The biggest budget zom-buster of them all features Brad Pitt strapping on his undead-ass-kicking boots and heading out on a globe-trotting trip to find the source of a zombie pandemic. It all goes a bit awry in the last third as Brad inexplicably ends up hanging out with a soon-to-be-former Doctor Who in a rural Welsh GP’s surgery, but up to that point this is a gripping grand-scale romp, even if it does skimp on the gore that all but defines the genre in favor of PG-13 spectacle.
Zombie movies have proven much harder to kill than actual zombies. Ever since George A Romero essentially created the modern version of the genre with Night of the Living Dead, the undead have continued to rise over the decades, mutating as they go, with HBO’s heavily praised The Last of Us being only the most recent example. (Clickers, zombies: what’s the difference, really?) It’s no wonder, really: the mythology is flexible enough to serve as allegories for real-world issues from racism to consumerism. And, of course, if all you want is a disgusting splatterfest, well, no genre is gorier.
Sure, the formula is well-worn – some sort of plague infects the planet, turning the deceased into ravenous cannibals looking to feast on the flesh of the living – but the best zombie movies have found ways to twist that basic idea into something truly unique. On this list of the greatest zombie movies of all-time, you’ll find shocking gorefests, zany zomcoms, atmospheric dramas that manage to push the braineaters to the background and even a few that predate George A Romero. So grab a bowl of temporal lobes and board up the windows – these are the best zombie movies ever made.