11. Night of the Living Dead
directed by George Romero
One of the few movies that can truly be said to have started not only a subgenre, but an entire subculture. Zombies are bigger than they have ever been; so big, in fact, it’s hard to believe that there was once a time in pop culture when the idea of the dead feasting on the living was nonexistant. Credit goes to George Romero for conceiving a surprisingly simple horrific concept and executing it in a way that would echo through the decades. Clearly, these shuffling, ravenous corpses seem to resonate with people. Perhaps it is a symbol of our own mortality slowly but surely getting closer, until it can’t be avoided. There is no mercy in these creatures any more than in the inevitability of death itself. We can forge relationships, make our lives as secure as possible, but, eventually, we run out of places to hide (or exhaust the will to do so), and are overtaken. Were Night of the Living Dead notable only for its symbolism, it might not be so widely loved. However, thankfully, the film itself is stressful, paranoid, and just so damned fatalistic. It’s everything a great horror movie is supposed to be, and a little more.