Horror shorts have a tendency to be cookie-cutter, it is one of the reasons we feature relatively few of them relative to the popularity of the genre. The exception to this though has always been the zombie sub-genre. It’s hard to find any category of short film that displays as much ingenuity and range of emotion as this one, and on the occasion of the sad passing of George Romero, the man most responsible for bringing zombies into the modern age and cementing their place in the film firmament, we’ve combed our archives and culled together this playlist of diverse and essential takes on the undead.
The fact that the two biggest shows on television are directly influenced by Romero’s vision of zombie-dom (The Walking Dead & Game of Thrones), but are wildly divergent in myriad ways, shows the plasticity of the genre, and our picks take that a step further—what does the zombie apocalypse look like for pets? For deaf people? For gamer bros? Can zombie’s reconnect to their humanity through dance? Or long lost love? How does a viewer feel when the life and death decisions are placed in their hands? While these films do not follow in the footsteps of Romero’s potent political allegories, they prove something primal about the concept of the undead and the flexibility of the premise to tell all kinds of stories. Outrageous laughs and heartbreaking feels to follow in this playlist of 9 essential zombie short films. RIP George.