Day of the Dead



I have to say that I pretty much like any and all zombie movies. There are a few exceptions ("Zombie Army, "Zombie 4: A Virgin among the Living, Zombie Holocaust (Not Dr. Butcher M.D., but rather a W.A.V.E production), etc). George A. Romero, the "king of the zombies", has thus brought me a lot  of viewing pleasure.

The third installment in George Romero's Dead Trilogy Day of the Dead maybe the weakest of the series, but still is one of my favorite zombie movies. Maybe my expectations were set too high, because I had the opportunity to see Dawn of the Dead before viewing "Day". I guess my expectations were based on "Dawn's" effectiveness and a letdown was to be expected. Over several recent viewings of this movie, my opinions have dramatically changed. I now look at "Day" with a lot more respect, but still hold to the first statement of this paragraph.

The biggest travesty is that after being able to read George's original script (see below) and seeing his vision. "Day of the Dead" could have been the greatest zombie movie ever made. A true "Zombie Epic". But what appeared on the silver screen was a mere shell of George's story. I thus hold Hollywood in contempt for bringing the zombie mythology to a screeching halt. Romero's vision would have taking the zombie movie to a whole new level. Sure we have Return of the Living Dead and Night of the Living Dead 90, but not until Cemetery Man did we see any real progression of the zombie story line. I would have much rather seen "Day" in it's original manifestation than having to pray that Romero makes a fourth movie. But since this is now a moot question, let just hope that George can make the fourth movie the movie he wants to make.

One thing in this film that makes it better than both Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead were the zombies. "Dr. Tongue" and "Bub" were two great zombie designs by Tom Savini and his crew. Unfortunately, the dark environment (being underground) masked the tremendous job Tom and his team did.

One thing I didn't like about this film was the lack of information on what the scientist were trying to accomplish. Are we lead to believe that they were working on a cure, trying to see how best to destroy the zombies, or finally how to domesticate them? I really don't think this is ever fully discussed and maybe that was the confusion that Romero was trying to inject into the story, that "no one" really knew what was going on. (Read the script below and get a better understanding of what Romero wanted the reason to be for these experiments.)

Again, as always, if you have anything you can add to help improve this page or if you have any comments, criticisms, and suggestions, please e-mail me.

 

Day of the Dead

"The darkest day of  horror the world has ever known!!!

One of the last remnants of society, hidden away deep underground in a secure bunker.... in search of what???? A cure for this epidemic, a defense against the dead, or something else?? This ragtag group is made up of scientist and soldier, a pairing that even in peace time has a hard time getting along, let alone in a state of war. As with the prior two installments in George A. Romero's "Living Dead" series,  the greatest obstacle to survival is the struggle between the living.

Tension raises as Captain Rhodes (Joseph Pilato), a maniacal bloodthirsty leader, assumes control of the operation. He wants to bring an end to Dr. Logan's (Robert Liberty) experiments, kill all the zombies, and get the hell out of there. Sarah (Lori Cardille), our heroine, is finally able to convince Rhodes that they need more time to complete their work. Being the good little solider he is...he can never turn  away from an opportunity to make everyone else's life a living hell. Rhodes suspicion esclate when he finds Dr. Logan trying to domesticate a zombie he calls "Bub" (What are going to do teach em' tricks?). Logan realizes in his sick little mind that "they are us" and thus hold on to certain memories of their previous human existence. By tapping these memories, we can bring them under our control. Really..... can't we all just get along?????

Later Rhodes finds out that Logan has been using his dead comrades in his experiment (as food), and decides to pull-out with what's left of his squad. This is not before he kills the doctor and his assistant and sends our heroes to their probable deaths. But it seems there's a little special treat awaiting Rhodes and his boys. It's payback time. Some uninvited guests have shown up and "Bub" is serving up intestines appetizers.

As always the struggle for power brings the usual death and destruction down upon these characters. Savini and his crew did a tremendous job in assembling the legions of zombies for this film (probably the best of the three films). Romero's ending succeeds and fails on certain levels. In one way, Savini's destruction of Rhode's crew produced some outstanding blood and gore, but the happy Hollywood ending left me feeling a little empty. Go for this hat trick of zombies movies and watch all three over and over again.

 



  • Real pig intestines were used for the scene where Rhodes gets ripped apart in the hallway. Unfortunately, someone had left the guts out of the freezer over the weekend, and after the scene was shot the cast and crew ran away gagging.

  • The zombies all received the following for their time and effort: a cool hat that said "I was a zombie in Day of the Dead", an autograph copy (by George) of "The Dead Walk" newspaper featured in the opening, and one dollar.

  • Joe Pilato also appeared in "Dawn". He played an officer at the police docks.

  • The film was shot in a limestone mine in near Pittsburgh, Pa.

  • This is the first of Romero's "Living Dead" movies that had any shooting done outside of the state of Pennsylvania. The opening sequence was shot in Florida.

  • Romero originally was budgeted $7 million  for his zombie epic, but he had to deliver a R-rated feature. He knew his original script would never be a R-rated and  wanted to produce an un-rated version to preserve the horror aspects of the previous films. He was forced to cut the budget down to $3.5 million.

  • See Romero's original vision. View the original script on the great Homepage of the Dead website, but don't forget to come back.

  • Elite Entertainment has release a laserdisc of Day of the Dead. It includes the film in widescreen, trailer, featurette on the "making of..." and a video shot by Greg Nicotero (special effects guru) behind scenes. I have to say that I was a little disappointed because there was no running commentary from Romero.


 

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Click on box cover for these recommendations

Night of the Living Dead Dawn of the DeadNight of the Living Dead 90

Click on image to navigate our other
"Day of the Dead" pages.

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Visit the King of Splatter, Tom Savini's official webpage.

Frightful Facts

Buy the Special Edition DVD (not 30th anniversary edition) of the original "Night of the Living Dead" at Amazon.com

Buy the DVD of the remake of "Night of the Living Dead" at Amazon.com

Buy the "Dawn of the Dead Ultimate DVD Boxset at Amazon.com

Buy the DVD of the "Day of the Dead" at Amazon.com

 

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