Day of the Dead (1985)
Director: George Romero
Capt. Rhodes/Joseph Pilato
A small group of soldiers and scientists live in an underground facility while on the surface the living dead rule the world. When the zombies finally break in, lots of humans are reduced to "Scooby-Snack" status. Fun times…
How do you follow an action packed zombie fest like "Dawn Of The Dead"? Romero followed it with a more reserved, quieter movie that still delivers the goods but not on the same level as its predecessor. I know a lot of fans were disappointed by this lower-key entry but Arrow dug it. Think about it: how can you top Dawn in terms of gore action? Impossible.
I really enjoyed the reflections this film makes on humanity and our values. Only when society is stripped of its rules does the real meaning of life come into perspective. This point is driven home on many occasions by John (Terry Alexander). I related a lot to the character and if I were in his shoes I would have had the same idea: Take the helicopter, go to a deserted island and live the rest of my life with the basics: food, sex, nature and peace. The dude made sense to me.
I also liked the E.T. like relationship the Doc (Richard Liberty) has with Bub the zombie. He tries to train him (like a pet) and teach him things. I always forget that zombies were once human, this subplot reminded me. We don’t see that approach towards a zombie too often.
One thing that hinders the movie is the endless bickering between the army dudes and the doctors. At first I perceived it as conflict and conflict is always good. But as the movie rolled on it felt like fighting for the sakes of fighting. The army dudes are way too one note: bad. You can’t reason with them and that makes for an eventually boring back and forth. I will admit that I did enjoy every time Joseph Pilato threatened to kill someone. Why do I love psychos so much?
Considering that Sarah is the only chick underground, that none of the army dudes have gotten laid in eons and that the movie hints at it, I’m surprised that there wasn’t a rape sequence. Not that watching rape scenes are fun but I think it would have elevated the human conflict fer sure. Why hint at it when you can just do it.
Another thing I didn’t dig is the rushed ending. It really felt like Romero ran out of money and had to edit what he had. The ending is abrupt and kind of a cheat, especially since the movie leads you on, making you think something else will happen before the last frame.
The flick is very talky and since half the characters are one-dimensional it sometimes makes for boring scenes. But the film’s message is strong, the characters are mostly likeable and Romero really hits the ball out of the park with the last twenty-minutes. The ending is filled with spectacular gore and makes it all worthwhile. A though provoking blood filled zombie flick??? Right here gore fans…
And then some. Not as frequent as Dawn but when it comes up it will hit you. Lots of bodies ripped to pieces and eaten, head split by a shovel, cut off arm. If gore was scotch, this flick would be a double shot on the rocks baby.
Lori Cardille (Sarah) delivers a wonderful performance, she sometimes felt off but I think that was due to the occasional cheesy line. Joseph Pilato (Capt. Rhodes) is a delight. He’s so damn badass and I couldn’t help but love him, you go boy! Gary Klar (Pvt. Steel) unfortunately doesn’t have Pilato’s charm. He’s always pissed and always yelling…kind of like a wrestler...shut up already! Terry Alexander (John) is the man, loved the Jamaican accent, loved his acting, loved the dude. Tim Dileo (Miguel) gets to be very emotional, sometimes in hilarious ways…is that good? Richard Liberty (Matthew) plays the kooky doctor perfectly, he’s the only character that seems to love his job. Jarlath Conroy’s (Billy) is overshadowed by that flask he always drinks from…love the flask. Special commendation goes to Sherman Howard for making a zombie likeable (Bub The Zombie).
T & A
Skinless humans…do they count???
Romero delivers a bleak, sad film. We get lots of nice shots, some good suspense and hints of style. I really like this film’s vibe…feels like death…
An awesome score by John Harrison that elevates the film to a higher level.
It doesn’t have the wonderful character development of the first or the non-stop action of the second. Its quality rests somewhere in the middle. I will be honest, for me it’s hard to dislike this flick, no matter the flaws. They don’t make them like this anymore and it’s always a treat to re-watch it.
If you can get over the talky scenes and be receptive to the messages in the end you will be rewarded with twenty minutes of fun filled blood n guts. It’s worth it.
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.
Canadian version released by Media Home Entertainment in 1986 is missing most or all of the gore. The editing was done very sloppily: the removal of scenes of zombies' brains being blown out causes the sound effects to be cut as well, so zombies are shot without the noise of gunfire.