Whether you prefer your zombies fast, slow, rotten, fresh, or even undead, we can all agree that there are countless creative ways for someone to die in a zombie movie. With WORLD WAR Z about to unleash another unique type of zombie upon audiences, lets take a look back at some of the best kill scenes from our favorite zombie movies. It was hard to whittle this list down to 10, so I included 3 extras for fun. If your favorite didn't make the cut, please mention it in the talk backs below. Happy head shots, everyone!
Zack Snyder's remake of the George Romero classic ignited the debate of fast versus slow zombies. While I prefer my zombies slow, I did enjoy the hell out of this remake. When it came time for the zombie baby to appear, I wasn't sure if the studio was going to allow us to see an undead newborn, let alone kill it. But, here we have it.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD is not only the best RomZomCom ever made but it is a damn good zombie movie in its own right. The special effects are excellent and pay homage to several classic movies. This scene follows the great fight set to Queen's "Can't Stop Me Now" and caught me off guard. Can you name the movie this scene mimics? Plus, you gotta love the legs and arms being ripped off.
Whether you know it as DEAD ALIVE or BRAINDEAD, Peter Jackson's zombie gorefest is a classic of the genre. I didn't know what expect when the Sumatran Rat Monkey began spreading his disease to the New Zealand masses, but once we got to this scene, I knew this movie was going to be a favorite of mine. You have dicks being ripped off alongside a Kung Fu preacher. Yeah, this is awesome.
I love the films of Lucio Fulci and THE BEYOND is my second favorite. Not quite the traditional zombie film, it does have a whole lot of character. You may see a Z-grade movie but I see Italian horror gold. This scene showcases a special effect that doesn't really make much sense in reality, but when you have heads exploding you shouldn't be trying to justify it with science. Just enjoy the gore.
DAWN OF THE DEAD may be the best zombie movie ever made because of the cultural subtext as well as the innovate special effects. In retrospect, you can easily see the prosthetic on top of the zombie's head, but it is still an impressive way to kill a zombie. Screw your machete or shotgun, I have a helicopter!
The most cringe-worthy moment in any zombie movie I have ever seen, Lucio Fulci's ZOMBI is also home to a slow motion neck bite, a zombie fighting a shark, and much more cheezy goodness. But, this scene is the best/worst. I fully expected the film to cut away at some point and imply the eye trauma, but no. We see the whole thing and it is the most brutal zombie injury that doesn't involve actual biting.
You may know zombie movies, but how well do you know zombie sub-genres? Oh, are you aware of the Nazi zombie sub-genre? The most recent entry is DEAD SNOW which finds a group of friends isolated in the Norwegian mountains with bloodthirsty undead Nazis. What follows is pure gory fun and this head splitting moment is classic.
Another Fulci movie! Man, that guy knows his gore! I saw this film on VHS when it was titled THE GATES OF HELL. You may know it as CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD and, like THE BEYOND, it is not a traditional zombie movie but throws a more supernatural element into the mix. The cursed priest causing the living to become "zombies" is never well explained but it does lead to this really long shot of someone puking up all of their guts. I directed a music video montage of scenes from horror movies back in the day and this scene was the centerpiece. A personal favorite.
While ZOMBIELAND presents many contenders for Kill of the Week, the cameo from Bill Murray stands as the highlight of the movie and confirms something I always worried about during a zombie apocalypse: what if you kill a living person by mistake? Played for laughs, this is a great scene and Murray is a sport for taking part.
So here we have the inspiration for that SHAUN OF THE DEAD scene. While DAY OF THE DEAD is a good zombie movie compared to the genre, it is my least favorite of the original Romero trilogy. But, it does have the best special effects of the three and this scene highlights it. I cannot think of anything more terrifying than getting ripped apart like this.
Another over the top moment from Peter Jackson's zombie movie, the sheer gore here is impressive. See body parts flying and blood spattering in such a way that you will be smiling and laughing your ass off. I would love to see Jackson make a movie like this with a huge budget just to see how batshit crazy it may get.
A short moment towards the start of DAWN OF THE DEAD, this is a scene that you never forget once you see it. Yeah, if you play it in slow motion it is obviously fake, but in the context of the insanity in the film it truly hits you how f*cked up the world has become. The guy wasn't even a zombie as far as we know! Truly an example of how lines blur during the end of days.
While not the goriest death, this is the most profound in any zombie film. There is no denying the political subtext that George Romero brought to the zombie genre and how ahead of his time he would be by equating the ignorance of racism to the killing of zombies. The entire closing credits show Duane Jones' character of Ben being thrown on the pile, his killers indifferent to a black man compared to the undead. A startling and horrible moment that is the most shocking death I have seen in any zombie film.