The first zombie movie was 1932’s White Zombie. It’s not very funny (at least not intentionally funny) and it definitely isn’t scary. Since then, there have been hundreds of zombie movies made, and I think the best ones are a combination of both. Some use funny moments to relieve the tension between zombie attacks; others use zombie attacks to break up the funny moments. Either way, researching this list was a lot of fun.
Other than my sense of humor, the only other criteria used was that each movie could only be listed once. Of course, the movies included on this list had to actually be zombie movies. Sometimes alien-controlled or demonic characters are included in the zombie genre, but I disagree. For example, I’ve disqualified Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series from this list because the ‘deadites’ featured in these films are actually demon-possessed corpses, not zombies.
If you don’t agree with my choices, please share your favorite funny zombie movie moments or zombie one-liners in your comments below.
(Note about video clips: I’ve included the location of each quote for longer clips – if you let the clips play through from the beginning be prepared for gore and spoilers.)
10. Tell Him To Get Burt Reynolds
Dawn of the Dead
(Starts at :18.)
Steve: Oh, oh! Uh… Rosie O’Donnell, tell him to get Rosie –
Kenneth: Ooh, yah, Rosie!
Tucker: Nah, too easy… give him something hard.
Ana: You guys had really rough childhoods, didn’t you- little bit rocky?
Steve: Hey, sweetheart, let me tell you something. You, uh, you have my permission… I ever turn into one of those things, do me a favor, blow my… head off.
Ana: Oh, yeah, you can count on that!
When the undead rise, civilization will fall.
The action in Dawn of the Dead centers around a group of people barricaded in a shopping mall during a zombie outbreak. The scene selection above- where characters are killing time by killing zombies- is unique to the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. Alternately, the original 1978 version of the movie has a funny scene where a character is attacked by zombies when he stops to take his blood pressure. (These are just two examples of the differences between the original and remake of the movie.)
The original Dawn of the Dead was the second Living Dead film made by George A. Romero. There are six Living Dead films (plus four remakes). The first in the series, Night of the Living Dead, appears on this list as well (#8). Other titles are: Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, and Survival of the Dead.
9. They’re Using Tools
Bride of Re-Animator
(You can watch the clip at YouTube (embedding was disabled), it starts at 1:50. Or you can watch the trailer for the movie, below.)
Herbert West: (zombie is using an ax to break down the door) My god, they’re using tools.
Death. Mate. Re-Animate.
Dedicated medical student Herbert West can’t resist making observations even while fighting for his life. Bride of Re-Animator (1990) is the sequel to Re-Animator, which appears at #5 on this list.
8. They’re Coming To Get You, Barbara
Night of the Living Dead
Johnny: They’re coming to get you Barbra
Barbra: Stop it! You’re ignorant.
Johnny: They’re coming for you Barbra.
Barbra: Stop it, you’re acting like a child!
Johnny: They’re coming for you… Look! There comes one now…
They’re coming to get you…
Possibly the best zombie movie every made, certainly the most influential – George A. Romero’s 1968 Night of the Living Dead released the relentlessly slow-approaching, brain-eating classic zombies into our popular culture. A pop culture phenomenon that has spread over the years, infecting everything from classic literature (like the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) to music, to video games and toys (check out zomedy.com for examples).
7. I love you… let me eat your br-a-a-a-a-a-a-i-n-s
Return of the Living Dead
(Starts at :30.)
Freddy: See? You made me hurt myself again! I broke my hand off completely at the wrist this time, Tina! But that’s okay, darlin’, because I love you, and that’s why you have to let me eat your br-a-a-a-a-a-a-i-n-s.
Second best quote from this clip (at :05): I know you’re here because I can smell your br-a-a-a-a-a-a-ins.
They’re back from the grave and ready to party!
A special moment in zombie movie history: zombies start asking for ‘br-a-a-a-a-a-a-i-ns’ for the first time in Return of the Living Dead (1985). Another first for Return of the Living Dead: it’s the first zomedy or zom com. This type of movie has become increasingly popular, with recent examples such as Shaun of the Dead, Fido, and Zombieland.
Return of the Living Dead is based on a book by John Russo and the first movie in a series of five films (they all have ‘Return of the Living Dead’ in their titles, such as Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave).
6. Weedman Said It
I Was A Teenage Zombie
(Starts at :15.)
Guy: Who said that?
Drug Dealer Zombie: (pops up from backseat of car) Weedman said it. (girl screams) Here’s your weed… Your seaweed!
A killer party you won’t forget.
