There are quite a few folks who love a good horror movie. Then there are those of use who really dig the super-cheesy, super-cheap flicks that usually have crappy promotional posters, if there even ARE any posters before the thing goes direct to video. The SyFy Channel was made for folks like us!
In my travels on the internet lately, I've checked out quite a few Top Ten Zombie Films lists, and I always see the big names, like anything by Romero, or Zombieland or even the Evil Dead trilogy. But rarely do I see the slightly more obscure stuff, like Zombie Strippers. Yeah, these movies sometimes suck, but often the horrible acting, badly written scripts and laughable special effects are what make them so endearing. So I set about making my list of the Top Ten Low-Budget Zombie Movies.
Truthfully, no low-budget zombie movie list would be complete without George Romero's original Night of the Living Dead. That movie, made in 1968, cost a whopping $114,000 to make. By comparison, the forthcoming big screen adaptation of the Max Brooks book World War Z, which stars Brad Pitt and will be released in June 2013, had an operating budget of $125 million. Incidentally, I loved that book, but I don't know if I'll enjoy the movie. It's just how I am.
With this list, I wanted to go out on a limb and skip titles that many people already know. This will give you a chance to enjoy something different. Kind of like having a McDonald's $1 burger after a week of nothing but prime rib. Ha! Enjoy!
Zombie Strippers Official Movie Trailer
10. Zombie Strippers
I'll be the first to admit - I can't stand Jenna Jameson. It's not because she's a porn star because I have absolutely nothing against porn. It's just that I think she's, well, a raging idiot.
She also stars in this movie as a stripper which, obviously, is a big stretch for her.
Oddly enough, this movie is interesting. George W Bush has pretty much ensconced himself as the permanent President of the United States and we've gone straight to prudish, regulated conservatism. In Nebraska, however, there's a strip club called the Rhino, where they're flaunting their stuff in the face of public indecency laws.
Unfortunately for these strippers, a mad scientist has developed a virus that can send America's fallen troops back into battle - after they've reanimated of course - and some of the strippers at Rhino accidentally end up infected. They reanimate to find that they've become more popular as zombies than they ever were when they were alive. Just don't get the private dance, or it will be your last!
Bad acting, a hokey plot and some pretty funny scenes all add up to make this the perfect low-budget zombie movie. However, please DO NOT SHOW THIS MOVIE TO THE KIDDIES. Seriously. Unless you want a visit from child protective services. That's all I'm sayin'.
Dead Meat Official Movie Trailer
9. Dead Meat
Clocking in at just under $150,000 to make, Dead Meat definitely qualifies as a low-budget zombie movie. This 2004 film was made in Ireland, and features a Spanish woman of all things. I guess they're just mixing up accents to keep it interesting.
This movie uses Mad Cow Disease as a jumping off point for their living dead. This one is darkly funny and does seem to have a great plot, unlike many of the other films on this list.
It also stars a bunch of people you likely have never heard of, including Marián Araújo as a Spanish tourist and David Muyllaert as the gravedigger who helps save the day from the mad cow disease infected townspeople.
Gore fans will enjoy Dead Meat, and so will folks who like a shovel wielding main character and anybody who thinks that cows should have a chance to get even will love it, too!
Zombies of Mass Destruction Official Movie Trailer
8. ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction
This one actually has a budget of $1 million US, but I think it wants to be on this list. Don't you agree?
ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction was a 2009 movie that billed itself as "The best of its type since Shaun of the Dead." As if anyone could top that!
Port Gamble, Washington, is the epicenter of this zombie film that begins with one of the walking dead washing up on a beach. The plot is pretty much standard in the zombie horror film genre, but the dialogue can be downright funny.
This isn't a big production and some of the special effects are a little unusual but I don't think they detract from the movie at all.
I'd recommend this one to folks who love a little funny with their gore and anybody who enjoys a good, bad flick.
Aah! Zombies!! Official Movie Trailer
7. Wasting Away, also known as Aah! Zombies!
Ok. Imagine this. Four people are working in a bowling alley. They find this stuff, and think it's for their soft serve ice cream machine - and that it makes beer flavored ice cream. So they hook it up, squeeze out some green stuff into cones and eat it.
