Saturday, August 22, 2015

Day of the Dead (1985)

Director: George A. Romero

Starring: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato

Run time: 1:40

Rant: The year is 1985. We've gone from a shitty little house to a shopping mall to an underground bunker. The setting is different, the characters are different, the decade is different but zombies still walk the earth and George Romero and Tom Savini still don't give a fuck. Savini tears it up in this motherfucker. It could be his best work. I think he watched the Italian zombie movies and tried to show them who the real badass special effects artist was. Either that or he just reached his prime. Either way, Day of the Dead in a serious artistic achievement.

So a bunch of soldiers are hauled up in a bunker with a scientist and some other people. The scientist is studying the zombies and trying to train them like dogs. Richard Liberty plays Logan or "Doctor Frankenstein" to the soldiers, and he does a fantastic job. All the performances are great. As always there's the hateable fuck you want to die. This time it's a military Captain named Rhodes played by Joe Pilato. What a bastard. I'd say the shining performance is Sherman Howard as Bub. Bub is a zombie who the doctor has been working with. Who would have thought.

Just like in Dawn of the Dead the action sequences are incredible. I would love to see a movie like The Terminator or Robocop directed by Romero. The music is excellent as well. It's done by John Harrison who also did the music for Creepshow (1982) and Effects (1980) which is another Tom Savini movie. It reminds me of a John Carpenter score.

I think it's pretty much the consensus that Dawn of the Dead is George Romero's best zombie movie. With that being said I think Day of the Dead is just as good, if not better. All it's missing is an element of fun. This is an incredibly serious movie that even plays into that whole 80s/Reagan/soldiers are evil/Platoon/Casualties of War bullshit. Day of the Dead is a masterpiece of an awful horror movie.

Fun Fact: Greg Nicotero plays the soldier named Johnson who's shot and killed in the movie. He was Tom Savini's protege and did the effects for The Walking Dead. Tom Savini has stated The Walking Dead has the best zombies he's ever seen.

Total Kill Count:
Miller (58:26) Neck bit open by a zombie.
Johnson (58:27) Shot with a machine gun.
Logan (1:12:12) Shot to death by Rhodes.
Fisher (1:14:44) Shot in the head by Rhodes.
Miguel (1:23:37) Eaten alive by a horde of zombies.
Torrez (1:27:04) Head ripped off by zombies.
Rickles (1:28:05) Face ripped off by zombies.
Steel (1:30:28) Shoots himself.

Rhodes (1:34:13) Shot by Bub and ripped in half by zombies.

             Horror Film: 8
             Entertainment: 9
             Gore: 9.5
             Overall: 8.6