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News Article

FEARNET’s Favorite Zombie Comedies

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Zombie Week continues here at FEARnet as we get perilously close to the premiere of The Walking Dead this Sunday. To celebrate, we're looking back at some of our favorite undead articles and essays including this one: a catalog of great zombie comedies originally published on October 1, 2009...mere days before the premiere of another film worthy of inclusion.

Who made the list?  Read on...

With anticipation and buzz on Zombieland continuing to grow (thousands of the ‘undead’ dragged themselves to a free screening at Mann’s Chinese in L.A. last night), we can safely assure you that Zombieland is worth digging into. Tomorrow, you'll have the chance to see Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Woody Harrelson fending off a horde of zombies with a frying pan (among other things) when Zombieland shuffles its way into theaters nationwide.

On the eve of its release, we began thinking about what it is about that combination of comedy and zombies that makes us hungry for more. With that in mind, we decided to put together a list of some of our favorite zom-coms, in case you were on the hunt for some supplemental viewing to make your zombie-filled weekend complete. We're here for ya...

SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004)
This UK import was billed as 'A romantic comedy.  With Zombies.'  Co-written and starring one of England’s funniest comic actors, Simon Pegg (Scotty in JJ Abrams Star Trek), the film deftly moves between comedy, horror and yes, romance.  Highlights include our slacker hero and his feckless band of survivors practicing their 'zombie look' to fool the undead horde, and the hilarious scene of Shaun and best friend Ed arguing over which LP records to use as zombie-killing projectiles while the zombies are just inches away: 'Purple Rain?  No!  Dire Straits? Throw it!'

RE-ANIMATOR (1985)
Director Stuart Gordon’s 'Grand Guignol' take on HP Lovecraft’s Herbert West stories is not only one of the funniest zombie films ever made, but also the 'mad doctor' movie of the modern era, with not one, but two mad scientists: the unflappable and eminently obsessed Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), who’s driven to reanimate a corpse at any cost, and the evil and lascivious Dr. Hill (David Gale), who as a two-piece zombie (his body and head are not attached, but still work together), performs the most outrageous sex scene in horror film history, one that truly defines the term 'giving head';.  The zombies West re-animates move with herky jerky anger, intestines explode and attack, and there’s even a battle with a pissed off zombie cat thrown in for good measure.  Make sure you see the unrated version for full impact.

ARMY OF DARKNESS (1992)
Sam Raimi’s sequel to Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn is way more funny than frightening...but who cares?  The film is filled with classic Three Stooges routines, outrageously gory slapstick and great one-liners delivered by the inimitable Bruce Campbell.  Notably, a majority of the zombies in Army are not flesh-rotting corpses, but skeletal warriors, an homage to the sword-wielding skeletons created by legendary stop motion animator Ray Harryhausen (7th Voyage of Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts).  Ultimately, Campbell chews up more scenery than any zombie on the screen, and his unique combo of Steve McQueen cool and lunkhead heroics is, in his own words, 'groovy'.

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985)
From Alien creator Dan O’Bannon comes this hysterically funny sequel/homage to Night of the Living Dead, as two numbskull employees at a chemical warehouse accidentally release a top secret military gas that brings the dead back to life…and the dead don’t like it.  Turns out being a living corpse is a painful experience (you can feel yourself rot).  So how do you alleviate the sting?  Well extra-strength Tylenol won’t do the trick...only eating brains from the living can help soothe the pain.  Unlike Night, the zombies in this film move fast and can’t be stopped by a bullet to the head...or anything else.  And it's filled to the brim with memorable dialogue, including ;I can smell your brain!'; and the immortal 'Send more paramedics'.

DEAD-ALIVE (1992)
Originally released as Braindead, this literally eye-popping entry from New Zealand is hands down the bloodiest, rudest, funniest zombie fest you’ll ever see.  And best of all, the movie was written and directed by Oscar-winning 'Ring' master Peter Jackson, featuring all the storytelling prowess and outrageous visuals that would later make The Lord of the Rings trilogy so good.  Our hero is poor nerdy Lionel, whose domineering mum is accidentally bitten by a Sumatran 'rat monkey' and transformed into the flesh-eating mother of all zombies.  The highlights, like the bodies, are too numerous to count, but include mum’s face literally falling to pieces (and into the soup) at a formal luncheon, a zombie tryst that instantly yields a Baby Huey-sized zombie infant, and a karate-chopping priest who battles zombies in his cemetery while yelling 'I kick ass for the Lord'.  Plus a climactic lawnmower massacre that has to be seen to be believed.  Bon appétit!

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