1-5 - Movie Review: DAY OF THE DEADAnchor Bay Entertainment
1985
NR

“Your ignorance is exceeded only by your charm, Captain. How can we expect them to behave if we act barbarically ourselves?”

In this third and final shocker in the legendary trilogy from writer/director George A. Romero, a small group of scientists and soldiers have taken refuge in an underground missile silo where they struggle to control the flesh-eating horror that walks the earth above. But will the final battle for the future of the human race be fought among the living or have they forever unleashed the hunger of the dead?

I find that, with a lot of my reviews that deal with beloved classics, they usually turn out shorter than a lot of my standard reviews. That has to do with the fact that everything that can be said about them has already been said, and usually better written as well. This doesn’t stop me from writing a review, mind you. Gotta throw in my two cents and all.

Such it is with Day Of The Dead, the original 1985 third part of the so-called …Of The Dead trilogy that started with Night Of The Living Dead in 1967, and continued with Dawn Of The Dead in 1978. All beloved classics in the zombie genre. All been discussed ad nausium. And now it’s time for Uncle NecRo’s humble entry into the pantheon. Here goes.

When it was originally released in 1985, Day Of The Dead didn’t really do as well as expected. This may have had something to do with the generally bleak and darker tone of the movie, when compared to the more upbeat releases of that year. It was competing with the surprise juggernaut that was Back To The Future, which was released only a couple of weeks prior to this one. But, fortunately the movie gained steam with the subsequent VHS home video release, and ultimately cemented itself as the classic it really deserved.

After watching it for the first time years ago, and with subsequent viewings since then, I have to say that this original Day Of The Dead is one of the better zombie flicks ever to have graced my DVD player. It does have a slow pace, but that only highlights the claustrophobic sense of dread and gradual decent into madness that the survivors of the zombie plague experience. The tension is built until finally it breaks at the seams. Sure, the movie does end on a more hopeful note, but they all can’t be nihilistic, can they?

As with all really good zombie movies, the zombies themselves are merely incidental; the real meat of this lies in the drama of the survivors, how they handle things as the days pass with no visible light at the end of the tunnel, where not even death is a reliable way to escape the horror surrounding you. The conflict here comes in the form of a clash between the two ideologies as to how to deal with the zombie outbreak: The Scientists, who want to study and use their brains and logic, and The Soldiers, who want to use their brawn and fight off the horde of undead. Also, Bub the Zombie. I need to find an old Walkman and cosplay as him some year.

Anyway, all that said, I have to say that Day Of The Dead is the perfect capper to the so-called Dead Trilogy that Romero had no idea he was making. It’s also one of those movies that are required to be featured in one’s collection if identify yourself as a horror fan. Forget the remake, or that so-called “sequel” that was released in 2005; you only need to own this one. Highly recommended.

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