13 Awesome Zombies
Article By: Sean Abley
Some zombies eat brains, and some zombies eat brains with style. Given that our sister network, Syfy, is airing a new zombie called Z Nation that we think will turn the zombie genre on its (severed, rotting) head we thought it was fitting to look at thirteen of the most memorable zombies to grace the screen.
1. Nurse Zombie from "Dawn of the Dead" (1978)
In a film full of memorable featured zombies, Sharon Ceccatti’s iconic undead nurse is the zombie Dawn fans love to hate. Thanks to her inexplicably unstained white uniform, Ceccatti stands out in every scene in which she appears. Let the “spot the zombie nurse” drinking game begin!
2. Karen from "Night of the Living Dead" (1968)
Although the horror of Night of the Living Dead may feel diluted after forty-plus years, the moment Kyra Schon’s “Karen” kills her mother (Marilyn Eastman) with a trowel has definitely withstood the test of time. Living Dead purists will notice a possible inconsistency in the film series - Karen (and other zombies in the film) instinctively uses a weapon in NOTLD, which won’t happen again until Day of the Dead, in which much is made of “Bub” (see below) having to be taught to make use of something other than his hands and teeth, and then again in Land of the Dead where we’re lead to believe the zombies are evolving.
3. Shark-Hating Zombie from "Zombi 2" (aka "Zombie") (1979)
Seriously, this zombie does not F around when it comes to sharks.
4. Orville from "Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things" (1972)
Poor Orville (Seth Sklarey) takes a lot of abuse over the course of Dead Things. To be fair, he’s just a corpse for most of the film. But then he gets his zombie on, and the end of the movie becomes the best anti-bullying PSA ever.
5. Bub from "Day of the Dead" (1985)
Sherman Howard has the distinction of portraying possibly the first sympathetic zombie, fan favorite “Bub.” He shaves, he salutes, he listens to music, he learns how to hold a gun and then hunts down and shoots the psychopath who killed his buddy. Most importantly, he doesn’t eat that guy. Smart zombie!
6. Michael Jackson Zombie from Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" (1983)
Thanks to MTV’s love of all things Michael Jackson, viewers were able to watch the John Landis-directed Thriller every hour on the hour for weeks after its release. Also in heavy rotation was the documentary, Making Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which gave the world not only a glimpse into what it takes to create a music video, but some of the last moments of Jackson being the sweet, slightly nerdy megatalent we all loved as well. Soon after, the tabloids started drinking his blood and that sweet guy was done for. You really owe it to yourself to watch the whole thing again…
7. Miles from "Gay Zombie" (2007)
Michael Simon’s short, a hit on both the LGBT and horror film fest circuits, proves you can’t keep a good man down, especially if he’s wearing a speedo. Poor Miles can’t seem to get a guy because of his low self esteem and an advanced case of being dead. Thankfully he has a good therapist, and a couple of wingmen (who jump on board after seeing Miles in the aforementioned speedo. Insert rigor mortis joke here…)
8. Dr. Carl Hill from "Re-Animator" (1985)
The most infamous zombie scene of all time. Yes, we’re declaring that right here, no equivocating. Barbara Crampton, who gets the “Good Sport of the Year Award” for her participation in this scene, is the object of Dr. Hill’s lust, even after his nasty decapitation. Posting the scene is almost redundant, as there is no way to unsee it after just one viewing. Incredibly, this scene is included in the musical version, Re-Animator, the Musical. This link couldn’t be more NSFW if it tried….
9. Elizabeth the Frankenhooker from "Frankenhooker" (1990)
Penthouse Pet Patty Mullen really deserved a better career. Her performance as the titular role in this Frank Henenlotter film is great; touching, funny, and definitely better than you’d expect from a film called Frankenhooker. After being chopped to bits by a runaway lawn mower, Mullen’s head is attached to a frankenbody made of hooker parts procured courtesy of an explosive crack smoking party. Also starring the criminally underemployed James Lorinz as the mad scientist/grieving boyfriend, Frankenhooker definitely deserves a sequel.
10. Julie from "Return of the Living Dead 3" (1993)
Yes, we all love “Trash” from the original Return of the Living Dead, but we feel that Melinda Clarke’s zombie girlfriend tends to be overlooked in the face of Linnea Quigley’s nude grave dancing. After dying in a motorcycle accident, Clarke is reanimated at her boyfriend’s father’s research facility (Spoiler: They’re researching zombies), and thus begins the worst date night in history. Jettisoning the comedy of the first two installments in the franchise, ROTLD3 is unrelentingly dark and painful, especially during the scenes where Julie self-harms to fend off the zombie urges.
11. Fido from "Fido" (2006)
In the alternate reality of Fido, living humans won the zombie war in the 1950s, and now the walking dead are the semi-domesticated servants (or slaves) of society. Fido (Scottish comedian Billy Connolly – how did that happen?) is a zombie purchased by Carrie-Anne Moss in a “keeping up with the Joneses” move. At first things go well, then poorly, then even more poorly, and then they all live happilyish ever after (except for those Fido killed, and those that were killed by those that Fido killed).
12. Beavers from "Zombeavers" (2014)
Honestly, there are no words…
13. Uncle Sam from Uncle Sam (1996)
Indie horror icons William Lustig and Larry Cohen came together for this psychotic patriotic take on the zombie genre. Uncle Sam (David “Shark” Fralick) is actually a reanimated soldier killed in Kuwait (remember, it’s 1996 in the film). After the body is returned to U.S. soil, the soldier wakes from the dead, kills a weirdo wearing an “Uncle Sam” costume, and continues on a killing spree that was certainly meant to be the beginning of a franchise. Sadly for all involved, Uncle Sam was the one and only zombie film based on the personification of our country.
Sean Abley writes the “Gay of the Dead” blog for Fangoria.com. His writing has appeared in Fangoria, The Advocate, Unzipped, and in his new book, Out In the Dark: Interviews with Gay Horror Filmmakers, Actors and Authors.