Best Unknown Zombie Movies

Paul Gonzalez
• Thursday, 12 November, 2020
• 10 min read

Even an everyday object turned viciously sentient (looking' at you, spooky mirror from Oculus) can give audiences the heebie-jeebies when properly portrayed onscreen. Tales of living humans being infected by reanimated corpses have long existed in entertainment, even dating as far back as when oral stories were all the rage (and the only method of sharing mythologies).

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What unravels from there is a visceral, relentless outpouring of bloodied wounds, guts falling out of acid-burnt flesh, and lots of ravenous zombie goodness. The boys of Versus aren't the greatest guys: they're criminals on the run who find themselves in the ironically-named Forest of Resurrection (which just so happens to be one of the portals to “the other side”) deep in the Japanese wilderness.

When the film's main character, Prisoner KSC2-303, attempts to take out a Yakuza in order to help protect the girl, a zombie outbreak begins. Versus nails the off-the-walls brand of Japanese horror, introducing the core trouble of the film quite early on without too much context, then spirals it out in big ribbons to take the audience on a wacky, maniac zombie adventure.

While the film is, admittedly, a little thin on the actual undead, skirting around them more than a traditional zombie movie would, it makes up for it by the useful with insane martial arts stunts, heart-stopping sword battles, some young Keanu Reeves-style trench coats, and a generous dash of humor for good measure. Directed by Milan-born filmmaker Michele Soave, this 1994 flick is deeply (and unexpectedly) philosophical, richly romantic, and super spooky.

Del Norte Della more combines these elements together in a beautifully bizarre wedding, toeing the line between funny and frightful, and boasts standout performances from leads Rupert Everett, François Hadji-Lazaro, and Anna Falcon. The Roost carries with it a fine-tuned, veneered '70s vibe that any retro horror fan will love: you've got the subtle but stereotypical storyline featuring a group of teens stuck in a desolate place on Halloween night; the goofy secondary force of evil to fight; and the dramatics turned up just enough to make the scarier scenes seem silly.

What do you get when you combine high school geeks and freaks, a band of guitar-strumming teenage stoners, a detonator gone rogue in a bowl of chips, and a ton of creepy cadavers? The film ditches the more overt darkness in favor of cheeky humor typical to a teen comedy of its time, less intimidating monsters, and characters with whom audiences may really connect, an element usually missing from mainstream zombie flicks.

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Wondrously weird, Andrew Carrie's 2006 film Fido is unlike any other movie in the zombie canon thus far, and something tells us it'll remain the only one of its kind for quite some time. Living in a post Zombie Wars” world, the Robinson stake in a revived human corpse to keep as a pet, fit with collar and all.

Essentially, it's the lovechild of the equally strange Disney show Dog with a Blog and a slightly tamer version of The Walking Dead : something you'll just have to see to believe. Where other films infect the unwitting through gruesome bites or full-body attacks, Pontypool's victims are dragged to the other side with the flick of a tongue: certain words trigger the spread of the all-consuming virus, and the only way to protect yourself from it is to seal your lips shut.

Which is what our DJ lead Grant Jazzy (played by a stellar Stephen Mattie) does from the confines of his tiny radio studio. In all, Pontoon is intimate and inquisitive, with a healthy dose of undead dread and a dollop of disruption to shake up your notions on what a zombie film can be.

Applauded for its quirky charm and deftness in navigating heartache beyond the grave, Make-Out with Violence's strengths truly do rest in its delicacy. It's wholly the result of an interesting story, the Deal Brothers-penned script, and a ton of undeniably relatable moments where unrequited love seems all but crushing.

If your 2017 resolution is to slay more Nazi zombies (hey, we don't judge the loftiness of your goals here), English director and screenwriter Steve Barker's Outpost is the perfect first step. Centered around the horrifying discovery of an old SS lab (and an entire throng of Nazi corpses come back to life), Outpost is as blood-soaked as it is stylish, captivating its viewers along the script's wild and eventually harrowing rollercoaster.

