Vampires Vs. Zombies: The Bloody Showdown

November 17th, 2009 by Barak

Vampires and zombies are two of the hottest trends in TV and movies in recent years.

Now imagine a hungry zombie chewing on your arm and a thirsty vampire sucking at your neck, both asking you to choose: Will you go to the next zombie movie or the next vampire movie?

It’s time to confront the living dead with the sun-hating blood-suckers, and decide which rules! To that end, here are the ten best contemporary titles under both themes plus the bottom line – which is better:

10. TV series vs. TV series

The Vampire Diaries: As the school year begins, brother and sister Elena and Jeremy are coping with the death of their parents in a tragic accident. When Stefan, a mysterious new student, arrives, he and Elena immediately click. Elena has no way of knowing that Stefan is a centuries-old vampire, struggling to live peacefully among humans, while his brother Damon is the embodiment of vampire violence and brutality…

Dead Set: In this Bafta-nominated horror drama, a plague turns people into zombies. Meanwhile, contestants in the Big Brother house, isolated from the outside world, are not yet aware of what is going on.

And the winner is: Dead Set. More sophisticated and just better. The Vampire Diaries just began its first season so maybe it’s too soon to judge, but I have a feeling it’s not the next Sopranos or West Wing.

9. Sweden vs. Norway

Let The Right One In: In this atmospheric, acclaimed Swedish movie – an American remake is already in process – a lonely misfit finds a soul mate in the form of a vampire child who recently became his neighbor.

Dead Snow: Depending on the audience, the theme of Nazi zombies could sound like the best or worst of cinematic offerings. But Dead Snow received rave reviews at Sundance. In this Norwegian horror comedy, a group of friends think they’re in for a trip of skiing, drinking, and hooking up, but a defrosting band of Nazi zombies have something else in mind…

And the winner is: Let The Right One In. It’s a masterpiece. If you haven’t watched it, you must. Not only for vampire enthusiasts.

8. The 2007 War

30 Days of Night: The town of Barrow, Alaska experiences an entire sunless month once a year. Among the town’s tough, yet law-abiding citizens is the Sheriff (Josh Hartnett), busy brooding over the separation from his Fire Marshall wife (Melissa George). Soon after darkness descends, vampiric Marlow (Danny Huston) and his minions arrive, slaughtering everyone they can catch, safe in the knowledge that they have much longer than usual until sunup.

Fido: The world is recovering from a zombie war several decades earlier. Beyond the gates zombies rule, but in the town of Willard a huge corporation called ZomCom has domesticated the undead, turning them into faithful servants of the human race. Timmy, a young boy, develops a friendship with the zombie (Billy Connolly) his mother purchased for him. Naming him Fido, and initially treating him like a poorly-behaved dog, Timmy soon confirms what he always secretly suspected – that zombies can have feelings too.

And the winner is: I’m making the rules here, so I pick Fido because it has Billy Connolly.

7. Sequel vs. Sequel

Blade 2: Wesley Snipes returns as the part-vampire superhero, following a trail of blood to Prague in search of his abducted mentor (Kris Kristofferson). He reluctantly joins forces with a band of skilled vampire warriors called the Bloodpack to hunt down an even deadlier enemy, the monstrous Reapers, who prey on vampires and humans alike, infecting them with an incurable virus.

28 Weeks Later: The zombies from the first film have died out and England is ready for repopulation. The heavily guarded community is trying to return to normal life. Robert Carlyle has lost his wife but is reunited with his children, Andy and Tammy. But the two kids soon escape from the community, in search of their childhood home and mother. Chaos follows, with the sadistic military and forlorn survivors battling both each other and “the infected.”

And the winner is: Blade 2 grossed $155 million, while 28 Weeks Later grossed $64 million. But money is not everything, and the better sequel is 28 Weeks Later.

3-1 for the zombies.

6. Future Dystopia vs. Future Dystopia

Daybreakers: In this new movie releasing January 8, it’s 2017 and a virus has turned most of earth’s inhabitants into vampires. With their blood supply dwindling, they must find a new food source. With Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill and Willem Dafoe, and an impressive trailer, this movie looks promising.

I Am Legend: A virus has transformed the Earth’s population into an army of nocturnal zombies. Will Smith plays a military scientist, the lone survivor in post-epidemic, deserted New York City. Immune to the virus, he searches for a cure, haunted by visions of his family leaving quarantined Manhattan. He drives through the city with his German Shepherd by day, and barricades his home from the monsters at night. When Anna, another immune stranger, finds him, they will have to fight the onslaught twice as hard.

And the winner is: Daybreakers really does look promising, but I Am Legend deserves the win until proven otherwise. It’s hard to argue with a $585 million box office gross.

5. The 2004 War – Round one

Van Helsing: Destined to fight the world’s evil, Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) is a warrior in a cowboy hat and a trench coat, heavily armed with a rapid-fire multi-arrow crossbow, among other gadgetry. A legion of monks in Rome sends him to Transylvania to hunt the immortal Count Dracula, who terrorizes the local people with the help of his three vampire brides.

