Day of the Dead (1985) Review

So when you have two horror masterpieces under your belt that are critically praised and want to make another one? Possibly make it the most epic and awesome entree in the series?? Not exactly. Don’t get me wrong, the film is great but not as great as the fun Dawn of the Dead or as risk-taking as Night of the Living Dead. Originally the script that George A Romero wrote was so big and epic that Tom Savini [Romero’s buddy and mater of special effects] described it as the Ben Hur of zombie movies. But thanks to budget cuts to final project isn’t as epic as it was planned. But hey, what’s the plot? Seven years after the last movie, the zombie crisis has gotten so huge that the remaining humans have to flee underground. A group of humans, led by Joseph Rhodes, try to survive in a missile silo. One of these humans is Sarah. She constantly has to put up with crap and dreams of getting out of there. And a bunch of gore and tension ensues. The main things that everyone remembers are the main characters and gore. Sarah is the  first good female lead in the Living Dead movies. You see all the crap she has to deal with on a daily basis and root for her all the way. There’s a crazy scientist appropriately nicknamed Dr. Frankenstein who is experimenting with the captured zombies and ends up trying to teach a zombie named Bub to be civilized. But the one everyone remembers is the devious Joseph Rhodes. He is so evil, so conniving, and so over-the-top that you just love to hate. But let’s talk about the gorey highlights. A tradition that’s been happening in these movies is that with each installment the gore gets bigger. And the gore master Tom Savini relishes the effects in this movie. There’s the shovel kill where a guy slices a zombie’s head in half with a shovel. Another one is where a guy is getting his head torn off his body and his vocal chords are getting stretched out that his yell turns into a hellish shriek. It sounds like speeding up of a cassette tape. But the goriest kill gets to the one who deserves it the most, Rhodes. He gets cornered by a group of zombies. They tear open his stomach and rip off his torso. Apparently they lost power on set and the cow meat they used rotted and smelled. So both the actor and character were going through hell at the same time. Plus the effects for the zombies have gotten better and the moans they make are a little creepy. But the film has its disadvantages as well. There’s some humor in this film but it’s not as good as the last film. The soundtrack fits this film’s dark tone but it’s not as good as the films last film’s soundtrack. One thing I forgot to mention in my Dawn of the Dead review is that the soundtrack was done by an Italian rock band called Goblin. Catchy as hell you should listen to it at some point. Some of the characters aren’t as memorable or enjoyable as the characters from the last films. But this film is still great. Upon its release in 1985 it was panned by fans and critics alike and had competition with other zombie flicks like Re-animator and Return of the Living Dead. But overtime has gotten more attention and is considered another masterpiece and got a crappy remake. Following this film would be 2005’s Land of the Dead, 2007’s Diary of the Dead, and 2009’s Survival of the Dead which were all lackluster compared to the first three. But what lives on, lives on. The Living Dead Series is truly a masterpiece. We can all thank none other than George A Romero.


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