I think these three are my trinity of zombie movies. If someone said “Undead marathon, zombie style!” these are what I’d pull out, along with the popcorn. Night of the Living Dead is seminal, in my eyes, Shaun of the Dead is a homage to every zombie movie ever, and 28 Days Later is my favourite current era dramatic film of the genre (yes, rage virus, fast v slow…).
But these are where I’d start.
What I’m doing. Right now
28 DAYS LATER IS NOT A FUCKING ZOMBIE MOVIE. JUST STAHP.
I’m sure that after you take a few deep breaths the sheer obviousness that very few zombie movies have actual zombies in them (Raised from the dead and controlled by a magician? Not that often…) so the genre has already distanced itself from the literal. 28 Days Later is more of what Night Of The Living Dead partook of earlier.
I find the “not real vampires!” argument often similarly flawed—but I guess each of us have our personal camel’s back to break. Mindless bodies chasing you to eat you and spread their “problem”? Whether they move fast or slow, caused by outer space (Space rays! That’s what Night Of The Living Dead is about!) or medicine or magic, they have the same essence for me.