Nice to Eat You: Comic Zombie Movies

Puttin' Some Zom in Your Com

Zombie comedies ("zom-coms" or "zomedies") have really exploded in the 21st century, mining for nervous laughs  the abject fear inherent in the concept of hordes of living dead trying to eat you alive. However, the zom com has been around longer than you might think. Here's a look at some of the notable entries.

This faux documentary takes place in a world in which zombies who can talk, think and otherwise act "normal," apart from the whole eating humans thing coexist with the living--but as second-class citizens striving to find their place. It delivers not only dry humor but biting social commentary not usually found in your average zom com.

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Bio Zombie (1998)

Bio Zombie
© Tokyo Shock

Fairly entertaining Hong Kong flick about a couple of big-mouthed, small-minded mall workers who accidentally unleash a chemical weapon that turns people in the mall into zombies--the film resembles a low-rent Dawn of the Dead.

Good gore and production values mark this otherwise not terribly funny Irish (yes, Irish!) zom com featuring singer/actress Samantha Mumba as the girlfriend of a teenage boy who dies and is brought back from the dead by his mother's voodoo. However, dating a zombie proves to be difficult, as "necking" takes on a whole new meaning.

In this Czechoslovakian film, a group of people gather on a retreat in an isolated cabin to discuss the meaning of life. They end up truly understanding how much life is worth when they're surrounded by an army of zombie woodsmen who wear funny hats and like the taste of human flesh. The film is talky and full of silly slapsticky action, with zombies dancing and practicing kung fu.

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Creatures from the Pink Lagoon (2006)

Creatures From The Pink Lagoon
© Ariztical

In this smartly written, gay-themed spoof full of strong performances, a group of friends gather for a birthday party that's interrupted by zombies--gay zombies! It seems they've been spawned from the "West End Virus" spread at a local rest stop frequented by, um, happy folk.

A group of friends on their way to a wedding stop off at a bed and breakfast and, as punk kids are apt to do, accidentally unleash evil spirits that turn the town's population into zombies. Although the film features a strong cast--including Portia de Rossi and Jeremy Sisto--its humor (which includes ongoing musical narration) is too self-consciously clever to fully work.

One of the best zombie comedies to date, this "rom zom com" (romantic zombie comedy) finds a high school loser on a mission to win back his girlfriend while simultaneously saving the school from a zombie invasion, courtesy of the nearby nuclear power plant.

Zany humor, including a zombie baby and kung fu priest, and over-the-top gore make up this classic early effort from New Zealand's Peter Jackson, later of Lord of the Rings fame.

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Dead Heat (1988)

Dead Heat
© Anchor Bay

This '80s guilty pleasure features a mad scientist creating zombies to commit robberies in Los Angeles. When an LAPD officer is killed trying to arrest the crooks, he returns as a zombie to track down the suspects--hopefully before he decomposes or before Joe Piscopo has time to deliver another one-liner.

Woefully cheap and unfunny story about rental car agents who lead a group of survivors in a zombie apocalypse--otherwise, they run around doing nothing much. Its only claim to fame is its climactic "world's largest zombie scene". (Incidentally, there's no moon in the movie, as inexplicably, no scenes take place at night.)

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Dead Snow (2009)

'Dead Snow' movie poster.
© IFC

This is an outrageously fun Norwegian fare about a group of friends at a ski lodge who find themselves the targets of vengeful Nazi zombies.

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Die and Let Live (2006)

Die and Let Live
© Heretic

Clerks meets Night of the Living Dead, with an even lower budget and worse acting than either. Still, this tale of a high school boy whose party to woo the girl of his dreams is ruined by a zombie invasion is smarter and more fun than most micro-budget genre fare.

This clever satire of '50s suburbia incorporates zombies as domesticated servants in otherwise idyllic surroundings. Nothing bad can come of that, right?
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Hide and Creep (2004)

Hide and Creep
© Asylum
It's good ol' boys versus zombies in this inconsistent but engaging low-budget film about an alien invasion that leads to a zombie uprising in a small Southern town.
A teen is killed protecting the girl he loves before he has a chance to tell her how he feels. But death apparently is easy to overcome if you just want it bad enough, as the boy returns to woo his love while trying to curb his growing desire to feed. More comedy than horror, this film features early screen roles from Matthew Fox, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Matthew McConaughey.
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Night of the Creeps (1986)

Night of the Creeps
© Sony

Eighties awesomeness in which alien brain slugs (yeah, you heard me) reanimate the corpses of victims of a fraternity bus crash, and only an LGOC (little geek on campus) can stop them--with the help of a burned-out cop (the hilarious Tom Atkins).

