Zombieland hits UK screens this week via Sony Pictures Releasing, and to celebrate we look at the best ever Zombie deaths in the history of film.
Zombieland: The Clown
In Zombieland, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) reveals clowns as one of his biggest fears, even more so than Zombies. Little he knows that at some point along the way he’ll have to battle both in one go, with hilarious consequences, as shown in this clip from the film!
Dawn of the Dead: Head Explosion
This is the most famous zombie death in the entire film classic that is Dawn of the Dead (1978). Although banned in all forms in Britain, this tasty little death can be seen in the USA.
However, in this day and age where the internet is massive, this scene can be found all over the place and be easily viewed which is to say the least, very handy. As Wooley goes “ape-shit” in the Swat Team invasion of a housing tenement, he proceeds to knock down the door of one apartment and using his shotgun, blast the head off a zombie inside.
The head was originally a cast of Gaylen Ross’ (Fran) head which was to be used in the original double suicide ending which would be later scrapped. This fake head was then filled with all the necessary ingredients, and to make the whole effect the most realistic, the head was actually blasted apart with a real shotgun on set! Needless to say, this is a classic zombie death from the masterpiece that is George A. Romero’s finest triumph, Dawn of the Dead.
Day of the Dead: Y-Section Zombie
Now, from the sequel to Dawn of the Dead, comes Day of the Dead (1985). George A. Romero’s mini-epic was previously cut many times for budget purposes and so the story had to change significantly. But, with Tom Savini at hand to use his wizard-like skills to produce the special effects, not all was lost.
In this scene, Dr Logan proceeds to experiment on a zombie who has had all their guts disconnected. When Dr Logan is then giving Sarah the scientific mumbo-jumbo behind it all, the zombie behind him breaks loose of one of its restraints and lunges for Sarah from its lying down position, subsequently dropping its guts all over the floor in blood-letting fashion. Dr Logan then picks up his trusty drill and rams it through the zombie’s skull, blood spattering all across the zombie’s head. Marvelous.
Braindead: A Whole Hoard of Zombies
This is the most gore-filled film in all history. Peter Jackson’s 1992 gore-fest Braindead shows how comedy and gore are a terrific mix.
In this scene near the end of the film, Lionel must despatch of an entire hallway full of zombies. But with what? Well, the answer is simple. The good old lawn-mower! As he bursts into the room, the engine revving away, the zombies advance on him, but are too stupid and subsequently mangle their limbs and heads in the rotary blades. Several gallons of blood was used per second for this sequence, and by the end of it all, Lionel was left skidding about in a blood covered hallway as he wades through limbs and other body parts.
The Evil Dead: Linda
Although this scene was until recently, previously unseen due to heavy cuts throughout it in Britain due to the old days of the BBFC, it was fully restored for a new release that saw the light in 2001.
This scene from The Evil Dead (1982) shows that this is a true gore classic. Here, Ash fights his zombi-fied girlfriend, Linda by whacking her with a large piece of timber, wrestling with her and finally, chopping her head off with a spade as she comes flying towards him.
What is left after this battle is a severed, screaming head on the ground and a blood-gushing body that struggles with Ash, splattering him with blood! For the most part, this battle and ending to the scene was edited and cut-up badly, but now, in the more liberal times of the BBFC, the film was re-submitted and released in its full uncut glory!
28 Days Later: Pepsi Kill
A lot of hardcore horror fans weren’t happy to discover that the creatures in 28 Days Later (2002) moved incredibly quickly, rather than at the leisurely gait that the undead traditionally walk with. But scary movies need swift zombies — not ones that you can run circles around. And this is one hell of a scary movie.
In keeping with more contemporary fears, the zombie plague in 28 Days Later comes about as the result of some mismanaged genetic research. All of London turns undead, followed by the rest of the country and, presumably, the world. It’s up to a bike courier, Jim, and his small posse to sustain the human race and avoid the blood splatters that will turn them into frothing, flesh-hungry freaks. And trust me, there are a lot of blood splatters to dodge in this flick.
In one of the scenes, Jim smokes the zombie priest in the head with a bag full of Pepsi cans. How’s that for product placement?
Re-Animator: Bone Saw
Medical student Herbert West moves from Switzerland to America to continue his studies on reviving the dead human brain. His re-animator injection fluid seems to be pretty effective, but there are still a few violent side effects to be worked out. Suffice it to say, Dr. West’s plans to “conquer death” don’t pan out.
Classic scene: Herbert West uses an electric bone saw to perform impromptu heart surgery on an unsuspecting zombie.
Army of Darkness: Carmageddon
Army of Darkness (the final installment in the Evil Dead trilogy) was produced on a fairly meager budget, and it shows: The set backgrounds are ridiculously obvious matte paintings and the execution of the special effects is really hit-and-miss. Still a great watch though, thanks to an incredibly creative director in Sam Raimi (who went on to direct the Spider-Man franchise) and a hilarious performance from B-movie king Bruce Campbell in the leading role.
Campbell plays Ash Williams, a loyal S-Mart employee who finds himself transported back in time to medieval England. Booking a return trip requires finding an ancient text of spells, the Necronomicon, the recovery of which raises an army of the dead.
With his own army and some 20th century technology (a shotgun, a chainsaw and a 1973 Oldsmobile Delta-88), Ash wages war on the zombie hordes. No real scares in this one, just a lot of one-liners and slapstick comedy… or the scene where Ash mounts propeller blades on the front of his Oldsmobile and takes a spin in the castle courtyard.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The infestation in this dated zombie flick starts Cold War-style: A mysterious satellite crashes to Earth, spewing radiation that gets the dead walking again. An assortment of survivors make their way to an abandoned farmhouse and steel themselves to defend civilization.
Night of the Living Dead was shot in black and white on a low budget, and it’s not terribly scary by modern-day standards, but it’s still thoroughly entertaining. Not only did it set the bar for zombie movies, but Night of the Living Dead was one of the first horror flicks to take the contemporary world as its setting, familiarizing the fear for the audience.
Young Karen Cooper, daughter of Harry and Helen, has taken ill after being bitten by a zombie earlier in the film. The Coopers are hiding in the cellar of a farmhouse and little Karen turns zombie and kills her parents. Arguably the most iconic zombie kill of all time, it still has the power to shock.
Zombie Flesh Eaters (aka Zombi 2)
Another classic scene from Lucio Fulci’s follow-up/companion piece to Dawn of the Dead. While the film doesn’t quite possess the same sense of social commentary as its predecessor, Fulci fills it with more than enough zombie action to make up for it, including a scene that is literally unlike anything else audiences have ever seen.
The beginning of the scene features an almost-nude female who decides to go scuba diving– always a promising beginning to any memorable movie sequence. After she swims around for a few minutes, she detects a shark in the water and tries to quickly swim away. Before she can reach the surface, however, she is forced to retreat to the safety of a coral reef on the ocean floor.
Unfortunately, she inadvertently crosses paths with a zombie who is lurking in the same secluded alcove, and who until now was presumably surviving on shellfish and other small creatures. Grabbing the girl, he tries to devour her flesh, but she escapes and shoots to the surface, thankfully safely away from the shark (and zombie). Before the zombie can follow, however, the shark returns, and the pair engage in a tete-a-tete with the shark aggressively attacking the zombie as he gnaws on the shark’s tough hide.
The zombie delivers the first blow, forcing the shark to retreat as he retaliates by tearing into the zombie’s arm, leaving him with one less hand to grab at naked girls with — much less perform his award-winning backstroke.