Sit.. roll over… play dead… stay dead.
Quick – what’s more frightening than a zombie? How about a zombie that used to be man’s best friend, and now fetches brains instead of bones? A lovable shark that shakes off being blown to bits and heads back to Amity Island? A decidedly undead parrot, a Norwegian blue, nailed to his perch? Thankfully, Hollywood has blessed the public with animal zombies in film, allowing you, dear reader, to make up your own mind on which is more horrific. There aren't many movies with such creatures – animal zombies aren’t typical of the zombie genre – but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t some fantastic films with an undead critter or two. Or, more appropriately, at least some “so bad they’re good” ones. Tigers, sharks, and squirrels… oh my!
What happens in Vegas most definitely should stay in Vegas, and so far so good as the government has contained a zombie outbreak to the city, blocking it off from the rest of the world. Now, before a military nuclear strike on the city takes place, a group of mercenaries, assembled by Scott Ward (Dave Bautista), are approached with a plan to recover $200 million from a casino vault. Get in, get money, get out, kaboom. If only it were that easy. Instead, the group finds out the hard way that they may have bitten off more than they chew when one of the first encounters in the quarantined area is a freakin' zombie tiger. One who has no problem biting off more than it can chew. It's an unnerving, but undeniably awesome, sight.
Monster math: Toxic chemicals + Colony of beavers = Zombeavers. The comedy/horror (you didn't honestly think it was a serious take) sees a group of college kids in a riverside cabin attacked by the titular zombeavers. There's no escape – zombeavers blocked the road with a felled tree. There's no communication – zombeavers chewed the landline connection. And if you're bitten, your teeth grow, you get a tail… you become a zombeaver yourself! Delightfully campy with what may be one of the greatest taglines in the history of cinema: You'll all be dammed!
At least Zombeavers had a creative title, which certainly can't be said of Zombie Shark. On Red Plum Island, a group of people stand around a dead shark that's washed up on the beach, only it's not dead. It's a zombie shark! In Zombie Shark! The shark heads back into the waters after eating a couple of people, and it isn't long before the zombie shark's bite begins turning people and other sharks into zombies as well. How did this madness begin? Surprise – it's due to a secret government program which spliced a shark's DNA with zombie DNA that went awry (you'll find that secret government programs go awry a lot in these types of films).
A low-budget camp-fest that's better than it has a right to be, Zombie Cats from Mars tells the story of Billy (Bransen Sands Koehler), a young fan of vintage sci-fi thrillers, who discovers that a rash of killings in town are all linked to the UFO he saw land. A UFO from Mars. A UFO with Martian zombie cats aboard. If only people would believe Billy, but they don't, setting Billy on a solitary mission to save the town and become the hero he believes he can be. Best part has to be the cats that stage a suicide and write the farewell note to go with it. Which begs the question: what's more horrifying, zombie cats from Mars or cats with opposable thumbs? Discuss.
Alien parasites infect a fraternity guy in 1959, turning him into a zombie. Good news: his body is frozen, preventing the alien parasite leeches – "the Creeps" – from turning others. Bad news: two morons in the present day thaw him out. So now these alien leeches are free, and they proceed to find hosts. Hosts they turn into killer zombies by crawling into their mouths. One such host, oddly enough, is a dog, and when a bus crashes to avoid hitting the zombie dog, zombie dog gets in the bus and infects all the teens inside. Maybe they should have just run the dog over. It's not like zombie roadkill is a thing…
… unless it is! A group of college students are on a quick road trip to a nearby lake. The road they're on to get there isn't familiar to them, but whatever gets you from point A to point B is fine… unless it's a cursed road. And it is, naturally, which they come to realize when they run over a squirrel that springs back to life. This Dale has a Chip on its shoulder, and terrorizes the kids that flattened him. If it sweetens the pot for you at all, Zombie Roadkill does boast a cast that includes Thomas Haden Church, who was nominated for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar for his work in 2004's Sideways.
