Curator’s Choice: George A. Romero’s ‘Living Dead’ Series and related Media by order of release.

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Featured Image is from Hell of the Living Dead (1980), one of the better entries to the Living Dead saga not made by Romero or Fulci.

In anticipation of Halloween, we are asking: are George A. Romero‘s ‘…of the Dead’ movies the greatest zombie flicks on the silver screen? Perhaps you prefer Evil Dead, Re-animator, 28 Days Later. Or perhaps there is something seriously wrong with you and it’s the Resident Evil Movies.

Well guess what fuckers, you’re all wrong. Yes The Living Dead series is of course the quintessential zombie experience on celluloid, and when combined with the power of the films that spun off it, knocked off it, made fun of it, retold it and connected with it in any way…

…then what you’ve got is a guidebook, my friends. A guidebook called:

“Brains: How To Do Zombies Good”

Here are the movies of the Living Dead Saga. Not just series. Bare with me folks, this is where it gets complicated but I’m gonna walk you through it in a paragraph, baby.

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Lucio Fulci also directed the excellent City of the Living Dead which I desperately wanted to include in this list along with it’s sequels The Beyond and House by the Cemetery. Unfortunately the only common denominators (or should I say common Demoninator) are the words ‘Living Dead’ and Fulci himself. It’s actually set in a town called Dunwich, which horror buffs will recognise immediately as a part of Lovecraftian Lore. 

Night of the Living Dead gets released in 1968. This was by no way the first film to feature zombies, but it caused a stir for it’s sheer technique, nihilism, gore and for it being one of the first films to feature a singular black hero, Ben, in the midst of a whole lotta whities. It was followed up 10 years later by sequel Dawn of the Dead, and from then the Living Dead series was an international hit and caught the attention of prolific Italian film-maker Lucio Fulci. Fulci made an unauthorised sequel called Zombi 2 (Dawn of the Dead was released as Zombi in Italy). Zombi 2 had several sequels of it’s own, and after a couple of international distributions and a re-release in the 90s from cult publisher Edde Entertainment it had several sequels attributed to it (some made even before the original film). Just before Dawn of the Dead, Romero‘s co-writer for N.o.t.L.D. John A. Russo wrote his own sequel to the film – a novel called Return of the Living Dead. This was very loosely adapted by Dan O’Bannon (writer of the Alien series) for the screen in 1985. The Return of the Living Dead movie also had several sequels. There have also been parodies of the main series and direct Romero tribute films such as Shaun of the Dead and Fido etc.

All films that fit into the above categories are included in this list, which is ordered by date of release so that the viewer can enjoy watching the progression (or rather decomposition) of the zombie genre over the years.

Colour Key:
Each item on the chronological list corresponds with a different colour which I have assigned to each specific series within the Living Dead saga (mentioned above). The key is:

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This is either Bill Hinzman, the zombie that started it all, or Stephen Morris, the drummer from Joy Division. I’m not sure.

Romero’s Living Dead Series and remakesZombi/Zombie Flesh Eaters TrilogyEdde Entertainment’s Zombie SeriesReturn of the Living Dead Series, DocumentaryHomage or ParodyUnofficial Sequel

1968

Night of the Living Dead (dir. George A. Romero)

1973

The Hanging Woman  (aka Zombie 3: Return of the Zombies/La orgía de los muertos, dir. José Luis Merino)

A Virgin Among the Living Dead (aka Zombie 4/Christina, princesse de l’érotisme, dir. Jesús Franco)

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The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (aka Zombi 3 – Da dove vieni?/Let Sleeping Corpses Lie/Don’t Open the Window/No profanar el sueño de los muertos/Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti, dir. Jorge Grau)

1977

Return of the Living Dead (Novel, aut. John A. Russo)

1978

Dawn of the Dead (aka Zombi, dir. George A. Romero)

1979

Document of the Dead (Documentary on the making of Dawn of the Dead, dir. Roy Frumkes)

Zombi 2 (aka Zombie Flesh Eaters/Zombie/The Island of the Living Dead/Zombie The Dead Walk Among Us/Gli Ultimi Zombi/Woodoo/L’Enfer de Zombies/Zombie 2: The Dead Are Among Us and Nightmare Island, dir. Lucio Fulci)

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The Zombie/Shark fight in Zombi 2 (Zombie Flesh Eaters in the UK) lists as one of humanity’s greatest achievments, alongside the Pyramids, the internet, the railway and the aeroplane.

