on June 2, 2004
Day of the Dead had some MIGHTY big zombie boots to fill when it was released in the mid-1980's. All zombie buffs knew what great films Romero had put together with small budgets (Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead). With the largest budget yet for a Romero zombie film, all had high hopes. Unfortunately, some of the hopes were dashed with Day of the Dead. The film follows the tribulations of a small team of scientists and soldiers who are assigned to find a way to stop the zombie plague. The two groups are increasingly at odds, and this isn't helped by the fact that the chief scientist (Dr. Logan aka Dr. Frankenstein) is losing his grip on reality and the leader of the soldiers (Captain Rhodes) is an overbearing tyrant. The soldiers clearly want some scientific results for their sacrifices, however the scientists are unable to comply given the primitive nature of their labs (which apparently are in an underground storage facility in the Everglades). Clearly the two forces are on the road to a major blow-up. The only question is when the explosion will happen.
Day of the Dead has some very good moments. The opening scene is well done, the gore is VERY realistic (even more so than in Dawn of the Dead), and there is a subplot involving Dr. Logan and a zombie called "Bub" that is surprisingly touching. The major flaws in the film are 1) lack of likable characters (I found myself disliking practically all of the characters with the exception of Lori Cardille's character and that of Bishop and 2) the confining of almost the entire film to the underground base (some excursions to kill zombies in the Everglades might have been interesting). Still, Day of the Dead wasn't a bad entry into Romero's trilogy.
Utterly worthwhile and now an all-time classic in its own right, "Day of the Dead" has fought a long uphill battle toward redemption in the minds of Horror movie fans. If, like me, you walk into this film for the first time expecting vast amounts of Suck, you may be surprised to find that:
a) this movie sucks nowhere near as badly as some would have you believe, and
b) in fact, it's actually rather good
Moreover, the movie practically demands repeated viewings, which reveal that this is a much more multifaceted and deeper work than one would perceive at first glance. For example: on initial viewing one's tendencies may be directed towards the high-minded and hard working scientists as the film's main sympathetic leads. But try watching it again from the viewpoint of the "evil" military characters and you'll see that a lot of what they say actually makes sense.
As far as the much-criticized dialogue scenes go, these reveal nuggets of information and a well thought out rumination on the events of the previous two films. These are people in extremis, trapped for months (possibly even a year or more) in a very unappealing underground environment with death overhead, under foot, and with nothing but death in their futures. Forced to essentially write their own epitaphs, these people have a lot to say to each other (much of it, quite nastily).
As to the rather Industrial Strength swearing on hand, lets just say that frustration breeds salty tongues and leave it at that. Tom Savini's makeup effects, amply -- and graphically -- showcased throughout the film, are simply amazing (one might even say they're unsurpassed).
So, should you buy this DVD? If you're a serious Horror fan, perhaps. If you're a fan of George A. Romero's work, then definitely if for no other reason than to simply round out your Romero "Dead" experience.
on June 10, 2004
The final chapter in the "Living Dead" trilogy that director George A. Romero began with the 1968 zombie classic Night Of The Living Dead, continued in '79's Dawn Of The Dead, is a solid conclusion. Day Of The Dead furthers along the timeline of the zombie apocalypse to a time when survivors are very hard to find.
At an underground Florida research station, Dr. Logan (Richard Liberty) conducts grotesque experiments on captured zombies to search for a way that the living and the living dead can cohabitate. Begrudgingly sharing the facility with the doctor is military man Rhodes (Joe Pilato) and his underlings. Scientist Sarah (Lori Cardille) and her fellow survivors seek refuge at the compound just in time to see a clash between Logan and Rhodes reach a critical turning point.
Let's face it, Day has a lot to live up to, after Romero delivered two nearly flawless previous installments. The other films made giant leaps for the horror genre. But by the time Day was released, things seem less special. Make up effects artist Tom Savini's is, as you might expect, even more detailed and gruesome than in the past. That said, by film's end, the story seems to peter out. Don't get me wrong. Romero's work on these films is genius, but, I just feel after a great set up, the story gets muddled. It's still worth it though...