Only it's not beer flavoring for ice cream, it's hazardous sludge that turns everyone who eats it into zombies - that don't know they're zombies. Seriously, they think they're still human.
This movie, released in 2007, had such a low budget that I can't even find it on the internet. It did, however, restore my faith in low-budget movies. It's worth a watch, if you can find it. But don't eat the fluorescent green ice cream!
Interestingly enough, when I searched "Aah! Zombies!!" on Amazon Associates, the second search result was the Jennifer Lopez album This Is Me... Then. Does that mean that J-Lo is a zombie? I KNEW IT!
Fido Official Movie Trailer
This Canadian movie, about a zombie named Fido is truly original. Released in 2007, Fido takes place in an alternate universe which has seen a massive amount of radiation that turns people into zombies.
These reanimated folks have been fitted with electronic collars that supposedly make their desire for human flesh all but nonexistent They've been "domesticated" and are even kept as pets.
Timmy has one of these, a beloved zombie named Fido. When Fido munches on a neighbor after his shock collar fails, a string of events begin that most movie watchers won't see coming.
This tale of an unusual case of man's new best friend is a great movie. So great that I think I'll go watch it again.
Dance of the Dead Official RED BAND Movie Trailer- May Not Be Suitable For Some Audiences
5. Dance of the Dead
Dance of the Dead, a 2008 film, is all about teenagers trying to save their prom from a zombie attack. Starring a bunch of folks you've likely never heard of and getting a one day release before going directly to video, this film is entertaining to say the least.
Since the world has suddenly and unexpectedly gone to hell, who will save the prom? The nerds that couldn't get dates, of course.
The plot is rather simple, and the action is straightforward and does combine some unusual elements of less traditional zombie movie making - think zombies committing grand theft auto. I liked how this flick combined the seriousness of a zombie apocalypse with some pretty interesting sub-plots.
Dead Snow Official Movie Trailer with English Subtitles
4. Dead Snow
I don't particularly care for subtitled movies because I want to spend my time enjoying the story, not reading it. With 2009's Dead Snow, however, I made an exception.
This one is Norwegian and features NAZI ZOMBIES! Several young people converge on a remote, snow covered cabin in the countryside for a getaway. They find a box of treasure that should have PANDORA written across the lid, because that treasure wakens the Nazi zombies that are sworn to protect and keep it - at all costs.
This movie is brutal. The violence is off the charts, but the script centers around a Scandinavian boogeyman tale called the Draugr, which is essentially the walking dead.
Put this movie on your list. Just watch it twice - the first time to read the dialogue and the second to watch the action.
3. American Zombie
American Zombie, released in 2007, is not for everyone. If you're a fan of terrifying zombie thrillers with lots of gore, skip this. If you think all zombie movies should be funny like Shaun of the Dead, you should skip it, too.
This flick twists the genre in a whole new and completely unexpected way. Zombies are the result of a hidden virus in humans that only activates when the person who carries it dies a violent death.
They then reanimate with no idea who they used to be and no recollections of their former lives. They're not the brainless living dead, however. They have jobs, social lives and even date.
American Zombie is made documentary style and explores what would happen if the dead started to rise and wanted to become productive members of society. Some folks want to give them rights and social welfare programs, others think that zombies are just flesh eating monsters and should all die.
Zombie fans wanting fast, mindless action probably won't like this, but I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks they've seen it all!
Deadlands 2: Trapped Official Redband Movie Trailer
2. Deadlands 2: Trapped
Deadlands 2: Trapped is the 2008 sequel to the pretty dismally rated Deadlands: The Rising which was released in 2006.
In this movie, Hagerstown, Maryland is inundated with verve gas as part of a secret government experiment Unfortunately, the test has unexpected side effects, like an overwhelming desire to eat living people.
This movie did some redeeming of the writer and director, after the awful first flick. The acting is a little (okay, A LOT) amateur and the effects sometimes look a little homegrown, but Deadlands 2: Trapped is worth a look for zombie lovers.
