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9/10
"Dark Days, Bright Nights"
dee.reid19 September 2004
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."

9/10
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A long-time sufferer of the "Alien 3 Syndrome"
Robin-977 September 1999
"Day of the Dead" is a film that is an unfortunate sufferer of the "Alien 3 Syndrome". And, no, I don't classify those that are affected by the syndrome 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 a grimmer, more deliberately paced approach to your material, you will become 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 a LOT of merits - even more than the film that its syndrome is based on. While 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 genre 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.
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Another zombie classic from Romero. Highly recommended!
Infofreak5 April 2004
'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.
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8/10
Cold, harsh sequel to DAWN
fertilecelluloid5 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
A cold, harsh sequel to DAWN with superior special effects and a viciousness that froths at the mouth. Aside from the brilliant opening sequence where the dead are introduced, the film does lack contrast and has a monotony about it.

There is evidence of the dead developing conscious rather than instinctive will in the character of "Bub". The film's central location, a large underground mine, is plenty claustrophobic and serves as another storyline decision that addresses both Romero's financial constraints and thematic concerns.

A sequence where zombies are rounded up in a pen is very suspenseful, as is the climax where the living dead prisoners go on the rampage for a feed.

NIGHT had a strong black character, DAWN had a strong black and a strong female character; this outing has a fiercely independent white woman who isn't obsessed with the plays for dominance the male characters engage in. It is their undoing, of course, and all character arcs follow their inevitable curves.

Bleak and filled with despair, this is another courageous work from a director whose best years were twenty-five years ago.
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10/10
Greatest special effects ever, and that isn't even the best thing about this movie.
gottschalkchris2430 December 2008
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!
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8/10
Very gruesome and claustrophobic zombie movie.
Aaron13754 October 2003
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.
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10/10
Romero's finest film to date...
poe42615 January 2002
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...
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The Last Great American Horror Film?
tieman6419 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"Cinema is wasted on cinema. Most cinema is bedtime stories for adults." – Peter Greenaway

Consensus seems to be that this is the worst film in George Romero's zombie trilogy. Personally I think it's Romero's best film, and one of the bleakest, if not best, horror movies ever made.

Three points. Firstly, what people fail to realise is that the humans are actually the bad guys in Romero's zombie universe. They are adept at selling out their friends, stabbing their companions in the back, acting violent, brutal and flittering away their lives with mindless banalities. In contrast, the zombies are representative of a kind of primal humanity which, because it always remains at the core of mankind, can not be escaped.

In this film, we have a group of people trapped in a military bunker whilst thousands of zombies wait outside. The humans are divided into three groups: the hastily militarist right wing, the scarily experimental left wing and the apathetic (and hedonistic) middle ground who just want to drink and live peacefully whilst the world goes to hell. Romero's point, though, is that despite their differing ideologies, everyone is selfishly looking out for their own interests, no matter how altruistic they may seem.

Secondly, this film acts as a precursor to fare like "The Mist", in that it is about a small group of people who, when put under extreme pressure, begin to turn against one another, exposing their prejudices, insecurities, sexist feelings and petty jealousies. Romero's point: a small group of humans can be far more divided, vicious and bestial than any number of ravenous undead.

Thirdly – and this is what distinguishes the film from all other horror movies – the film says that because most, if not all, actions are motivated by self interest, mankind is ultimately doomed. Forget all the ancillary themes often attached to this film – Reganism, the threat of nuclear war, feminism, Aids etc – while they're valid, this film takes a far grander, far more hopeless, view of things.

The zombies and the humans are divided by what Freud called the pleasure principle and the reality principle. The zombies, as a kind of stripped down, primal version of humanity, simply eat, breathe and wander about looking for food. Satisfying their primitive instincts are their only purpose. As one scientist says, "they gain no nutrition from the flesh they consume." In other words, they eat solely to satisfy a desire to eat (much as wealthy nations no longer eat to survive, but to prolong pleasure). Humans, in contrast, are able to defer instant gratification, constructing a variety of long term plans.

What the humans in this film realise, however, is that the rewards of the reality principle, of all their long term schemes, are no more advanced or noble than the drives of the zombies. The lead scientist in the film, for example, conducts experiments not because he wants to save humanity, but because he is thinking about future accolades and scientific prestige.

