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Warning: Not for the faint of heart! Some of these scenes are completely inappropriate for children.
Too many zombie flicks these days rely on gore, or the action fantasy or endless shot-to-head action. Where’s the real terror? When Roger Ebert initially reviewed Night of the Living Dead in 1969, his review was mostly about how terrified the audience was. Other than some cheap jump startles and nasty special effects, there’s not much to scare audiences in a lot of zombie flicks. But check these out!
This is known as the “finding the keys” scene. You can feel the panic as she ransacks the place looking for the damn things, and the moment when she gets out to the stairs again is the reason they probably handed out changes of pants at the door in the theater.
4. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
In the remake of Dawn of the Dead, a movie that grows on me with every subsequent viewing, one of the characters is pregnant. She ends up bitten, and in this scene, we see what she gives birth to.
3. Zombi 2 (1979)
Zombi was the Italian title for Dawn of the Dead, and this movie was titled entirely as a way to cash in on the success of what is still Romero’s most successful film. Despite somewhat shady origins, it’s actually a hell of a film, considered not only one of the best zombie movies ever, but one of the best horror movies period. This is an iconic scene that will really mess with your head. Watch how slowly it happens, building tension, making you wonder how far they’ll actually go! Spoiler: It’s an Italian horror movie, so pretty damn far.
2. Return of the Living Dead
One of my personal favorites, this scene is creepy for so many reasons. Return of the Living Dead did something few films have – gave zombies the power of speech. Their voices, in the few instances in the film when they speak, is suitably creepy, and the dialogue in this scene is especially unsettling.
1. Night of the Living Dead
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know by now that I hold Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead in the highest regard. So you shouldn’t be surprised to see it showing up at number 1. And of all the great scenes in that iconic film, by far the scariest is the basement scene with Karen Cooper and her mom. I’ve mentioned before how much I love Karen – played by Kyra Schon. She’s my Instagram profile picture. She’s the most unsettling zombie in the picture, and ultimately the one who does the most damage. And this is the penultimate scene with her. When Roger Ebert complained that this film was too scary, he was no doubt thinking about this scene.
And that’s it for my little list! What’s your favorite zombie movie moment? One of these, or a different one? Talk to me in the comments section!