We’ve gone through my top ten favorites, so now we might as well go through the ten zombie flicks that end up at the other end of the spectrum, my most hated zombie movies. Just like with my favorites, I’m not arguing whether these are the absolute worst zombie movies one can find, just the ones I despise above all the others. Some I legitimately believe to be terrible films that deserve all the hate they get for good reason, but cinematic taste are a subjective thing, so I’m not going to argue their merit as much as simply explain why I find them to be absolute garbage.
10. Mulberry Street (2006)
The first feature length film from the pairing of Nick Damici and Jim Mickle (Stakeland, We Are What We Are) is on this list less because it’s a bad movie and more because it isn’t a zombie film. Mulberry Street deals with a viral outbreak that turns people into vicious rat monsters. It’s not a terrible film even if the transformed rat people look a little silly. My main issue is that it’s sold as a zombie film when the only thing it has in common with most zombie movies is the fact that it’s about a group of people trying to survive when most of the city has already succumbed to the virus. I’m pretty liberal with what I consider a zombie flick, even discussing how similar their second film, Stakeland, was to most zombie films when I reviewed it, but I don’t see it with Mulberry Street. They were giant rat monsters, not zombies. When your vampire flick has more in common with zombie movies than your zombie movie, maybe it’s time to re-categorize it.
9. World War Z (2013)
I can already hear you groaning at this one, expecting yet another diatribe about how the book was better. As much as I loved the book and would have preferred something episodic that could have more closely followed it, the moment I saw Brad Pitt’s name attached, I knew it wasn’t going to have anything to do with the book other than a couple lazy name drops, so that’s not it. No, my annoyance came in the fact that even though this movie had a massive budget, the zombies looked terrible. It’s actually not a bad story on its own, poorly written ending aside, and though I wish they wouldn’t have gone the underhanded route of acquiring a title just to use its fame when they knew damn well they weren’t going to do it justice, I was ready to let it go and just try to enjoy the movie. Then I saw the zombies and immediately wanted to throttle someone. With all the money available to them, they choose to go with poor looking CGI that made the zombies seem out of place in a live action movie. Had this been a cartoon, it might have worked, but for a live action flick they just looked terrible. Add in the laziness behind doing CGI instead of makeup even when there was only one or two zombies in a scene, and you can see why I can’t stand World War Z.
8. Retardead (2008)
And now we start getting to the movies I really can’t stand, starting with this example in how some filmmakers confuse just being as offensive as possible with being funny. It’s a sequel of sorts to the equally terrible Monsturd, where we find an unethical doctor experimenting on the special needs kids at a school. His plan is to create a vaccine that will make them smart, but his tinkering turns them into flesh hungry zombies instead, zombies who like to do sexy dances before they eat people (this is actually not even close to the dumbest thing about this trash either). It tries so hard to be funny by finding every way to be offensive. The problem is that none of it is actually funny, so it just comes off as crass and tasteless. Some of the greatest humor is the most offensive, but it has to be funny, otherwise you’re just an asshole, piece of shit picking on those you know can’t fight back. The people who made this piece of cinematic trash aren’t funny, but they sure are asshole, pieces of shit.
7. Die You Zombie Bastards! (2005)
Every now and again I’ll review a movie that I find to be terrible, but one that has a dedicated fan base, and face a backlash for saying it sucks. Hate mail, nasty comments, and even threats of violence aren’t entirely uncommon, but the fan breakdown over my review for this bad joke gone wrong had to be the most entertaining. Serial killer Red Toole is forced to save his kidnaped wife from the evil Baron Nefarious who has plans of turning the world’s population into his zombie slaves, so Red dons a superhero suit made of penis skin and bumbles through a truly terrible film. The jokes aren’t funny, the slapstick humor was poorly executed, the characters were terrible, the actors worse, I wouldn’t call any of the effects special, and the story never made any sense. According to the fans I’m just a humorless, bitter asshole whose mother mistreated him and who wouldn’t know funny if I died from cancer (yeah, the comments started to get weird at one point), and if people actually found this movie funny, it’s very possible I really don’t get humor because I didn’t laugh a single time at any of the lame jokes which were reminiscent of the kind of things you hear at the bar from the drunkest of patrons at three in the morning. Instead, I gritted my teeth and forced myself to sit through one of the worst zombie films I’ve ever had the displeasure of viewing.
