More suggestions from our resident Horror specialist – Mary Donnelly. You can see full details below.
This is the first in a two part horror “special” as suggested by Mr NoMoreWorkhorse. I’m a fully confessed lifelong horror fan growing up on Universal, Hammer and Corman and intend to force, I mean encourage, my toddler daughter to share my interest. Few things divide opinion as much as favourite movies so I’m saying straight up that these are “my” top 5, not “the” top 5. I only realised when doing this post how poor some of the trailers are for these films, particularly the older ones, so don’t be put off by their hokiness.
Plague of the Zombies
My first choice is the 1966 Hammer horror Plague of the Zombies, which I love for its Cornish setting and white slavery theme. It has some genuinely scary scenes, even if the zombie make up is a little stuck on and there’s no denying that it was a huge influence on what came after. I’d dare to say George Romero watched this and 1962’s Carnival of Souls (shudder) a few times before he made Night of the Living Dead.
Night of the Living Dead
The inclusion of George Romero’s 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead is a no brainer, pardon the pun. Strangely it was one of the first zombie films I ever saw as my father sat us all down one evening to watch a colourised version on the now defunct Super channel. The green hue given to the zombies made the film even more eerie at the time. It is undoubtedly a work of genius, scenes such as the zombies in various states of decomposition surrounding the farmhouse and the child eating her parents still nightmarish, but none so much as the nihilistic ending, mirroring horribly the fractious civil rights era in which it was made.
Dawn of the Dead (original)
There would never be just one Romero film in any zombie film listing, so I’m also going to include 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, a satire on consumerism and all out gorefest. The zombies shuffling around the shopping centre to the repetitive muzak still stick with me every time I go to a shopping mall. Suggestion for next year’s Zombie Walk – Dundrum Town Centre…
Dawn of the Dead (remake)
Possibly a bit controversially, I’m also going to include the 2004 Zach Snyder Dawn of the Dead remake. It is worth seeing for the opening credit sequence alone with Johnny Cash ominously singing The Man Comes Around. It is a slicker, faster moving film than the original, with those pesky running zombies and enough new material to be considered in its own right. Particular standouts are the sniper and dog on the roof and the zombie childbirth (well we are a baby blog).
Shaun of the Dead
Finally I’m choosing Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead (also 2004). I love this film and have watched it multiple times. It is a perfect blend of comedy and horror. Being a big fan of the tv series Spaced I was definitely target audience for this and it doesn’t fail to hit the mark. It throws in enough pop culture references, gore, proper scares and even a bit of poignancy to please everyone. I just can’t fault it.