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"Day of the Dead" is a film that is an unfortunate sufferer of the "Alien
Syndrome". And, no, I don't classify those that are affected by the
to be disappointing final entries in a trilogy. To suffer from "Alien 3
Syndrome", you must follow two exceptional films, and the entry that has
preceded you must be so exciting and action-packed that when you dare take
grimmer, more deliberately paced approach to your material, you will
universally reviled, with many people failing to notice that you have more
than your fair share of merits on your own. In fact, "Day of the Dead" has
LOT of merits - even more than the film that its syndrome is based on.
it doesn't quite approach the greatness of "Dawn of the Dead", it is still
an intelligent, first-rate horror effort and stands as one of the best
films of the 80s.
In this final entry of George Romero's "Living Dead" trilogy, the walking dead supposedly outnumber the humans by a ratio of 400,000 to 1. Twelve people who have devoted themselves to studying and wiping out the zombies hole up together in an underground missile silo, and for all we know, these could be the last twelve living humans on the face of the planet. Most of these people don't capture our sympathy like the foursome who holed up in the shopping mall in "Dawn". Half of them are gung-ho soldiers who seem to take great pleasure in threatening the scientific team, and Romero spends much of the first half focusing on the bickering and intense conflicts between these people. In fact, for over an hour, the hordes of living dead get very little screen time, as the story focuses on the tension between the characters, and the efforts of an off-the-wall scientist to train a captured zombie named Bub to act human. Compared to its predecessors, this long section of the film may seem slow and talky, but it is always interesting and, for the most part, effectively performed by its unknown cast. Besides, it all eventually leads up to a corker of finale when the zombies finally invade the compound, and most of the humans become showcases for the brilliance of Tom Savini, who outdoes even himself in the gore F/X department.
While most of this material is very grim, "Day" ironically has the most hopeful, upbeat conclusion in the trilogy - which, alas, is its only major shortcoming. The quick transition to the final scene is so abrupt and unexpected that the audience feels cheated, leaving the impression that the production ran out of money before the whole climax could be filmed. Indeed, Romero has often expressed his unhappiness about being underfunded for this project, which prevented him from creating a truly definitive final chapter for the trilogy. But while "Day of the Dead" may not quite be the ultimate finish to one of the greatest trilogies of all time, it is still a very satisfying conclusion (at least until Romero gets funding for his long-rumoured "Twilight of the Dead"). It may not be popular among everyone, due to many unfair comparisons to its superior predecessors, but on its own, it is about as good as horror films get.
'Day Of The Dead' is one of the greatest sleepers in the history of horror movies. A flop when originally released almost twenty years ago, its reputation has slowly increased over the years, and now is generally regarded as a classic. I certainly underestimated it for a long time. In my opinion Romero's 'Night Of The Living Dead' and 'Dawn Of The Dead' are two of the greatest horror movies ever made, but I always thought that 'Day...' was a bit of a let down. But after watching it again for the first time in several years (via the highly recommended double disc "special edition" DVD) I must humbly eat my words. This is a GREAT movie! Romero and special effects Tom Savini do wonders on a limited budget, and the movie is full of suspense, a claustrophobic atmosphere and plenty of gore. It probably flopped the first time around because it's so bleak, but now that's one of its strengths. Interestingly Romero features a strong female protagonist (Lori Cardille) and a strong black supporting character (Terry Alexander), something not all that common in horror movies. Both actors give good performances, the soldiers led by Rhodes (Joseph Pilato) are all suitably ultra macho and deranged, and it was cool to see John Amplas ('Martin') in a supporting role, but the two stand out performances are by Richard Liberty ('The Crazies') as Dr. Logan (who the soldiers refer to as "Frankenstein"), and Howard Sherman as Bub, the zombie he has tamed. The sequences between Logan and Bub are just terrific and add a whole new level of pathos to the movie. The only negative comment I can make about 'Day Of The Dead' is that it brings home the depressing fact that George Romero hasn't made a truly outstanding movie in close to twenty years. I really hope he makes his long threatened fourth Dead movie 'Dead Reckoning' and that it turns out to be his masterpiece. But whatever happens he has already carved his name out in horror history as the creator of three classic zombie movies that just get better and better as the years go by.