6. Zombie Strippers (2008)
Who would have guessed a film where the biggest sell was having porn legend Jenna Jameson and horror icon Robert Englund would be such an awful movie? It sounded like what could be a great partnership to me, and I was looking forward to seeing what they could do together, sadly, a poorly written story, terrible dialogue, and a series of ever more baffling moments destroyed any hope this one might have had from the get go. When an infected soldier escapes from a military research facility (a top secret facility with open windows all over the place), he stumbles into the strip club next door (why a top secret military facility is right next door to a strip club is beyond me) and infects star dancer Kat (Jenna Jameson) who in turn infects the other girls. Instead of becoming rampaging monsters, the virus makes the girls want to dance even harder which excites the club’s patrons despite the fact the dancers start rotting fairly quick. By the end of the movie they look like desiccated corpses, not sexy strippers, but the patrons still seem constantly turned on for whatever reasons. This film features terrible performances (this is easily Englund’s worst role), a never ending line up of things that don’t make sense, and humor that made Die You Zombie Bastards seem clever.
5. Big Tits Zombies (2010)
This Japanese addition to my list finds a group of strippers uncovering a book with the power to raise the dead. When the dead come back to life, they quickly spread throughout the city, and the remaining strippers must band together to fight them off. What follows is an hour and fifteen minutes of wacky, off the wall oddness that is going to be perfect for some people, but which left me feeling like I’d stepped into some odd world where logic no longer existed. Vaginas spew fire, sushi attacks people, and a woman’s intestines attempt to rape another woman, it’s one insane thing after another. I know there is going to be a certain person reading this and drooling over the prospect of giving it a watch, maybe even getting ready to order it, and to that person I say go for it. If you can deal with some of the worst looking makeup and effects you’ve ever seen, a complete lack of consistency (blood disappears and outfits change randomly), and actors who aren’t even trying, then you might like this, but it wasn’t for me. I love the random insanity that can be Japanese horror, but there’s a line when it’s just too much and the movie starts to get in its own way. Big Tits Zombies found that line.
4. Any of the Zombi films (1979-1987)
Okay, this one gets a little confusing. I’m sure most of you know about the Italian sequel to Dawn of the Dead that had absolutely nothing to do with the movie it’s supposed to be following. I know it’s a fan favorite, and Fulci is considered a horror god by many, but Zombi 2 is one of the worst zombie flicks I’ve ever seen. It’s plagued by many of the same problems apparent in a lot of the films on this list, terrible actors, terrible makeup, and a terrible story, but it’s a masterpiece compared to the movies tacked on afterwards. Here’s where we get the confusing part, depending on where you lived, you could have watched this series under different names or with different additions. In Italy it was Zombi, in the UK it was Zombie Flesh Eaters, and here in the US it was Zombie, so, for instance, while I was growing up I knew them as the Zombie series with four installments: Zombie (the original Italian Zombi 2 since this was supposed to be the sequel to Dawn of the Dead which was released in Italy as simply Zombi), Zombie 3 (we skipped a part 2 since Zombie was a part 2 in Italy), Zombie 4: After Death, and Zombie 5: Killing Birds. If you watched them elsewhere around the world, these might have been under different names, you might not have had all the sequels, or you might have had extra sequels we never got. Of course, it doesn’t really matter because none of these movies have anything in common other than zombies and being terrible, and the zombies aren’t always even a guarantee. Some of them weren’t originally supposed to be part of the Zombie series and received title changes after the fact to capitalize on the name and hopefully pull in a few more dollars. It might not be fair to lump them all together into one single entry, but considering the series couldn’t even decide how many movies it was supposed to have or how they were connected, I’m condensing them into one massive cluster fuck.
3. Return of the Living Dead 4: Necropolis (2005) and Return of the Living Dead 5: Rave to the Grave (2005)
I should probably avoid making lists in the future since I don’t seem to have this down quite right. Yes, I’m combining two movies into one choice yet again. Just as I couldn’t decide which one was better in my top ten best list, Return of the Living Dead or Return of the Living Dead 2, I couldn’t decide which one was worse for this one. 1993’s Return of the Living Dead 3 was the last good ROTLD movie, and even it had its own problems, but nothing close to these two waste of cinema. Necropolis involves a new company experimenting with the trioxin gas and a group of teenagers doing their best to stop them while its sequel Rave to the Grave finds the very same group of teens having to do it all over again. The strange part is that no one in the fifth film remembers anything they did in the fourth, and it’s not a plot point, like the trioxin made them forget, no, they simply don’t seem to remember anything, to the point that they have no idea what trioxin is even though they almost lost their lives because of it. If it were just that, I might not have included it here, but both films are full of the absolute worst dialogue, atrocious character played by awful actors, effects that would have been cutting edge three decades prior, and stories that fall apart within the first ten minutes. To see such an amazing series fall this far was a sad sight for someone who considered the first two movies such amazing zombie films, and that’s why these disasters find themselves at the number three spot.
