Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Day of the Dead" an under-appreciated genre masterpiece.

BASIC INFO:
TITLE: "Day of the Dead"
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1985
DIRECTOR: George A. Romero
STARS: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joe Pilato
EDITOR: Pasquale Buba
AWARDS: Best Make-Up (Saturn Award)
BOX OFFICE: $34,000,000 (Worldwide)
RUN TIME: 102 min.
RATING: Unrated
VIEWING FORMAT: DVD

SUMMARY:
An underground military base struggles to find a working dichotomy between the Captain in command, and the scientists his men are charged with protecting. Perhaps it would be easier if the men knew what exactly the crazed doctor in charge was doing with all the dead bodies, and reanimated corpses in his possession?

WHY THIS IS THE FILM OF THE WEEK:
"Day of the Dead" is the final installment in George A. Romero's original zombie trilogy (the trilogy was expanded in the 2000's with three more entries). While it flopped in its initial box office run, its international gross helped it to become a monstrously successful entry into the series.

This marked the second time that Tom Savini won a Saturn award for his make-up achievements (the first being for its predecessor). This film's zombie effects marked an increase in the use of special applications and gore effects. Real animal parts were used to fill "cadavers" that were seen ripped apart on screen.

While this film is somewhat mixed critically, it received many positive reviews, and has gained a cult audience that stands behind its status as a benchmark in the series, as well as the genre. Romero has cited this to be his favorite in the series. And who really needs to argue with the director?!

This film has also spawned many cultural references, from bands (Gorillaz, Panzer AG, Ministry, The Misfits), and other films ("Resident Evil" franchise, "28 Days Later").

CRITIQUE:
This film is this writer's favorite zombie film. The reasons are many.

Romero established the zombie (or ghoul) genre as one that could focus on social satire as much as gore and horror. This movie is mind-numbingly scary at points, that's for sure. The bulk of it resides in a satire of the classic military/science debate. Which is more important in dangerous times? It also deals with issues of sexism, and class systems. That's a lot for one film to take on. This one does it seamlessly, and with taste.

It is a hard film to watch for the weak stomached, but is worth it. If you are to watch only one zombie movie ever, this should be it. It might even convince you to see more. If you can't handle too much violence and gore (though not in a sickly, torture-porn sort of way), this may not be your cup-of-tea.

MY IMDb RATING:  8 out of 10




And, at the risk of too much self promotion, here is a link to my newest horror short film (don't forget to vote by clicking the yellow box above the video player!):
T is for Teddy

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