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Overall Rating
3.24

Awesome: 21.9%
Worth A Look: 23.81%
Average: 20%
Pretty Bad24.76%
Total Crap: 9.52%

5 reviews, 75 user ratings


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Day of the Dead (1985)
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by the Grinch

"NOT the film Romero wanted to make, but well worth the price of admission.."
4 stars

No, this is not a movie about the Mexican version of Halloween "The Day of the Dead" i.e. what happens when you stray from bottled water south of the border. It is probably one of the most graphically disgusting movies ever made, though...that is, up until Lance Bass got into the movie business...

Take a look around on the web via Google or another search engine, and you're bound to find the original script for Day of the Dead, as Romero originally intended it. Why the original script was never made is a long story...let's just say that Romero's vision was "not economically viable", which is to say it was too intellectual and didn't involve either A)A butcher knife wielding maniac B)A stupid play on urban legends or holidays, C)Linea Quigley tit-shots (hey, not necessarily a BAD thing), and D)any combination of the above. The original script was very heavey in santeria and latin occultism....taking place in southern Florida and surrounding Caribbean islands, it dealt with the survivors of the zombie-plague and the neo-messianic religion that had taken hold of the surviving human population...in an almost twisted "reverse resurrection", they believed that the first person to die and NOT come back to "life" (as much as being a reanimated corpse hungry for human flesh can be called "life") was the messiah, the new savior for a troubled age. Also pivotal in the original plotline was an underground military facility that was capturing zombies and utilizing them in biological warfare experiments...which is to say, they were implanting them with neurotransmitters with which they could be subjugated and controlled in indestructable platoons of supersoldiers....the perfect weapon, which never tires, never gets wounded, can't get killed because it's been there-done that, and never takes prisoners because it's easier to eat them. Some of these concepts made their way into Return of the Living Dead 3, but, the lovely Mindy Clarke aside, let's not get into that. Let's just say that cheap industry execs everywhere should be ashamed of themselves that Romero's vision for Day of the Dead was not realized.

This is not to say that what Romero ends up with is not enjoyable cult-gore at its finest. While the original script's undercurrents are rife with references to spirituality and religion vs. technology and artificial "immortality", the actualized Day of the Dead delves deeper into Romero's zombie mythos than perhaps many viewers ever wanted to go. Left over from the original script is the idea of a military bunker and its besieged inhabitants: Dr. "Frankenstein" Logan (the late Richard Liberty) and his zombie-prodding group of scientists, Capt. Rhodes (Joe Pilato) and his paranoid bunch of military grunts, and technician Sarah (Lori Cardille) and her ganja puffing chopper-pilot pals (yeah, I'd be hanging out with the last group too...in the zombie-plauge of the future, you can pry my bong from my cold, dead hands...) Amongst the most interesting of these characters is Liberty's Dr. Logan. He's a kind of sick, subtle version of Mengele, gleefully probing and observing his zombie specimens like a wicked, giddy child with a new butterfly collection. In his schizophrenic search for a cure to the zombie "plague", Logan reveals much of the new information about the ghouls. They're quickly overwhelming the planet, their hunger is neurologically based, they can learn tricks like trained chimpanzees...although I doubt Chim-Chim the monkey butler tries to fetch your slippers with your feet still in them.

In usual Romero style, the true monsters are not the stumbling zombies instinctually looking for living flesh. The real monsters are amongst the living, the inhabitants of the bunker who are beginning to get edgy and go for each others' throats. The biggest complaint with the film is the dragging middle with its bad dialogue and never-ending profanity. It makes an episode of "The Osbournes" seem more like an episode of "Ozzy and Harriet". The low-budget also means very few changes of scenery...while you get a few views of a ravaged and zombie-infested coastal Florida city, most of the film takes place in the claustrophobic setting of the underground bunker. A low-budget also means you can't be too choosy with your actors...although there's some good performances amongst the mostly 2-dimensional characters, namely Liberty's tweaked Dr. Logan, and Sherman Howard's vunder-zombie 'Bub'.

