From blood-sucking vampires to zombies and everything in between, undead beings have been gracing screens since the dawn of cinema. A lot of these classic characters have gotten their just due, but we’ve dug up some of the most underrated of the decaying bunch.
Source: Laurel Group/United Film Distribution Company
7. David Lo-Pan (Big Trouble in Little China)
Source: 20th Century Fox
Even though he is said to be of no flesh due to a curse by First Sovereign Emperor Qin Shi Huang, Big Trouble in Little China’s Lo-Pan was granted an old man’s body by the Gods in order to break the curse and it made him able to physically interact with human beings. I guess that would also explain why Jack Burton was able to actually run right over Lo-Pan during the epic battle in the alleyway.
Either way, David Lo-Pan is absolutely a legit member of the undead and is totally a badass in every sense of the word. Not only is he a master of the blackest of magic, David Lo-Pan is one demented dude. In Big Trouble, he was dead set on ruling the world from beyond the grave and even had time to seduce the sultry Kim Cattrall with the flick of his long-ass fingernails. It’s obvious that Lo-Pan is one of cinema’s most underrated living dead guys. Too bad Jack Burton had to take him down with his superhero-like reflexes.
6. Bub the Zombie (Day of the Dead)
Source: Dead Films Inc./Laurel Entertainment Inc.
The lovable zombie from 1985’s Day of the Dead may seem like an odd choice in a list full of badasses, but Bub is one of the most unique and ballsiest undead characters audiences have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
The first and most obvious reason why Bub is so hardcore is the fact that he took down Captain Rhodes, one of the biggest movie douchebags of all time. After somehow operating a handgun and blasting a few holes in the annoying Captain, Bub helped set into motion one of the most brutal death scenes ever viewed by human or non-human eyeballs. Right before watching his zombie bros rip Rhodes completely in half and eat his tasty insides, Bub gives a final goodbye to his arch nemesis with a classy military salute. Not only is this one of the highlights of the film, it lets you know that Bub doesn’t f*** around. What a freakin’ badass.
5. Evil Ash (Army of Darkness)
Source: Dino De Laurentiis Communications/Renaissance Pictures
After growing from Ashley "Ash" Williams’ very own blood and bones, Evil Ash was pretty much born in the blink of an eye. Too bad he got chopped up and buried by his own clone before he even had the chance to raise some hell. Luckily for us all, Bad Ash shimmied himself out of a very deep grave, put on a badass skull helmet, and proceeded to lead his Deadite army to war. Things only get better from there. Army of Darkness is hands down Bruce Campbell’s movie and seeing him take on an evil version of his legendary Evil Dead character was a pleasure from start to finish. It is an extremely rare thing that we get a villain and a hero as unique as Campbell’s Ash’s. “I live...again!”
4. The Kurgan (Highlander)
Source: 20th Century Fox
Clancy Brown’s take on The Kurgan from the original Highlander feature is simply mind-blowing and could quite possibly be one of the best villain performances ever. It is true that he’s technically immortal, but the amount of punishment he takes throughout the film easily puts him in the "living dead" category. .
Clancy Brown has always had an effortless way of portraying some of the most vile characters in the universe, but The Kurgan might be his crown jewel. His diabolical intensity bleeds through the screen anytime he’s on camera. It also doesn’t hurt that he beheads fools. That’s some no joke s*** right there. The Kurgan takes bullets to the chest, has his throat sliced open by Sean Connery, and still keeps on tickin’. Talk about a badass.
The ‘80s punk rock getup is also a nice touch.
3. Severen (Near Dark)
Source: Anchor Bay Entertainment
In recent years, a lot of "Best Of" and "Worst Of" vampire lists have been popping up all over the place due to all things Twilight, and I’m sad to say that I actually saw a list that rated Bill Paxton’s portrayal of Severen in Near Dark as one of the all-time worst. WTF is wrong with these soft-ass movie fans?!
First off, this was director Kathryn Bigelow’s (The Hurt Locker) second feature ever and mama did a damn fine job. The main thing that she did right was cast Bill Paxton as the callous and sociopathic Severen. Lance Henriksen was also a solid choice. The bar scene in this film alone should instantly make you a believer that Severen is one of the most badass undead characters in the horror genre. When Paxton almost pukes up a mouthful of blood after sucking a grow man’s neck dry, he instantly crossed over into cult status. Vampire or not, now he will truly live on forever. “I hate 'em when they ain't been shaved…”
2. Gage Creed (Pet Sematary)
Source: Paramount Pictures
Pet Sematary’s Gage Creed, played by Miko Hughes, is one of the creepiest killers horror has ever seen, but hasn’t exactly gotten the true love he deserves. The main example that makes Gage Creed such a unique undead murderer is the way he initially pulls the audience in with his undeniable cuteness and then proceeds to murder fools after being reanimated by his father at a Micmac burial ground. The scene where Gage cuts up and drinks the blood of Herman Munster himself (Fred Gwynne) is one of the most terrifying images ever to hit cinema screens. Miko Hughes’ acting in the film is also second to none. I still cannot believe that a two-year-old kid had the natural skills to show that kind of emotion. I also can’t believe that his parents let him take this bloodcurdling role to begin with. His parents must be so rad.
1. Eric Draven (The Crow)
Source: Miramax Films
Brandon Lee’s legendary final acting gig in The Crow is one for the ages and should be recognized as one of the best anti-hero roles in all of film. Brandon’s range as an actor really shines in this Alex Proyas classic and his take on the reincarnated Eric Draven gave the film an undeniable magic that few can rival.
As for being an undead badass, Draven fits the bill like a glove. Not only does Eric Draven kill the murderers that savagely took the life of himself and his fiancée, he completely annihilates an entire gang of gothic thugs like he was eatin’ Lay’s potato chips. He takes a few bullets to the chest in the process, but we all know that was just him showin’ off. Each scene with Draven gets better and better throughout the film and his dark, barking mad antics are an optical feast for demented viewers looking for a truly unpredictable dead man destroying everything in his path.