The investigation into the gruesome murder of a trio of children brings psychic Alley (Deborah Rose) and Police Detective Jersey Callum (Ed Nelson) to an old, imposing funeral home, whose owner, Chen (Robert Yun Ju Ahn) is the prime suspect. Only he insists that the corpses of the children aren't children, but ancient demons that he has kept at bay by feeding them human flesh. Right, like that would stand up in court, so Chen is sent to jail on murder charges. Only no perjury here – the ghastly children wake up and search for dinner, which happens to be the staff of the funeral home. And then they possess morgue attendant Mrs. Poopinplatz (yes, Poopinplatz, played by Phyllis Diller) and her poodle, mutating them into zombies (at least with the poodle you could tell… Diller, on the other hand…).
As far as schlock goes, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead is surprisingly pretty decent, and like Poltergeist, another entry in the "don't build stuff on top of an old Native American burial ground" genre. It's a lesson that the owner of an American Chicken Bunker restaurant should have heeded. Now, everyone in the restaurant is being attacked by possessed zombie chickens. This film may just be the most bats**t crazy entry on the list, with an uncooked chicken biting off the penis of a guy having intercourse with it, a man laying an egg that proceeds to hatch (with the chicken inside attacking him, turning him into an egg, which hatches to reveal he's now a zombie chicken), and another guy pushed into a meat grinder by an uncooked chicken as just some of the wild things that go on. And to really cement just how ridiculous the film knows it is, the characters bear "fast-food" names like Carl Jr., Wendy, Arbie, and Denny.
Harry (Nick Fenton) returns to the family sheep farm he left 15 years earlier, cured of the sheep-phobia he developed following his father's death while attempting to save one. It's funny, though, how life puts little challenges before you, like genetically engineered sheep that are now bloodthirsty predators infecting other sheep – and people – and turning them into bloodthirsty sheep too. That ought to test out Harry's work on overcoming his fears.
Beloved Creed family pet Church the cat gets run over by a truck on the highway. No, he isn't zombie roadkill – that would be ridiculous. Instead, papa Louis (Dale Midkiff), knowing how upset his daughter will be when she finds out, is led to a pet cemetery (spelled "sematary", hence Pet Sematary) by his well-meaning neighbor, Jud (Fred Gwynne), where Jud instructs Louis to bury the cat and not to tell anyone that they did so. The next day, guess who's back. Church stinks to high heaven, ambles slowly, and is just kind of a jerk to Louis, but Ellie (Blaze Berdahl) won't notice, right? 1989 or in the 2019 remake, Church is one creeptastic cat.
An attempt to save the life of a monkey at the Eden Wildlife Zoo backfires when an untested drug leads to all the monkeys to becoming zombies, which leads to Zoombies winning the award for most zombiefied animals on film. In no particular order, the proverbial college students in the park are faced with zombie lemurs, zombie wild hogs, zombie giraffes, zombie koala bears, zombie gorillas, zombie birds, and zombie lions. No zombie tigers, however – those are only in Vegas.
The passengers aboard the KTX, a bullet train going from Seoul to Busan, have to deal with a little problem. It turns out that a girl, infected by a virus that turns people into zombies, has boarded the train. Said girl attacks a member of the train's crew, and the next thing you know everybody in that train car are zombies. Not content to just sit and enjoy the scenery as it whizzes by, the zombies start making their way through the other cars on the train, creating more zombies, and on and on it goes. And it's not just the people on board the train that are infected, but all of South Korea is becoming infected as well. How do these things happen? In this case, it's implied that ground zero is a sweet, little deer, coming back to life after being hit and killed by a truck. Maybe there is something to Zombie Roadkill after all?
Lloyd 'Happy Trails' Farley: the man, the myth, the legend. He is a master of puns, with one pun book – Pun And Grimeish Mint – already released and another – Pun And Grimeish Mint II: The Empire's Spice Rack – in development. A devotee of B-films (Ed Wood in particular) and Calgary Flames hockey, Lloyd also holds fast to the belief that all of life's problems can be answered by The Simpsons, Star Wars, or The Lion King.