The third film in George A. Romero's immensely popular "Living Dead"
trilogy is by far the bleakest and most complex film the director has
ever worked on. "Day of the Dead" received a lot of negative press upon
its release in 1985 - people picked apart unsavory characters,
OVER-acting from a no-name cast, and outlandishly gory special effects
that only Tom Savini himself could be proud of.
But none of this makes it a bad experience really, does it? I don't think so. For the reason that I usually detest zombie flicks, I have worked up a fondness for the works of Romero and over the last two weeks have separately watched each film in his trilogy.
"Night of the Living Dead" (1968) virtually defined a new genre of horror movie-making and basically set the standards for the many zombie flicks that would follow in its footsteps. Next up to bat was the most praised film in the trilogy - "Dawn of the Dead" (1978) - which was more of an action film than a horror movie and was nothing short of epic. Then came "Day" in 1985, which got the tongue-lashing that I described earlier.
However those that did like it, praised the Savini effects, its complex, plot-driven characters, and satire. While "Day" is certainly a step down from "Night" and "Dawn," "Day" is more of a claustrophobic horror movie and that allows it to stand on its own as a fitting end to Romero's trilogy. It's more in sync with the tension of "Night" than it is with the adrenalin-laced action, zombie-slaughterfest that was "Dawn."
A team of civilian scientists and a loose army unit clash with each other's motives after they have taken shelter at an underground military base from the hordes of living dead that storm the surface above. The civilian scientists aren't seeking to eradicate the zombies like the soldiers are hell-bent on doing, but are instead trying to get to the bottom of what is causing them to be what they are.
In doing so, they need live zombie specimens, which are held captive in a maze of dark underground tunnels where they're corralled like cattle. We later get what is one of the most profound and moving experiences in the entire trilogy with "Day," when we see one zombie, nicknamed "Bub" by one particularly eccentric scientist, who eventually learns what it means to be "alive," so to speak.
"Day of the Dead" obviously isn't a perfect movie, but is more or less a fitting conclusion to one of the most daring film trilogies in the horror genre. It may be best to not watch "Day" thinking it'll be anything like "Dawn" just because it has military men blasting away mercilessly at the living dead. Zombie slaughter is few and far between and much of the first hour of the film is clashing dialogue between the characters.
The darkest day in the world - "Day of the Dead."
The living have lost the war and now the dead have taken over.A small pocket of survivors consisting of a military and scientific team staying in a secure underground bunker doing research,trying to find an answer to why the dead are walking,and also trying to find any other survivors,but without much success.The sequence of events that follow ultimately lead to their self destruction.Plenty of gore including usual gun-shots to the head,decapitation,amputation,bodies ripped apart,entrails eaten,throat rippings etc.The special effects by Tom Savini are truly outstanding and these scenes where Dr Logan(Richard Liberty)tries to train a zombie are simply amazing.If you love gore you must see "Day of the Dead".Highly recommended.
In 1985 this zombie movie virtually went by unnoticed except for many
Romero fans. It was virtually dead a week or two after it hit the
theaters. Many attribute its failings to the other many horror films
released that year including "Re-Animator", "Fright Night", and "Return
of the Living Dead". All these movies were R though and day was not.
Romero stuck to his guns and made a very gory movie. Unfortunately,
when dawn was released there were still many independent theaters, but
by 1985 the chains had taken over and one thing chains do is not show
movies like this. So it went by unnoticed and those that did notice it
usually had nothing good to say about it other than the zombies looked
really good. So suffice to say, I wasn't expecting much when I bought
this movie except the zombies would look good. However, I am happy to
report that I was very pleasantly surprised. Granted, Dawn was still a
better film as it had more likable characters than the ones featured in
this film. This would be the final Dead film George Romero would do
until Land of the Dead was released, but I do not count that one as
part of his original trilogy as they seem to belong together because
Night showed us the humble beginnings of the zombie outbreak, Dawn
showed us the zombies beginning to overrun us and this film shows us a
bleak world where the zombies now outnumber the living 400,000 to one.
The story has a group at the beginning flying a helicopter in the hopes of finding some survivors. All they find is the dead and quite frankly, any survivors out there would be better off keeping their mouth shut as they do not want to go back to the facility this group belongs to. It is like a bunker and in it we have scientists who have no clue what they are doing, army people in a rush to leave said facility even though there is no indication there are any people left, two civilian guys just doing their jobs and Bub the most awesome zombie ever! Tensions are running high in the facility as the army people want to leave and there is a lot of arguing; however, things take a turn for the even worse and the zombies that are topside begin to lick their lips!
