June 20, 2013 at 4:35 PM ET
"World War Z" breaks out this week, with Brad Pitt playing UN employee Gerry Lane, who travels the world to try and fight the zombie uprising that's so well-detailed in Max Brooks' 2006 novel.
The film is just the latest stop on Hollywood's eternal tour through the world of the undead. As early as 1932, the movie "White Zombie" tackled the world of these fictional favorites, but it wasn't until zombiemaster George A. Romero made "Night of the Living Dead" in 1968 that the undead came, uh, to life.
Here's a look at a few of our favorite zombie moments.
'Night of the Living Dead' starts it all
Romero started it all with this black-and-white shocker. A great film, but it's a moment early on that stays with the viewer. In the opening scene in a graveyard, a brother mocks his sister's fears, cooing, "They're coming to get you Bar-br-a." Guess what? They are.
'Thriller' teaches the world the zombie dance
Will there ever be a more movielike music video than Michael Jackson's 13-minute "Thriller"? It's filled with false endings and scary transformations, but nothing is as memorable as the lurchingly awesome zombie dance, which has been learned and practiced by everyone from flash mobs to senior-citizen centers.
'Shaun of the Dead' shows us we're all zombies in the morning
"Shaun of the Dead" is perhaps the best zombie comedy ever made. And in a near-perfect scene, Shaun slogs through his morning routine of stopping into a convenience store and fails to realize zombies have taken over -- despite bloody handprints on the fridge door, a puddle of unidentified goo in the aisle, no clerk visible and a moaning, staggering zombie panhandler.
In 'Dawn of the Dead,' shoppers are zombiefied
Ever felt like the mall turns you into a zombie, staggering around under the spell of shouting SALE! signs and overpriced dreck? In "Dawn of the Dead" (both the 1978 original and the 2004 remake), our worst fears of what lurks at the mall are realized. And the remake boasts a singularly chilling scene. Those trapped in the mall have been holding up a whiteboard to exchange messages with the gun-shop owner trapped in another building. After he's bitten, they see his final whiteboard message, just a horrifying smear of blood.
Jim's parents hope he dies in '28 Days Later'
In 2002's "28 Days Later," poor bicycle messenger Jim wakes up in a London hospital after zombies have overrun the city. The film is both horrifying and heartbreaking, but perhaps the saddest moment comes when Jim finds his parents have killed themselves in their bed. They left him this note: "With endless love, we left you sleeping. Now we're sleeping with you. Don't wake up."
Bill Murray is sorry about 'Garfield'
In the 2009 film "Zombieland," Bill Murray isn't really a zombie, but Jesse Eisenberg thinks he is, and shoots him in the chest. As Murray expires, he's asked if he has any regrets. With dead-on (ha!) delivery, the star croaks out, " 'Garfield,' maybe." And anyone who saw the critically blasted 2004 movie, where Murray voices the fat, lazy, lasagna-loving cat, would agree.
Zombie-flavored water, anyone?
AMC's "The Walking Dead" has offered up plenty of gruesome zombie moments -- heads floating in jars, zombie children getting their hair brushed -- but one tops them all. In an early episode, the gang tried to pull a giant, bloated zombie out of the well, but he breaks in half, spilling his guts back into the water. Mmm ... refreshing.