These themes are summed up in one scientist's interactions with a domesticated zombie called Bub, who performs only when rewarded. "They can be tricked into being good little girls and boys," he says, "same way we were tricked into it on the promise of some larger reward."

For the humans, however, any chance of a long term reward is slowly being eradicated. The last survivors on the planet and unable to fathom any future, the humans increasingly see no point in surviving. "It's the beginning of civilised behaviour," one scientist says, pointing out that the zombies operate on the same performance/reward level as humans, "civil behaviour is what distinguishes us from the lower forms. Civility must be rewarded, if it isn't, there's no use for it. There's just no use...for it at all."

The notion that there is "no use" for any and all human actions is expanded when one character discusses the various immigration papers, tax returns and official documents that the American Government stored in the bunker. All this information stored, all these records kept...toward what end? What is the use of human history? To what goal does it climb?

Ultimately, the world Romero creates here is one that is ruled by self interest. Goal oriented, man's actions are guided by pleasure, constantly striving to achieve his ambitions and protect his interests. The only easy way to get someone to not spend their lives as a Machiavellian power zealot would be to persuade them that they will enjoy an eternity in heaven. Heaven being pleasure incarnate.

Man is merely a dopamine zombie, fingering his neuro-chemical G-spot in one form or the other, no distinction between low-order pleasure and high-order pleasure. By a similar argument, we'll never achieve true happiness through the pursuit of pleasure because we can never be truly comfortable while we are in a pleasurable state. If we're experiencing pleasure it's because we must need something. Take temperature. Only if we're too hot or cold will we be able to experience the pleasure of a cold drink or hot bath. Once our temperature has stabilised, we're indifferent to either experience. If we are in no danger or need of any kind, we're in a comfortable but indifferent state. Sensory pleasure is not happiness, it is joy. The state of indifference is true happiness.

Now reconsider the final scene of the film, where the female character escapes and sits on a beach with the apathetic, hedonistic middle men who refused to fight throughout the film. They haven't escaped. They've become 21st century zombies. Get your mind around that, and this film will have you slitting your wrists.

8.5/10 – Ignore the one dimensional characters and the $500,000 budget. This film attains a depth of utter hopelessness that few films match.

Worth two viewings.
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10/10
Another George A.Romero's masterpiece.
HumanoidOfFlesh27 February 2001
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.
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10/10
'You've given us a mouthful of Greek salad!'
fidelio7426 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
'Day of the Dead' is definitely my favourite of George A. Romero's 'Dead' series, although I have yet to see the latest installment, 'Survival of the Dead'. 'Day of the Dead' focuses upon a group of survivors who have holed up in an underground missile silo in the Florida Everglades. Tensions run high betwixt the military and the scientists; the scientists wish to study the undead while the army just wants to blow them away. Joe Pilato is wonderful as Rhodes, a thoroughly nasty piece of work, and he has some great lines like, 'You got 'til the count of five and that's two ya wasted!'.

Lori Cardille stars as Sarah, a scientist; and she is joined by Terry Alexander as John, the helicopter pilot; Jarlath Conroy as William McDermott, a brandy-swigging electronics whiz; and Antone DiLeo as Private Miguel Salazar, an increasingly unhinged soldier who is Sarah's partner.

The blood and gore of 'Day of the Dead' is incredibly graphic, with bodies ripped apart by zombies in unflinching close-up. But there is definitely a vein of dark humour which helps to lighten proceedings and provide some much-needed comic relief.

Along with Pilato, another great performance is that of Richard Liberty (RIP), who plays Logan, an unorthodox surgeon who is experimenting on captured zombies and who is referred to as 'Frankenstein' by the soldiers in his midst. Logan is especially interested in a captured zombie he has nicknamed 'Bub' (Howard Sherman), because Bub is displaying distinctly human characteristics.

I highly recommend this, but be warned: it is not for the faint-of-heart!
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Good tension and sick gore with only a few failings in the plot and the failure to paint a convincing Armageddon
bob the moo24 May 2004
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.
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9/10
The third film in the "dead" series.
Captain_Couth31 October 2004
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!