This film has great looking zombies and it does a good job with its setting. Originally, George wanted to do something much larger in scope, but could not get the funding so he had to scale back immensely which is why we sadly on get the one shot topside in the city and get to see how much the zombies have taken over. Everything in this film is rather good, except the characters! Seriously, Bub who is a zombie is the most likable character and then civilian guys. Everyone else just wants to yell and rant and this film is not a good one to watch when you have a headache! The good news is that this creates a finale where you really want to see a few of these guys eaten and suffer, unlike Dawn where you just kind of get a random motorcycle gang out of nowhere.
So this film is good, just not as good as Dawn as this one just does not have the action of that film and for a good portion of the film the only thing you have to look forward too in between the shouting matches between the scientists and evil Bono are the Bub scenes. It does help build up the finale and like I said, you really want to watch these guys get eaten, but it also tends to get annoying as no one really seems right. That is just the way it goes though, mankind is pretty much lost here and so why worry about trying to cure something that cannot be cured when you can just try and live out your life the best you can.
George Romero's zombie movies have always been standouts in the genre.
Easily the best zombie movies ever, and contenders for the best horror
movies ever. Night of the Living Dead (his first movie) set the ground
work for every single zombie movie to come after it, and Dawn of the
Dead, which came 10 years later in 1978 set the new standard for
splatter and gore flicks. If you ask me, without George Romero's zombie
trilogy, horror movies would have never been the same.
Day of the Dead takes place after the entire Earth has become over-run with zombies. Every human must either hide, fight, or die. The movie follows two groups of people: doctors and army men. The army men pose as the bad guys in this movie (just as Mr. Cooper did in Night of the Living Dead) and the doctors pose as the good guys (as Ben did in Night). The groups of people are hiding out in a secluded underground base. The zombies await outside, while the humans try to come up with a plan to eliminate the zombie plague.
Day of the Dead falls at the end of the trilogy. Being made in 1985, zombie movies were already high on the charts. Since the popularity of Dawn of the Dead, especially in Europe, a ton of independent film makers were pushing out these zero-budget zombie flicks faster than you could watch them. Finally, in 1985, George Romero and Tom Savini grouped back together to show the kids how it was done. Day of the Dead fixed all the mistakes that occurred in Dawn of the Dead, and turned out to be the perfect zombie movie. Day of the Dead IS the best zombie movie ever made.
The main mistake that was fixed was the way the zombies looked. In 1978, Tom Savini (special makeup effects) was fairly new to the job, and couldn't take on the very large amount of zombies he had to apply make-up to. Therefore, he simply painted their faces blue. Here, Tom Savini had his own team of make up artist. The zombies in Day of the Dead look far more disgusting and gross. Facial decays and bite marks were abundant in this movie. Not only that, but every zombie looked different. No two zombies looked exactly the same, which added a small shock element every time a zombie appeared on screen. The gore in Day of the Dead was even more amped up than Dawn of the Dead. It looked more real, and came in much higher amounts. Day of the Dead ranks up with some of the goriest movies of all time; only Cannibal Ferox and Dead-Alive surpass Day of the Dead. For the way the gore looked, Day of the Dead holds the trophy for the best special effects I've ever seen in a movie - bar none.
While the special effects have greatly improved, they aren't even the main reason I favor Day of the Dead over every other zombie movie. The reason Day of the Dead is, and always will be labeled as my favorite, is for the extremely serious tone of the movie. The characters in this movie (with the small exception of the doctor) are extremely serious and brutal in tone and pose an even bigger threat to the good guys than the zombies! It's Night of the Living Dead turned up to 11! The characters in this movie (especially Captain Rhodes) are very, very well written characters, although I wouldn't hold then as high as the characters in Dawn of the Dead.
Day of the Dead is an extremely serious zombie flick with absolutely no humor whatsoever. It's serious, it's brutal, and has an extremely thick script with plenty to offer. Remember to bring a barf bag!
Months after the first dead rose from their graves, the world has
seemingly become overrun. Deep in a storage bunker in Florida, a group
of soldiers and a group of scientists have formed an uneasy alliance in
order to try and discover something that can help reverse their spread.
However Dr Logan is not making the progress that the soldiers require
and Captain Rhodes becomes increasingly impatient and erratic as a
result. Things continue to worsen as the zombies gather above and
Logan's work gets more worrying.
