Full disclosure: my favorite death in Brad Pitt’s World War Z is when the young, idealistic doctor, teamed up with Pitt’s character to find the cause/cure of the zombie plague, manages to slip, fall, and discharge his handgun, blowing his own brains out. God, it was really, really, awesome.
Of course, it might have been more awesome if he had tripped on an actual zombie. Titillating cinematic irony aside, zombies have been responsible for some of the most gruesomely awesome deaths in all of cinema.
With that in mind, we’re proud to present to you 10 of the greatest, nastiest, chompiest zombie kills of all time!
10. Patience Buckner and Sigourney Weaver
Kicked living ass in: Cabin in the Woods (2011)
Zombies. So passe. So yesterday.
But what could be more awesome than zombies? A Zombie Redneck Torture Family!
And no one does zombie redneck torture like Cabin in the Woods‘ Patience Buckner. Even if she dresses like a 9-year-old extra from Little House on the Prairie and her religious zealot brother “hacked up and ate” her arm before she died and was then consigned to a subterranean monster zoo. But what she lacks in home life and personality, she more than makes up for in ass-kicking. What other monster in movie history can say they took out Sigourney Weaver with an axe to the head?
Eat your hearts out, you stupid aliens.
9. Karen Cooper and Her Pop
Kicked living ass in: Night of the Living Dead (1967)
“Poppa? can you hear me?”
Nope. Not when Poppa has been eviscerated by his little girl. Poor baby. Her parents tried so hard to keep her safe in the basement of that deserted farmhouse even as it was being overrun by every zombie in a five mile radius.
Karen lay quietly, barely complaining, a good girl until the end as she calmly succumbed to infection from a bite. Such a well-mannered child. There was a lot of in-family zombie murder going on in this flick (Barbara and her brother), but nothing could quite top the scene of Karen in her little-girl dress clutching a fistful of her daddy’s viscera.
8. Zombie Mob and David
Kicked living ass in: Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Only a pair of idiots would decide to ride out the zombie apocalypse in the local pub, especially when several walls of that pub are nothing but large, plate glass windows. But if Shaun and Ed are idiots, what does that say about the complete morons who followed them? I’m talking about Liz, David, and Dianne – not the shambling mob of zombies trailing behind them.
When everything goes to hell, as we all knew it would, it is David who suffers most. And I mean that literally. The zombie horde drags David out the window and promptly rips him limb from limb.
7. Trash and the Hobo
Kicked living ass in: Return of the Living Dead (1985)
There was a whole lot of deaths in Return of the Living Dead, but no other character made quite an impression like Trash. She was cool when she was alive, what with her flame red buzz cut and her naked cemetery dancing. And her death was pretty cool too — devoured by zombies during a toxic rainstorm. Heck, it was almost romantic.
But Trash really came into her own as a nearly naked zombie running amok in nothing but her legwarmers, with a mouth made for chewing on the homeless. Also, extra points for emerging from the grave like a graceful ballerina!
6. Zombie Mob and Capt. Rhodes
Kicked living ass in: Day of the Dead (1985)
Zombies have had a long and complicated relationship with the military. When they aren’t being gunned down en masse, they are being held captive in secret military bunkers and used as test subjects by nefarious scientists. While Bub the zombie and his mad scientist shared a creepy (yet no less loving) relationship, he always managed to raise the ire of one Capt. Rhodes, who was, and we have to be honest here, a dick.
How can you tell if you are being a dick during the apocalypse? Everyone is rooting for the zombies to kill you. Rhodes finally gets it when Bub chases him down a corridor and into the waiting arms of a zombie mob with a penchant for dismemberment.
5. Pvt. Mailer and Major West
Kicked living ass in: 28 Days Later (2002)
Like his American counterpart, Capt. Rhodes, British Major Henry West was also a dick. Sure, he had good intentions. He thought he could take his little rag-tag squad of degenerate soldiers, fortify a mansion, and wait out the apocalypse. Maybe find a couple of nice ladies to help them repopulate and set up a new world order.
But we all know what happens with good intentions.
Locking Pvt. Mailer up in a courtyard after he succumbed to the rage-zombie infection was a good idea… until he got loose and proceeded to bite and slobber blood all over the rest of the men, quickly infecting them and turning the major’s utopian vision into a nightmare. It was Mailer who had the last laugh though, smashing through the rear window of a car and dragging the major out for an old fashioned evisceration.
4. Swamp Zombie and Dale
Kicked living ass in: The Walking Dead, “Judge, Jury, Executioner” (2012)
We can blame Carl for this one. Sure, throwing rocks at zombies while they are stuck in a swamp is fun…until they follow you home. Poor Dale. He was becoming the moral center of the group. Yet, his impassioned plea for mercy on behalf of a stranger fell on deaf ears. Was he right to beg his friends to keep their humanity? Or were Rick and Shane right for leading the group down a darker path?
Sadly, Dale will never know, thanks to his totally unexpected disembowelment by Carl’s swamp zombie. An ironic death and a bit bizarre. After all, swamp zombie had just finished gorging on a (clearly slow moving) cow. I guess Dale was dessert?
3. Don and Alice
Kicked living ass in: 28 Weeks Later (2007)
I love me some Robert Carlyle, so you can imagine my dismay when I realized his screen time in the 28 Days Later sequel would be so short lived. When the movie opens, Don and his wife Alice are trying to survive the zombie apocalypse, barricaded in an old farmhouse with a bunch of strangers (boy that sounds familiar).
They get separated and Alice, who turns out to be a carrier of the zombie virus, gets locked up in a shady government test bunker (where have I heard that before?) while Don gets an awesome job as a janitor for the very same facility (who wrote this??).
Unfortunately, their reunion is bittersweet… as only reunions of couples where the wife is strapped to a table as the husband turns into a zombie and beats her to death can be.
2. Peeper Zombie and Paola
Kicked living ass in: Zombi 2 (1979)
Italian filmmakers are pretty darn sick. How sick you ask? Sick enough to terrorize lots and lots of naked ladies. I don’t know about you, but I always like to fantasize about my zombie contingency plan. Where would I go, how would I hide? What if there was nowhere to hide? What if zombies are everywhere? In the water, on your secluded island home, spying on you as you shower?
Pretty Paola learns the hard way that a poorly assembled, weak, wooden door is not enough protection against a determined shambler. Despite his advanced state of decay, her creepy zombie stalker has no problem punching right through the door and impaling Paola, eye first, on a jagged splinter. Slowly.
1. Underwater Zombie and Shark
Kicked living ass in: Zombi 2 (1979)
You know what my favorite past time is? Naked underwater scuba diving in shark and zombie infested water. But I digress. In this glorious Italian film, there is a scene of a zombie fighting a shark. I repeat: A ZOMBIE FIGHTING A SHARK.
There is nothing better, no zombie attack scene more glorious. Chunks of shark flesh are devoured, a shark is ridden through the water, and a zombie arm is torn off. Did I say glorious? GLORIOUS!
At the end of the scene, both monsters swim away, but we all know that shark is infected. The zombie wins, and I am so sure Zombie-Shark: The Movie will be coming to a Syfy channel near you in the very near future.
This article originally ran on Oct. 26, 2014.