There is a sequel in post-production. It's called Deadlands 3: The Last Stand.
Colin Official Movie Trailer
Colin isn't necessarily the best movie on this list, but it's number one because, well, it only cost about $70 to make. I kid you not.
This 2008 was shot on a personal camcorder that was about ten years old. It's about a kid who gets bitten and turns into a zombie. The entire film is pretty much done from his point of view, so we see what really motivates a zombie... BRAINS. Or at least flesh.
There really isn't a whole lot of plot, so don't rent this one expecting anything mind blowing, however it was screened at the Cannes and several other film festivals in 2009 and pretty much everybody loved it. Rotten Tomato's users, however, have given it 46%.
Keith Abt from The Garden State on February 10, 2014:
Revisiting this one to mention that since the last time I read this hub, I've seen two more on this list - "Zombie Strippers" which was all but unwatchable, and "Dance of the Dead" which was pretty damn funny.
While watching "Zombie Strippers" it occurred to me that time has definitely NOT been kind to Jenna Jameson. She looked like hell even BEFORE they made her into a zombie.
...oh, and a sequel to "Dead Snow" will be released sometime this month in Europe. Look for the trailer on Youtube. It's called "Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead."
Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on May 08, 2013:
Colin was... well, Colin. Ha! Seriously though, if you're a cheesy zombie movie fan, I'd recommend all of them!
Thank you for stoping by!
Elias Zanetti from Athens, Greece on May 08, 2013:
Nice list. I think your $1 McDonalds burger reference says it all! I have to say though that I got really intrigued by your no.1, Colin. The 70$ budget is incredible!
Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on March 09, 2013:
Glimmer Twin Fan:
I like them scary! Most of the ones on this list could qualify for campy. Or is that crappy? ;)
Thanks for the comment!
Claudia Mitchell on March 09, 2013:
Interesting hub. May have to check out Zombie Strippers Ha Ha. I think I am more interested in the campy zombie movies. If they are too serious they'll scare me too much.
Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on March 08, 2013:
Boy Eats Girl is one I haven't heard of, but if you recommend it, then it must be awesome!
Maybe showing them to Bev isn't a great idea. You can always hide them away for whenever she has a girl's night out?
I will read your Hub. You should link it here so other folks can find it, too!
I think vampires are on their way out. This opinion may not be real popular here, but I think that Stephanie Meyer effectively nailed the lid on the coffin of the bloodsucker genre!
Just make sure you don't watch them in the dark!
Thank you for the comments, I really do appreciate them! :D
Melissa Propp from Minnesota on March 08, 2013:
Wow, I love a good (or bad) zombie movie! You have give me several movies on this list that I have not heard of before. This will make for a great "snow day" activity. I can't wait! Thanks for all the recommendations and reviews.
Sheri Dusseault from Chemainus. BC, Canada on March 08, 2013:
This was fun to read, although I don't watch horror films. And what is with all the vampire shows lately? Thanks for this.
Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 07, 2013:
You have a couple of my favorite cheap zombie movies, and a few I have yet to see. I actually have "Zombie Strippers" on my external hard drive, but I still need to find Fido.
I want to plug my own zombie hub, as of yet to be made into a major motion picture starring the canine actor who starred in Benji. (Yes, he is dead.) My hub is called "How to tell your dog is a zombie" and provides vital information for those families dense enough to ingore subtle changes in their dog.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 07, 2013:
Somehow I managed to miss all of these. :) Great list, Georgie. I just don't see Bev sitting through five minutes of one of these. She would be screaming and sick to her stomach. LOL
Keith Abt from The Garden State on March 07, 2013:
Nice one Georgie. I haven't seen most of these (aside from "Dead Snow," which was a freakin' hoot) but I'm gonna have to look into a couple of'em. Since most of these flicks are fairly recent vintage (i.e. within the last decade), let me recommend one to ya - "Boy Eats Girl," an Irish-made zombie comedy from the early '00s that was funny as hell and didn't skimp on the red stuff either.