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We can practically hear the devout horror heads cheering: finally, we're diving into a film straight from the era that spawned countless remakes and rehashing. Fred Decker's 1986 film Night of the Creeps has gotten a ton of love for its hodgepodge mix of sci-fi and scares, but has remained generally under the radar.

As with many of the films on this list, Decker's university-set slimy slasher has no shortage of cheesy jokes and character tropes done right amidst all the action of normal college kids devolving into flesh-hungry zombies. Commander George La Forge (you know, before he was the badass helmsman of the USS Enterprise-D) himself in a main role prior to his Star Trek fame.

The Midnight Hour is an easy-to-watch zombie film that's even easier to love, a statement that its cult following can attest to with (you saw it coming) a lot of ease. While this found-footage-type film saw some pretty noteworthy success with international audiences, it failed to find its footing on American ground other than in an underwhelming remake entitled Quarantine.

Co-directed by filmmakers Jaime Salguero and Pace Plaza, is a spooky Spanish delight, filled with raw reveals (that will have any watcher wincing) and seriously gross zombies. Not unlike other horror films that exude a homemade/based-on-a-true-story aura, delivers some shaky camerawork, a smattering of jump scares, and enough tension to leave anxiety-induced sweat rings around your shirt.

grabs the audience by the hand and forces them to follow what happens to a well-meaning reporter and her cameraman as they take on waves of oozy zombies. Easily the scariest film on this list, we recommend you watch this one in the middle of the day... with all the lights on... with some friends and a zombie prep kit.

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With a premise that practically begs parodied takes on Samuel L. Jackson's well-quoted Snakes on a Plane bit, Flight of the Living Dead might be written off as entirely too silly to be given anything other than a passing glance mid-laughter, but the direct-to-video film is zippy, zany, and incredibly self-aware. At this point in time, zombies have cemented themselves as a main stay amongst the litany of horror sub-genres which can be found spread across multiple mediums.

Due to the mass presence of zombie -themed media these days, it can be hard to sift through the bad in order to find the good. Clichés and stereotypes run rampant through zombie films, which too easily lend themselves to archetypical end of the world scenarios, so I'm here to help guide you.

Not your traditional end of the world scenario type zombie film, and definitely not for the faint of heart, so if your in the mood for something just a little different, give Dead girl a watch. A ragtag group of Pennsylvanians barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a bloodthirsty, flesh-eating breed of monsters who are ravaging the East Coast of the United States.

“They're coming to get you, Barbara,” jokes Johnny to his sister at the beginning of George Romero's classic, which pretty much created the entire genre. Although it has been remade twice (the decent 1990 version and the horrible 2006 debacle in 3D), the original is just as chilling as anything that has come from the genre since.

Team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall. The film's immediate focus is the action inside a suburban mall, where a band of survivors tries to keep swarms of undead at bay.

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She gets sick and dies, at which time she comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbors. Peter Jackson's blood-splattered comedic masterpiece may be the goriest film on the list, but it's so over-the-top that it's actually funny.

This movie will do two things to you: Make you squeamish about eating soup and give you grand fantasies of fighting the undead every time you mow the lawn. Plus, the scene where the survivors “play dead” can serve as an educational film for zombie walk newbies everywhere.

The DVD gets bonus points for its extra featured following the gun shop owner's video diary of his daily survival. Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.

“28 Days Later” nonetheless deserves a spot on the list because of its huge influence on the nature of zombie films that followed it. The movie not only popularized the fast-running zombie of many modern films, but was also a good post-apocalyptic survival story to boot.

A small group of military officers and scientists dwell in an underground bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies. Part three of what was once George Romero's zombie trilogy (he's made two more since), “Day” initially received tepid reception because it doesn't quite match the impact of the previous two movies (“Dawn” and “Night”).

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Nevertheless, time makes the heart grow fonder, and “Day” has stood up to be one of the genre's best films over the years. A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the last Twinkle, and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park join forces traveling across a zombie -filled America.

