This is a new column from us here at The Basement. We have come to the agreement that lists are fun, and we should do more of them. So, both Rat and Brennan will list their top 5’s and discuss in each article. This week we will start off strong with our top 5 Zombie films. We are leaving Romero out of the equation for this list because we feel like it. Stay tuned after the review for the still images at the end. Without further ado, here’s our first festering 5!
1. Spookies (1986)
Rat’s Reason: Spookies isn’t strictly a zombie movie, as it has all sorts of threats throughout, like mud monsters, giant spiders, and other spoops! But it’s an oddball bastard of a film that really shouldn’t exist in the first place, and it has my all-time favorite zombie sequence near the film’s end.
Brennan’s Take: The menagerie of monsters on display in this film will always allow it to hold a special place in my heart but we’re not here for my veering on fetishistic love for monsters, we’re here for zombies and luckily for you dead-loving kiddos of the world, the zombies that occupy Spookies make for one of the best parts of the film. Great pick
2. Nightmare City (1980)
Rat’s Reason: Umberto Lenzi made a film where no one is safe. Whether you’re in a church or on a rollercoaster, you can expect burnt-marshmallow-faced zombie/vampires to charge you with axes, knives, and guns before pulling you apart.
Brennan’s Take: Hugo Stiglitz kicks so much ass by being a grumpy and bearded asshole, I almost always forget that this is, at its heart, a zombie flick (no matter what Umberto Lenzi would have you believe). It zips along and goes from horrific set piece to horrific set piece all while we get to laugh at some of the most idiotic decisions made by EVERY DAMN CHARACTER.
3. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Rat’s reason: I really wanted to find a way not to include this, but I would be remiss if I didn’t list the foremost zom-com in existence. Edgar Wright wrote and directed his ass off with this one, and I’m sure I don’t need to explain myself to you. Funny funny shit, and good for multiple watches.
Brennan’s Take: A masterpiece and something that will better my mood no matter when I watch it.
4. Burial Ground (1981)
Rat’s reason: God, this film is just so nuckin futs. It’s Oedipal, with a diminutive man playing a child that wants his mother sexually. There are shabby zombies that shamble about in the daytime with their papier-mâché and moss faces, that kill tourists ever so slowly, and there’s a mansion for them to do it in. Check it out, it’s good for the soul.
Brennan’s Take: This list smells of flesh! Populated by sleazy weirdos (I’m looking at you kid!) and featuring some wonderful papier-mâché makeup, Burial Ground is trash gold and the film that all these fake ass “bad” filmmakers wish they could make
5. Violent Shit 3: Infantry of Doom (1999)
Rat’s Reason: Last but not least I had to add this shitfest also known as Zombie Doom. It is wall-to-wall excessive gore and practical FX. Dudes get ripped clean in half, spines get removed with a single yank. There’s a scientist that resembles Hitler (Adolf Hitler, not Frank Hitler in accounting), and more bloodshed than you can waggle a twinkie at. Good, violent, shit.
Brennan’s Take: classic DIY throw every damn thing at the screen and see what sticks. The violence is lovably over the top and the storyline plays out like a bad coke high. A blast from beginning to end and featuring a character who resembles Layne Staley. Swim in it, it’s warm and will probably get you sick but how else you gonna build your immune system?
1. Shock Waves (1977)
Brennan’s Reason: My introduction to those dreaded Nazi Zombies is a completely offbeat little sleeper which features some brief work from Peter Cushing and John Carradine. We also get Brooke Adams as a leading lady and the image of goggle wearing Nazi zombies marching on the ocean floor. It may drag for some and the violence level is very low, but this tale of survival on an island occupied by a third Reich experiment gone wrong is a personal favorite
ReelRat Sez: I’m definitely overdue for a revisit of this one. I can barely remember it. Perhaps I was inebriated. Still, if it’s good enough for Blumhouse to name a podcast after it, I’m sure it’s something to behold.
2. Burial Ground (1981)
Brennan’s Reason: This movie is a well earned cinematic STD. I’ve already spoken on it but you need it in your life, just make sure your partner knows you have it
ReelRat Sez: *scratches crotch*
3. Hell of the Living Dead (1980)
Brennan’s Reason: The level of ineptness behind and in front of the camera for this flick is amazing. Bruno Mattei was without a doubt a hack, but I’ve always loved me a rascal, and you can feel that rascalness run rampant as he rips off every zombie film that came before him. Even some Mondo footage is thrown in for good measure. This is not a good film, but I’m going to love this one till the day I die and come back to poke my fingers through someone’s eyes and rip their face off. Love an underdog, it’ll make you feel better
ReelRat Sez: This reminds me that I should have included Mattei’s Island of the Living Dead in my list. Mattei 4 Prezident!
4. The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974)
Brennan’s Reason: This film still has the power to creep me out. There’s something about the atmosphere and impending feeling of tragedy throughout that just gets under my skin. Pesticide serves as a culprit for raising some of the recently dead (that and the purposeful resurrection by the already dead in and unsettling morgue scene) and two out-of-towners find themselves in a fight for survival. Featuring the man who would fashion my style and big boy crush forever Ray Lovelock.
ReelRat Sez: I haven’t seen this but I love a good man-crush. The stills on imdb look promising. I’ll seek it out posthaste!
5. The Revenge of the Living Dead Girls (1987)
Brennan’s Reason: France. What the fuck is wrong with you? Poisoned milk leads to the death of three sexy young ladies but they come back and cause some havoc in this sleazy and bizarre masterpiece. There’s a four way lesbian scene between the three rotted (heads only) ladies and a hooker which ends with sword penetration, a penis gets chomped off and zombies drive. The ending is a clusterfuck due to editing which, if left in the film, would have made sense of everything but luckily for us was thrown on the cutting room floor and probably peed on by an enthusiastic Frenchmen with syphilis. It’s my favorite zombie film and if you haven’t beheld it get on with the beholding.
ReelRat Sez: I need this in my life yesterday. All of my favorite films have had bits cut out and pissed on by syphilitic Frenchmen.