(1979, Dir. by Lucio Fulci.)
Why It's Here:
If you're of the more traditional cinematic mindset, this might be the most indefensible film you'll find on this list. I struggle myself to explain just what it is that makes Lucio Fulci's film a masterpiece of horror, but I'll be damned if it doesn't work for me. (Actually, I might be damned BECAUSE it works for me.) This is a film that varies from most of its horror brethren - comparing it to Romero's Dawn of the Dead, for example, just makes it look foolish in many regards - but I don't know if there's a movie that uses gore so effectively on me.
The Moment That Changes Everything:
There's plenty of surreal uberviolence throughout the film - varying from the infamous shark vs. zombie sequence to the marvelous rising from the grave sequence - but there's probably not a moment in horror that makes me squirm like the bit of old fashioned eyeball horror that happens near the middle of Zombie.
It Makes a Great Double Feature With:
If you need more than one crazy violent Italian zombie movie in your day - and why wouldn't you? - you can't go wrong with Jorge Grau's impressive-yet-multi-titled Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (aka The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue). It doesn't have the iconic imagery of Fulci's film, but it does have an actual story and a dude with a really impressive beard. So that's something.
What It Means To Me:
Recommending Zombie feels kind of like one of those Most Interesting Man In The World commercials to me. I don't always enjoy Italian gore-based cinema. But when I do, I enjoy Zombie. It's simply a movie that I can not turn away from. Though there are few jumps and less character development, there's still a real horror to be found - just because the director managed to make the film so darn artistically gross. Sometimes artistic grossness is exactly what horror should be.