8. Dawn Of The Dead (1978)

Zombies in Dawn of the Dead 1978

Sequel to: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

George A. Romero is known as the father of the modern movie zombie, that much is undeniable. His work on 1968’s Night of the Living Dead introduced the world to hordes of shambling reanimated corpses, and society has become increasingly obsessed with them over the decades since. Though Night of the Living Dead is the film that created the zombie subgenre, its sequel, Dawn of the Dead perfectly refined it in a way that makes it stand out as a far better film than the original.

After the claustrophobic farmhouse setting of the original, Dawn of the Dead upped the ante: it followed a small group of survivors as they take refuge inside an overrun shopping mall. Where Night showed the human response to the zombie horde, Dawn took it a step further and examined the ways in which humanity might carve out a sanctuary to ensure their survival. This is an idea that has gone on to shape films such as 28 Days Later and TV shows like The Walking Dead – Romero’s sequel established that the true horror lies in the life that remains after society crumbles, and audiences have been collectively memorized by the notion ever since.

Whether we’re talking about unexpected hidden themes in horror movies or movies that pioneered their genre, Dawn of the Dead remains very much at the top of the list. Though Night of the Living Dead is often cited as the most influential, Dawn of the Dead is by far the superior movie. It introduced a number of ideas to Romero’s mythology, as well as used symbolism to make a clear statement about modern society. The lasting cultural relevance of Dawn of the Dead is representative of the quality of the film, but just how much it improved upon the original is something that’s all too often overlooked.