Of all the Dead film's, Anchor Bay decided that Day was classic enough to be a two disc set. The audio commentary with Romero, Savini, production designer Cletus Anderson, and actress Cardille is yet another great disussion about all things Dead. The track is great fun and informative. Along those same lines is disc two's The Many Days of Day Of The Dead, a 39 minute documentary featuring interviews with the cast and crew, gives you perspectives on the entire series. There's also another documentary that offers a more specific look behind the scenes--particularly at the make-up effects. You can hear a well conducted audio interview with actor Richard Liberty. A brief "Wampum Mine" promotional video, the theatrical trailer, TV Spots, and some fine DVD-ROM material, tops off the set.
"Day" may not be as good as the other films in the series, but it's still a worthwhile DVD set for fans to own...
on May 22, 2004
i own night of the living dead(1968), dawn of the dead(1978), and am pretty glad i only rented day of the dead. yes, if i wouldve bought it it would have completely the "holy trilogy" collection for me. but let me just say that bub and the gore was just about all this had going for it. bub was a zombie who was in experiment to be trained to be a good boy. he learned how to listen to music again, open a book and try to read again, use a gun again, brush his teeth again, shave again, and the most important---not to eat living humans! even though it was more dark humor than anything, bub still added to this movie quite a bit with the ending and all. in my review on dawn of the dead, 1978 version, i said that it was good because it had more zombies, more gore, and more running time. well, this movie has even MORE zombies, and yes, hard to believe, even MORE gore! the special effects makeup by tom savini is awesome, yet does that make any old movie worth buying? no. this was too much like dawn of the dead. slap in a shopping mall and youve got the same damn movie practically. i may just buy this one for the sake of having all three, yet take my word on it---the first 2 were much better. romero says hes working on a 4th installment. can we have more gore? i dont think so. more zombies? i dont think so. any new ideas period? personally, i dont think so. but romero is romero, hell find some way to make the 4th a good one. but as far as day of the dead goes, just rent it for now. (not that im giving you orders, sir)
on May 6, 2004
Day of the Dead is the controversial conclusion of Romero's Living Dead trilogy. (For now anyway, Dead Reckoning is written and hopefully on the way before too much longer) As I understand it, it was almost uniformly poorly received at the time of its release. Since then, however, it's become increasingly more popular, with a fairly large contingent considering it to be the equal to, or superior to the two earlier films. This group has, in my opinion, revised the views on the film a bit too much, but it is still a very good zombie movie, albeit not without some flaws.
The same basic setup from the earlier two films remains; a small group of survivors has holed themselves up in a secure area while the zombies take over the rest of the world. Conflicts between the survivors are here, as before. Once again, however, the results are remarkably different, allowing for a very distinct experience rather than just a rehashing, as most sequels are content to allow. This time the inner-conflicts are more clearly defined, with the brutal and vulgar military outfit clashing with the scientists and civilians. This points to another change from the earlier films, where almost all the characters were at least somewhat sympathetic, whereas most of the soldiers in this are pretty much irredeemable. This leads to one of the main flaws of the film, which is the acting on the part of the soldiers. Steel and Rickles and the other grunts are somewhat over the top through much of the film, as they scream and holler and giggle like school girls and whatnot.(Actually, the fact that they scream and holler and giggle isn't the problem, the problem is that they don't really do so convincingly.) Beyond this, Cpt. Rhodes is too stereotypically psychopathic, with bulging eyes and a perpetual scowl. He's not really too bad I suppose, but not very good either.(Personally, I think Pilato should've played him straight. He would've been more menacing that way.) The 'good guys' for lack of a better term, are better, not necessarily great, but competent enough across the board with a few excellent performances. I particularly like Dr. Logan and Bub. Bub is one of the more controversial aspects of the film, as he is a relatively intelligent, semi-domesticated zombie. I'll admit it sounded bad to me when I first heard about him, but I think he works. His scenes are generally at least semi-comic, and they generally work in that way. Howard Sherman (or Sherman Howard, I dunno) is completely brilliant as him. I don't know if he could've been played better. I know lots of people are offended by the notion of a sympathetic zombie, but I, for one, found him to be genuinely likable, and he doesn't really hurt the notion of the zombie menace as a whole as it is clear that he is an anomaly.