Highly recommended!
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10/10
Easily the best in the series.
Bendy_Spoon_Productions12 December 2007
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 greats...

Love to see that.
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10/10
a classic!
rudy35219 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
this might contain a spoiler for some

I still think this movie is very underrated, even for it's release. if people watched this movie and thought it was bad probably missed the point. if you were expecting lots of blood and gore then you were out of luck i'll give you that. but what do all Romero movie's have in common? the element of a few people locked up in 1 place with friction, tension and hope running out.

and not only that but in every movie (night,dawn and day of the dead) there's always one person that ruined it for the rest of the bunch in night that would be the man in the cellar with his bitten daughter. in dawn it would be the clumsy "fly boy" in day of the dead it would be captain Rhodes (which is my personal favorite character in all three movies) and maybe even pvt. Miguel Salazar for disregarding Sarah's safety.

now there is a remake of day of the dead as well, I haven't seen it yet. it's not out in the Netherlands but i already dislike it, the fact that captain Rhodes (Joe Pilato, who was very good in his character) is now replaced by (with all due respect) Ving Rhames.
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9/10
A slightly flawed, ambitious masterpiece (potential light spoilers), **** out of ****
nimrod_1803728 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
In "Day of the Dead", the gore fest so loved by fans of the carnivorous "Night" and the skewering "Dawn" is used not so much for generic horror thrills, but is posed by creator Romero as a scenario concerning more deeply rooted issues regarding humanity than the more predominantly social elements underscored by the previous films. Presumably set some time after "Dawn", "Day" finds the zombie epidemic that began with unknown origins in the first film having grown to insurmountable proportions. Killing the dead is of almost no use at this point beyond saving time, our conceptions of which provide one of the themes "Day" is predominantly concerned with.

Considered disappointing by most upon its initial release and still viewed as the weakest chapter of Romero's trilogy (soon to be widened with the now upcoming Land of the Dead), "Day" requires a different viewing lens than its more renowned predecessors. In "Night" and "Dawn", hope for survival was one of the predominant links between the audience and the human protagonists. In "Day", the humans are down to what may be the last band of survivors, a motley crew of soldiers and scientists holed up in an underground storage facility, hoping to hold out long enough that some practical means of overcoming the zombie epidemic can be found.

In many ways, "Day" paints its characters with little more than contrasting strokes of black and white, and while the sometimes exaggerated presentation makes it nearly inarguable as to who will ultimately live and die, many viewers don't engage the performances properly within their context. If "Night" and "Dawn" were eagerly perceptive of racial issues and consumerism in the midst of an encroaching unknown, "Day" surpasses both of them in terms of its examination of the human condition and its disintegration in the absence of the protective stronghold of society. This seemingly nihilistic look at human values ultimately gives way to a more optimistic conclusion, and it is this striking perception that ultimately makes "Day"'s themes far more universal in nature. The dozen characters that remain at the start of the film bicker and fight often with little provocation, or at times even reason, but these conflicts aren't a distraction from "Day"'s core; they are absolutely essential to it.

Unfortunately, this aspect opens the door for the film's lone flaw; Joseph Pilato's turn as the tyrannical Captain Rhodes (as well as some of his faction's near-outlandishness) pushes the overall credibility of the performances to hazardous levels in contained moments. Fortunately, however, even the potential damage waged by this factor is largely countered by the film's subtly exaggerated, "Twilight Zone" texture, the triumphant qualities of which range from the cavernous underground look imbedded in the composition, the subtle winks Romero still manages to slips in for adherents, and more than anything else, the relationship between Dr. "Frankenstein" Logan (Richard Liberty) and a captured, ultimately docile zombie dubbed "Bub" (Sherman Howard). Respectively, their performances are delightfully (but subtly) cheeky and endearingly awkward; Howard conveys emotions and nuance through body motion with great effect. As it is, "Day" is inarguably the most ambitious of Romero's trilogy, and a flawed masterpiece at that.

