Since Zombieland opens today, we're devoting the second of our 31 specials for the 31 days of Halloween to our nine favorite death scenes from zombie movies. Some of the folks who die are zombies, and some are humans, but they all go in some of the goriest, most amazing ways possible!
Check back tomorrow at noon for the 10 scariest Stephen King novels.
Dawn of the Dead (1979)
George Romero's 1979 classic certainly set the stage for filmmakers to come up with new and creative ways for people to be chopped into pieces, thanks in no small part to sequences like the one above. As the progenitor for most contemporary gore films, at least in America, there are a ton of memorable deaths in this movie, but this dumb deadite's dispatching via helicopter blade is the best of all of them.
Zombie (Zombie Flesh Eaters) (1979)
Truth be told, Zombie has one of the best scenes in all of cinema history, where a zombie squares off against a real shark. But if that isn't enough to make your eyes pop out of your head, there's another sequence where an unfortunate woman's ocular cavity finds itself on the business end of a gigantic splinter—in excruciating, slow detail.
Gates of Hell (City of the Living Dead) (1980)
After a priest commits suicide in this 1980 Italian horror film, a lot of bizarre and unexplained stuff starts happening. But the most disturbing is probably when a girl interrupts a make-out session with her boyfriend in order to vomit up her own entrails before squeezing out her boyfriend's brains. The moral is, don't ask your girlfriend, "What the devil is the matter?" Because this is how she might answer.
Hell of the Living Dead (Virus) (1980)
Bruno Mattei's zombie film was probably best known for stealing footage from the pseudo-documentary La Vallee and music from Romero's Dawn of the Dead, but the exploitation director did manage to create one memorable moment on his own when a horde of zombies decide to give an unlucky girl an amateur tonsillectomy.
Day of the Dead (1985)
Romero returned to the genre that made him famous in this 1985 follow-up to Dawn of the Dead. As the humans' safe haven from the surface world of zombies inevitably gets breached, fascist Commander Rhodes finds himself being hunted by a zombie that the living have been trying to domesticate; although the dexterous, undead gunman gets off a few lucky shots, it's his fellow zombies who end up taking down the one-man zombie killing squad.
Evil Dead II (1987)
All three of Sam Raimi's Dead films featured their share of cartoonish gore, but this scene from the second film is by far our favorite: After beheading and burying his possessed girlfriend, Ash (Bruce Campbell) squares off first against her disembodied head, and then her headless body, eventually gaining the upper hand (no pun intended) by commandeering the corpse's weapon of choice, a chainsaw. Lots of flying fluids ensue.
Dead Alive (Braindead) (1992)
Before Peter Jackson became the respectable auteur responsible for the Lord of the Rings movies, he spent the first part of his career crafting hugely entertaining gorefests for audiences in New Zealand, the most infamous of which may be 1992's Dead Alive. During the film's climax, the main character uses nothing less than a lawnmower to dispatch an encroaching army of reanimated dead bodies, bathing his victims—and himself—in enough blood to cover the battlefields of Middle-earth.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Edgar Wright's opus offers plenty of tributes to classic scenes in other zombie movies, but he certainly proves his mettle as a purveyor of gore in this climactic scene, where Shaun's sometime adversary David falls prey to a phalanx of flesh-eating monsters.
Planet Terror (2007)
Robert Rodriguez' tribute to the zombie and killer-virus movies of the 1970s and '80s culminates in a terrific firefight between his main character Cherry (Rose McGowan) and an army of zombie soldiers. Almost as cool as the idea of a super-hot chick wielding a machine gun for a leg is the sequence above, where a helicopter pilot decimates a group of fleeing soldiers. (Incidentally, we are aware that this was similarly done in 28 Weeks Later, but we prefer Rodriguez' splattery spectacle.)
And while you're in a Halloween state of mind, why not check out:
Day 1: 19 amazing Star Wars pumpkins