Ultimately, zombies are terrifying for a number of reasons. Unlike vampires, there is nothing romantic about them. Zombies are simply there to not only destroy humanity but to convert it. After all, the end result of a zombie apocalypse is that a population of people who were once alive are transformed into the bloodthirsty walking dead.
Zombies are apocalyptic, which also conjures up certain nightmares in our psyche. People are obsessed with the end of the world. Writers, religious scholars, scientists, etc., have all theorized since the early days of civilization about how the world will eventually end. Zombie horror movies represent one more theory that while obviously fictional still appeals to that certain yearning for apocalyptic fantasy that seems to exist in most people. While outlandish, the thought of a world in which the living return to consume the dead is both terrifying and wildly imaginative. And it really isn't any more fantastical than those believed by numerous societies and religious devotees.
As a fan of zombie movies, I particularly enjoy the claustrophobic feelings that a good zombie film can create. To watch as a group of survivors have to fend for themselves while fighting off hordes of the dead makes for excellent drama, which accounts for the success of the genre to begin with.
Of course, not all zombie films focus on the survival aspects of a potential epidemic. Some zombie movies are comedies. So what is the appeal there? Well, I think zombies are a way for us to shatter the taboo of death. After all, we're all going to die eventually. Those are the grim facts. By watching zombie movies, we can assuage our anxieties about the inevitable end. Perhaps some of use even wish to become zombies ourselves.
Fortunately, there is a wide range of zombie movies available for fans of the genre. First, there is the hardcore survivalist movies, followed by the action-comedy variety and then the offbeat comedy films. There is always something new on the horizon as well, since filmmakers are constantly trying to re-imagine the traditional zombie movie. Zombies have changed a lot since the release of Romero's 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead, and will probably continue to change well into the future. Our desire to see these lumbering, hungry dead folks on the big screen seems to have no end, as well. So we can all look forward to a brighter future with more undead entertainment coming our way.