Having seen and enjoyed (if that's the word) the remake of Dawn, I decided to re-watch the three originals on their own values. While I had seen the other two before, this was the first time I had seen Day and assumed that it would be bigger than Dawn was (in the same way as Dawn extended the ideas from Night). In that regard I was a little disappointed to find that the film stayed on a rather small scale and didn't manage to really convince me that the world was actually over on the surface of the earth. However this is not to say that it is not a good story in itself, because it is, albeit very different from both Night and Dawn. To me it lacked the social commentary that was to be found in Dawn but it is still tense, gory and gripping. The claustrophobic nature of the bunker and the battling characters means that tension is easily created even when the zombies are distant and seemingly pose less of a threat than the humans do to one another. The film is a little weak at points the medical experiments are given too much time and the character of Bub is not clear as to his reasons for being included as much as he was. I didn't like the idea of Bub, the film didn't seem to know what to do with him other than using him to fill out the story Logan's progress with him seemed such a waste of time that, even if that was the point, it didn't work.
When the gore comes it is very hard to watch and a little sickening at times bodies are ripped into and ripped apart in full bloody colour as a horror it succeeds because I was looking a way quite a lot of times! Even though Shaun of the Dead has made fun of these slow zombies recently they still manage to be very effective here I personally find them scary as they are relentless and simply wish to kill. True, the fast ones are scarier but these ones are too. The cast are more than just victims and are reasonably well drawn and acted. They have to be engaging or else the tension between them wouldn't work and, while hardly totally real people they still are good enough for a horror movie and they are not just fodder to rip apart even if they are clearly penned as 'goodies' and 'baddies'.
Overall this is not the best of the trilogy but it is still a good horror film. The tension between the characters creates as much of a threat as the zombies do even if some of the plot isn't that good. It all builds well to a gory finish that really only lacks teeth because both the film and the actual ending both fail to really show just how bad things are and never convinces that the world has come to an end in the way that the whole trilogy suggests it has.
I saw DAY OF THE DEAD at a drive-in; the second half of the double bill was DAWN OF THE DEAD (which I'd seen a dozen times by then, most often at midnight showings). I was stunned. DAY OF THE DEAD was as tight and as dramatic and as frightening as anything I'd ever seen. Although I'd championed Romero's movies in the pages of magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland, Fantastic Films and Fangoria for years, I was totally blown away by the savvy evinced in DAY OF THE DEAD. No more of the tell-tale amateurishness of a "regional filmmaker," no more overindulgence: this is Romero at his very best, and a great movie by any standards. For critics who espouse the virtues of DAWN OF THE DEAD over DAY OF THE DEAD, take this simple test: watch them back to back, as I did the night DAY OF THE DEAD opened. If you're still not convinced, you may be a zombie yourself...
Day of the Dead (1985) was 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.
Society is dead. Zombies have overran the living and the survivors can only be found in very small numbers. One of these groups are bunkered inside an old underground bomb shelter. The survivors inside this subterranean military installation have been divided into three groups: the soldiers, scientists and civilian employees. Stress, sexual tension and a dire situation have split the group even further apart. The dead have been growing in numbers outside and dwindling supplies have made everyone desperate. But within the base their is some order. But what will happen with that collapses?
The third film of the series is not as great as the second film but it's a good film. Performances from the actors may be uneasy and the tight budget restrains the director's vision but it still succeeds as a very frightening and depressing horror film. Savini and company have made the gore more realistic and nauseating. Gone is the cartoonish blood and cheesy gore effects. State-of-the-art splatter effects have been included adding a whole new element to this awesome trilogy. I have to strongly recommend this film. If you love the first two, you'll definitely enjoy this this installment of the one and only trilogy of cinema!
I tell you what I'd love... to fill a movie theater with a bunch of
teen kids who love drizzle like "The Perfect Man" and "Step Up" and
that crap, play DAY OF THE DEAD, which looks great in capital letters,
and watch the reaction. They, not knowing the unrelenting glories of
old horror films, who stick to new ones that come out in theaters (e.g.
Underworld, Resident Evil, or not even that, who wouldn't know the
difference between George A. Romero and Wes Craven), would be
absolutely horrified at the intensity of the great film. Man, I'd love
to show those morons that the crap they watch is nothing compared the
Love to see that.
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