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Grave Danger: 7 Zombie Movies Battle to the Death

Cinema's hungry hordes of the undead square off.

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  • Photo Credit: New Line Cinema / Lionsgate

The Evil Dead vs. The Cabin in the Woods, Planet Terror vs. Dead Snow...we're pitting some of the best zombie movies ever against each other in seven epic battles to the (un)death. Let us know if you agree in the comments below!

Thrilla in the Wooden Villa

The Evil Dead vs. The Cabin in the Woods

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  • Photo Credit: New Line Cinema/Lionsgate

IN THIS CORNER… Sam Raimi’s demonic Deadites.
AND IN THIS CORNER… Drew Goddard’s family of zombie redneck torturers.

Both films follow the brutal consequences caused by vacationing teens who unwittingly awaken the evil lurking beyond their cabin walls. For Ash in The Evil Dead, the menace comes in the form of his own friends possessed by dark spirits. For the crew from The Cabin in the Woods, danger arrives as the Buckners, rotten hillbilly relatives whose cognitive abilities average a few percentage points above your run-of-the-mill demon locked in the crawlspace. What’s more, the biggest of the Buckners wields an open-mouthed bear trap attached to a heavy chain.

WINNER: A family that kills together, stays together. The Cabin in the Woods wins this match.

RELATED: 13 of the Best Zombie Movies Ever 

The War on Terror

Planet Terror vs. Dead Snow

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  • Photo Credit: Dimension Films/Euforia Film

IN THIS CORNER… Robert Rodriguez’s militaristic “Sickos.”
AND IN THIS CORNER… Tommy Wirkola’s Nazi necrotics.

In Planet Terror, a shady bio-weapon exchange on a secret military base goes sour, resulting in the base’s soldiers and its nearby locals transforming into oozing zombie-like creatures. In Dead Snow, a group of skiers discover the bunny hills of Norway hide undead Nazis.

WINNER: Rodriguez’s “sickos” gain your knowledge after they eat your brains. Plus, who wants to root for undead fascists? Planet Terror takes home the blood-spattered gold.

Battle of Nitwits

Shaun of the Dead vs. Zombieland

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  • Photo Credit: Universal Pictures/Columbia Pictures

IN THIS CORNER… The idiot undead from Shaun of the Dead.
AND IN THIS CORNER… The idiot undead from Zombieland.

Though they dine on brain food–literally–most zombie hordes are portrayed as being, shall we say, forever “out to lunch.” This is especially true in the comedic splatterfests Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead. In both movies, destroying the undead turns into morbid physical comedy–especially when it comes to using your vinyl records as flying weapons of death. So who’s victorious?

WINNER: Both these hordes are hilariously DOA. It’s a double knock out for Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland.

Love Bites

My Boyfriend's Back vs. Life After Death

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  • Photo Credit: Buena Vista Pictures/A24

IN THIS CORNER… Missy McCloud’s crush, Johnny, who dies while trying to stop a robbery.
AND IN THIS CORNER… Zach Orfman’s girlfriend, Beth, who expires from a nasty snakebite.

He’s a daydreaming high school virgin who’s back from the grave and dying to get his girl. She’s a resurrected man-eater with an appetite for skinny blonds and a disturbing talent for destroying machinery with her bare hands.

WINNER: Johnny may be good, but Beth is much better in Life After Beth.

RELATED: 9 Zombie Books So Good They'll Infect You 

Rumble in the Feral Jungle

Pet Sematary vs. Dead Alive

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  • Photo Credit: TriMark Pictures/Paramount Pictures

IN THIS CORNER… Pet Sematary’s undead feline, Church.
AND IN THIS CORNER… the Sumatran rat-monkey hybrid from Dead Alive.

According to the legend cooked up by Stephen King, when one buries a dead animal in the Pet Sematary, that animal comes back to life with a few hiccups–like harboring the soul of the devil. According to the legend dreamed up by Peter Jackson, the rat-monkey monster whose bite spawns zombies is the result of diseased rodents raping primates on Skull Island.

WINNER: Jackson’s diabolical creature is scarier than anything the cat dragged in. We’re going with Dead Alive.

RELATED: Best Zombie Movies  

Mass Media Murder

Pontypool vs. REC

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  • Photo Credit: Maple Pictures/Filmax International

IN THIS CORNER… The Canadian cannibals from Pontypool.
AND IN THIS CORNER… The Barcelonan biters from [REC].

In a little Ontario village called Pontypool, shock jocks stave off a horde of flesh-eaters who are infected by the spread of language. In Barcelona, a quarantined TV cameraman and his talking head spend the night outwitting the walking dead. It’s rare one finds a way to kill a zombie that doesn’t involve blood and guts, but psychological thriller Pontypool did.

WINNER: Pontypool–it’s clever in all the right ways.

RELATED: Zombie Expert Paul Vigna on the Optimism of The Walking Dead 

Battle of the Quick and the Dead

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  • Photo Credit: Orion Pictures/Fox Searchlight Pictures

IN THIS CORNER… Writer John Russo’s running rotters.
AND IN THIS CORNER… Danny Boyle’s sprinting spewers.

A couple of morons release a gas that turns a graveyard into an undead danger zone in Return of the Living Dead. In 28 Days Later, another group of morons releases caged chimps infected with the rage virus. Russo’s risers give it their all: coining classic lines like “Not people, braaainsss” and picking up the pace long before quick-footed zombies became mainstream. Even so, they can’t outrun Boyle’s breakneck super-ragers.

WINNER: By a rotted nose, it’s 28 Days Later.

Featured still from "Evil Dead" via New Line Cinema and "The Cabin in the Woods" via Lionsgate

This article was originally published April 9th, 2015 on The Lineup. It has been republished here with permission.