13. Pet Sematary (Mary Lambert, 1989)
Synopsis – Louis Creed and family move into a small town in Maine. When his cat is hit by a semi (they live on a busy highway, not exactly an ideal location for a young family with pets, if you ask me), his helpful neighbor shows him a special Indian burial ground where the buried dead come back to life. Of course this event foreshadows Louis’ son also getting hit by a semi, and against his neighbor’s protestations (oh yeah, nabe, it’s okay for your dead cat to be inhabited by an ancient demon, but whoops, you shouldn’t bury HUMANS there, that would be too much, forget I even mentioned it, buddy. Have a beer.) Louis buries his son there. Who would suspect a child’s giggle could be so sinister?
How to survive – The neighbor really should have kept his blabbermouth shut. Otherwise, try to forget that your adorable dead tyke’s body is inhabited by a malevolent spirit that’s trying to kill you, and fight dirty. Small task, really.
14. The Serpent and the Rainbow (Wes Craven, 1988)
Synopsis – This one is purportedly based on a true story, and is the only one on the list based on zombies of the drug-induced Haitian variety. Bill Pullman plays Dennis Alan, who has come to Haiti to research zombie lore. In the process, he makes an enemy of the local dictator, and gets buried alive himself.
How to survive – It’s extremely difficult in movies to research anything arcane, particularly voodoo. So spend your time at the beach. Secondly, try not to make the acquaintance/raise the ire of an evil dictator who also happens to be a voodoo priest.
15. Hell House (Lucio Fulci, 1984)
Synopsis – A family of three moves into a house in a small town. The family consists of a high-strung mom, a selfish, possibly serial cheating dad, and a little kid with the most annoyingly dubbed voice imaginable. And sadly, the kid (who is strangely named Bob) talks a lot. So there’s this zombie-like thing in the basement that I think is the previous owner, who was a scientist. At some point or another, every member of the family goes into the basement without harm (I guess the first one’s free, eh?). But, second time down, all bets are off, and the guy wants to eat your flesh. There are actually some very tense moments toward the end. Also, there are several dead end side plots that fail to raise interest, including the dad lusting after the baby sitter, the kid having dreams of the future, and a strange ghost girl that has very little to do with the rest of the movie but apparently falls under “twist ending” in Fulci’s book.
How to survive – In this one, I’ll assume you’re the baby sitter. Sacrifice the entire family, starting with the kid while the dad’s at work, then moving on to the dad, then the mom (who is useless). Then, just walk away. Also, learning to duck would come in real handy if you want to keep your head.
16. Return of the Living Dead 2 (Ken Weiderhorn, 1988)
Synopsis – A canister filled with zombie guts and viral waste tumbles off of a military truck (why was it not secured?) and falls into a ditch. Naturally, two kid come along, and decide to open the canister. Noxious green gas escapes, and quickly infects the town. The kids, some old guys, and some other people run around trying to avoid getting infected, and also try to put a stop to it. There’s a Michael Jackson parody here, as well as a touching scene in which a boyfriend (recently made a zombie) convinces his girlfriend that if she loved him, she’d let him eat her brain. She does. Also, dig the 80’s music.
How to survive – I can’t complain about how they handled it here. The majority of them survive, and the way they do it is on track.
17. Return of the Living Dead 3 (Brian Yuzna, 1994)
Synopsis – Funny how I have seen 2 and 3 but not one. So in this one, the military is up to its usual antics, and develops a serum that makes soldiers invincible! Unfortunately, sudden deathness and return to life as a brain-craving zombie is a major side effect. It only occurs in 100% of patients. This girl and her boyfriend have been involved in a fatal (for her) motorcycle accident, and surprise, his dad is one of the guys who’s been working on the experiment. Unable to face the loss of the actress who ended up being Mischa Barton’s mom on the OC, the guy takes her dead body to the compound and infects her with the serum. She comes back as a zombie, but is able to control the cravings by repeatedly cutting/stabbing herself. By the end of the movie she looks like a glass mosaic gone horribly wrong.
How to survive – Drive responsibly on your motorcycle. If you’re a scientist working on a top secret experiment that makes zombies, don’t tell your kid.
18. Dead Alive (Peter Jackson, 1992)
Synopsis – This is way before the Lord of the Rings franchise. I bet most who watched this would not even correlate that this was made by the same guy. So, a guy named Lionel and his mom go to the zoo, where she gets bitten by a Sumatran Rat Monkey (I hate monkeys) and begins to develop a taste for human flesh. At first, Lionel tries to cover it up/deny the problem, until things get wildly out of control. He’s entirely too popular to hide the fact that his mom is a cannibalistic zombie.
How to survive – Don’t take your mom to the zoo. If you do, and she gets bitten by a Sumatran Rat Monkey, and begins to crave your skin, send her to a nursing home, stat.
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