FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Jul 30, 2009

a few of my favorite zombies

The recent passing of Clayton Hill ("Sweater Zombie" from George Romero's Dawn of the Dead) has got me thinking about all those undead folk who've made an impression over the years. They (usually) don't speak and they're often one of a thousand walking corpses trying to eat the ragtag group of survivors, but we remember them regardless. Actually, horror fans don't simply remember these zombies, we celebrate them. Be honest, horror nerds- if a woman were to come up to you on the street and say "I was Majorette Zombie!" you'd know exactly who she was, right? And you'd be psyched to meet her, you know it...although you'd wonder why she felt the need to approach you and boast of her claim to fame a propos of nothing. Here are a few of my favorite American Rotties.
1. Nameless Zombie (Dawn of the Dead '04)
She died without a name, which is sad. Then she came back to life and hauled ass trying to put the bite on Sarah Polley, which is understandable but not very nice. I like to pretend it's actually Dame Edith Massey as a zombie, which is a dream of mine that sadly will never be- at least never in the fictional sense. I suppose if there should ever be a zombie apocalypse, then the late Massey will rise from the grave. I won't know how to feel.
2. Softball Zombie (Land of the Dead)
She seems kind of depressed and sort of nice, but in the end I doubt if she'd want to be friends.
3. Cirque du Zombay (Night of the Living Dead '90)
I wonder how that happened. To be frank, he's probably better off undead.
4. Graveyard Zombie (Night of the Living Dead '68)
The one that started it all, and one of my absolute most favoritest. The fact that he really was coming to get Barbra is what's known as ironicalosity.
5. Urban Zombie (Dawn of the Dead '78)
I love her menacing-yet-laid-back attitude.
6. Dr. Tongue (Day of the Dead '85)
Total gross-out icon. Great title sequence. I love Day of the Dead.
7. Nurse Zombie & Sweater Zombie (Dawn of the Dead)
If you watch Dawn of the Dead and pay close attention, you'll see that Sweater Zombie really gets around- he's outside doing his thing, then he's taking a ride on the escalator, then he's back outside with his partner-in-crime (and off-screen wife) Nurse Zombie (Sharon Ceccatti). You have to admire his moxie and his sweater vest.
8. Toothy Zombie (Day of the Dead)
Toothy is one of the zombies corralled by the evil Army dudes so Dr. Logan can get his experimentation on- in other words, she's one of those zombies that gets the audience asking "OMG, who are the real monsters here? Is it us? I'm not sure. I mean, we're not trying to eat anybody, but on the other hand, we're jerks..." Her "every other chomper" look totally influenced the zombie designs in my comic They Won't Stay Dead!- those janky teefs are how you know they're zombies!
9. Bug Eating Zombie (Night of the Living Dead)
Proving that zombies are grosser than we'd initially realized, Bug Eating Zombie plucks a bug off a tree and gulps it down- know...her name suggests. Did you know that Bug Eating Zombie is portrayed by hot piece Marilyn "Mrs. Cooper" Eastman? It's true. Dazzle your friends with trivia!
10. Bub (Day of the Dead)
11. Silent Movie Zombie (Night of the Living Dead)
I. Love. Him. I love how he totally overacts when the fire is waved in his face...but what I love even more is that after he overcomes his fear of the flames, Silent Movie Zombie gets irritated by them. He RULES.
12. Nathan Grantham (Creepshow)
Nathan Grantham is an anomaly in the zombie world- he can talk! He has a motivation for killin' beyond simple hunger! Best of all, he rises from the grave- I really wish we'd see more of that in zombie cinema. Something just occurred to me. Let's think about what Grantham did after he decapitated poor old Aunt Sylvia, shall we, because he did a lot: he put her head on a tray. He found the frosting, then went in the silverware drawer for a knife. He frosted her head very carefully, then went searching for candles. After cramming them into her head, somehow (let's be honest, it probably took a while to get them to stay standing), he got matches or a lighter and lit them all. And he had to time all of this very carefully in order to surprise Cass and Richard as they approached the door! What a go-getter. So, who's the most memorable zombie to you? Machete Zombie? Naked Zombie? Your mom? Ha ha, I made that last one up. Or did I?


Reel Whore said...

Softball Zombie was the first to come to my mind when I saw your post title.

Now I want to have an all zombie weekend...zombie movie weekend that is, an all zombie weekend would get too messy.

