HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Auschwitz Escape, The
Jungle Fever
Great White
Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
   
 
Newest Articles
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
   
 
  Day of the Dead Choke on ‘em...!
Year: 1985
Director: George A. Romero
Stars: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joe Pilato, Jarlath Conroy, Antone DiLeo, Richard Liberty, Howard Sherman, G. Howard Klar, Ralph Marrero, John Amplas
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 7 votes)
Review: With the zombie plague having engulfed the planet, the living dead now outnumber human survivors 400,000 to one. In an underground missile silo in Florida, a team of scientists work to understand the undead phenomenon, bringing them into conflict with the trigger-happy soldiers they share the base with.

George A. Romero’s third zombie film treads the middle ground between the terrifying, intense Night of the Living Dead and the bawdy, knockabout Dawn of the Dead. Maligned by some fans on its release – who perhaps expected a more spectacular film, Day of the Dead has aged very well, more so than many of its mid-80s horror peers. Budgetary constraints and Romero’s unwillingness to compromise the violence meant he was famously unable to make the film he originally conceived, but taken on its own terms, this one is a tough, bleak-but-blackly funny shocker.

On the whole, the acting is at its strongest in this one, even if the cast aren’t always sure of tone that Romero’s going for – Lori Cardille plays it straight as the resourceful heroine, while Joe Pilato hams it up wildly as evil Captain Rhodes. Richard Liberty, playing the cracked Dr Logan, the doctor convinced that the zombies can be socialised, is the standout, firmly in the tradition of mad movie doctors yet (unlike Pilato) keeping his character believable. There’s a real love and admiration in his eyes as he watches Bub, the most promising of his zombie subjects, slowly remember aspects of his pre-undead life. Equally, the moment when Bub discovers Logan’s slain corpse is the film’s most moving sequence, helped by Howard Sherman’s beautifully subtle performance. And what the entire cast do convey is the sense that these are exhausted, desperate people, who are doing everything they can to maintain a level of normality, whether it’s by performing futile research (the scientists), or maintaining a tough, bullying attitude (the soldiers).

Romero uses the underground setting to suitably claustrophobic effect; apart from the opening scenes and some moments towards the climax the entire film is set in either the bright, clinical corridors of the base or the gloomy caves around it. There’s a lot of dialogue too – another complaint from the film’s initial detractors – but Day of the Dead showcases Romero at his best as a scriptwriter, particularly in the apocalyptic monologue delivered by Terry Alexander (playing John, the chilled Jamaican ‘copter pilot). "We're bein' punished by the Creator. He visited a curse on us...maybe He figure, we gettin' too big for our britches, tryin' to figure His shit out."

The film also sees Tom Savini and his team working at their peak. The gore is vivid and plentiful, and the effects exceed Dawn of The Dead for hilarious, gruesome inventiveness. There’s a squirming zombie brain still attached to its body, an upturned decapitated head with the eyes still darting, the skin ripped from a soldier’s face, and the spectacular climatic torso-tearing of poor old Rhodes. John Harrison’s electronic score hasn’t aged that well (especially the squealing ‘rock’ guitar), and the surprisingly happy ending feels a little tacked on – the hopeful but ambiguous tone on which Dawn ends would surely have suited the film better. But for the most part, this is one of the decade’s very best, most intelligent chillers.

[The new Arrow/Fremantle DVD is presented in 16:9 Anamorphic widescreen and a world exclusive commentary with the effects team. Also included are a new documentary The Many Days of the Dead, a behind the scenes feature, filmographies, galleries and trailers]
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 12724 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

George A. Romero  (1940 - )

American writer/director and one of the most influential figures in modern horror cinema, whose ability to write strong scripts and characters match his penchant for gory chills. The Pittsburgh native began his career directing adverts before making Night of the Living Dead in 1968. This bleak, scary classic ushered in a new era of horror film-making, but Romero struggled initially to follow it up - There's Always Vanilla is a little-seen romantic drama, and Jack's Wife was butchered by its distributor. The Crazies was a flop but still an exciting slice of sci-fi horror, and while the dark vampire drama Martin again made little money but got Romero some of the best reviews of his career and remains the director's personal favourite.

In 1978 Romero returned to what he knew best, and Dawn of the Dead quickly became a massive international hit. Dawn's success allowed Romero to make the more personal Knightriders, and he teamed up with Stephen King to direct the horror anthology Creepshow. The intense, underrated Day of the Dead, spooky Monkey Shines and half of the Poe-adaptation Two Evil Eyes followed. The Dark Half, based on Stephen King's novel, was Romero's last film for nine years, and he returned in 2000 with the strange Bruiser. A fourth Dead film, Land of the Dead, was released in 2005, and lower budgeted fifth and sixth instalments rounded off the decade.

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: