He is risen . . . and thanks to the Easter celebration of the world’s most famous revenant, I’ve decided to make a list of 16 (or so) films that revolve around a resurrection. None of these films actually have anything to do with Easter, apart from the fact that they all involve someone rising from the dead. Though, zombies do seem to relate more to Jesus rising from the dead than a bunny that hides eggs and leaves candy . . . just saying. So, in between painting Easter eggs, eating Peeps, questioning the correlation between the Easter Bunny and the resurrection of Christ, and arguing about whether or not Jesus was, in fact, a zombie, check out some of these movies.
16. Friday the 13th: Part VI – (1986)
– Dir. Tom McLoughlin
He lives! Just like Jesus . . . sorta. But if any Doubting Thomas makes the mistake of saying, “Jason Voorhees is dead,” then he’s in for a lot worse than a little embarrassment, and his shouts of, “My Lord . . . my God,” will be screams of bloody agony as Jason folds him in half . . . or smashes him into a tree . . . or slams a machete into is head . . . you get the idea.
15. Jennifer’s Body (2009) – Dir. Karyn Kusama
Again, like Jesus, Jennifer is sacrificed for the sins of others. Only, she’s killed by a devil-worshiping rock group, led by Adam Brody, as a sacrifice to Satan for fame and fortune. Unlike Jesus, when she is risen, she’s a succubus, possessed by a demon, and she devours boys. Admittedly, not the greatest movie. But I find it entertaining. And that’s what the bottom of the list is for.
14. Alien Resurrection (1997) – Dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet
After sacrificing herself at the end of Alien 3, Ripley rises again through the magic of cloning . . . better, stronger, faster, and a bit more stoic. She comes off even more like a savior here.
13. Universal Soldier (1992) – Dir. Roland Emmerich
Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren play two members of an elite group of super-soldiers, all of whom have already died in action, only to be reanimated and enhanced by the government so they can continue serve their country. Apparently, sacrificing yourself for your country one time isn’t always enough.
12. My Boyfriend’s Back (1993) – Dir. Bob Balaban
Johnny Dingle has been in love with Missy McCloud for as long as he can remember. So when he finally gets a date with her, even dying can’t stop him from keeping his date.
11. Weekend at Bernie’s 2 (1993) – Dir. Robert Klane
Just when Larry and Richard think they’re finished creating the illusion their deceased boss is still alive, they learn he stashed $2-million dollars in embezzled money in the Virgin Islands. The catch, only Bernie can sign for the money. So, they plot to continue their ruse and take Bernie to the Virgin Islands. But things take an unexpected turn when a voodoo ceremony reanimates Bernie, sorta.
10. Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991) – Dir. Peter Hewitt
They’ve been to the past. They’ve been to the future. After a run-in with evil robot versions of themselves, their next stop is the afterlife. With Death as their unlikely guide, Bill & Ted go on an Alighierian adventure through the underworld to rise again and save the day.
9. Pet Sematary (1989) – Dir. Mary Lambert
Nothing says “resurrection” like a cursed Indian burial ground. Anything that’s buried in the ancient cemetery comes back to life. After the tragic death of his son, Gage, grief-stricken Louis Creed buries him in the cemetery’s sour ground. And it does bring him back, but a creepier, more malevolent version with homicidal tendencies.
8. Black Sunday[aka The Mask of Satan] (1960) – Mario Bava
Nothing says Easter Sunday like witches and vampires. And this AIP classic directed by Mario Bava has both. Barbara Steel plays Princess Asa, sentenced to death for practicing witchcraft by her own brother, she curses his descendants before she’s burned at the stake. Centuries later, Asa returns from the grave to claim her identical descendant and attain eternal life.
7. The Crow (1994) – Dir. Alex Proyas
A year after he and his fiance are brutally murdered, Eric Draven rises from the grave to seek vengeance, but he also saves a few souls along the way.
6. Death Becomes Her (1992) – Dir. Robert Zemeckis
Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, and Goldie Hawn show that eternal life can really take its toll, especially when your husband and your rival plot to kill you. You’ll come back, but worse for wear.
5. E.T.: the Extra Terrestrial (1982) – Dir. Steven Spielberg
Probably the closest resurrection on this list to Jesus. E.T. comes, works some miracles, teaches some lessons, dies and lives again. And he’s always with us, “I’ll be right here.”
4. Day of the Dead (1985) – Dir. George Romero
And of course you can’t have a “best of resurrection movies” list without zombies. So here are several from the master of zombie movies:
3. Dawn of the Dead (1978) – Dir. George Romero
** (2004) – Dir. Zack Snyder
2. Night of the Living Dead (1968) – Dir. George Romero
** (1990) – Dir. Tom Savini
1. Dogma (1999) – Dir. Kevin Smith
This just seemed apropos, what with all the God, angels and Jesus business is this movie. And Rufus, the unsung 13th apostle, returns to earth to help an unlikely band of heroes, which includes Jay & Silent Bob, save all existence from being destroyed by a couple exiled angels looking to go home.
So, what say you? I’m sure that there’s something on this list that someone disagrees with. What movies does Easter inspire you to watch? Let me know.
Happy Zombie Day!!!