By Shane Dayton
There are no sure things in Hollywood, but one genre of horror movie that seems to always just draw people to it is the zombie movie. I think part of what makes zombie movies terrifying, even the older ones with slow zombies, is the taboo. They're not human, but they're close enough to bring up the cannibalism taboo.
There's something great about zombie movies, which with George Romero's influence have also become renowned for having hidden political and social commentary. This combination makes these horror movies particularly interesting, even above many of their peers. Zombie movies also tend to have a cult following, keeping them popular even years and years after release to DVD.
There are several main factors that make up a great zombie movie.
#1: Interesting Zombies. The best zombie movies have a wide variety of zombies who could be odd looking, funny looking, or terrifying, but the best zombie movies have something that sets their zombies apart from the rest.
#2: Gore. Zombie fans can tell you one of the major things everyone waits for is the first extremely gory death scene. It's just not a zombie movie without one violent death scene.
#3: Non Cliched Characters. Don't get me wrong, there are always basic cliche characters, but the best zombie movies have one or two characters who really stick out as being unique and different. They're not just the pretty girl who gets killed or the rich jerk who gets what's coming to him. "Cemetery Man" is one of the best examples of this.
#4: Man vs. Zombie. The majority of good zombie movies have a siege mentality, with humans struggling to survive against the zombie onslaught. Most zombie movies are also synonymous with "zombie apocalypse."
#5: One Human Psychopath/Idiot. Usually there is one person who is either a psychopath and thus is as much of a danger as the zombies, or there's one idiot who does something stupid which lets the zombies in.
These are just a few of the things that make a great zombie movie. Not all of these always have to be present, but they definitely help. The new remakes of the old Romero classics are continuing the new trend of running zombies, which is definitely different from all the old school interpretations which had zombies strong, but slow.
This is a good base for starting a zombie movie. The one other interesting trend is the explosion of shorter fan films which are usually pretty funny zombie movie parodies, but that's for another article.
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