Like a German version of American Pie with zombies, this low-brow, sex-obsessed flick revolves around three high school geeks who die and are revived by voodoo-practicing goth kids. Being dead isn't so bad, they find, when their social status actually improves post-mortem. Despite ho-hum, unimaginative humor, it's nonetheless been targeted for an American remake.

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Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone (2001)

Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone
© Fangoria

In an Argentine city overrun by zombies, only three men can save the day: a math geek, a failed med student and a . . .professional wrestler? Low budget but entertaining fare channeling the spirit of early work from Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson.

As cheap and dumb as the title implies, this zom com finds radioactive marijuana giving a group of weedheads a nasty case of the munchies.

Possibly Troma Entertainment's greatest achievement (for what that's worth), Poultrygeist is a simultaneously smart and sophomoric musical romantic zombie comedy ("muz rom zom com"?) about an ancient curse that infests a fast-food restaurant, turning its patrons into half-chicken zombies.

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Re-Animator (1985)

Re-animator
© Empire

This cult hit that launched the careers of director Stuart Gordon and actor Jeffrey Combs has found a following thanks to its over-the-top performances and gruesome content----in which a medical student experiments on raising the dead, with predictably disastrous results.

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Redneck Zombies (1988)

Redneck Zombies: 20th Anniversary Edition DVD
© Troma
Above-average Troma fare about rednecks who discover a lost military barrel of nuclear waste and use it as a still to brew moonshine, turning whoever drinks it into ravenous zombies.

This highly entertaining and influential offshoot of George Romero's Living Dead series takes a comedic approach to a zombie uprising, as a pair of bumbling workers in a medical supply company accidentally infect a local graveyard with a secret government chemical that somehow raises the dead.

This outrageous and uneven but often fun horror comedy from Thailand exploits the SARS scare by portraying a mutated virus turning its victims into zombies. Zombie babies, a giant snake and a teddy bear with a shotgun provide oddball highlights.

One of the best and most popular zombie comedies, this British rom zom com delivers both zombie carnage and hilarious conversational British wit.
Dark humor pervades this Japanese tale of two slacker friends with dreams of jujitsu fame who use their fighting skills to survive a zombie holocaust. Alternately slapsticky and deadly serious, it combines comedy, horror, drama and animation (zom com dram anime?) as only the Japanese can do.
A zombie outbreak of extraterrestrial origin strikes rural Australia in this ambitious and successful debut from the Spierig brothers (), which mines humor in small-town personalities placed in unusual circumstances.
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Undead or Alive (2007)

Undead or Alive
© Image
Moderately fun horror-comedy-western in which a pair of hapless outlaws (Chris Kattan and James Denton) try to outrun a zombie sheriff and his undead posse, victims of a Native American curse.
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Wild Zero (2000)

Wild Zero
© Synapse
Japanese rock 'n roll + aliens + zombies + naked military heroine + transsexual love interest + hot pants = (mouth agape)
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Zombie Strippers (2008)

Zombie Strippers DVD
© Sony

When a government experiment goes awry (don't they all?), zombies are unleashed and surround a nearby strip club, turning the workers and clientele into the living dead, much to the chagrin of the germophobic club manager (Robert Englund at his best). Funnier than it has any right to be.

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Zombieland (2009)

'Zombieland' movie poster.
© Sony

One of the few zombie comedies produced for mainstream audiences on a significant budget, Zombieland finds a ragtag group of survivors battling their way through a landscape of the living dead. Featuring soon-to-be-megastars Emma Stone and Jessie Eisenberg.

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Zombies on Broadway (1945)

Zombies on Broadway
© RKO

One of the original zom coms, this enjoyable spoof of the atmospheric melodrama I Walked with a Zombie features a wannabe Abbot and Costello duo traveling to the fictitious Caribbean island St. Sebastian to bring back a zombie for a new zombie-themed night club. There, they find Bela Lugosi as a mad scientist (is there any other kind?) seeking to replicate the natives’ voodoo-enabled ability to make the dead walk.

The second best zombie-versus-stripper movie of 2008! A similar setup to Zombie Strippers works more often than not--just not quite as consistently as its higher-profile competition.