Can new franchise entries measure up to these picks?
'Dawn of the Dead'
George Romero struck a chord of cold war-era dread with audiences in 1968's B&W low-budgeter "Night of the Living Dead." It took him ten years to sort out the sequel, but 1978's garishly colored "Dawn" was more than worth the wait. Even its low-budget limitations (spotty performances, often phony-looking makeup) don't diminish the film's impact. Combining gag-inducing gross-outs, sharp social commentary and an endearing sense of fun -- even hope -- amid all the apocalyptic madness, Romero created the blueprint for all the zombie movies/TV shows/videogames that have come since.
- Dave Lewis