1980

Hell of the Living Dead (aka Virus – l’inferno dei morti viventi/Night of the Zombies/Zombie Creeping Flesh, dir. Bruno Mattei)

Zombi Holocaust (aka Zombie Holocaust/Zombie 3/Doctor Butcher M.D., dir. Marino Girolami)

Nightmare City (aka City of the Walking Dead/Zombi 3/Incubo sulla città contaminata, dir. Umberto Lenzi)

Antropophagus (aka Anthropophagous: The Beast/The Grim Reaper/Zombie 7/Man Eater/The Savage Island/Gomia, Terror en el Mar Egeo, dir. Joe D’Amato)

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Another Cult Movie heavyweight Joe D’Amato steps into the Living Dead series. His other more famous works include Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke ‘Em High

1981

Absurd (A sequel to 1980’s Antropophagus, aka Rosso Sangue/Anthropophagus 2/Monster Hunter/Horrible/The Grim Reaper 2, dir. Joe D’Amato)

Burial Ground (aka Le Notti del terrore/Nights of Terror/Zombi Horror/The Zombie Dead, dir. Andrea Bianchi)

1982

Revenge in the House of Usher (aka Zombie 5, dir. Jesús Franco)

Panic (aka Zombi 4/Bakterion, dir. Tonino Ricci)

1985

Return of the Living Dead (dir. Dan O’Bannon)

Day of the Dead (dir. George A. Romero)

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This guy is one of my favourite zombies of all time. It’s also one of my favourite movie opening sequences.

1987

Killing Birds (aka Zombie 5/Uccelli assassini/Raptors, dir. Claudio Latanzi)

1988

Return of the Living Dead part II (dir. Ken Wiederhorn)

Zombi 3 (aka Zombie Flesh Eaters 2, dir. Lucio Fulci & Bruno Mattei)

After Death (aka Zombie 4/Zombie Flesh Eaters 3/Oltre la Morte, dir. Claudio Fragasso)

Flesh Eater (dir. Bill Hinzman)

1990

Night of the Living Dead (dir. Tom Savini)

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Another fun fact, Lucio Fulci and George Romero = THE SAME GUY

1991

Zombie ’90: Extreme Pestilence (aka Zombi 7/Zombie 2001: Battle Royale, dir. Andreas Schnaas)

1995

Return of the Living Dead 3 (dir. Brian Yuzna)

2001

Children of the Living Dead (dir. Tor Ramsey)

2004

Dawn of the Dead (dir. Zack Snyder)

Shaun of the Dead (dir. Edgar Wright)

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I’m yet to track down a reasonably priced copy of this, which is by all accounts a god awful game. The movie however, I think is absolutely fantastic.

2005

Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (dir. James Glenn Dudelson, Ana Clavell)

Escape of the Living Dead (Comic, Avatar Press, aut. John A. Russo)

Land of the Dead (dir. George A. Romero)

Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis (dir. William Butler)

Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave (dir. William Butler)

Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler’s Green (Video Game, dev. Brainbox Games)

2006

Fido (dir. Andrew Currie)

Night of the Living Dead 3D (dir. Jeff Broadstreet)

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (dir. Lloyd Kaufman)

2007

Diary of the Dead (dir. George A. Romero)

Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane (dir. Scott Thomas)

2008

Day of the Dead (dir. Steve Miner)

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2008’s Day of the Dead remake had horror legend Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Part 1, 2 & 3) at the helm and really, really should have been better because of it. 

Dance of the Dead (dir. Kristopher Carter)

2009

Zone of the Dead (aka Apocalypse of the Dead, dir. Milan TodorovićMilan Konjević)

Survival of the Dead (dir. George A. Romero)

2011

Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead (dir. Douglas Schulze)

Call of the Dead (Video Game, Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies map, dev. Treyarch)

2012

Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation (dir. Jeff Broadstreet)

Birth of the Living Dead (dir. Rob Kuhns)

2014

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“You Maniacs! You blew it all up! Ahh damn you! God Damn you all to HELL!!” – My words to pretty much anyone who’s made a zombie movie since 1990

Empire of the Dead (Comic, Marvel, aut. George A. Romero)

Night of the Living Dead: Darkest Dawn (aka. Night of the Living Dead: Origins, dir. Krisztian Majdik, Zebediah De Soto)

2017

Day of the Dead (Second remake since the first one was such a flop, dir. Hèctor Hernández Vicens)

That’s all folks! Enjoy your Halloween, hope this helps you with your movie choices/marathons or what have you, and stay hopeful that 2017 brings a Day of the Dead remake worthy of Romero and Fulci, the two Grandads of Horror.

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