After 20 long years, filmmaker George A. Romero returns to the zombie genre that he helped define with Land of the Dead (see story, page 55). With that in mind, it seems like a good idea for a Film Festival of the Living Dead (not that you'd ever need an excuse to watch a zombie film). Here's a list of some films to check out (or avoid, as the case may be).
The Incredibly Strange Creatures that Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1963)-The title says it all. Unfortunately, the film doesn't live up to expectations.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)-Romero's all-time classic. If you've never seen it, you're hopeless. Call in sick to work tomorrow and watch the damn thing!
Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (1972)-From the directory who would go on to bring us A Christmas Story comes this tale of hippie filmmakers who foolishly use voodoo to create zombies for their movie.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)-Romero's follow-up to Night of the Living Dead, a gore-splattered satire and biting commentary of consumer culture.
Zombie (1980)-One of about 10 bazillion Italian rip-offs of Dawn of the Dead, Lucio Fulci's is the best (for whatever that's worth). My friend Doug loves it. I hate it.
Dead & Buried (1981)-A small-town sheriff is plagued with murder victims that won't stay dead. Entertaining in a schlocky sort of way.
Return of the Living Dead (1985)-Unofficial sequel to Night of the Living Dead finds punk rockers battling recently resurrected zombies with a hunger for brains. Skip the sequels.
Day of the Dead (1985)-Somber, bleak and gory as hell, Romero's third zombie film is a reflection of the ugly, oppressive Reagan era in which it was made.
Re-Animator (1986)-Fellas, watch the unrated version of this one with your wife or girlfriend. If she doesn't storm out of the room or break up with you afterwards, you've got a keeper on your hands.
Night of the Living Dead (1990)-Not as good as the original, this remake directed by Tom Savini, with a new script by Romero, is still pretty good.
Dead Alive (1993)-Before he made the Lord of the Rings films, Peter Jackson made this brilliant comedy with more spilled guts than you could imagine. Only watch the unrated version; if you watch the R-rated cut you're wasting your time.
28 Days Later (2003)-OK, they're not really zombies, but Danny Boyle's heart-pounding thriller basically combines Romero's three films into one intense horror film.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)-The blasphemous remake of Romero's classic. The only problem is the film kicks ass.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)-The best blend of horror and comedy since 1948's Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.