This film really translates the unabashed glee that comes from battling hordes of zombies in a video game. Woody Harrelson plays the video-game-character-like role, while Jesse Eisenberg does his best Michael Era impersonation.

Although the actual theme park setting arrives a little late in the movie, it serves as a perfect playground for zombie battles. Timmy's zombie becomes his pet and friend, and is named Fido (Sir Billy Connolly).

Billy Connelly plays the title character, and offers probably the best acting job done by anyone portraying the living dead. Six months after the rage virus was inflicted on the population of Great Britain, the US Army helps to secure a small area of London for the survivors to repopulate and start again.

Picking up six months after the rage virus wiped out most of the population, the U.S. Army has come to London to help fortify an area for depopulation. Jeremy Runner and Rose Byrne are great, but it definitely doesn’t surpass the original.

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A cop chases two hippies suspected of a series of Manson family-like murders; unbeknownst to him, the real culprits are the living dead, brought to life with a hunger for human flesh by ultrasonic radiation being used for pest control. “Let Sleeping Corpses Lie” has fantastic and realistic zombies of the “freshly dead” variety.

A special military unit fights a powerful, out-of-control supercomputer and hundreds of scientists who have mutated into flesh-eating creatures after a laboratory accident. To date, Resident Evil has stood as practically the only example of a good -- or at least, an enjoyable -- movie based on a video game, making We Boll's career seem all the more pointless in retrospect.

A nurse is hired to care for the wife of a sugar plantation owner, who has been acting strangely, on a Caribbean island. Gorgeous little thriller from famed producer Val Newton, filled with creepy black-and-white atmosphere and featuring Carrefour, the best zombie in any movie that you don't actually see gnawing on human gristle.

After a highly unusual zombie saves a still-living girl from an attack, the two form a relationship that sets in motion events that might transform the entire lifeless world. While its premise reminds a bit the nonsensical and annoying living/dead love fest of the “Twilight” series, this film works because it doesn't take itself nearly as seriously -- it's much more self-aware.

A fun tale set in a post-apocalyptic American, Warm Bodies creates its own rules for what zombies are, and what they can become. The only Asian zombie film on the list, “Versus” is worth watching for the fast-paced Samurai-style battles between the living and the dead.

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After two decades of waiting, many George Romero fans were somewhat disappointed in the horror icon's fourth installment in his zombie series. While it's true that it doesn't stack up to the previous three, “Land” nonetheless is a top quality zombie flick.

Despite some disappointing performances by Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo, the movie still packs in the thrills. While “Planet Terror” didn't receive as much praise from the movie going public as its Grind house double-feature partner “Death Proof,” Robert Rodriguez's over-the-top homage to the genre was still an entertaining ride.

A ski vacation turns horrific for a group of medical students, as they find themselves confronted by an unimaginable menace: Nazi zombies. “Dead Snow” is a pretty straightforward modern zombie flick with equal parts gore and humor.

This is the first remake of the classic, directed by gore effects maestro Tom Saving (probably best known as playing the role of Sex Machine in “From Dusk Till Dawn”). On the night of the big High-School Prom, the dead rise to eat the living, and the only people who can stop them are the losers who couldn't get dates to the dance.

John Hughes meets George Romero in this entertaining low-budget horror-comedy about a group of high school outcasts who vow to save their prom from zombies spawned by pollution from the nearby nuclear power plant. A definite change to his traditional style of zombie films, “Diary” may not be his strongest piece but is still a fun ride with likeable characters.

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A radio host interprets the possible outbreak of a deadly virus which infects the small Ontario town he is stationed in. Alien brain parasites, entering humans through the mouth, turn their host into a killing zombie.

Night of the Creeps isn't really about zombies- alien slugs posses people, turning them into mostly mindless cannibal freaks- but they're zombies by any other name. Though it itself has a few nods back to Rosenberg debut Shivers, Night of the Creeps references pop in to nearly everything.

Yeah, it's got blood, and a smattering of smarmy social commentary, and a few pretty good gore effects, but honestly it's just really entertaining.

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