What would Halloween be without zombies and zombie movies? My teens are hooked on The Walking Dead and Z Nation, and are slowing getting into Fear the Walking Dead (it started a little slow for them, but now it’s getting there), and the new movie coming out, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, has them organizing movie trips.
One of the best programs I’ve had around this time has been a zombie-thon: running zombie movies throughout the day in a come-and-go atmosphere. I’ve taken over the programming room, created a suitably creepy program flyer that lets everyone know what movies are being shown along with the rating, description, and starting time for each, and it basically runs itself. I’ve had teens stay all day, and some show for specific movies- and at times I’ve hit the fire code for the programming room and had to turn teens away.
I’ve shared below my list of go-to zombie movies that my tweens and teens have really liked over the years. Enjoy but-
- know that not all movies will be appropriate for all teens, libraries, or communities.
- it may seem silly, but please check your umbrella movie license before showing a movie within your library. There’s no reason to get fined or fired over 90 minutes. If you don’t have an umbrella movie license, please use a movie that is considered to be in the public domain. An awesome zombie movie that is in the public domain is the original Night of the Living Dead (1968).
World War Z: extremely loosely based on the book (basically, hey, we’ll take your concept and the names of the characters, and then totally not follow any of it), my teens love it because the zombies actually MOVE as oppose to shamble, and there’s action everywhere. “OMG Miss, did you SEE how they run?” Rated PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images.
I Am Legend: Will Smith, Vin Diesel, and The Rock are three actors that my tweens and teens can’t seem to get enough of (don’t mention The Last Witchhunter around them, please). We have a version saved back which has both endings on it, and we have a vote before hand which one we do (happy or unhappy), and wouldn’t you guess, unhappy wins every time? There had been rumors of building a franchise around it (prequel and sequel) as this movie is actually a remake, but those plans have been abandoned. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence.
Resident Evil: I could do a whole day of Resident Evil movies, and they would probably be completely happy. I actually like them and Milla Jovovich, so that would work for me as well, but variety is nice. Based off the video games, the first movie follows Alice and a special military group after an evil virus gets out and mutates an entire compound. There are five live action movies in the series, with a sixth in the works for release in 2017. Rated R for strong sci-fi/horror violence, language and sexuality/nudity.
Beetlejuice: I grew up watching Beeetlejuice every Halloween, so it came as a real surprise to me when I discovered my tweens and teens didn’t know him save for pop culture references. Once I introduced him, however, he’s become a favorite, especially the dining room scene. There is a confirmed sequel in the works, but that’s one of those things that I just don’t know about… Rated PG for adult situations, language, and violence. (Librarian warning: even though it is rated PG, depending on the edition of the movie you get, there is an “F-Bomb” in one scene, and always crotch grabbing in others, so depending on your audience it might not be a ‘family friendly’ movie.)
Shaun of the Dead: Before he was Scotty on the new Star Trek reboots, Simon Pegg has been Shaun for my teens, wielding a cricket bat and rescuing his mom and girlfriend and trying to get to the Winchester. The most iconic scene for all of us is obviously the scene in the Winchester set to Queen, but they also seem to really resonate with the character of Shaun himself, and the way everything just goes wrong in his life. Rated R for zombie violence/gore and language.
Night of the Living Dead (1990): You really can’t think of zombie movies without thinking of Night of the Living Dead. With my young adults (18-25yrs) and adults, I show the original Romero then the 1990 remake, but with the teens I go just with the remake. It’s extremely strong, and just entrances them. Rated R for adult situations, language, nudity, and violence.
28 Days Later: The movies that can really creep me out for days are the ones that can really happen in real life- like 28 Days Later. After animal activists release test animals infected with a deadly virus (guess what it does), 28 weeks later a bicycle messenger awakens from a coma to find no one around. The film follows him and the survivors of the virus, and their battle. It stars some of my favorite actors, Cillian Murphy (Crane/Scarecrow from the Nolan Batman series, upcoming Heart of the Sea), Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean, Moneypenny in the current Bond series), and Christopher Eccleson (9th Doctor in the new Doctor Who series, Thor: The Dark World). Rated R for strong violence and gore, language and nudity.
Army of Darkness: No zombie loving list could be complete with having Army of Darkness on it. Technically the third installment of the Evil Dead franchise, it can be shown completely on its own without any background at all. In it, Ash (Bruce Campbell) is transported back to the Middle Ages of England in epic battle with the Book of the Dead. Army of Darkness is actually known more for its dark humor and slapstick than the horror, which makes it a fun addition to any zombie-thon and a favorite. Rated R for violence and horror.
FAMILY FAVORITE BONUS
The Corpse Bride: When a groom gets cold feet and runs to the woods to practice his vows and gain some confidence, he accidentally gains a bride instead…and a host of new problems. Delightfully dark and wonderfully animated, The Corpse Bride gives a twist-fully macabre yet PG version of death and scary things for the younger tweens not quite ready for more scary things. I’ve shown this along with other family friendly Halloween movies within the library proper during Halloween parties, or as a “starter” movie to the zombie-thon after which I edge into the harder stuff. Rated PG for some scary images and action, and brief mild language.
What zombie movies are your favorites? Share in the comments!