Friday the 13th has long been held as one of the scariest days of the year. The fear of the number 13 is known as triskaidekaphobia and many people around the world consider the number 13 to be unlucky. It also happens to be World Zombie Day. Lucky for you, this year Friday the 13th falls during spooky season and Philo has a wide array of zombie movies to watch during the scariest weekend of the year. Below are some of our favorite zombie shows and movies to kick back and watch, if you dare…
But first, what are zombies and why are Americans fascinated with them?
By official definition, a zombie is a mythological undead corporeal revenant created through the reanimation of a corpse. In popular culture, zombies are most commonly found in horror and fantasy genre works.
The modern portrayal of zombies gained cinematic prominence through George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead in 1968, which solidified them as slow-moving, flesh-eating creatures.
Popular film culture has since influenced countless movies, establishing the zombie as a compelling and enduring figure in the horror genre.
Here are 5 zombie movies and shows to watch as part of our Philo Phrightful Phridays this Halloween season:
As mentioned previously, The Night of the Living Dead is the original Zombie movie because it marked a seminal shift in the portrayal of zombies in popular culture. Released in 1968 and directed by George A. Romero, the film introduced the modern archetype of slow-moving, flesh-eating zombies, shaping the undead creatures into a cultural icon. Romero’s innovative use of horror to explore social and political commentary, along with the film’s low-budget independent production, had a profound impact on the horror genre. Night of the Living Dead not only set the template for subsequent zombie films but also elevated the genre by infusing it with deeper themes of societal breakdown, human behavior under extreme circumstances, and the fragility of societal structures. The film’s influence has endured, laying the groundwork for the diverse and expansive world of zombie movies that followed.
The Walking Dead TV show is significant for several reasons. First and foremost, it played a crucial role in popularizing the zombie genre on television, bringing the post-apocalyptic world of the undead to a mainstream audience. The show’s focus on character development and interpersonal dynamics, rather than just the horror of zombies, contributed to its widespread appeal. Moreover, The Walking Dead demonstrated the viability of long-form storytelling within the horror genre, paving the way for other serialized and complex narratives in television.
Beyond its impact on the genre, the show also broke ground by exploring the human condition under extreme circumstances, examining themes of survival, morality, and the consequences of societal collapse. It became a cultural phenomenon, attracting a dedicated fan base and influencing subsequent TV productions. Additionally, the show’s success prompted the expansion of “The Walking Dead” franchise, including spin-off series including Fear the Walking Dead, The Walking Dead: Dead City, The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon, and more, solidifying its place in the annals of television history for its cultural impact and the enduring popularity of zombie narratives in contemporary entertainment.
Premiering in September of this year, The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon is the fifth spin-off and sixth overall series of The Walking Dead franchise. Feel free to catch up on new episodes on Sundays. The premise is Daryl finds himself stranded on the shores of France, the birthplace of the zombie virus, grappling with the mystery of his arrival and the reasons behind it. The narrative unfolds as he navigates the fractured yet resilient landscape of France, seeking a path back to his home. However, as he progresses on this quest, the relationships he forges along the way add complexity to his original plan.
Resident Evil is a compelling zombie movie for several reasons. The film, based on the popular video game series, successfully blends elements of horror, science fiction, and action. Its atmospheric tension, amplified by a sinister soundtrack and impressive visual effects, creates a sense of impending doom in the zombie-infested, claustrophobic environment of the Hive. The movie benefits from Milla Jovovich’s strong performance as Alice, the central character, and the film’s narrative unfolds with suspenseful pacing. The strategic use of practical effects and well-executed action sequences enhances the overall viewing experience. Resident Evil, not only delivers on the zombie genre’s expectations with its undead hordes but also adds a layer of intrigue with a complex plot involving the Umbrella Corporation’s sinister experiments, making it a standout and enjoyable addition to the zombie movie landscape.
Love Resident Evil? We have a few sequels available on VOD from AMC, including Resident Evil: Retribution, Resident Evil: Extinction, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Resident Evil: Afterlife and the most recent, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter with the STARZ add-on.
Big fan of Zombieland? Check out Zombieland: Double Tap, available with the STARZ add-on. It is the sequel to the 2009 film Zombieland and features the return of the original cast, including Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin. The movie is set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies and follows the main characters as they navigate through various challenges and encounters with the undead. Double Tap, introduces new characters to the mix and explores the dynamics of the group as they seek a safe haven while dealing with evolved forms of zombies. The film combines humor, action, and horror elements, maintaining the tone of the original while expanding on the adventures of the survivors in a world overrun by the living dead.
And just in case you thought you saw an entire Friday The 13th post with no reference to the movies that bears its name…
What’s your favorite zombie movie or show on Philo? Do you have any recommendations that we missed! Share them below in our comments!