The direction and cinematography, luckily, make the most of this stifled scenic confinement, visually framing the tension and pressure that is quickly building up between the disparate groups of refugees.
The inclusion of Dawn of the Dead effects-veteran Tom Savini was perhaps the saving grace of what could've been a droll, boring movie. This film is where Savini's effects graduate from the red-paint, 10,000 Maniacs school, to the horribly realistic textures of dark vitae, spurting in grizzly streams of crimson from disgusting wounds inflicted by the best looking (or worst looking, depending on your point of view) zombies this side of the river Styx. I would NOT recommend eating oysters or liver during this movie...actually, I recommend NEVER eating oysters or liver.

While one would hope the original script could eventually be made, as well as a 4th Romero zombie film, what we ended up with is definitely no disgrace to the Living Dead series and the Horror genre in general. Now, 'Children of the Living Dead' and the John Russo raping of the 30th Anniversary 'Night of the Living Dead'...well, I've saved up plenty of vitriol for those later...

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=2096&reviewer=156
originally posted: 05/21/02 12:53:25
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User Comments

8/16/11 Chris F A bit slow but not bad overall 4 stars
6/21/11 art watch european zombie flick's like the drive-in's used to show,instead! 1 stars
11/06/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Acting could have been better, but Romero's overall vision won me over. Also, great gore! 4 stars
1/02/10 art WHITE ZOMBIE from 1932,is the only true zombie flick,I DIG BUB THE ZOMBIE! 1 stars
12/26/09 Chad Dillon Cooper A good movie with great fx. 5 stars
10/30/09 PAUL SHORTT LOW-BUDGET, SCALED DOWN FOLLOW UP 1 stars
10/21/09 Jason Best movie ever made. Shakespearian quallity dialogs 5 stars
10/05/09 art BUB THE ZOMBIE WAS A REAL "CHARMER" 1 stars
4/23/09 FrankNFurter What's scarier-human nature or the zombies? A profound vision on the dark side of humanity. 4 stars
2/01/09 lo& I think this movie is very underrated,great characters,good dialogue. 4 stars
12/19/08 Craig D. No, action movie fan, Resident Evil is "a boring, routine zombie movie." Day is great. 4 stars
6/08/08 action movie fan great gore from tom savaini but little else-a boring routine zombie movie 2 stars
5/31/08 Peter Romero at his best, pre-modern sucky self. 5 stars
9/28/07 Paul kersey brilliant 5 stars
9/28/07 Paul kersey Awesome movie 5 stars
9/28/07 Paul kersey Awesome movie 5 stars
10/25/06 Drew G Needed a lot more zombie action... 2 stars
9/22/06 Lisa Craven Doesn't even come close to Night of the Living Dead, average gorefest 3 stars
9/21/06 Pritchett Not bad, not great, had a lot to live up to after "Dawn" - original script is better. 3 stars
8/25/06 havthat I liked this one the least of Romero's, but Bub's "humanity" was an interesting twist. 4 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist A gorey, medieocre splat of entrails, thats a notch higher than popcorn flick status!!!! 4 stars
7/17/06 mark the best of the Dead movies-takes a little patience on the viewer, however 5 stars
10/27/05 chris a brilliant film although not as good as dawn 4 stars
9/29/05 Evan This is the Alien³ of the series. 3 stars
8/19/05 Gaston Nowhere near as good as NIGHT or DAWN, obviously, but has a few merits...and that FINALE!!! 3 stars
8/06/05 Pierre Zombie masterpiece! 5 stars
7/26/05 Kankasaur 1 part film-gore + 4 parts Al Gore. Skip the speechifying if you're no Romero zombie 2 stars
7/17/05 Brandy Harrington great gore cant not make up for the retarded story and awful acting. 1 stars
7/08/05 Burt Ward as bad as Jaws: The Revenge 1 stars
6/26/05 DennyRoss Very clostrophobic - guess that was the point. Still I liked this one but I didn't love it 4 stars
4/25/05 Indrid Cold An odd, boring story. But the death scenes at the end are worth the price of admission. 4 stars