In "Night", the flesh eaters were largely alienated from the humans warding them off; they were an inexplicable, distinct "other." "Dawn" loosened the boundaries, drawing a brilliant parallel between the stumbling zombies and the mindless consumerism fostered by the shopping mall the survivors holed themselves out in. "Day" takes the equation to the next logical step: "They (the zombies) are us," declares the doctor. A baser, less civilized version of ourselves, but the bitter irony of it ultimately lies in the obvious fact that the zombies' hunger for flesh isn't just dissimilar to the division of our own factions, but is a far less malicious attitude than those demonstrated by their live counterparts. Instinct drives the undead, not desire, and in Dr. Logan's teaching sessions with Bub, past memories are rekindled, and the progress that follows is akin to watching a child discovering the joys of life for the first time, through the re-introduction to basic daily objects, music, and the same kind of rewards system used to condition people in a typical social setting.

An attempt to look past the cynicism of the Reagan years is no more apparent in "Day" than through the spiritually motivated John (Terry Alexander). "Maybe we bein' punished," he says. "Maybe the creator wanted to show us we're getting to big for our britches, trying to figure his s**t out." Whereas "Dawn"'s characters found comfort in the paradise of society, "Day"'s characters long for the distractions that made up their former life. In denial of her own humanity's decomposition in midst of their situation, Sarah (Lori Cardille) looks with intimate longing at a photo calendar in the films haunting opening scene (ultimately also a poignant bookend for the film's hopeful conclusion). With not much left, time really does seem to be the only luxury these characters have left to savor.

Despite having far more on its mind than the average horror film (and make no mistake, the thematics are integral to the screenplay, rather than being pretentiously overplayed), "Day" still delivers the goods when he time comes. Savini's gore effects and make-up are ages ahead of the pasty look of the zombies in "Dawn" (which is not to say the cherry-red blood of that film wasn't effective in it's own manner). However, the film's real sense of tension comes from its epic sense of impending claustrophobia and involving use of framing. The aforementioned opening shot captures the enclosed, no-way-out mentality the characters have no choice but to deal with, while another early shot of the undead masses lurching through the barren streets of a debunked city is one of the most effortlessly haunting images in modern horror, and a continual reminder of Romero's skills as a genre filmmaker. "Day"'s resonating intimacy is perhaps the most long-lasting trait of this dark horse.
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8/10
Day of the Dead/Courageous Woman
purplekim4519 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Of the Romero films, this one is my favorite. I don't even count "Survival and "Diary." I found Lori Cardille's portrayal of Sarah riveting. Unlike Milla Jovovich's Alice of Residen Evil fame, Sarah's a real woman. There are so many layers of horror coming at her, and most of them come not from the zombies, but from the men around her. Rhodes, Logan, Miguel.

Folks watching this forget that she is the only female. That's huge. Her cabin fever is magnified just by this very fact. There's no mother-figure, or female colleague or little girl to to whom she could be a mother-figure ala Alien 3. She's trying to save the world with her only power, her power as a scientist ala "I Am Legend." Her confrontations with Rhodes and his men are terrifying and yet realistic given the circumstances. It's obvious they weren't handpicked for this mission. Much like something out of a prison movie is Sarah's experience after Rhodes takes command. Rhodes and his men are not simply on edge, they are hanging off the edge with nothing more than a pinkie finger. I kept feeling Sarah was in physical jeopardy, especially of some kind of sexual assault. When taunting her boyfriend, one of Rhodes' men says when contemplating what might happen with Sarah if something happened to Miguel. "Maybe some of the rest of us can get some loving." The men resent her for being so "competent" when wrangling the zombies despite the fact that she was cool-headed. She's also concerned that too much is being asked of them when it comes to wrangling the zombies. Take the scene when upon her return in the helicopter Miguel, her boyfriend, is commanded to wrangle zombies for another scientist's experiments. She knows Miguel is PTSD and beyond exhausted and so volunteers, but she is barred physically by his seniors. If she were a man, she'd be hailed as their emotional leader, but they hate her because she's not in a corner weeping profusely. They can't seem to understand that she's very much affected by everything that's going on but because she is not fitting the stereotype of a weak and whimpering woman who needs a big strong man she's reviled.

Her scenes with Logan too are disturbing. Her research and his are very different. Hers is biochemical, while his is clearly behavioral. She wants to cure the zombies, while Logan wants to train them to do tricks and obey orders. He's not her colleague. He's her competition because he want to give the men quick answers while she wants to reverse everything, a process she knows may take years. Logan even alludes to the fact that she's expendable to Rhodes as a warning, telling her basically that she has to watch her back.