Monster Scholar said...

Bub is my hands down favorite, rivaled only by the zombies of Dead Alive.

I kick ass for the Lord!

whitney said...

I loved Tar Man Zombie from The Return of the Living Dead. Oh! And Naked Girl Zombie from that same movie. I guess her name is technically "Trash" but she'll always be "Naked Girl" to me.

Stacie Ponder said...

Aaaah, Tar Man and Trash! Should've included them.

I always forget about RotLD. Always. I don't know why, because I love it.

Anonymous said...

Would the dead folks from Reanimator count?

FatalPierce said...

What about fireman hurling crazy naked zombie from [Rec]? She deserves at least an honorable mention in my book.

Pax Romano said...

Nun Zombie in Dawn of the remember, the gentle sister of the rotting flesh who gets her wimple stuck in the JC Penny's door until Francine sets her free.

Stacie Ponder said...

Oh, definitely. I just tried to stick with American efforts this go-round...otherwise, I'd be talking about [REC] and Fulci's Zombi 2 for sure...

Anonymous said...

What about Mary from "Shaun of the Dead"? Or the Burt Reynolds and Jay Leno zombies from "Dawn of the Dead" ('04)?

Mike Imboden said...

No "Big Daddy" from "Land of the Dead"? Stacie, Stacie, Stacie. For shame!

Erich Kuersten said...

Thank you for mentioning bug eating zombie lady. I always wish that aspect of zombiedom was more developed-- it was kind of forgotten after that one incident. Did word get around?

The whole relentless cannibalism thing makes more sense that way, because humans aren't the only delicacy on our delicious planet!

Now I have to go look up ironoclacicity or whatever you called it... Barbara

My favorite zombie is the child in Night of the Living Dead, by the way. Are you soft on child zombies? And what about the zombie mom and baby in the remake of Dawn? I have an amusing andecdote: A loud family with a small child where in the cinema when I saw that film, and they just wouldn't shut up -- and when the baby zombie scene appeared, they all got up and finally left, and the audience applauded!! I've loved baby and small child zombies ever since. Love, W.C. Fields Mach 25

Anonymous said...

Off topic: Can you do a review of 30 Days of Night. Would love to hear your take on it. It's the only time I've gone to see a film just to see the make-up on the vampires.

Anonymous said...

I personally enjoy helicopter zombie from Dawn of the Dead. Most especially because he has this massive forehead that you know is fake so it can get sliced off by the helicopter blades.

Hud said...

I liked "pie in the face zombie" from Dawn of the Dead '78 the best.

Thomas Pluck said...

I like the first zombie from Return of the Living Dead- is that Tar Man? The half a zombie girl they interrogate is fun, too. "I can feel myself rot!"

The water zombies in Creepshow always trumped "my caaaaake!" for me, because they were so campy, and I liked the gurgling water as they talked.

Prospero said...

Helicopter Zombie from "Dawn of the Dead." There's something about that ridiculouslt high flat haed that just makes me laugh...

Robson said...

Graveyard Zombie from NOTLD is always a keeper - too, too rarely is a film's horror introduced so quietly and in longshot.

But I dig LAND OF THE DEAD's Big Daddy. There's something downright Shakespearean about his presence and arc in the movie. He's richly realized but still a cannibalistic member of the living dead.

Jeff McMahon said...

Not a single shout-out for Big Fat Shirtless Zombie from Romero's Dawn of the Dead who falls into the fountain?

crom said...

Hare "Krishna zombie" from Dawn Of The Dead.

And if we go European, then I'd go with "Child Played By Adult Man Zombie" from Burial Ground.
He bites his moms boob. What more needs to be said.

Dirk Manning said...

My favorite zombie is Jesus... definitely Jesus.

Followed by the Graveyard Zombie for NOTLD.

Either way, you can't beat a classic!

the jaded viewer said...

You should have Conquistadore zombie. He's the zombie on the cover of Lucio Fulci's Zombie 2.

the jaded viewer said...

You should have Conquistadore zombie. He's the zombie on the cover of Lucio Fulci's Zombie 2.

Evan Waters said...

I'm pretty sure silent movie zombie is Gahan Wilson. In DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD he asks if he can be a zombie in George's next movie, and apparently that was the role he got.

Te* (Slasher Film Sanctuary) said...

I LOVED the reference to Edith Massey, I suppose the undead no longer have a taste for eggs. ;)