4/16/05 Kainsdisciples better than dawn gotta love bob 4 stars
2/09/05 New England Patriots = Dynasty holy hell, what a piece of shit this was. AWFUL acting...AWFUL. 1 stars
1/29/05 ralph a true movie expert 32 yrs old not as good as dawn but still a must see if you are into gore 3 stars
1/10/05 Lucas Stenz WOW! Best horror film of the 1980s 5 stars
8/19/04 Random Fuck C'mon Romero, you could've done better than that!!! 2 stars
7/04/04 Samuel damn fine film. great ending to a great trilogy! 5 stars
6/13/04 Craig Good if you have a zombie fetish like me. 3 stars
6/08/04 Ryan Clark The least of Romero 4 stars
5/01/04 dead next door i like this one better than dawn. 5 stars
4/22/04 y2mckay Bad acting, meandering script, not enough gore, Romero Lite 2 stars
4/22/04 Jack Sommersby Great gore at the end can't compensate for abrasive characters and awful acting. 2 stars
4/18/04 Zach Cussing is ok, but not 50 million times that you just start shaking your head 3 stars
4/03/04 Lord Durvok 2 Good head-pulled-off fun! 4 stars
3/28/04 Gray to slow+depressing+not a obvious moral in it 3 stars
3/20/04 truth good fx but movie sucks, even worse than Dawn, boring and pointless,NOTLD still the best 1 1 stars
12/12/03 Heather great film!! 4 stars
11/27/03 John only for die hard Romero fans - an unworthy conclusion to a great trilogy 2 stars
11/02/03 American Slasher Goddess Too talky, but it's halfway decent. 3 stars
10/04/03 g-man it has it's problems, but for me it was the most gripping entry, and my personal fave. 4 stars
9/22/03 Samuel Justus A great ending to a great trilogy! 5 stars
8/13/03 Carrier In my opinion its the best of the three. Worth a look. 5 stars
4/30/03 The Talking Elbow Bub the zombie kicked ASS 5 stars
4/19/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik All and all, it's an underwhelming film, but it's good things keep it on it's toes enough. 3 stars
3/02/03 y2mckay A pale follow-up to the previous classics, but still worth dusting off once in a while. 3 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby Pointless, worthless crap. Bub the Zombie is a keeper, though. 2 stars
11/21/02 murat I don't care what what you say,this movie sucks .I wish romero couldn't have done it. 1 stars
5/22/02 Charles Tatum You cannot look away 4 stars
4/29/02 Eric Great zombie film has an intelligent story, excellent gore, and a superbly gripping finale. 5 stars
4/29/02 Phoenix A total bore. 1 stars
3/20/02 Aborted Gently Romero tries, but comes up short. 4 stars
1/16/02 Peter Herman this one has the darkest atmosphere of all three 5 stars
10/13/01 British Bulldog I really enjoyed this film, great special effects and characters. 5 stars
9/13/01 Elgyn I think this is every bit as good as "Dawn". 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk Ooh...I have a hard time making it through the first 5 HOURS of this film! Awesome Effects 4 stars
7/19/01 Ted Villavicencio a good zombie flick but far from Romero's greatest 3 stars
6/27/01 ric Definitely underrated. The last 20 minutes feature the BEST zombie action ever. 5 stars
5/03/01 Gracy Lionheart Perhaps if it was filmed the way Romero originally wanted it might have been better 3 stars
3/11/01 ryhan adams I found myself rooting for the bad guys ho should have been the good guys. Go Mr. Rhodes 4 stars
8/17/00 Rich Corle A Great film that is extremely underrated 5 stars
7/10/00 Bob Wombat Compared to Dawn of the Dead, this one was shite. 3 stars
5/26/00 Aaron Best zombie film ever!!! 5 stars
12/18/99 SID I commend Romero for the story he tried to tell, but I just didn't care about thecharacters 3 stars
9/08/99 little jerry Serious,powerful & extremely impressive.Budget cuts forced Romero to make this masterpiece. 5 stars
7/18/99 Eric Despite extreme gore, Day is one of the best horror films ever made.Surprisingly touching. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Jul-1985 (NC-17)

UK
  02-Feb-1986 (18)

Australia
  02-Feb-1986 (R)




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