Top 10 Deadly Virus Flicks Part 2!

Last Updated on August 3, 2021

COOTIES. You hate ’em. I hate ’em. We all hate ’em. That said, the new horror comedy of the same name spreading around the globe this Friday looks to be like the most infectiously fun-filled deadly virus flick to come along in some time. Remember, way back in 2011, we ran down our list of Top 10 Deadly Virus flicks, and now, in honor of both COOTIES and the ever-metastasizing strain of the viral-outbreak-zombie subgenre, it’s now time for round two. I mean, we all know about RESIDENT EVIL and 28 WEEKS later and some of the more obvious examples, but in our encore here we’re about to unearth some perhaps lesser known equally sick viral outbursts. We’ll also make room for some newer strains and omitted ones from last time.

So grab the breathing mask, take a shot of booze and hit of antibiotics…here now is our second round of Top 10 Deadly Virus Flicks!


I don’t give a flaming f*ck how you codify this one, when a noxious zombie gas is released into the atmosphere, only to be rained down into the soil to precipitate a passel of slimy undead ghouls…call it chemical or biological…to my mind RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD most certainly fits the viral outbreak mold (get it, mold)? Besides, like I’d really omit my all time favorite zombie movie from the fray twice in 4 year. Oh hell no! As it relates to COOTIES, think of that great attic scene in RETURN when Freddy begs his girl to let him in, yet knowing he’s sick as a rabid dog, she won’t let him in. Classic germophobe!

#2. IT FOLLOWS (2015)

Let’s talk about sex, baby! Not quite a mouth-spuming zombie picture, granted, IT FOLLOWS actually employed an entirely different virus to become one of the best reviewed horror films of the year. An STD! Much like the movie CONTRACTED, the heightened sense of paranoia in the aftermath of post-coital infection is brilliantly parlayed into an allegorical boogeyman for a new generation. In terms of genuinely terrifying and original horror films, IT FOLLOWS and THE BABADOOK, for my money at least, stand out as the two most effective to come out in the last few years.

#3. DEMONS (1985)

I know we’re getting a little loose here, but stick with us. In Lamberto Bava’s wildly colorful rock-n-roll zombie mosh-pit DEMONS, a real case can be made that it is indeed a supernatural virus that springboards the gory cinema-house ravishment. Recall, in the beginning of the movie, an unsuspecting moviegoer gal accidentally cuts her face while trying on an ancient mask adorning the theater. Soon the wound bubbles and festers into a gangrenous lesion, the likes of which quickly spread throughout the enclosed area and propagate a manically icky-green-slime-ridden zombie takeover. Too sick!

#4. RABID (1977)

Leave it to the undisputed gourmet of grisly body horror – Mr. Cronenberg – to load up a deleterious petri-dish of deadly disease in the unheralded 1977 flick RABID. If you’ll recall, last time we saluted Cronenberg’s SHIVERS, and now, rightly so, RABID gets its deserving due. If you’ve failed to see this one, it follows a young woman who, in the wake of a woeful plastic surgery mishap, turns into an uncontrollably bloodthirsty maniac. Worse yet, every one she attacks soon contracts the condition and too morphs into an unquenchable flesh-fiend.

#5. THE CHILDREN (2008)

Don’t you hate it when you visit a relative’s house for the holidays and a snot-nose little punk ends up getting you sick? Well, the notion is taken to horrifying heights in the criminally under-seen British outbreak flick THE CHILDREN. What starts off as a quaint, snowbound family holiday soon becomes a viral shit-show with a harem of horrifying homunculi running roughshod. How does it happen? COOTIES! Really, once an unidentified cold befalls one of the children, playtime quickly turns into a germ-sharing, savage-forming melee where no human, adults included, are safe and sound.


What a great title! In what essentially amounts to the French equivalent of George A. Romero’s THE CRAZIES, venerated director Jean Rollin puts his own genetically modified spin on the viral-zombie crop with THE GRAPES OF DEATH. See this movie if you have not, I promise you won’t rue the decision. The flick follows a young woman who soon learns that a virulent pesticide sprayed over a French vineyard is turning the population into a nasty horde of blood-parched beasts. Goddamn I love this flick! Great scenery, a bevy of French betties, and more unadulterated carnage than most of flicks of its time.

#7. WARNING SIGN (1985)

While it’s likely our most esoteric title on the list, don’t ignore it friends, WARNING SIGN is just as effective (if not more) than most of its virally lethal counterparts. If you’ve missed the SIGN, it centers on a female security guard at an agriculture plant who slowly discovers that a virulent strain of bacteria has been accidentally uncorked inside the laboratory. The gal not so wisely quarantines herself and everyone else inside the lab, locking out any notion of help from the outside world. In some respects, WARNING SIGN, written by Guillermo del Toro’s longtime writing pal Matthew Robbins, serves as preamble to flicks like the REC series.

#8. WORLD WAR Z (2013)

Since the A-list blockbuster zombie pandemic of WORLD WAR Z hadn’t occurred prior to our last Top 10 on the subject, we now have room to include a salute to the adapted Max Brooks bestseller. Now we all know about the embattled production that Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster had to endure on set of the film, which is why, despite the overuse of CG to render those massive zombie armies, it was a pleasant surprise to see how well the movie turned out in the end. Of course, grand metaphors about immigration and walling up unwanted interlopers are easy to read.

#9. I AM LEGEND (2007)

We made it quite clear last time out that we tend to prefer the original OMEGA MAN as the definitive film version of Richard Matheson’s timeless tale I AM LEGEND, but in the end, Big Willy’s isolated romp through NYC is more than a worthy update. Oh, did I say isolated? I meant accompanied by not only his dog, but a foul legion of monstrous ghouls resulting from a global man-made plague. I’m not sure what’s worse, being the last man alive, immune and healthy, or the last of dying breed threatened by a catastrophic viral incursion. Good thing Alice Braga was there to, ahem, shoulder the load!

#10. CONTRACTED (2013)

While I’ve yet to be exposed to its sequel, PHASE II, CONTRACTED is a movie I quite enjoyed when reviewing it a couple years back. And what I recall digging most about it was the intimate, personal examination of a woman slowly morphing into a ruddy eyed, disease-carrying she-beast. Of course, having the virus result from unprotected sex with a shady partner only ups the precautionary value of the flick. Not saying I went abstinent or anything crazy like that, but damn, seeing the poor girl heinously transmute to nubile sexpot to a watery bag of flesh-rotting repugnance was quite unnerving to say the least.

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