2. The Grid: Zombie Outlet Maul (2015)
This fucking movie. A lot of what I’ve been discussing, the movies I hate and exactly why I hate them, comes down to opinion. Yes, most of the problems I’ve been talking about are real, bad effects work is bad effects work, broken stories are broken stories, and so on and so forth, but there’s definitely some opinion mixed in there. That’s not the case with this one. If it wasn’t for one other film that did something completely unforgivable, this would be my absolute most hated film. It’s an odd blend of the type of animation you see on South Park, terrible stop motion, and poorly edited live action that would have made Adult Swim turn them down, and it make no sense. The plot has something to do with inanimate objects coming to life after a nuclear power plant is struck by lightning and all the humans disappear. I have never in my life had so much difficulty in sitting through a movie as I did forcing myself to watch this piece of utter garbage. Most of the movie is just the inanimate objects standing around doing nothing, or talking about things that have no bearing on the film, out of a hour and a half, there was maybe ten minutes of substance, everything else was pointless, boring, annoying filler that should have been left on a cutting room floor. The zombie part of this bad joke is a movie called Zombie Outlet Maul that comes in to play for all of a few minutes when the characters go to see it at a theater and some tacked on bullshit towards the end where we find out that the inanimate objects become zombies if they don’t get power. What the zombies do is unknown because they pop up randomly later, and are only ever seen shambling from a distance. This isn’t just one of the worst zombie movies to see the light of day, but one of the worst movies period. At least it didn’t take a zombie classic and try to use it to make a few bucks, no, that honor goes to…
1. Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated (2009)
Though The Grid: Zombie Outlet Maul might be one of the worst movies ever made, no other film raises my ire quite like Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated. It’s basically the same movie we’ve all seen, only they take the original footage and change it to animation, Claymation, odd acid flashback scenes, and stop motion, while keeping the original audio. The visual style changes from scene to scene throughout the film. Sounds like it could be an interesting idea right? It might have been, had even one of the people working on this travesty actually have put any real effort into it. Half assed would be a compliment for the animation (is quarter assed a thing), the Claymation doesn’t come close to looking decent, the stop motion is awful, the distorted scenes in which they mess around with brightness, color, or background gave me a headache, and there’s a plethora of scenes that I can only describe as acid flashbacks (bright flashing colors, flowing deformations in the screen, etc.) that made me feel like someone had slipped LSD in my drink. None of it looked any good, and it was apparent right from the get go that this was a cheap attempt at monetary gain by a bunch of people who didn’t feel like doing any real work. As this is the one movie whose existence fills me with rage, it gets brought up a lot, and the question that’s always asked is “How do I know they weren’t trying to make something different.” My answer is always the same, had they really wanted to make a fitting tribute a movie that’s responsible for giving us the modern day zombie, then the effort would have been visible for the view. Since it’s not, since all that one sees is a headache inducing mess of poorly put together garbage that could have been done by a ten year old with Photoshop, I’m forced to come to the conclusion that these greedy, unimaginative asshats were hoping to make a quick buck by ruining someone else’s vision. Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated definitely earned its spot as my most hated movie.
And that’s my top ten most hated movies. I know some of you are reading this list and wanting to punch me straight in the dick right now, and I totally understand. There are some zombie films that I adore which most fans despise, and, as you can see by this list, there are some films I despise that are considered sacred among fans. As I mentioned when I did my top ten favorite movies, tastes are subjective, and not everyone is going to like the same things. There are definitely movies on this list that I hope never see the light of day again, movies that I truly believe are absolutely terrible and deserve all the hate they get, and there are also movies on this list that didn’t at all work for me, but which I know others are going to love. I can say everything I want to say about a film, but it’s ultimately up to an individual to watch said film and make a decision on their own. These are my most hated movies, but I encourage you to check them out and see what you think, except for the last two, The Gird and NOTLD: Reanimated, fuck those movies. Just like I had an honorable mention for my top ten best, here’s my dishonorable mentions for my worst:
Edges of Darkness (2008)
(An anthology film where the zombies are just a back drop for three less than stellar stories)
Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006)
(Yet another terrible attempt to cash in on the original)
City of the Living Dead (1980)
(Another Fulci helmed zombie film, the man has his specialties for sure, zombies just aren’t one of them)
Forest of the Living Dead (2011)
(A horrible, confusing film that makes a mockery of the very real Suicide Forest in Japan)
Total Retribution (2011)
(Someone confused mechanical space raptors with zombies)
Long Live the Dead (2013)
(An anthology film containing five craptastic stories)
The Video Dead (1987)
(The Troll 2 of the zombie world)
Silent Night, Zombie Night (2009)
(The worst Christmas movie, since…actually, just the worst Christmas movie)
Johnny Sunshine: Maximum Violence (2008)
(I don’t even know)
I Am Legend (2007)
(While not technically a zombie film, the original’s connection to the evolution of undead cinema earns this one a mention if just for being the absolute worst cinematic adaption of a novel)
So that’s it for. Feel there’s a movie I missed, one you couldn’t despise, or have a reason you think I should give any of these another chance, then let me know in the comments. Maybe you’ll convince me.
The Undead Review