Earlier this week, we shared our 13 favorite zombie movies in honor of the latest Resident Evil installment, and most of these films have us reaching for a heavy, head-bashing bat. But what about those films where you want to see the zombie survive — or at least see a few humans fall to their rotting teeth? Here are 12 movies featuring friendly zombies, evil humans, and a little bit of undead romance.
Be warned, there is the occasional spoiler.
Fido: Zombies are a common household item in this bizarro version of 1950s America, but they'll still bite. Even though the eponymous Fido is known to chomp down on the occasional live human when his collar is malfunctioning, we still want him to survive over the bullies who plague little Timmy or the huffy Zomcon security chief. Plus, Fido keeps Carrie-Anne Moss smiling, and she really need that after the Matrix films.
Colin: Colin is sort of a funny case, since it features zombies in a very traditional mold, and then turns everything on its ear with its "little zombie that could" story. Certainly, Colin infects and kills his share of humans along the way, but some of the humans he encounters are needlessly abusive. Plus, since he "survives" long enough to let us see that what little consciousness remains belongs to an undead romantic.
Zombie Strippers: When the patrons and operator of a strip club end up preferring the zombified strippers to the non-rotting ones, several hard-up strippers opt to go zombie to earn more in tips. We may be rooting for Jenna Jameson to take out her undead coworkers, but it's clear that the zombie strippers have earned their revenge on their boss and some of their clientele. It's still pretty uncomfortable to watch.
Homecoming: Joe Dante's Masters of Horror installment satirizes the Bush administration and the war in Iraq by having soldiers come back from the death not to feast on the living, but to vote their commander-in-chief out of office. He even throws in an Ann Coulter clone with a shotgun to make it clear that we have no sympathy for anyone who wants to headshot these zombies.
Land of the Dead: George Romero grants his old mindless zombies a touch of intelligence, and they're becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the human raids on zombie land. He even gives a zombie protagonist (Big Daddy) and a villainous human upper class that harms humans and zombies alike. We get to see the zombies literally eat the rich before the hero of the piece decides that humans and zombies can peacefully coexist.
Day of the Dead: Land of the Dead certainly wasn't Romero's first dance with sympathetic zombies. Big Daddy has an ancestor in Day of the Dead's Bub. After the villainous Captain Rhodes kills Dr. Logan, the doctor who was socializing Bub, Bub picks up a gun and eventually manages to take his revenge.
Wasting Away: This zombie comedy follows four friends who have transformed into the undead, but don't realize at first what's going on. Sure, they crave brains, but they don't see themselves as rotting monsters. They perceive a world that has suddenly sped up, filled with people who run when they see them. All they want is a cure — though they may end up creating a few more zombies in their quest to rejoin the living.
ParaNorman: Since this movie is still in theaters, we don't want to give too much away about the plot, but bear in mind that these slightly cute shamblers aren't the jolly brain-eaters we might initially expect. After all, you don't become a zombie in a Salem-like town without a bit of backstory.
Hocus Pocus: Speaking of Salem, Hocus Pocus gives the town a single undead resident: Billy Butcherson. But this ghoul is fearsome only as long as his mouth is sewn shut. It turns out that when he's not under a witch's spell, Billy is a pretty friendly zombie.
My Boyfriend's Back: Who wouldn't root for a zombie who returns from the grave for love? Johnny Dingle comes back from the dead so he can date Missy McCloud, but it doesn't go quite as he hoped. Aside from the rotting unless he eats human flesh business, Johnny has to deal with the anti-zombie sentiments of the local townsfolk. They come around eventually, though.
Return of the Living Dead 3: This one's a gorier love story, about a boy who turns his girlfriend into a zombie because he can't bear the thought of living without her. While she gradually transforms into a flesh-craving, super pierced killer of other zombies, you still root for these two crazy kids to work it out.
Deadgirl: Returning to more traditional mindless zombies, Deadgirl has you rooting for some zombie carnage just because the living humans in it are so repulsive. From the moment the depraved teens in this film start having their way with an undead women, we're rooting for the zombie to get free and start chowing down.
What other films make you root for the zombies — whether you're supposed to or not?