haven, a stage for blockbuster scale-upping by bringing droves of zombies into the city environment, and clever consumerism cogitation drawing clear, unmistakable parallels between the brainless-undead and routine daily life of shopping in these graveyards of money & materialism. The score is wildly-diverse playing up the horror when it needs to, action when it needs to, and comedic themes when it needs to, action thrilling, make-up/VFX next-level (the zombies are still some of the best-looking to-date), and gore everywhere enough to satisfy the ravenous lunatic fanatics of this new frontier of genre filmmaking. The characterization is by far the worst part – one great character in Ken Foree’s masculine proto-80’s badass Peter surrounded by idiots who waste bullets shooting at air, never learn to close the door, and take blood-pressure while surrounded by zombies. The zombies are also still too-slow; being able to evade/run through an entire crowd of them is simply not scary and creates an underwhelming subservience the genre (and 2004’s version) would later correct. Still, the film’s impact on zombies and movie history being the first major feature of consequence to combine one of history’s most successful genre-blends cannot be understated. A bold sequel with blockbuster aggrandization, clever racial/consumerism themes, classic ’80’s feel, proto-horror/comedy irreverence, and glorious gore in a fantastic city mall environment over rural farmhouses, DOTD further defined Romero’s groundbreaking concept – despite mixed characterization & too-slow zombies. 8.5/10.

8. Overlord (2018)

Starkly beautiful in technically-impressive camerawork with grungy vintage-filtered cinematography and bludgeoningly fast war-revisionist zombie thrills, J.J. Abrams’ WWII thriller is one of the best zombie films in years. The film truly feels like Call Of Duty: Black Ops/Zombies in-film-carnate – and will slap a goofy nostalgic grin on any fan of that, or the undead in general being, in CLC’s vote, the best product to come out of the subgenre since 28 Days Later. 8.2/10.

9. Ash Vs. Evil Dead (2014)

Unmistakable in horror/comedy blend with original series-authenticity, glorious 80’s-funk action, funny slapstick, and the magnetic return of Bruce Campbell’s Ash, despite sometimes-overindulgent penchant for goofiness & subpar CGI. Adjusted ~8.6/10.

10. Evil Dead II (1985)

Even more unsettling and madness-filled than the first, albeit with nonsensical opening & occasionally-goofy animatronics, ED II is still wild indie genre-blend zombie cult fare. 8.5/10.

11. Shaun Of The Dead (2004)

A pastiche of the zombie genre gloriously independent of franchise, SOTD proves a gifted screenwriting comedy team can find plenty of laughs in the apocalypse – shrewdly-spoofing the undead concept by drawing hilarious parallels between the horrors of 9-5 desk-jobs/routine & subject with a rootable team of (Pegg-led) British losers, expressive typography & satirical elegance by Wright, rom-com and genre-homages, and kinetic whip-panned camerawork. 8/10.

12. 28 Weeks Later (2007)

From its intimate-scale, offbeat experimental opening in the grassy hillsides of English cottages to pulse-rattling sniper-bulleted nightset action in downtown-London, 28WL weaves a hyper-addictive human tale of betrayal, regret, and zombies – cleverly breaking new ground in pilot project of what it looks like to rebuild a society AFTER apocalyptica with shockingly-inspired character performances by Hollywood veterans led by Jeremy Renner’s cool-hand masculine Doyle. Against all odds, a great sequel to Boyle’s original that doubles-down on the humanity and energy and might’ve even surpassed it if not for a generic, trigger-happy final act. 8/10.

13. I Am Legend (2007)

A post-apocalyptic thriller, viral outbreak parable, last-man-on-Earth adventure, and delicate humanity/man’s best friend-analysis, IAL is one of the most diverse end-of-the-world films – packed to the brim with heart, emotion, action, and curiosity about the condition of mankind. The elegant film underneath is betrayed by poor CGI amongst the worst the pandemic genre has ever seen and a vexatious ending that near-ruins the project, but it’s saved by a (legendary) Will Smith performance enunciative of one of the last true movie stars of this era. Adjusted ~7.6/10.

14. Fear The Walking Dead (2015)

Leaner, meaner, & dramatically more electrifying than its predecessor from its opening church-set horror scene, Fear-TWD delves right into its predecessor’s only major exclusion by painting the zombie apocalypse as it unfolds in the suburbs of L.A. Entertainment-value is thus boosted by a 10x factor, along with a massive CGI budget-fix of the subpar walker appearance of TWD and visceral, pulse-rattling riot/action scenes amongst the best on TV today. The problem is.. the characterization, screenwriting, performances, and, most of all: casting – weak and uninspired efforts in all outside its young Johnny Depp-ish Frank Dillan-lead and water-down of the original’s intellectual-ambition. Despite these flaws keeping it below TWD, Fear is one of the rare spinoffs that adds a completely new flavor & even often challenges its original. 7.6/10.

15. Army Of Darkness (1992)

Ridiculous in medieval setting and over-comedic, but undeniably intriguing as an indie horror/comedy cult/splatter/fantasy film seemingly abandoning all trilogy conventions while delivering funny gags & bold and different direction. 5.6/10.

16. World War Z (2010)

Brutally fast-paced with epic-scale zombie scenes, but cacophonous & as scattered as its chaotic subject matter, WWZ is an action movie with moments but not nearly ~enough backstory, development, or investable non-Brad Pitt characters. 3.7/10.