The Spanish zombie flick REC wasn’t actually a zombie movie per se, but in the way that any movie with a bunch of bitey buggers trying to eat the cast is considered a zombie movie, it sort of qualifies. And like any good zombie movie, you have to either let the zombie be the elephant in the room, or you take the time to explain them. While the biters in REC and its sequel REC 2 (on DVD now, go look!) are the result of a deadly infection, there are apparently just a buttload of ways to make a zombie. And hey, when you’re done this, check out more of our Action Unleashed stuff.
28 Days Later – The Rage Virus
Before this movie, most of us would have assumed English zombies would be the sorts of monsters that wear trousers and limp along slowly, possible with finely crafted walking sticks and monocles. When they eat someone they’d go for a hand, eat half of it and leave the rest on a saucer.
As it happens, British zombie sin 28 days Later, and it’s temporal sequel 28 Weeks Later, are juicepigs at their finest, just a bunch of angry soccer hooligans out to rip your face off and not even tidy up afterwards. The reason? Rage Virus!
Because filmmakers always assume science is out to destroy us all, the Rage Virus is the result of researchers trying to create an anger-management treatment. Oh man, irony! The result, of course, was everyone eating everyone else. Except for the infected, because infected people never eat each other. Don’t ask why.
Return of the Living Dead – Trioxin Gas
The Return franchise takes its inspiration from the Romero movies (which you’ll notice we left off the list as Romero never really explains where the zombies came from in his films and don’t you dare tell me that meteor story) but then goes completely insane with it. A chemical called Trioxin causes zombification in these films, with the problem being you can get bit by a zombie or just inhale the gas to become infected. It turns the living to zombies and the dead, no matter how long they’ve been dead, and they’re pretty much unstoppable; none of this “destroy the brain” crap here. Oh, and they also crack jokes sometimes.
Resident Evil – T Virus
Any movie based on a video game has to be good, please refer to the mountain of Uwe Boll evidence to support this. The resident Evil franchise, inspired by the popular Capcom game, once again makes science the patsy. But unlike 28 Days Later with an accidental virus mutation, the T Virus in RE was made by an organization that literally couldn’t make less sense if it was run by monkey clowns. The Umbrella Corporation, the “we want you to believe their sinister and Machiavellian” company behind the zombies, suffers a total lack of logic and motive. However, they do keep genetically tinkering with people, birds, dogs and assorted other things to make undead monsters, so that’s fun.
Braindead (Dead Alive) – Sumatran Rat-Monkey
Before Lord of he Rings, this is the film Peter Jackson was famous for, a ridiculous zombie movie so full of gore it’s up to people’s ankles in some scenes. It also features a kung-fu priest and a guy who kills people en masse with a lawn mower. In short, it’s awesome. But all these Aussie zombies didn’t just drop out of the sky and, Jackson being the filmmaker that he is, they couldn’t very well have a mundane non-explanation. So, as you might expect, the zombies here can trace their terrible origins back to the bite of a Sumatran Rat-Monkey, what is arguably the greatest source of a zombie plague ever, and not just because it was such a killer special effect.
Night of the Creeps – Alien Parasites
Under appreciated 80’s horror flick Night of the Creeps (if you can’t find it, watch Slither, it’s kind of the same) was ahead of its time in trying to find a hilarious cause for a zombie plague that didn’t involve science gone awry. In this case, it’s alien slugs. Man, alien slugs never do anything good. And technically the alien slugs were an alien science experiment gone awry, it’s still alien, so it’s different than other zombie plagues. Plus the slugs resurrect dogs and cats and not enough zombie movies take the time to include zombified pets.
Lifeforce – Space Vampires
Tobe Hooper and Dan O’Bannon put this movie together, so it has an intense horror pedigree (they would be the men behind Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Return of the Living dead, respectively), even though no one seems to have seen it or liked it. It also stars Captain Picard! And despite the fact the movie is about space vampires and is kind of cheesy in that way, the dirty alien buggers also suck the life force (hence the clever name) out of people and turn them into life force-sucking zombies who go around and harvest more life force from other people for the benefit of the dirty space vampires. It’s a vicious circle.