First George Romero gave us Night of the Livening Dead, which became the corner stone for an entire genera of horror films and gave birth to one of the most well known and recognized movie monsters in history, the zombie.
Then, in 1978 he its sequel, Dawn of the Dead, took the zombie film to a new level of horror and popularity. Full of satire and grotesque humor Dawn of the Dead became the inspiration for many a zombie film to follow and threw Romero into the spotlight for year to come.
But in 1985 Romero would beat them both with this grossly under appreciated horror classic, Day of the Dead, subtitled "The darkest day of horror the world has ever known." Although not as popular as Romero's previous works Day of the Dead stands as a testament of how great Romero really was. When his original script for this film was rejected for it being "too graphic" for audiences Romero went back to the drawing board and re-wrote the entire film, taking it from the epic masterpiece it was destined to be and turning it into a moodier, darker, more in depth look at the human condition and the consequences of a society without order. Its not as epic as it could have been but don't let that get you down, the final product is more then good enough.
Set a year or two after Night of the Living Dead, the dead have overrun the living and roam the earth unhindered. The few survivors left hide underground in a military bunker originally built to house this nations greatest weapons. Now its a tomb where a handful of scientists and soldiers hopelessly fight off the hopelessness which surrounds them.
It takes a special kind of person to appreciate this film the way it deserves. The zombies in this film are pushed into the background, even more so then Romero's other films; so much so, in fact, that people have complained that there isn't any action in this film, there is too much talking, yadda yadda yadda. The zombies are in the background for a reason, the story isn't about them at all (fans of the Dead series should know this by know) its about the people involved and how they react to the situation. The soldiers in this film respond by becoming aggressive, violate, and taking out their anger on those around them; the two civilians, our drunk radio man and Jamaican "fly boy 2" deal with the situation by distancing themselves from it and indulging themselves with the simply pleasures of life, while the scientists simply distract themselves with useless tests in a vain effort to find a cure for the zombie plague.
Within each group there are some interesting characters which shape up the dynamics and confrontations between them. The "fly boy" John is laid back, intelligent, and simply wants to be left alone; Captain Rhodes is the leader of the soldiers, thrust into the position when his commander, Major Cooper, is mysteriously killed. He is power hungry, ruthless, and commands an uneasy loyalty from his troops who understand perfectly well that he's crazy but need a powerful figure to lead them. Dr. Logan, AKA Frankenstein, is the stereotypical mad scientist, but he plays his role with such wit and charm that the stereotype is forgiven. He distances himself in his work so much that he doesn't even see his actions as wrong, he merely says he needs to do them for his job and thats all the justification he needs.
So as you can see the zombies aren't really that important to he film, but that isn't to say they don't have a few good kills. Although they are pretty spread out, the kills in this film are grad A material. No longer do we have the "blue man group" zombies from Dawn of the Dead with their blue face paint, these zombies are gore master Tom Savini's crowing achievement. No zombie film ever made can match the terrific gore effects he produced in this film using sausages and rubber chickens; no, I'm not pulling your leg. "CHOKE ON EM!"
Day of the Dead is the third film in the "Dead" series. For awhile this was going to be the last chapter until recent events have changed the mind of the series creator George A. Romero. Whilst it was going to be a huge budgeted venture for Romero and Laurel Films, a small budget and a few extras limited the scope of the director's vision for this film. But like all good film makers he made do with what he had around him and made a dreary and depressing film. … more
I am a member of the US Air Force and presently serve overseas at RAF Mildenhall about three hours north of London. I grew up in Pappilion Nebraska and Crestview Florida, but since joining the Air Force … more
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