NOTE: The codes in red are to help discern the films from one another because different movies may share the same name in different countries, eras or even printings. The letters in the red code are the original filmmaker’s initials although those same initals may still be associated with the series long after the original filmmaker has moved on.
George A. Romero and John A. Russo made Night of the Living Dead (GR-01) and like a zombie plague the franchise has mutated into a vast and incestuous enitity with blurred boundries. It is difficult to determine where to stop when it comes to the Living Dead series but it is easy to know where to begin. 1968, the year George A. Romero and John A. Russo created Night of the Living Dead (GR-01).
- (GR-01) Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Romero and Russo disagreed where to take the series after NotLD (GR-01) and soon split ways. Russo would be able to keep the term “Living Dead” in future film and Romero would only use the term “Dead” in his films. Both men would control the continuity of their franchises but both would be distinct from each other with the exception of NotLD (GR-01) .
Romero would go on to make a number of “Dead” films in his series. He never considered them true sequels as there were no returning characters but the themes definately remained.
- (GR-01) Night of the Living Dead (Romero, 1968)
- (GR-02) Dawn of the Dead (Romero, 1978)
- (GR-03) Day of the Dead (Romero, 1985)
- (GR-04) Land of the Dead (Romero, 2005)
- (GR-05) Diary of the Dead (Romero, 2007)
- (GR-06) Survival of the Dead (Romero, 2010)
John Russo wrote a novel titled Return of the Living Dead in 1978. Dan O’Bannon would eventually make a film version titles The Return of the Living Dead (DO-01) in 1985. It differed quite a bit from the original work and took itself less serious than Romero’s series. The Return of the Living Dead (DO-01) has spawned four sequels of its own.
- (DO-01) The Return of the Living Dead (O’Bannon, 1985)
- (DO-02) Return of the Living Dead Part II (Wiederhorn, 1988)
- (DO-03) Return of the Living Dead 3 (Yuzna, 1993)
- (DO-04) Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis (Elkayem, 2005)
- (DO-05) Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave (Elkayem, 2005)
John Russo began his own Living Dead series in 1998 when he rebooted the series with Night of the Living Dead 30th Anniversary Edition (JR-01) when he reedited NotLD (GR-01) with news scenes and plotlines. His follow-up sequel would expand on these new scenes.
- (JR-01) Night of the Living Dead 30th Anniversary Edition (Russo, 1998)
- (JR-02) Children of the Living Dead (Russo, 2001)
Lucio Fulci joined the zombie genre in 1979 with a film called Zombi 2 (LF-01) in Italy. The “2” in the title was an attempt to capitalize on the success of Dawn of the Dead (GR-02). When it came time to be released in the United States it bore the name Zombie (LF-01). In Italy the series is made up of three movies.
- (GR-02) Zombi (1978)
- (LF-01) Zombi 2 (1979)
- (LF-02) Zombi 3 (1988)
The UK version of the series does not recognize DotD (GR-02) as part of the series but adds a third but unrelated Italian movie called Oltre la Morte (LF-03) to the trilogy. Of course, it was renamed for the UK and the US.
- (LF-01) Zombi Flesh Eaters (1979)
- (LF-02) Zombie Fleash Eaters 2 (1988)
- (LF-03) Zombie Flesh Eaters 3 (1988)
In Germany the series takes yet another angle at the series. It leaves out the differently titled Woodoo (LF-01) which is released seperately.
- (GR-02) Zombie (1978)
- (GR-03) Zombie 2: Das Letzte Kapitel (1985)
- (LF-02) Zombie III (1988)
As you can imagine the series was a bit muddled by the time it hit the US. Zombi 2 (LF-01) which was also known as Night of the Zombies (LF-01), Island of the Living Dead (LF-01) and Zombie Island (LF-01) would be most known as Zombie (LF-01). It would also add the unrelated Italian film by Joe D’Amato called Uccelli Assassini (JD-01) to the mix.
- (LF-01) Zombie (1979)
- (LF-02) Zombie 3 (1988)
- (LF-03) Zombie 4: After Death (1988)
- (JD-01) Zombie 5: Killing Birds (1987)
Over time there have been other movies added to the series in the US. New additions to the series included the Spanish movies La Orgía de los muertos (TZ-01) and Christina, princesse de l’érotisme (TZ-02), Revenge in the House of Usher (TZ-03) and Absurd (JD-02). The latter was a sequel to a previous movie of Joe D’Amato’s called Anthropophagus (1980).
- (LF-01) Zombie (1979)
- (LF-01) Zombie 2 (1979)
- (TZ-01) Zombie 3: Return of the Zombies
- (TZ-02) Zombie 4: A Virgin Among the Living Dead
- (TZ-03) Zombie 5: Revenge In the House of Usher
- (JD-02) Zombie 6: Monster Hunter (1986)
And just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water. Two films, Le Notti del terrore and Zombie Holocaust (aka Doctor Butcher, M.D.) were both released with the name Zombie 3. Zombie Holocaust starred actors from both Zombi 2 (LF-01) and Joe D’Amato’s Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (JD-03). In Italy Nightmare City is know as Zombi 3 while the Greek The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue also gets the Zombi 3 nod. Just to be a pain in the rump there is also a movie called Zombi 1 but that one doesn’t even take itself seriously. The 1980 Italian film Virus – l’inferno dei morti viventi is also known as Hell of the Living Dead and…wait for it…Zombie 2. In 2005 we got a sequel to Day of the Dead (GR-03) called Day of the Dead 2: Contagium but it has nothing to do with Romero’s Dead series.
Last but not least we have had some remakes along the way. That is where it gets normal again.
- Night of the Living Dead (1990)
- Dawn of the Dead (2004)
- Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006)
- Day of the Dead (2008)
Ignore everything you have just read, rent Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Zombieland (2009) and watch them in whatever order you want.
Thank you wikipedia!