A zombie (from that Haitian Creole word “zonbi”) is an animated corpse brought back to “life” by mystical means, including voodoo and witchcraft. Such zombies often worked the fields or in dangerous jobs during the night, where they would not disturb or even come into contact with the living. One notable position for zombies was as bakers in bakeries. There are stories often told about people encountering zombies on their way to the bakery at dawn.
In 1968, writer-director George A. Romero forever changed how the world defined zombies. In his film Night of the Living Dead, zombies were not mindless workers but rather slow-moving but voracious “living dead” whose sole purpose was to consume the living. Although early zombies caused fear more out of repulsion (from the fact that such creatures were mindless dead), Romero’s zombies were much more dangerous, for one bite of such a creature meant that the victim would die and in turn rise from the grave as a ravenous zombie.
Since Night of the Living Dead, writers, artists, musicians, and filmmakers have all contributed to the modern zombie myth, expanding and twisting Romero’s original concept at will. The list here limits itself to the top five films that involve modern living dead. Those lucky to have little experience in the modern zombie genre should start with these five films, as they are considered by many to be the best of the best.