When a group of teenagers accidentally kill their drug dealer they dump the body into toxic water and he returns as a zombie. This low budget film was obviously influenced by The Toxic Avenger. The director worked on the set of The Toxic Avenger at Troma Studios and (as pointed out in an article at Goregirl’s Dungeon) one of the movie characters is named after Troma Films co-founder Lloyd Kaufman.
5. What Are You Thinking… How Do You Feel?
(Starts at 2:50.)
Dr. Carl Hill: W-e-s-s-s-s-s
Herbert West: Yes, doctor, it’s Herbert West. What are you thinking? How do you feel?
Dr. Carl Hill: Y-o-o-o-o-o-u
Herbert West: (writing in notebook) ‘You’…
Dr. Carl Hill: B-a-a-a-s-t-a-r-d!
Herbert West has a very good head on his shoulders… and another one in a dish on his desk.
Re- Animator (1985) is based on a H.P. Lovecraft story and stars beloved horror actor Jeffrey Combs, who has appeared in 8 different Lovecraft film adaptations and at least 30 other horror films. (There is also a third and final Re-Animator film: Beyond Re-Animator (2003), which is definitely the weakest of the three movies.)
4. Uh, That’s Still Tender
(Starts at :30.)
Columbus: I can’t believe I shot Bill Murray!
Tallahasee: Mr. Murray?
Bill Murray: Uh, I’m just Bill I think, now…
Bill Murray: Ya?
Tallahasee: (touching wound) I don’t think we’re going to be able to stitch this
Bill Murray: Uh… that’s still tender…
This place is so dead.
Zombie movie meets road movie, and it’s one hell of a ride. Released in 2009, this is the most recent movie on the list.
3. Your Mother Ate My Dog!
Brain Dead (a.k.a. Dead Alive)
(Starts at 1:05.)
Paquita Maria Sanchez: Your mother ate my dog!
Lionel Cosgrove: Not all of it.
There’s something nasty in Lionel’s cellar – His family!
Brain Dead (1992), made in New Zealand, was Peter Jackson’s first professionally made movie. It is considered the best zombie movie of all time by some, and the goriest by many.
2. She’s So Drunk
Shaun of the Dead
(Starts at 1:00.)
Shaun: (sees zombie in his backyard) She’s so drunk.
2nd favorite: He’s got an arm off… get him. 3rd favorite: You’ve got red on you.
In a time of crisis a hero must rise…from his sofa.
Shaun of the Dead, another example of a recent zombie comedy, references many classic zombie movies. For example, Shaun’s mom’s name is Barbra, which opens the door for Ed to shout “We’re coming to get you, Barbara!” when they are on the way to rescue her. At work, Shaun mentions that a coworker named Ash is sick and can’t come in for his shift. (The Evil Dead trilogy character Ashley J. ‘Ash’ Williams is a sales clerk at S-Mart. Evidently the Shaun of the Dead co-writers, director Edgar Wright and lead role actor Simon Pegg, think Raimi’s movies belong in the zombie category.). Also, excerpts from the Dawn of the Dead soundtrack are used throughout the film and news broadcasts make reference to 28 Days Later and Night of the Living Dead. And, of course, the movie title is a play on Dawn of the Dead.
1. You’re Dates Are Here
Night of the Creeps
Detective Cameron: I got good news and bad news, girls. The good news is your dates are here…
Girl: What’s the bad news?
Detective Cameron: They’re dead.
Second favorite quote from this movie: What I’m going to need is your standard flame-thrower.
If you scream… you’re dead.
Night of the Creeps (1986) isn’t the best movie on this list, but I think this scene deserves first place.
Parasites from space infect a frat boy. When two geeks accidentally thaw out his frozen body, the infection spreads and carnage on campus ensues. The main characters are named after popular horror and sci-fi directors, including Cronenberg, Raimi, Carpenter, Landis, and Cameron.
More Funny Zombie Movie Moments
For a larger collection of funny zombie movie moments, check out our playlist at the TopTenz YouTube channel.
Fans of Sam Raimi and The Evil Dead
Had it been eligible, Army of Darkness would have filled 8 spots on this list and Evil Dead II would have taken one spot. Army of Darkness is one of my favorite movies of all time and, really, it’s just that funny. It’s the Blazing Saddles of action movies, the Spaceballs of medieval horror, the Fletch of the Cthulhu Mythos… you get my point… You can visit The Evil Dead Sam Raimi playlist at the TopTenz YouTube channel to see a selection of from these movies.