There’s really nothing scary about zombies when they're solo. They’re slow. They’re stupid. They’re not much stronger than a normal person, and they’re a hell of a lot less coordinated. It’s like being confronted by a really drunk guy who wants to hug it out, and maybe bite your face while he’s at it. Push him down, give him a kick in the head for good measure, go on your way. No, zombies are only scary in multiples. Five zombies are pretty scary. Fifty zombies are approaching pants-shittingly terrifying. Five thousand, or ten thousand, or, as organizers are expecting this weekend at the Denver Zombie Crawl, even twenty thousand? That’s fucking scary. Really fucking scary. In honor of the tenth annual crawl, I'm sharing five of my favorite zombie mobs from zombie film history. Watch, be inspired, then head down to the crawl on Saturday in Skyline Park.
5) The Winchester Mob: Shaun of the Dead
A lot of Shaun of the Dead goes to prove my first point — in small numbers, zombies aren't all that scary. Early on in the film, Shaun and Ed walk by individual zombies and small groups without even acknowledging them. Then they fight off a pair of ineffective stiffs with Shaun's record box. Later, though, things start to get scary. A clever zombie impersonation gets them through the first big bunch, but once they're in the Winchester (and the zombies have been alerted to their presence by, among other things, Ed taking a call from someone he sells weed to), the mob closes in. In this climactic scene, the zombies finally tire of waiting to be fed outside and push their way into the pub, combining the two scariest situations related to the walking dead — large numbers and close quarters — into one great climax. (Note: the scene above is probably NSFW, as it contains a pretty graphic disembowelment.)
4) Zombies vs. Cops: Return of the Living Dead
Most of the zombie comedy Return of the Living Dead focuses on more intimate confrontations between zombies and the humans who have the sweet, sweet brains that those zombies crave, but there are a couple of "holy shit, that's a lot of zombies" moments. The best one, for my money, is the scene where the cops set up behind a barricade — after multiple cops have already been lost, they're not taking any chances — only to be overrun in moments. If cops with full riot gear and barricades don't have a shot, does anyone? (Answer: Nope, we're fucked if the RotLD zombies ever break loose.) Don't mind the Italian dubbing in the clip above, it was the only one I could find of my favorite scene. The extra drama added by the overly serious Italian actor is just icing on the cake.
3) Mall Shuttle to Zombie Hell: Dawn of the Dead 2004
The climax of the Dawn of the Dead remake occurs when the protagonists decide to turn a pair of mall shuttles into low-rent tanks and use those to escape the mall where they've holed up. This goes about as well as you would expect, and they're quickly bogged down in a truly enormous number of animate corpses. Only a well-timed propane bomb gives them a respite from zombie hell. Still, don't count on a mall shuttle to save your ass in the zombie apocalypse. That's just bad planning, propane bomb or no.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
2) Jazzercise Is No Match for Zombies: Nightmare City
The Italian disasterpiece Nightmare City is one of my two favorite good-bad zombie movies (the other, Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror, is also Italian) — and boy, is it a peach. The zombie mob here is one of the smaller ones, but it's big enough. Big enough to wreak havoc on a weird TV dance/exercise show, anyway! Cheap-looking, exploitative and really funny, this is one of the best zombie scenes of all time, and proof that good cardio is no match for zombie, no matter what Zombieland told you. (Note: the scene above is edited and should be considered only a teaser for the insane pleasures of the full scene — and the full movie, for that matter.)
1) All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Day of the Dead
George Romero's original zombie trilogy ended with the 1985 classic Day of the Dead, and the beginning of the end of Day of the Dead occurs when a soldier, sick and delirious from a zombie bite, decides to let the zombie hordes into the fortified underground bunker that a handful of soldiers and scientists have called home during the apocalypse. The sight of all those zombies streaming into what could be the last safe space on Earth is chilling, and a fitting kickoff to the climax of the film and trilogy. The relevant scene starts at 2:48 in the clip above, but feel free to enjoy the whole darn thing if it suits you.