The most common complaint is that the film is too talky. I'll admit that there isn't a whole lot of action for the first 2/3 of the film, but I still found the infighting and the experiments and whatnot to be fairly interesting. I will admit that lots of it doesn't seem to have a whole lot to do with anything in particular. They mainly just seem to be waiting around for the soldiers to freak out, and all their research and such doesn't really add up to anything. (Admittedly this is not all that different from how Night of the Living Dead went, but it had the atmosphere and intensity to justify, well, not just justify but necessitate the relative lack of specific actions or plot throughout much of the film.) Still, I was entertained by the early talky parts of the film, so I can't complain too much. And frankly, the plot comes of about as well as you could hope, and much better than I would've imagined considering that Romero had to radically rewrite it to make it fit in to the halved buget.(For those who don't know, Romero came in expecting a 7 million dollar budget, but then was told he'd have to get it an R rating for 7 million, or have it be released without a rating with a budget of only 3.5 million. He chose the latter.)
Fortunately when the action does start it is quite awesome, well worth the wait. It's got a good mix of action movie style violence and conventional horror violence, much as they had in Dawn of the Dead. The zombies look absolutely great, particularly the one early in the film whose lower face is essentially demolished. The gore fx (once again headed by Tom Savini) are absolutely superlative, and stand up incredibly well today. The mutilated, zombie test subjects are quite nice and gross. The repeated throat-rippings are pretty remarkable as well, and the gunwounds all look very modern too.(Apparently the zombies have wised up over the years, as they almost invariably go for the throat now.) The 3 big deaths towards the end are all excellent as well, though I think that the guy being torn in half is a bit over the top, though they may have been going for that.(The other two are better and more horrible, particularly the slow manual decapitation via the eye-sockets.) Overall, the climax has about everything you could hope for from a zombie movie.
In the end, Day of the Dead is(imo) unquestionably more flawed than the other 2 Romero films, but the positives still outweigh the negatives by a wide margin, and anyone who saw the other 2 films and enjoyed them needs to check this out. On a final note, the Anchor Bay DVD of it is quite excellent. It doesn't look as good as Dawn of the Dead, but still pretty nice, and you haven't got any other options really, so go with that one.
on April 28, 2004
A movie that looks like it must be based on a true story, it throws you into a world in which zombies are all too real and the characters fee like home. This is the most realistic zombie movies i've ever seen. It makes it seem as though you're in it, the way people act, the tensions between them, their way of going around things, the blood, gore, and zombies are all genuine if not fantastic. A truely underrated gem unlike most zombie movies, even the predecessors of this, Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead.
Everyone has their favorite of the trilogy, most people would probably easily say that Dawn was the best, some people would say Night, and few people say Day. I think that Day is easily the best. Night and Dawn influenced more than Day has and will ever influence but i think it's the most entertaining. The movie builds throughout the body of the film, it shows the reality of the situation and the mounting tensions between the characters. There is an all out gore, zombie attack scene in the end which makes the whole movie worthwhile to those who watch a movie solely on the gore value. Yet, it has enough storyline to please most fans of movies that don't enjoy those of the horror movie genre.