Dawn of The Dead: In this remake of Romero’s classic 78 movie, nurse Ana (Sarah Polley) wakes up to discover her boyfriend has become a tasty midnight snack for a cute neighboring kid. To her horror, she realizes the whole town is in state of ghoulishness. She joins a small group of survivors headed by cop Kenneth (Ving Rhames) who barricade themselves inside the local mall. More survivors surface as zombies slowly taking over the planet. Against all odds, the survivors plot, scheme, and enjoy their mall paradise.

And the winner is: Dawn of The Dead. Van Helsing wasn’t a good movie, not even by Hugh Jackman’s standards.

4. Action vs. Action

Underworld: Vampires and lycans – an ancient form of werewolf – are at war, constantly innovating deadlier bullets to gain advantage. Death agent Selene (Kate Beckinsale) orders the vamps to attack the lycans. But when she discovers they have kidnapped a human medical student, she knows the worst is coming. Against the orders of her superior (who’s in love with her), she awakens the most powerful vampire of all time, Viktor (Bill Nighy) and prepares for a massive feud against lycan leader Lucian.

Planet Terror: Director Robert Rodriguez pays homage to his favorite B-movies with this old-fashioned zombie film that’s infused with enough gore and giggles to please even Peter Jackson (Bad Taste). Rose McGowan plays Cherry, a go-go dancer whose night is interrupted by a vicious zombie attack that leaves her missing a leg. Her ex-boyfriend, Wray (Freddy Rodriguez), takes charge, fashioning her a new leg from a machine gun and killing zombies along the way

And the winner is: Planet Terror, a hilarious movie, not only the better of these two, but also the better of the two Grindhouse movies (the other being Tarantino’s Death Proof).

3. The 2004 War – Round Two

Night Watch: This old-fashioned good vs. evil parable set in Moscow relies on some modern special effects to ensnare its audience. In the distant past, a delicate truce was struck between the forces of Light and Dark. Both sides keep a close eye on each other as they attempt to disguise themselves from the earth’s mere mortals. Anton, defined as “Other” by the legions of Light and Dark, lives with his cohort of vampires, awaiting the arrival of a virgin who will announce the resumption of hostilities. As the film progresses, it becomes apparent that an epic battle is just around the corner.

Shaun Of The Dead: Shaun (Simon Pegg), joined by his immature and ever-present roommate, Ed, excels at nothing but drinking pints and watching television, causing friction with his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield). Before Shaun can save his relationship, however, he’s got to fend off a horde of zombies that are slowly taking over the city. Armed with a cricket bat and a vague sense of direction, Shaun must rescue his friends and loved ones, and bring them to the only safe place he can think of – the pub.

And the winner is: Shaun of The Dead, it’s a modern classic.

2. Critically acclaimed vs. Critically acclaimed

True Blood: Oscar-winner Anna Paquin stars as Sookie, a telepathic waitress living in Bon Temps, Louisiana, who falls hard for Bill, a Civil War veteran and vampire. Their romantic romps aren’t the only draw: the coexistence of humans and vampires is uneasy, and people are dying. Clothes fall to the floor almost as often as blood spatters the walls in this TV show that blends supernatural horror, sex, mystery and just a little bit of social commentary.

28 Days Later: Cillian Murphy returns to consciousness 28 days after an outbreak turned London into a lifeless city. He wanders the surreally vacant streets. Upon entering a church littered with dead bodies, he discovers that he is not alone – “the infected” are still living. They are violently sick, fast-moving, bloodthirsty zombies who travel at night in ravenous packs. Jim manages to escape and locate a band of survivors. Joining forces, they cling to the hope that somewhere healthy humanity thrives – only to discover that humans in distress are no better than zombies.

And the winner is: It’s a tie. I think True Blood is an excellent show, and 28 Days Later gets 88% fresh reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. No decisive conclusion here.

1. Blockbuster vs. Blockbuster

Twilight: High-school student Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), always a bit of a misfit, doesn’t expect life to change much when she moves from sunny Arizona to rainy Washington state. Then she meets Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a handsome but mysterious teen whose eyes seem to peer directly into her soul. Edward is a vampire whose family does not drink blood, and Bella, far from being frightened, enters into a dangerous romance with her immortal soulmate.

Zombieland: A huge success both financially and critically, humorous Zombieland is about survivors (Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg) of a zombie apocalypse who join forces against the undead.

And the winner is: Zombieland. Twilight is nonsense for teens, while Zombieland is a very good action movie, with some truly funny moments and original ideas. So what if Twilight grossed triple what Zombieland made at the box office…

Conclusion: It’s 8-1 in favor of the zombies!
It seems that contemporary movies about eating flesh are better than contemporary movies about drinking blood. Will the new Twilight movie tilt the scale? Will Daybreakers be the best vampire movie of all time? Will the slow-moving zombies from the original Dawn of The Dead make room for the fast-moving Zombies from Zombieland? Only time can answer these questions of utmost important.

Spoiling the victory, as always, are statistics. According to Box Office Mojo, vampire movies since the 80s made about $1.3 billion, while zombie movies made about $700 million, barely more than a half. And when it comes to the number of movies under each theme, vampires also lead, this time in a slight advantage of 1300 vs. 1100.

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