Halloween Treat: The Evolution of Pop Culture Zombies

Want to get some tips on how to look like a member of the undead horde this Halloween? Take a look at these picks for tips on how to master the classic image or the modern twist on pop-culture zombies.

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United Artists
","id":"679839","thumbnail_url":"https://nbcots.go-vip.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/edt_michael-jackson-s-thriller.jpg?fit=722%2C406","type":"image","focusedSlide":""},{"caption":"Sorry vampires, for Halloween monsters, no one can match the unsettling nature of zombies. The first zombie film was "White Zombie" in 1932 where a jealous young guy asks actor Bela Lugosi, an evil voo-doo master, to make a potion to brainwash the woman he loves away from her fiance. Bad idea! Here are some of our favorite scary zombies.
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RKO Radio Pictures
In 1943's "I Walked with a Zombie," it was a West Indies voodoo ceremony that brought on the undead plague. Now you know: When traveling to the West Indies, try to avoid voodoo ceremonies.
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Getty Images
"Night of the Living Dead" (1968). This is the movie that put zombies on the pop culture map in a big way. The gothy girl seen here wants to eat your brain. And then maybe take in a Bauhaus reunion concert.
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Getty Images
"Dawn of the Dead" (1978). Shooting them in the shoulder won't do much. Altogether now: You've got to shoot them in the head!
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AP
"Dawn of the Dead" (1978). No matter how zombies change over the years, at least one thing remains the same: spleen makes for a delicious lunch. Or dinner. Or afternoon snack. Breakfast spleen is pretty good, too.
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Twitter
"Dawn of the Dead" (1978). The bad news: The fat lady zombie from the original DOTD is coming for you. The good news: That broad forehead offers a pretty nice shotgun target.
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Getty Images
"The Evil Dead" (1981). This movie begins with five friends traveling together to a remote, rustic cabin too far away from civilization for anyone to hear their screams of terror. So they pretty much deserved to be eaten by ghouls.
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"Thriller" (1983). Just how good a dancer was Michael Jackson? He taught a studio lot full of zombie extras to look like a tightly choreographed army of undead Fred Astaires. And zombie legs are totally stiff with rigor mortis! That's how good a dancer Michael Jackson was.
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AP/USDA
"The Return of the Living Dead" (1985). A toxic accident caused the zombie outburst in TROTLD. Hence the rather flesh-less look of the sucker pictured here.
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Getty Images
"The Serpent and the Rainbow" (1988). Bill Pullman generally has a high threshold for pain. But a Haitian voodoo ritual can break the strongest of men. Even Bill Pullman.
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Trimark Pictures
"Dead Alive" (1992). There aren't many cases of zombific offspring -- but in Peter Jackson's bloody, bloody tale of family, love and a menacing undead outbreak, we are treated to just that. This cute little nipper will absolutely try to devour your face.
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Fox Searchlight Pictures
"28 Days Later" (2002). A mysterious vaccine causes an undead riot. This flick popularized the notion of fast-moving zombies. The Internet nearly broke trying to handle the ensuing fast vs. slow debate.
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Getty Images
"Shaun of the Dead" (2004). Leave it to the Brits to show us that the undead can be hilarious. And bicyclists. They are, of course, less funny when they are ...
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EFE
Director Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg helped breathe new life into the undead genre with their 2004 comedy "Shaun of the Dead." Cricket bats and vinyl records were key accessories used by Shaun and his companions as they made their way to their favorite pub the Winchester. So make sure to pack something light and sturdy to split the crowd.
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Universal Pictures
"Land of the Dead" (2005). The remake of yet another George Romero classic introduced us to zombies with goatees, making it harder than ever to distinguish the undead from tech gurus and members of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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"Land of the Dead" (2005). If the Arizona Diamondbacks could do this.
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"28 Weeks later" (2007). In the sequel, they got even faster. Run, Robert Carlyle, run!
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Warner Bros. Pictures
"I Am Legend" (2007). A plague transforms New York City into a post-apocalyptic land of flesh-eaters, desperate to chomp Will Smith to dust. Yes, yes, it could just as easily be a non-fiction documentary. We get it.
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Stage 6 Films
"Zombie Strippers" (2008). It was only a couple of years ago that the undead realized they might need to take up sometimes unsavory work in order to put themselves through college.
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Getty Images
"Zombieland" (2009). Before he played a hyper-driven, entrepreneurial zombie in "The Social Network," Jesse Eisenberg was on the other side, fighting off some seriously fast and funny undead.
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"Dead Snow" (2009). Nazis, as they were in this Norwegian horror-fest about a vacation gone terribly wrong.
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EFE
"The Walking Dead" (2010). It was only a matter of time until brain-eating went prime time. AMC's new zombie drama adapted from the Robert Kirkman comic reminds us to stay vigilant: the living can be more dangerous than the undead.
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Zeppotran/Endemol
Fans of reality television and zombie flicks can squeal with excitement as the two worlds clash in "Dead Set." The British show lets the undead invade the set of a "Big Brother" style show with the ensuing struggle caught on camera.
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Getty Images
If reading about flesh eaters is more your style you can revisit classics of literature with a zombie twist. Quirkbooks Philadelphia has developed a monster theme take on classics of literature starting with Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton -- and the dead are returning to life and Elizabeth Bennet is ready to rid the town of the undead menace.
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Liquid Theory/MTV
"Cops" meets horror in "Death Valley." The 2011 show follows members of the San Fernando Valley Police Department as they tussle with the undead in a never ending struggle to keep the streets clean -- until they shoot for the head.
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Techland/Deep Silver
Think you can survive in a world overrun by flesh eating zombies? Well grab a paddle and start swinging as you try to escape an island paradise turned death trap in 2011's "Dead Island." Make your way through the resort battling through waves of undead while cobbling together the tools to your survival.
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AFP/Getty Images
Not content with watching movies or playing the games you can actually join the legion of the undead without succumbing to a fatal virus or meteorite dust. Across the country groups have planned and successfully pulled of large scale zombie walks. You can find tons of groups online -- so grab an old shirt, some corn syrup and start practicing your moaning. Happy Halloween!
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