The Anchor Bay DVD is greatly restored, everything is crystal clear and it just adds to the reality of the experience. It has some great special features, including a 31 minute featurette which is great. A movie that is strong and vivid as Day is brilliant and i'm not sure why it was dismissed so easily by critics when it was originally released. It's a strong movie and to anyone who hasn't seen it, go and watch it, great movie.
on April 9, 2004
When watching this movie it is hard to imagine that are coming up on the 20th anniversary for this movie, the special effects are absolutely amazing Tom Savini definitely deservers credit here for the amazing special work on the zombies. Now before I continue I should let you know I love horror movies and I personally believe this movie so different from a lot of the horror movies we are fed nowadays. The fear you feel while watching this movie isn't the sort of "make you jump out of your seat" fear, even though there are a few moments where you'll definitely be jumping. However the psychological fear of the movie (you are literally being overrun by these creatures who do not seem to fail pain, and think of nothing other than eating YOU) is enough to give you goose bumps if you think about it. You just have a complete sense of helpless, because regardless of what you do, they will keep on coming. The DVD itself has excellent picture quality and very good sound definitely a pleasure to watch and listen to. The special features, especially the documentary done by George A. Romero are also a very interesting. I never thought that any movie could top Dawn of the Dead but I honestly believe that this movie is just a little better. Absolutely recommended viewing if you are into horror/zombie movies. I can safely say that you will not be dissapointed with this purchase
on April 6, 2004
Chapter three of George Romero's zombie trilogy may be a let down compared to the legendary Night of the Living Dead and the horror classic Dawn of the Dead; but on it's own Day of the Dead is still an effective and superbly crafted horror film. Taking place in a sunken underground military base, a group of scientists and soldiers desperately search for a way to solve the zombie problem. Slowly but surely, some of them begin to go mad while an equally mad doctor (Richard Liberty) believes the zombies can be domesticated as long as they are rewarded. Undoubtadly the goriest film in the Dead trilogy, Day of the Dead is known primarily for it's over the top and extremely realistic gore (the best work by far by horror makeup maestro Tom Savini) as we see people get torn to shreds by the hungry undead. Upon it's initial release the film didn't garner much acclaim from critics or fans, but over the years it has achieved it's status as a horror classic, and this handsome Special Edition DVD from Anchor Bay is an absolute must own for any and every horror fan.
on April 1, 2004
Let me just say that I bought this movie a few days ago on target.com. When I first got it and put it into my dvd player I was amazed. I own all the othe "Dead" movies and let me tell you I believe this is the best and strongest movies in the series. The acting in this movie was done extremely well and the scenario with all these people living in an underground base and struggling with control powers is pulled off pretty well. I especially liked Richard Liberty's character who was Logan or better known as "Frankenstein". I thought he portrayed the crazy scientist well. I hated Rhodes,who was the lead military head figure, and was extremely happy when I saw him die an excruciatingly violent and gory death. What made this a great horror movie was the well crafted special effects and gore. I think Tom Savinni is an awesome and great special effects artist. Some of the gore and death scenes in this movie were very awesome. The best was where a zombie's head was taken off with a shovel. Great movie. Just buy it. Worth all the money it costs. Also see the remake of Dawn of the Dead. Just as good as and maybe even better than the original.
on March 29, 2004
This is the most apocalyptic film of Romero's trilogy, and possibly the least accessible of the three. Unlike the two previous films, the media has no role here (its presence is limited to a 'The Dead Walk' headline seen a few times throughout), and there's no real hope to be garnered, except for individual salvation - one of the characters interprets the situation as divine punishment, and it is the most plausible explanation of all. The few remaining humans - scientists and military men - are confined in an underground base; under these conditions, the living dead are not so much a menace anymore as a test and a challenge, the measure of each and everyone's worth. The real danger mostly comes from the humans themselves: from Rhodes, the agressive and nihilistic self-appointed head of the army; from Dr. Logan, a scientist whose ambitions are nothing short of hubristic, a treat to his fellow people. The characters are all generic types, and Romero pushes them so far (especially Rhodes and Dr. Logan) that the unrelenting darkness of the film becomes more palatable; the viewer is almost begged to consider allegory since the literal meaning is so outrageous.