With George Romero’s fifth Dead flick on the horizon, it seems like everyone’s got zombies on the brain more than ever. Just when we thought the sub-genre was buried six feet under, along comes Uncle George to remind us of where it all began. For a minute, it seemed like the obvious thing to do, list-wise, would be to count down the ten coolest zombies of all time. But no, that’s a little too easy. Besides, if you really want something like that, you can just go here. No, I thought it might be more interesting to pay some much-needed attention to those other characters in zombie movies. You know, the ones the zombies are always trying to eat? Read on for the list.
There have been some truly unforgettable performances in flesh-eater flicks over the years, so it’s about time we gave some credit to those wacky, oxygen-breathin’, higher-brain functionin’ humans. Of course, it’s pretty tough to survive a zombie picture without eventually becoming one yourself, and a few of these folks did go on to join the ranks of the undead. But you get the idea…
The Top 10 Non-Zombies in Zombie Movie History
We salute you, Linnea Quigley. By stripping naked and dancing in a graveyard, you helped kick-start puberty for legions of young males in the 1980s. And all while looking and sounding like the girl who works the cash register at Hot Topic.
In addition to having the coolest name in horror movie history, Legendre–as played by the immortal Bela Lugosi–commands a virtual army of mindless walking dead. Granted, they’re more of the Haitian voodoo variety than modern-day gut-munchers, but I still wouldn’t mess with them.
Although the weakest of Romero’s series thus far, Land of the Dead did give us one of the director’s strongest characters. Loyal to the end to his buddy Riley, and a dead shot to boot, Charlie seems like the kind of guy I wouldn’t mind sitting down with for a beer or two. Now if only we could find a bar that was still open…
Many of us may aspire to it, but the venerable Fr. McGruder is the only man who kicks ass for the Lord. In a scene that answers the question, “What would a horror movie made by Monty Python look like?”, McGruder lays a holy smackdown upon a gang of undead hooligans. Unfortunately, he meets his demise, after which he goes on to sire the world’s first zombie baby. You rock, padre.
Proof that metrosexuality can thrive even in the face of human extinction, this latte-sipping douche nozzle is one character I’d love to have seen ground up and served to the undead in Turkish rolls with curly fries on the side. But I’ll settle for a bullet in the head from Sarah Polley. Thanks, love!
The quintessential horror movie a-hole, to whom all others owe a debt of gratitude. Is there any more satisfying moment than when Ben barges back into the cabin and slugs this lily-livered coward in his sweaty mush? Normally I’d feel sorry for a guy who gets his arm eaten by his own daughter, but not in this case.
Ah, Ed. If most of us had access to a computer that was kind of like the old holodeck on Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which you could program your ideal best buddy, this is the bloke who’d come walking out those swooshing doors after we pressed “ENTER”. Such a heartbreaker when Pete takes a chunk out of him, but at least Shaun didn’t let that get in the way of their friendship.
Speaking of horror movie a-holes, the one and only Capt. Rhodes takes a backset to no one in that department. In the role of the maniacal and sadistic military commander, Joe Pilato deserves credit for inspiring blind hatred in the hearts of countless splatter fans, who cheer in approval as a horde of ghouls plays tug-of-war with his pancreas.
If and when the undead apocalypse happens, this is the guy I want to have my back. Ken Foree plays the prototypical zombie epidemic survivalist, taking no quarter and practically securing an entire shopping mall on his own while Roger is hot-dogging and Flyboy is busy sipping champagne with his pregnant downer girlfriend.
and finally, the most memorable non-zombie in zombie movie history…
Is The Evil Dead a zombie movie? I guess not by the strict definition, but for some reason it’s always been included in the subgenre, and who am I to argue with tradition? I’ll leave that debate to those who argue whether or not Greedo shot first. I’d rather spend my precious time glorifying the single greatest example of manhood and heroism American cinema has ever produced. Hail to the king, baby!
For more of my opinions on the world of horror, plus news and other interesting stuff, check out my daily blog, The Vault of Horror.