Miguel, who obviously presented himself to her in a better light in the beginning of their relationship, becomes more and more diminished by the stress of the zombie apocalypse. He's suffering from PTSD and hates Sarah becomes she doesn't visibly collapse like he is. He's broken and resentful that she's not broken too. It hurts his male ego, and they grow apart quickly. He even physically slaps her in one scene. In some ways he's worse than Rhodes and his men because at least with him she should have had some expectation of support and comfort, but he has absolutely none to offer her. Just before the physical slap he is found awake, watching her, HATING her. Still, even after he is bitten, she protects him, but he betrays her by releasing the zombies into the bunker. He's a punk, a coward and vengeful and uses his religion to self-deceive. At no point does he do anything to protect or aid her. If he was so religious, he made no effort to share his religious experience with anyone, especially not Sarah.

Sarah's only fault is that she naively expects in the wake of the horror that everyone should be reasonable. This is how she's broken. She's in denial. But it's a kind of hope that she has, a hope that is groundless.

Of the men in this movie, only John shines. It's almost as if he's only hanging around until he can make Sarah see the futility of what she's doing. He tells her, "I don't believe in what you're doing here, Sarah darling." As an African-American woman who actually got to see "Night of the Living Dead" in the movie theater in 1968, I've been gratified to see Black men portrayed in zombie flicks who weren't hoodlums or thugs. God save me from zombie flicks like "Gangs of the Dead," "Dead Heist" and "The Horde." I wanted the zombies to chomp on the protagonists in these movies. Oh, and in "The Horde" the Black men were more monstrous than the zombies. If you hate Black thugs and bad cops, I recommend you watch "The Horde." If I'd been a character in that movie I would have pitched myself off the top of the building and into the zombie horde. I live and work with Black men like the ones in "Night of the Living Dead - 1968," "Dawn of the Dead - 1978" and "Day of the Dead - 1985", and even in "Land of the Dead" where the zombie chief is a Black man who was an auto-mechanic. These I can relate to, so thank you George Romero.

Frankly, I'm glad the original budget for this movie was slashed. I'm glad they were forced to rewrite the script. I read the original and hated it. I think this made it possible for Romero to feature a woman with realistic problems in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. I learned too that of the first three, this is Romero's favorite. Now will someone tell me why Netflix doesn't carry it. The horrible 2010 version is the only thing you can view with them.

Lori Cardille rocks!!!
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7/10
Brisk, enjoyable elaboration of the zombie series
HenryHextonEsq13 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This third instalment in Romero's series of zombie films is a mixture of the thoughtful, the satirical and the downright gory.

The zombies are generally more of a sideshow in the early part of the film, with more emphasis on the semi-military group dynamics of the humans under siege. Romero expands upon this theme, by contrasting the 'egghead' Dr Logan (Richard Liberty) with the twisted, action hero-gone-wrong Captain Rhodes (Joseph Pilato). Both are anti-heroes in their different ways, fitting in with the 'Dead' series' clever refusal to countenance good and evil. Logan represents a fascinating, if potentially deluded and irrelevant academia; Rhodes a stunted, shoot-first, ask-questions-later militarism. Both are dismembered, neither approach shown to be 'right' or effective in the face of the undead onslaught.

Again, the zombies are wonderfully crafted, though there is less poetry and surrealism in their depiction than in the magisterial "Dawn of the Dead". Barring perhaps the pivotal scenes of Dr Logan, with his application of behaviourist theory in training a lone zombie in his lab. These experimentation sequences have the sort of evocative use of sound that runs throughout the earlier film: the same sense of melancholy and dislocation, and Romero clearly relishes elaborating the 1978 film's core theme of the zombie regressing to previous learnt behaviour. There is a woozy, ambient calm to the scene where he tries to instill in the zombie a liking for Beethoven through textbook behaviourism. Otherwise, the music tends a bit towards the post-Carpenter 1980s norm.

Performances are excellent, make-up and assorted guts present and suitably incorrect. However, whilst Lori Cardille is excellent, she could have been given more to do, and the progression towards the resolution is rather more contrived than in the previous two films. There are stretches towards the end where it gets close to standard action territory, and several characters are barely developed.

