Movies & TV / Columns

Ten Deep 1.10.13: Top 10 Movie Zombie Killers

January 10, 2013 | Posted by Mike Gorman

“Top Ten Movie Zombie Killers”

All too often when we discuss zombie films we tend to focus on the undead. Are they runners or slow Romero stumblers? How bloody do they get? Are they still intelligent at all? What get lost in these reviews are the heroes who put their lives on the line to stop the apocalypse from occurring. I am taking a stand now (with tongue planted firmly in cheek of course) to defend their honor. This week Ten Deep will look back at the Top Ten Zombie Killers on the big screen.

Before I get to the list I want to squash any rabid screaming that may occur when you see some of the films that made the list. Yes, I was a bit liberal in my application of the word zombies and allowed a few instances of viral outbreak that cause zombie like effects to be included because of how badass the starring characters turned out to be. If you are not happy with that idea, please check out the list anyway and remember that if you register you direct all of your ire towards me in the comments section! That said, let’s get to these fearless (or fearful!) zombie hunters!

10. Herbert West from Re-Animator

Herbert West made this week’s Ten Deep because he is in the unique position of being responsible for the re-animation of the dead so he must also be responsible for taking them down when things go terribly wrong, as I think we all assumed they would. West is indeed a mad scientist who is almost as interesting to watch and figure out as the cadavers he brings back to life. In the video below you’ll see a compilation of Herbert’s best moments from the series of Re-Animator films he headlined.

9. Ana from Dawn of the Dead (2004)

First, I am not going to compare the Dawn of the Dead remake to the original. I prefer to think of it as another zombie film that happens to take place at a mall. They are two different films; and each very good in their own way. In this 2004 outing we meet Ana at the very beginning of the film and it becomes evident from the get go that she can handle herself. She comes home from a rough day at the hospital, passes out with her husband and awakens to find the world has changed. In fact, her husband has become a rabid maniac. She has to think fast and she does. Below you can see this scene in its entirety. Ana goes on to show that she has a level head on her shoulders and deserves to survive… even if the men she gets close to are not so lucky.

8. Lionel from Dead Alive

While I did say I was trying to avoid the traditional ranking of the gore factor when it comes to zombie movies in this week’s Deep, how can I not mention that Dead Alive is one of the bloodiest, grossest movies of all time. Don’t believe me? Watch it, and pay attention during the dinner scene. In this film we meet poor Lionel, whose mum passes on but still leads to major problems. Lionel shines because he spends most of the film a bumbling fool and then comes into his own towards the end of this adventure. He also wins points for the most creative use of a lawnmower ever in the history of film. Check out what he did with it below…

7. The Bikers from Dawn of the Dead (1978)

For me, Dawn of the Dead (1978) is my go to classic zombie film and I could easily devote an entire week to discussing the ten most awesome things about it, but when it comes to those who kill zombies in it, I had to narrow it down to the biker gang. They show up late in the film and they are not around for long but their impact is memorable. It doesn’t hurt that this gang is led by horror effects master Tom Savini himself. You have to wonder just what exploits they had gotten into that led them to the mall… now there’s an idea of a cool film. Are you out there George?

6. Alice from Resident Evil

Wipe her memory, clone her, take her powers, heck even kill her, and you cannot keep Alice from the Resident Evil series down. She doesn’t just fight zombies of one flavor either, in her universe the T virus mutates the dead into all kinds of messed up creatures. Regardless of what she faces Alice is there, without flinching. She has the most balls of anyone on the list… and yes, I get the irony in that statement. One of my favorite Alice scenes is when she takes on the Axeman in the relatively lackluster Afterlife installment of the series, and yes she gets a little help from Claire Redfield. Here is that scene:

5. Tallahassee from Zombieland

To say that Tallahassee is pretty darn epic does not at all feel like an overstatement or hyperbole. Now that the world is ending, he has a singular focus and will not even let zombies deter him from reaching his goal. That is admirable. Of course, that goal happens to be finding himself a Twinkie, which I think is made all the more poignant by the recent happenings with the Hostess Corporation. When it comes to actual zombie kills Tallahassee has some of the best in Zombieland including his last stand in the amusement park game booth at the film’s climax. This quick scene sums up his character nicely…

4. Shaun & Ed from Shaun of the Dead

How could I separate these two and just pick one? Shaun and Ed are best friends to a fault and they take on the zombie apocalypse with the same intensity that they tackle life… that is not much. But they do keep their priorities straight and will do anything to keep the people they love alive. Sure, when it comes to actual bravery, strategy, and zombie kills, Shaun would garner a higher rank but it is Ed who keeps him grounded as the world crumbles around them. I know if the dead ever rise here I would want my best friends around, if anything to keep me laughing in the face of imminent death.

Shaun and Ed’s first encounter with a zombie is a scene to remember…

3. Selena from 28 Days Later

As we crack the top three the selections become pretty clear to me. These are the zombie killers you would want to be around if the plague occurs. They are badass to the core. Take Selena, the number three pick for example. She is survival wrapped up in a small package, carrying a machete. Sure she does have a heart but her it is a bit buried so it can remain protected. Just as she will pretty much do anything necessary to protect her physical safety. She knows what she is doing and can handle pretty much any situation she encounters, including problems of the human variety. If you enjoyed her story in the film, I encourage you to check out the 28 Days Later comic that continues it. Selena’s legend will continue to grow!

Here you have the Alternate Ending to the film that test audiences found bleak but I think is great and filled with awesome Selena moments.

2. Ben from Night of the Living Dead

We have to go back to George Romero’s original zombie classic to find one of my favorite zombie killers. It is of course, Ben. We don’t know much of his back story and we really don’t need to, what we do know is that he is very capable in a crisis and has a very even keeled head on his shoulders. Of all the characters we meet in that farm house, Ben is the only one who seems to see the big picture of what is really going on. He is able to strategize on the fly and knows exactly what they need to do to protect themselves. Ben’s ability to thrive and survive is made all the more tragic by the film’s ending.

Have you not seen the original 1968 film? If so, click below, it is the entire film waiting for you!

And lastly…

1. El Wray & Cherry Darling from Planet Terror

Another duo I know, but I could not separate these two because together I feel like they urn the top spot at the ultimate zombie killers. In this modern take on a splatter film, El Wray & Cherry Darling kick ass and take names like it’s no one’s business. From El Wray’s knife skills & hallway acrobatics at the hospital to Cherry’s deadly new leg, there is not much to complain about with these two. And as I said earlier, let’s not get into debating the validity of calling Planet Terror a zombie film, I’d rather spend our time discussing how awesome El Wray & Cherry Darling are in the face of a mindless, bloody horde.

Need some proof? Check out the scene from the hospital that I mentioned. It is one of the film’s best.

Take a break from packing your zombie apocalypse bug out bag and let me know what you thought of this list. Could you survive better than these ten? Tell me your strategy!

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Mike Gorman

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