We know that when you want a good, hearty zombie movie, you want it -- nay, need it -- now. Here are a few titles available on Netflix Instant that can immediately satisfy your zombie movie cravings whenever you get that aching hunger in your belly.
While it doesn't quite reach the level of greatness of, say, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland is a more than worthy zombie comedy, often punch-drunk in its playfulness as Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin hit the road after the zombie apocalypse in search of sanctuary and kick some undead butt along the way. Especially pleasing (and sometimes horrifying) is its apparent refusal to ever kill a zombie in the same way twice; the kills are creative and gruesome, and we guarantee there's at least a few moments where you'll say to yourself, "Well, I've never seen that before." You also get at least one great and completely unexpected celebrity cameo that's probably the highlight of the entire flick.
One of the better episodes of Showtime's Masters of Horror series, "Homecoming" was director Joe Dante's contribution to the first season. Several slain American soldiers come back from the dead, but it isn't to eat brains and wreck havoc -- no, they've come back to vote, to make sure that the President that made them fight and die in such a senseless war wouldn't be back for a second term. Yeah, not very subtle, and sometimes embarrassingly so, but Dante's still a skilled showman with several clever tricks up his sleeve -- the director of Gremlins and The Howling isn't going to bombard you with a brazen left-wing political agenda without making it, well, fun.
Probably the best satire of American suburbia since Edward Scissorhands, Fido takes place in an alternate '50s universe where Dad fought in the "Zombie Wars" and doesn't like it one bit when Mom buys a zombie for little Timmy. There goes the neighborhood! Fido has a lot to say about the responsibilities of keeping a pet -- especially when that pet could get loose and start eating the neighbors. While it gets a little heavy-handed in the third act (who is really the more "human" -- us or the undead?), Fido is smart and funny, with a pretty astonishing performance by Billy Connolly, who stepped in to play the title role after Peter Stormare dropped out a week before principal photography was scheduled to begin.
George Romero's first Dead movie might very well be the best in the series... and perhaps the best zombie movie of all time, period. The set-up is simple: Zombies walk the earth, and a few survivors take refuge in a house in the woods. Night's zombies lurk about in the shadows of the trees, patiently waiting for the poor fool who thinks he can make a run for it. Rarely has a horror film created such an unrelenting sense of claustrophobia -- the sight of these creatures swaying around outside the window is more terrifying than any swarming attack en masse. Though there are plenty of those moments, too, and they're awesome.
1985's delightful Return of the Living Dead brought a rich sense of humor to the proceedings, determined to make the audience laugh as much as scream (and it succeeded, a lot, on both counts). It was also one of the first films to introduce some new elements into the whole zombie mythos: the zombies were resurrected by a toxic gas (Trioxin!), they moved fast (and we do mean fast) and bullets didn't really do a damn thing to stop them. Part II (1988) picks up where the first film left off, following the niece and nephew of the original film's protagonist, and jacks it all up tenfold, delivering a strange and often hilarious zombie adventure that's almost as good as the original -- and at least twice as goofy.