This hasn't quite got the style and engagement of the previous films, but works on the level of a satirical exposure of mainstream action films and of dry academic theory. "Day of the Dead" is an admirably cynical and at times thoughtful piece of entertainment, always holding the interest.
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The perfect zombie movie
Agnelin5 March 2012
It's a scandal that such a brilliant film as "Day of the dead" has been overlooked for so long, and still pretty much continues to do so. In fact, being an avid horror movie consumer and favoring zombie movies especially, it is only now that I've been lucky enough to get a copy of this. I'm so glad about that! "Day of the dead" is, to my mind, not only the best of all Romero's zombie flicks, but also in the top three of all zombie movies ever made. It has every single asset that I consider desirable for a zombie film to be perfect: a claustrophobic environment with little realistic ways out, characters pushed to the limits, paranoia, darkness (literal darkness as well as an obscurity, a density of word, thought and mindset that clearly reflects the apocalyptic world that they now live in), powerlessness, lots of quality suspense, and gore. Many of those elements are missing in an awful lot of zombie movies.

"Day of the dead" is also ahead of its time (1985) in special and makeup effects and, beyond that, in the general pessimistic mood that is now sadly a reality. There is nothing funny, redeeming, thrilling about the new world dominated by zombies; the heroes of this show do not make a point of killing zombies as if it were some sort of hunting expedition with lots of adrenaline. They are simply the last humans standing, a group of scientists and military who happen to have survived so far (how, and why them, is never told), and trying to live another day in an underground facility (which is one of the best settings ever devised in a horror movie). Some kind of science project or experiment is also taking place, with a Dr Logan leading it (great character, that one), but this doesn't leave for much optimism. Basically, the gray, primary, claustrophobic setting, the rivalry between the military and the scientific communities, and the sickness and nightmares that ail the heroes let us know early on that we're in for a gloomy tale.

"Day of the dead" is also worth watching because it introduces elements that are completely original in the genre, and have still (to my knowledge) either not been used at all, or have been so only recently.

My score is a resounding 10/10!
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10/10
Great for fans, gory for fans of the genre...
nightstrife11 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Tom Savini is a God. This movie proves it. The Wizard of Gore makes his hallmark stomach churning SFX sequence at the end which make the seemingly long movie infinitely watchable. There's not really a great deal of story in this, the third in Romero's zombie sequence, but for what it's worth, it is carried out in such a way that if such a phenomenon had occurred, one could believe the actors in their roles. Paranoid leaders, megalomaniacal, crazy, even headed, rational and easy-going characters fill out the story, each achieving their purpose...

It's easy to write this off as Romero's weak point, but when one considers who is who and what they do, it really comes into its own. Sarah and Rhodes argue on different ideological grounds - Sarah hopes to end the zombie problem if given time, while Rhodes is losing grip, having been given command of the now skeleton crew following the death of his superior.

The ancillary characters play their parts well, each supporting the story like most dramas would, but this is not a drama. It could also be seen as a look at the corruption caused by power and how it culminates in an inability to function, but ultimately it's an opportunity for Tom Savini to orchestrate a bloody orgy at the end where the evil gets its comeuppance, and the zombie horde triumphs and dines in style! 10 out of 10 - not the greatest story-wise for Romero, but it has so much gore and style that it deserves classic status!

Cheers!
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10/10
"What the F*** is wrong with you people!!!"
KillMe66614 May 2002
Warning: Spoilers
A very fitting quote from the film, which applies to more reviews here than it should do.

This film has it all and I have always preferred it to the previous instalments, which were somewhat lame in comparison, though 'Dawn' was indeed fun. I'm an 80s child as it happens, if I'd been alive and old enough to see 'Night' when it came out, I might have been more 'shocked', which is essential for a good zombie movie.

I honestly can't see the beef with this film, it's one of the greatest horror films I have ever seen. Sure the zombies might not be as convincing as the Italian versions with their 'Thriller' style make-up, but who cares? Not I!

