Friends often ask me to recommend indie horror films on Netflix Instant. (American Netflix, sorry!) Now I can just send…
Day of the Dead
The darkest day of horror the world has ever known.
The final chapter of George A. Romero's "Dead Trilogy". In an underground government installation they are searching for a cure to overcome this strange transformation into zombies. Unfortunately, the zombies from above ground have made their way into the bunker.
Is this the results you've been talking about? Is this what your research is all about? Make them do tricks? Train them like dogs?
While George Romero has said it was his favorite of the Dead films, most fans feel quite differently. Day of the Dead, the bastard step-child of Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, grows on me more and more with each viewing. I'm now convinced it would be a masterpiece of sorts if it wasn't for some questionable acting sprinkled through out.
Surprisingly it isn't Joseph Pilato's larger then life portrayal of Captain Rhodes that bothers me. In fact I think he's one of the highlights of…
Not a single ounce of bullshit. Just sad, scared, furious people cramped together in a grey, shitty bunker. Everything feels just vaguely fake, their costumes, the acting, this apocalypse, but it isn't damaging. It becomes a strength, a sort of direct ideal that makes this would-be end times utterly matter-of-fact. It's the unique Romero touch; Romero acting is unlike that of any other director, and nearly indescribable. Everyone seems (appropriately) tired, the dialogue is somewhere between ironic quips and naturalistic banter. So what makes this the extreme masterpiece it is? Something to do with the true desperation: those chasms of negative space, blank walls, the man clutching his cross, the wakings from nightmares, the glimmers of hope for civility (a zombie reveling in Beethoven), the ending that only doubles down on desolation.
"Yes, Sir! Fuck you, Sir!"
"You better watch yourself. I mean physically watch yourself."
Have you ever noticed how every other line of dialogue seems written IN CAPITAL LETTERS? There's nothing remotely subtle about this picture. The acting is horrendous, the accents are atrocious, and the dialogue is ad-lib level amateur.
Oh, but how do I love it?
The gore effects are spectacular. Logan and Bub are the only two talented actors -- and they are fantastic! The score is as good as anything Romero ever used. Joe Pilato is a ridiculous cartoon villain that's great fun to hate. And Lori Cardille is wicked hot.
I think I have seen it at least ten times. And it never gets old.
Tom Savini, a special makeup effects genius. T-Dog's Jamaican uncle. A drunk guy who can shoot straight. Bub the world's smartest Zombie. Romero doing what he does best: Making a zombie film not about zombies, but about raw human emotion. Romero's most underrated film.
I don't think I've seen the first two Dead films since I was a late teenager, so I'll hold off on making this a definitive statement, but for the moment, DAY may be my favorite of the initial trilogy. More than the others, it epitomizes the popular reading of Romero's zombie films, that of the true danger being not the undead horde but the cracking sociality and sanity of the remaining humans. If NIGHT can be oversimplified into a Vietnam and Civil Rights comment and DAWN can somewhat more accurately be boiled down to a spoof on consumer culture (though that still short-changes it), DAY focuses on things that cannot be boiled down to one or two ideas. It dabbles…
Containing some of the greatest practical effects I've seen, it still doesn't come close to topping Dawn. That aside, it's probably my 2nd or 3rd favorite zombie film. The score is just as good as Dawn and the zombie acting may be more convincing, but I didn't care for any of the human characters nearly as much as the ones previously (maybe that was the point?). The shopping mall is too genius of an idea to be topped by an underground bunker. Loads of gory fun, regardless.
What can I possibly add to the millions of words already written about this masterpiece?
So I won't.
This movie was a solid horror flick with amazing and gross visual effect's and make-up, the movie has a strong and a fun villain with his death was the most horrible thing that I saw in my life but I still love that sense.
If I could actually sing or play a musical instrument I would start a band named Sarah's Research.
Then after a couple of years on the top of the charts, maybe some rainy fall afternoon George A. Romero would call me up in the middle of the night, swear me to secrecy, and tell me what the hell she was actually researching.
This movie rules by the way. Docked 1/2 a star because Dawn is better.
Although I enjoyed Dawn of the Dead, I thought it was pretty overrated. The tone was wrong throughout, and it seemed an awful lot like everyone was having fun rather than being in horror at their situation. Yes, yes, I've heard people before say "that's the point!" but it's a stupid point. It made me not give a shit about the characters, because as far as I was concerned they were idiots and I didn't care whether they were eaten or not. As a result, I went into Day of the Dead with low expectations, and was super surprised by how good it was.
First off, the characters are much better. There were at least five characters in the film…
I had seen this before and thought it was boring, but it was 3am and right after I saw the fast paced DAWN remake.
I found it more entertaining this time, as the marines were such jerks I took pleasure when any of them were offer by the zombies.
I actually really enjoyed the leading lady and the whole trying to teach zombies was more interesting then my last viewing.
The effects are also top notch. Glad I gave this another chance.
In Romero's real ending to the Dead Trilogy, a bunker full of civilians and military are trying to fight the epidemic by curing it. Does it work? See for yourself. The movie is good but a disappointment after Dawn.
The gore in this film is a huge step up from Dawn of the Dead (1978). Some of Tom Savini and Gregory Nicotero's finest special effect make-ups that hold up incredibly well today. The real star of this movie is Sherman Howard who plays the zombie Bub and is arguably the most endearing movie monster since Boris Karloff in Frankenstein.
Finally found out where the intro to Gorillaz's "M1A1" came from.
I think Day of the Dead is totally my favorite of George Romero's zombie movies. The story finds a small group of scientists and soldiers living in an underground base while the world crumbles outside. This movie serves as the prototype for every zombie movie that focuses on a group of people making a long-term go of it during a a Z-Plague. Until this, the protagonists spent their time trying to survive and figure out what was going on. Here, everyone knows the score and just wants to get through the day without dying horribly.
Day of the Dead sports really effective characters. It also dares to introduce social commentary about a government which had recently let it's citizenry down. Finally, the soundtrack is downright great. This classic is coming up on it's 30th Anniversary next year. With a little luck, maybe a 35mm print might make the rounds to a few cities. Un-chomped fingers crossed...
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