Day of the Dead ★★★½

In southwestern Pennsylvania, George A. Romero and Tom Savini are household names. Pittsburgh reveres its own horror masters. Because of the city's esteem for Romero, a local college TV station used to play Night of the Living Dead every week night. I watched the whole movie 10 times at least, not counting stray bits, and fell in love with the bleakness and terror of these ravenous slow zombies. Fast zombies don't do it for me as much because in the end the slow ones prevail over human error.

Despite treasuring the first of Romero's original Dead trilogy, I had never seen any of the sequels until today. In Day of the Dead, Savini trumps Romero — conjuring up some of the bloodiest, most gruesome makeup effects. Zombies tear off a head that moves with robotics even when detached; sinewy guts spill out of the undead and humans alike.

The last 30 minutes exhilarate as friendships collapse, but the director's way with actors prior disappoints. All of the surviving humans are understandably a little freaked out (fucking zombies), but the constant gesticulation and screaming are a bit much. Lori Cardille remains a poor man's Sigourney Weaver. Still, the entire trilogy is essential viewing for zombie fans. Pure fun.

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