Anyways, the story is a progression from the last film, where zombies have virtually taken over the whole world and only a handful of survivors remain. The film depicts a doomed species in a hopeless state of affairs that is truly apocalyptic. To top it off, some of the most arrogant, self-centered people (of those who remain) are trapped in an old army bunker; trying to escape amidst fighting each other. This really achieves a choking, claustrophobic atmosphere that 'Night' had but 'Dawn' failed; a mall isn't that confined, and..a gun store? Come on! All these people have are a few rounds and their wits to survive thousands of zombies - I'd be bricking my load!

To take the film up to true 'Classic' status, we are given some of the most memorable and lively characters put to film. The show stealer is Joseph Pilato as 'Captain Rhodes'; he..was...awe-inspiring! 'Memorable Quotes' should be filled with his script. He really does throw his all into the film and deserved an Oscar, or a new blood vessel! Two others come to mind; the sweet but crazed Dr. Logan, or 'Frankenstein' as Rhodes called him, who sadly passed away in 2000, and the zombie that he tames - Bub! They just don't make 'em like this anymore. (sigh)

GORE, GORE, GORE!!! This film certainly has it by the bucketload and it is very disgusting (and realistic) at times, the soldiers being literally pulled apart and feasted on at the end is quite foul but undoubtedly cool. "Choke on 'em! CHOKE ON 'EM!' Rhodes gasps as they eat his intestines!

So basically, screw the people who worship 'Night' and 'Dawn' as some sorts of almighty monoliths of greatness, and watch 'Day' - it's far superior. Needless to say (but what the hay) if you're a fan of 80s horror then you will LOVE this. It is gory, intense and slightly fun at the same time, qualities which the other films did before, but not nearly as well.
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7/10
Great Conclusion of a Trilogy
claudio_carvalho19 November 2004
A group of stressed survivors, composed by soldiers and civilians, share an underground military bunker surrounded by an increasing number of zombies. When the commander of the base dies, the tyrannical Capt. Rhodes (Joe Pilato) occupies his spot and the friction with the team of scientist reaches an uncontrollable level. Meanwhile, Dr. Logan (Richard Liberty), the leader of the scientists, develops a kind affection to the zombie Bub (Howard Sherman), showing signs of insanity. Sarah (Lori Cardille), the helicopter pilot John (Terry Alexander) and their alcoholic friend William (Jarlath Conroy) are the only lucid persons, being threatened by the rest of the survivors and the zombies. 'Day of the Dead' is a great conclusion of the George Romero's trilogy. Yesterday I watched it again, maybe for the fourth or fifth time, and I found a very claustrophobic story, having excellent nasty special effects. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): 'Dia dos Mortos' ('Day of the Dead')
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10/10
Best of the 'dead'
haildevilman26 June 2006
Sure it's talky as hell, but the script deserved an Oscar.

Utter paranoia and hopelessness made this film a 'I'm glad it's not real but wouldn't it be cool if it WAS?' paradox.

Lori Cardile pre-dated Thelma & Louise in the hardcore female hero sweepstakes. (That's right. 'Hero.' Not heroine.) The supporting cast was top notch as well.

Joe Pilato as the nasty Col. Rhodes nearly stole the film. You hated him, but wanted to keep dealing with him.

Richard Liberty (love the name) played a great mad scientist prototype. Likable even if you couldn't 'get' him. And he practiced what he preached for what it was worth.

The Brit radioman and rasta chopper pilot made a nice balance. And I liked Steele too. A perfect savage idiot. Good job to that man.

Howard Sherman was the real deal as 'Bub.' And admit it, you loved it when he saluted the Colonel the second time.
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8/10
"All of the shopping malls are closed"
Nightman854 January 2006
Third entry in Romero's 'Dead' films is another great zombie flick, rich with social commentary and horror. It has rightfully developed a devoted cult following.

The zombie outbreak continues, leaving scientists and military officials trapped in an underground facility. The scientists hope to study the zombies, but tensions are growing high among the refugees.

Director Romero considers Day of the Dead to be his favorite zombie effort, and it truly is an outstanding and smart zombie film. It's a perfectly effective horror film, especially enjoyable for the hard-core horror fans. Romero does well building an increasing feeling of tension and claustrophobia with this film. He creates some great characters and plenty of sequences of intense drama. There's a good share of scares, especially the memorable opening scene and climatic chase through the underground caves. It ultimately comes out with a tremendous (and bloody) finale that showcases some incredible gore effects. Makeup guru Tom Savini returns to create the highly gruesome makeup work.

