10. 28 Days Later (2002)
28 Days Later introduced the world to genius idea of sprinting zombies. Honestly, how did zombie movies exist for over 30 years without them? In addition to that, it has one of the most suspenseful openings to any zombie movie and a unique interpretation of a post-apocalyptic world.
9. Dead Alive (1992)
Dead Alive makes the list as one of the goriest and most insane movies ever made. I realize the term "zombie" is being stretched a bit here, but let's define it as any being that is either deemed undead or infected with some kind of disease that causes mass hysteria. The origin of the zombies in Dead Alive with the Sumatran rat-monkey is both funny and original, and the movie has developed an impressive cult following. The lawnmower scene at the end is one of the greatest in zombie movie history.
8. 28 Weeks Later (2007)
I was very surprised at how good this sequel was since it came out five years after the original and wasn't directed by Danny Boyle. But 28 Weeks Later packs even more punch that the first installment. It's shorter, more focused, scary, and realistic. The opening scene when Don abandons his wife and flees by boat is shocking and subtly hilarious. Sprinting zombies are just a lot more fun.
7. Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Sam Raimi's second installment in the Evil Dead trilogy is different from the first in that Raimi obviously has a lot more fun with this one. While the first Evil Dead is dark and stylistic, this movie is downright hilarious. The scene where Ash chases his detached hand around the house (A Farewell to Arms) would fit right in in a typical Three Stooges episode. Groovy!
6. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Dawn of the Dead has one of the greatest ideas in zombie movie history...in a post-apocalyptic world where zombies roam free and are eating people alive, where would people take refuge? In a mall, of course. Equal parts social commentary and brilliant suspense move, the main characters are trapped inside a familiar place, free to roam through multiple floors full of stores and merchandise. It would be a dream to most people, only there are hundreds of zombies trying to break inside and eat you alive. The first great zombie movie to come out after Night of the Living Dead.
5. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Return of the Living Dead probably added more to the genre than any other zombie movie other than Night of the Living Dead. The zombies are different in this one. They are corpses re-animated by a chemical leak and are faster, stronger, and more intelligent. These are also the first brain-eating zombies, who needed to consume human brains to maintain their re-animated state. Tarman might be the greatest zombie to ever appear on the big screen.
4. The Evil Dead (1981)
The first installment in Sam Raimi's trilogy is the number one cult zombie movie of all time. The Evil Dead also features the finest protagonist in zombie movie history in Ash Williams, who has to have killed more zombies that any other character in movie history. In this movie, Ash and his friends resurrect fallen spirits after reading from the Book of the Dead, who go on to demonize Ash's four friends. Ash is forced to kill his sister and his girlfriend by the time the bloody night is over. A gory, stylistic, masterpiece of horror.
3. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
It's amazing that a zombie movie that came out over three decades after the genre's inception can contribute so many new and exciting ideas, but Dawn in the Dead truly stands out among the zombie movie bunch. The beginning with the little girl gets my vote for greatest zombie movie opener. And these are the best zombies ever. They sprint and carry a much greater intensity and hunger than any zombies before them. The movie also features a zombie baby in the womb and celebrity zombies! The most exciting zombie movie ever made.
2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
This is the one that started it all. The first great zombie movie of all time. Every zombie movie made since Night of the Living Dead has taken something from it or paid homage to it in some way. The zombie daughter who's mother is forced to kill her. Removing the head or destroying the brain. The protagonist gets killed by the army after surviving the zombies. It has everything, and stands the test of time as one of the greatest zombie movies ever.
1. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Shaun of the Dead is my choice for the greatest zombie movie of all time because unlike any other movie on this list, it's more than a zombie movie. The tagline for the film is, "A romantic comedy...with zombies." This is the funniest, most creative, and most entertaining zombie movie ever made. And you can tell that the filmmakers love zombie movies more than anyone. They manage to pay homage to the genre while simultaneously transcending it, no small feat for such a prolific collection of movies. The love triangle between Shaun, Liz, and Ed is truly heartfelt and unique to the genre, and ultimately is what makes Shaun of the Dead stand out.