I love nothing more that a good film night. Curl up with some popcorn or other snackable treat and a good movie, and I am good. My teens seem to feel the same way, although they want seem to want a more social aspect to it- a table for card games (like Yu-Gi-Oh), a craft to do while watching the movie, and wireless access, and they are set. I’ve pulled together some of my favorite zombie flicks to show to teens. All the following movies are cleared through Movie Licensing USA; if you are going to show movies at the library, please check with your umbrella license or use a movie that has public performance rights or is in the common collection. Do not jeopardize your library, your program, or your position by showing a movie unlicensed.
Author’s Note: I originally wrote and posted a version of this on Teen Librarian’s Toolbox entitled Take 5: Zombie Movies for the Tween/Teen set on October 4, 2013. It was taken down in early 2014 by the blog owner. I have made several updates to the post.
Shaun of the Dead is one of those movies that I consider a classic. It’s got humor, it’s got zombies, it’s got Simon Pegg, and it’s got a kick-butt battle scene set to Queen. Rated R (mainly for language and gore, no sexy bits), so if you’re showing to teens under 17, definitely write up a permission slip for showing to cover all bases.
Warm Bodies is funny and a romantic zombie story- and loosely (very) based off a book (who’s author is insulted that readers,bookstores, and librarians think it deserves to be called teen/young adult, but that is a different post topic). Rated PG-13, it has enough action to keep guys interested while enough romance for others. And double points for John Malkovich as the dad.
Based of the games, the Resident Evil franchise may outlive us all, guaranteeing Milla Jovovich a career for life. I loved her in The Fifth Element and Aeon Flux, and the first Resident Evil is no different for me. Alice is sent in with an expert team to contain “the virus” that the Umbrella corporation unleashed- that it turning everyone into zombies. Rated R, so have the permission slips ready.
If you really want to play with teens minds, show them Invasion of the Body Snatchers, from 1978. Starring Donald Sutherland (they will know him as President Snow) and Leonard Nemoy (Spock or Spock Prime, depending on your trekkies), it is an intense thinking movie about how people are being taken over by an alien species. Rated PG (before there was a PG-13 rating), there is a full-frontal nudity scene (female) so be prepared. Note: I showed this two summers ago during my Teen Screens: Horror Flashback series, and this and Jaws were the two that spooked my teens the most. They started out scattered all over the room and talked amongst themselves, and doing crafts, and then about halfway through, they started coming over to my table, which was the most brightly lit of the room. By the time we got three-quarters of the way through, I had all 15 teens (ages 13-19) around me, in silence. And oh, did the ending tick them off.
If you don’t want to have a serious zombie movie, go with humor and run 1988’s Beetlejuice. With Tim Burton’s style and Danny Elfman’s music, the creepy and quirky run throughout the film without getting too overwhelming. Rated PG. Christie’s note: There is an f-bomb somewhere in here, and definitely some sexual references, so while it is fine for a teen movie, it may not be the best for a family movie night in some communities. If you’re looking for a family movie night suggestion, steer clear of Beetlejuice, and head instead towards The Nightmare Before Christmas or The Corpse Bride, both still with Tim Burton, but without the language.
Image courtesy of flickr.com
If you want a recent zombie movie for family night, look no further than Paranorman. Misunderstood by his whole town because of his ability to speak to the dead, Norman becomes the hero when the town is overrun with zombies. Done is claymation/stop animation, it’s based off the book with the same name and has humor running throughout.
One of the least faithful book-to-movie conversions, World War Z has some of the best explanations for how zombies could take over the world, and why they eat some people but not others. Add in the fact that these zombies actually MOVE and have intelligence of a sort, and you can creep people out pretty quick. There are also rumors of a sequel coming out in 2016. I’ve paired this up with a Zombie Barbie craft, and the results were amazing.