The cast isn't bad, but it's really bombastic Joseph Pilato who steals the show as a villainous military captain.

Romero fans will surely enjoy this flick, while the weak of stomach had better be warned!

*** 1/2 out of ****
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6/10
Third part in George A. Romero's saga with scenes of graphic violence and doesn't hold up to its previous installments
ma-cortes13 September 2014
Acceptable though inferior third part on George Romero's Zombie series initiated in the original classic film Night of the living dead and with expert make-up artist , Tom Savini along with Greg Nicotero . This powerful horror film with more budget than George A Romero classic film , one of the most successful independent films of all time that was initially dismissed as exploitation, but when was re-released , it struck deeply with a disillusioned youth angry . Here there is a team searching for survivors of a terrible crisis that began almost a year earlier . Flesh-eating zombies taking over the world and scientific experimenting on zombies . It deal with a small group of military officers and scientists (Lori Cardille , Terry Alexander) dwell in an underground bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies . As creatures trap a female scientific named Sarah and an army of angry soldiers commanded by a stiff-upper-lip officer called Rhodes (Joseph Pilato) . There a scientist wants to study them .

This gory film contains chills , thrills , graphic scenes of cannibalism and violence , dismemberment and other scary carnage in which real pig intestines were used during the gore scenes. Gruesome third film, combining gore, 'bona fide' frights horror and in dirty style with simple characterization . The first time the Zombies appeared was in ¨White Zombie(1932)¨. From then on Zombies remained a firm staple of terror B-genre , bringing the dead back to life was a popular pastime in the 30s and 40s . The early zombies were basically genteel beings and generally likable and agreeable types . Romero created in Pittsburg his own production company Image Ten Productions with his friends, John Russo among them and they each contributed 10.000 dollars and formed the budget for his first ¨Night of living dead¨ movie which made Romero world famous and he gave birth to the modern Zombie genre . Most of the zombie extras in this film were Pittsburgh residents who volunteered to help in the film . This follow-up that doesn't hold up to its predecessors is mostly set in an underground bunker , but results to be relentless claustrophobic and talky for over an hour . The underground facility was not on a soundstage , it was shot in the Wampum mine, a former limestone mine near Pittsburgh, that was being used for a underground storage facility ¨Day of the dead¨ is even gorier than the first two "Dead" films . Unlike the other pictures this one has no truly agreeable roles to root for . Being easily the least of the entries and the lowest grossing film in George A. Romero's "Dead" trilogy. Nonetheless, it's gained a cult following over the last two decades and director George A. Romero claims this is his favorite film out of the original "dead trilogy".

This trilogy formed by ¨Night of the living dead¨, ¨Dawn of the dead¨ and this ¨Day of the dead¨ were of the first successful independent terror productions influencing and inspiring countless imitations, copies and rip-offs . Romero gave birth to the modern Zombie genre and the film has had a lasting importance , giving interesting consideration to the violence executed by the zombies . And many years later Romero directed ¨Land of dead (2005)¨ with high budget played by Simon Baker , Asia Argento and Dennis Hooper . And also an inferior remake in 1990 by Tom Savini with Tone Todd , Patricia Tallman in which again a bunch of people are pursued by ghouls Zombies .
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7/10
For the hardcore zombie fan.
michaelRokeefe14 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Nothing too different. Maybe more of it. This the third in the George A. Romero trilogy of the flesh-eating undead taking over the world. In a high-tech underground bunker, a group made up of military and scientists dwell together actually cordoning off zombies to experiment with. There is some talk of even trying to domesticate these gut-suckers. The military would rather be rid of the walking rotted flesh; just as much as the scientists would keep a few alive. One mad scientist may have just crossed the line. A new commanding officer seems determined to let all hell break loose. Let the fun begin. Some pretty damn grisly images. F/X deliberate and pronounced. How hard is it for Romero to "out-gross" his followers? He leaves little to be desired. And there is a chance you'll get to taste your lunch one more time. Cast includes: Lori Cardile, Terry Alexander, Joe Pilato, Anthony Dileo Jr. and Don Brockett the chief Zombie.
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