Zombies are everywhere in popular culture, and with them comes rot, terror… and usually some uncomfortable and painful moral choices. Here’s a look back on the most sadistic and gruesome decision-making forced on protagonists in modern zombie cinema.
Really the start of the zombie renaissance, this is a movie full of tough decisions, but probably the most brutal is the illustration of just how far Selena will go for survival. When Mark gets bitten, Selena has to choose, in a split-second, between running away and leaving him to become infected, or brutally murdering him right there. Ouch.
Shaun of the Dead is a lighthearted comedy about leaving all your loved ones to die horribly in a zombie apocalypse. First Shaun is forced to strand his stepfather — who he just emotionally reconciled with — inside his beloved car. Then he has to kill his mom. Then he has to leave his best friend to die while stepping out into a zombie apocalypse under the impression that he and the love of his life are going to be horribly eaten alive.
On the other hand — and not unreasonably — Shaun doesn’t feel so bad feeding her annoying friends to zombies. Warning: Graphic.
So, you’ve saved your pregnant girlfriend in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. You’ve done your best to make it through unscathed, but unfortunately, the pregnancy has some complications and your baby is a zombie. Do you save your zombie baby, or let an old lady kill it?
Andre chose to blow away the old lady, which, well… really isn’t the option we would have gone for.
Say what you will about the other tough choices Will Smith’s character has to make, putting down his dog Sam after she is bit and infected is the most gut-wrenching of all (for both Will and the audience). Especially since, to this point, his dog is literally the only friend he has. In the entire world.
Also, he has to strangle it to death, you know, because life wasn’t cruel enough.
Also file this under “Awesome.” When Cherry’s right leg is torn off by zombies early in Planet Terror she could have given up. Hey, we would have.
Instead she fights back, first by attaching a chair leg where her own leg used to reside, and then by making her missing limb the ultimate advantage: attaching a modified M4 Carbine with M203 grenade launcher to her stump.
When Burt and Spider find an abandoned police car, they desert the rest of their friends to make a run for it. Dick move, but then again…
Hopefully no one has seen Diary of the Dead, but it should be noted that it did include arguably the most epic sacrificial zombie kill of all time. Warning: hilariously graphic.
OK, so there aren’t many tough choices to be made in Zombieland, but the death of Bill Murray will always bring a tear to the eye…