It may sound blasphemous to say, but of George A. Romero’s original genre defining Dead Trilogy (NIGHT, DAWN & DAY), I like DAY OF THE DEAD the best by far. I certainly respect the others and consider them all MUST SEE MOVIES, but DAY OF THE DEAD is the most technically accomplished of the three with a fascinating tale that still resonates today.
The world is now over run by zombies and as far as we know, this pocket of scientists and military men and woman are the only survivors left. Having holed up in an underground bunker used to house anything and everything, they might be humanity’s last hope. That is if they can manage not to kill each other first.
The scientists are lead by Sarah (Lori Cardille) and Dr. “Frankenstein” Logan (Richard Liberty) who desperately search for a method of wiping out or reversing the zombie plague. But they have different ideas of how that should be achieved.
There to protect them are the remnants of the army. Due to the recent death of their commander, the hot-headed Capt. Rhodes (Joe Pilato) is now in charge and he has grown tired of the scientist’s lack of progress. Feeling that the only answer is to slaughter every last zombie on the face of the Earth his goals don’t align with the others.
Caught in the middle of these two warring factions are Helicopter Pilot John (Terry Alexander) and his sidekick McDermott (Jarieth Conroy). They feel that all of this is a waste of time. Better to stop risking everyone’s lives on a futile goal and find a safe place to repopulate the world.
The movie moves at a brisk pace and crackles with energetic performances that some might feel are iconic and others over-the-top. Believe it or not, what really makes this movie stand out is the above average dialogue. So many quotable lines, expertly delivered make it a memorable viewing experience.
The only thing else left to mention is gore-meister Tom Savini’s tour de force practical make-up FX. DAY OF THE DEAD features his most accomplished work of his career and the quality of the copious amounts of blood and innards are on par with what they’re doing today on THE WALKING DEAD (FYI: TWD’s Make-up wizard Greg Nicotero not only got his start on DAY, but plays the character “Johnson” as well).
DAY OF THE DEAD is definitely not for those sensitive to violence and profanity. There are bucketfuls of both in the film. But if you like a genre defining zombie film that truly delivers than this is certainly your “day” (see what I did there?)