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06.18.09

14 Zombie Movie Dos and Don'ts

Zombies have crawled their way up the cinema food chain, from schlocky B-movies (Return of the Living Dead), to unexpected blockbusters (28 Days Later), and finally to art house, with two undead flicks, Colin and Dead Snow, making splashes at Cannes and Sundance, respectively. Dead Snow, about a group of skiers taking on a mountain full of zombie Nazis, opens in limited release on Friday, and to celebrate, The Daily Beast has assembled this handy list of Dos and Don'ts…just in case you find yourself fighting off a zombie invasion.

Zombies have crawled their way up the cinema food chain, from schlocky B-movies ( Return of the Living Dead), to unexpected blockbusters ( 28 Days Later), and finally to art house, with two undead flicks, Colin and Dead Snow, making splashes at Cannes and Sundance, respectively. Dead Snow, about a group of skiers taking on a mountain full of zombie Nazis, opens in limited release on Friday, and to celebrate, The Daily Beast has assembled this handy list of Dos and Don'ts… just in case you find yourself fighting off a zombie invasion.

DON’T Tempt Fate

It’s never a good idea to joke around in a cemetery. Seriously. In this memorable scene from Night of the Living Dead, Barbara and her brother Johnny are visiting their father’s grave when a joke meant to frighten her becomes all too real. “They’re coming to get you Barbara….”

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DO Dress to Impress

A zombie uprising is no excuse to get sartorially sloppy. When zombies crash the prom in Dance of the Dead, it’s up to the kids to save the day, while still dressed in their evening best. They can probably kiss those tux deposits goodbye.

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DON’T Be Intimidated by Zombie Smack Talk

John Russo and George A. Romero, the two writers of the original Night of the Living Dead, had a dispute that led to them splitting up the budding franchise. Russo would get to keep the “Living” in his titles, and Romero would get to keep the dignity, or what passes for it in zombie flicks. Russo’s films veered into the realm of camp horrocomedy, like Return of the Living Dead, which (regrettably) introduced the world to talking zombies.

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DO Aim for the Head

They want to eat your brains, you want to shoot them in theirs. Matt Addison (Eric Mabius) demonstrates this technique to perfection in 2002’s Resident Evil, when he’s forced to kill his fellow commando-turned-zombie, played by Michelle Rodriguez.

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DON’T Forget Your Mates

Shaun of the Dead, a 2004 horror spoof that’s equal parts tongue-in-cheek and cheek-in-mouth, features Shaun’s best mate getting bitten by a zombie. Shaun could make like Matt Addison and pop him in the skull, but who says the undead can’t be valued friends? That being said….

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Zombies DON’T Make Good Pets

In the 2006 film Fido, the zombie attack has been contained, but a danger still walks the streets at night—zombies, fitted with collars that turn the monsters into manservants. In this clip, an innocent game of catch in the park between little Timmy and his pet zombie turns predictably deadly.

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DO Pimp Your Ride

2004’s Dawn of the Dead remake, which helped kick the current zombie movie craze into high gear, featured a getaway staged in a tricked-out school bus. All together now: The zombies on the bus go grr, grr, grr

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DO Always Keep a Chainsaw and/or Shotgun on Hand… Literally

If there’s one thing horror movies have taught us, it’s that spending the weekend at an old cabin in the middle of nowhere is never a good idea. In the sequel to the cult favorite Evil Dead, Ash (Bruce Campbell) goes to extreme measures to protect himself and his girlfriend from the dark forces and walking dead that lurk in the woods. Two words: chainsaw hand.

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DON’T Underestimate the Blonde

Pretty blondes are usually horror-movie chum (see also: promiscuous teenagers, household pets), but Diary of the Dead—Romero’s entry into the handheld camera, Cloverfield-esque school of horror filmmaking—proves that anyone has the potential to kick some major undead butt.

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DO Stay Out of the Water: Zombies Can Swim

In what is arguably one of the more absurd, yet awesome, scenes in any zombie film, the 1979 classic Zombie pits a bloodthirsty shark against a flesh-hungry zombie in an undersea battle for the ages.

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DO Learn How to Fix a Flat Tire—Fast

Fighting the undead will only get you so far—you will need to think ahead if you want to survive. Almost every zombie film ultimately leads to a getaway, ideally to a military compound. In 28 Days Later, the gang of survivors gets stranded in a dark tunnel riddled with raging zombies.

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DO Practice Your Shuffle-Ball-Change

Michael Jackson may have invented dancing zombies, but Dead and Breakfast perfected the formula by letting them sing, too.

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DON’T Transport Mysterious Cargo

Agreeing to carry odd packages is right up there with joking around in a graveyard and saying “I’ll be right back”—a horror-movie guarantee that you’re about to become lunch. In Flight of the Living Dead (think Snakes on a Plane with zombies), a group of unlucky passengers has to fight airsickness and an undead uprising after a medical-experiment-gone-awry zombie breaks loose from the cargo hold.

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DO Stick Together…Unless You Have an AK-47 for a Leg

It’s best to stay with your group in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, but there are some exceptions. In Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror, Rose McGowan's character Cherry limps ahead to take out a horde of infected soldiers using a machine-gun leg extension.

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