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14 September 2012

Day of the Dead (1985)

I've been trying to figure out when I first watched Day of the Dead and I reckon it must have been around 1986/7. Me and my pals were on a horror kick. For a while we got into this habit of wandering down the street to my local Video shop and challenging the guy behind the counter to give us a film that would scare us. I don't think he ever managed it... and that's because we were nails! Ha ha :-D

"Hello! Is there anybody there?"
Day of the Dead, United 1985

One night he gave us George Romero's Day of the Dead. About the only thing I remember about it was "Bub" the "lovable" zombie. Day of the Dead is considered to be the third part in a trilogy of zombie films produced by Romero that started with Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Dawn of the Dead (1979). I've given you my contraversial views on George Romero in the past. I won't rehash all that, but suffice to say, I think that on the whole, his films are overrated. That said, Day of the Dead is probably one of the better ones!

Keep your eyes open for the croc
Day of the Dead, United 1985

Day of the Dead plunges us back into the zombie apocalypse. A rag-tag bunch of survivors are holed up in a missile silo with a growing horde of living dead at the fences. It's an uneasy situation. On the one side we have science, lead by the blood soaked egg-head Doctor Logan (aka 'Doctor Frankenstein') and on the other we have a crazed army team lead by the short-tempered Captain Rhodes. In the middle is the go-between Sarah, trying her best to do the right thing and keep the peace.

"Doctor - I don't feel too good"
Day of the Dead, United 1985

I love the opening to this film as the team scout for survivors in their helicopter. For reasons that I can't explain, it reminds me of the 6 Million Dollar Man TV series starring Lee Majors. Perhaps it's the grainy picture? Perhaps it's the helicopter? Dunno. The bit where the snivelling neck-bearded Miguel is shouting through his loud hailer blends beautifully with the soundtrack. I found it very evocative. It's not hard to see why the Gorillaz turned it into the song "M1 A1" on their self-titled debut album of 2001.

He had a head like a bowling ball...
Day of the Dead, United 1985

There are some great scenes dotted about. I'll call out a few, but really, If you haven't already watched this film, you need to do so soon. Any scene with Captain Rhodes (played by Joe Pilato) is a gem. I hated the other soldiers with their irritating over-acting (or in some cases pitiful underacting), but credit to Pilato, Rhodes is real and I couldn't help but sympathise with his character. If anything, I found myself wondering why he was being so lenient. It may sound odd, but given the circumstances I reckon I might have been a bit more decisive... an iron fist inside an iron glove. My favourite scene with him is the one that ends with: "I'm running this monkey farm now Frankenstein and I wanna know... what the f#ck you're doing with my time?" WOAH! Powerful stuff.

Did you hear that?
Day of the Dead, United 1985

Doctor Logan (played by Richard Liberty) is great too, but for different reasons. He dances a thin line that sometimes feels like it might descend into comedy. It doesn't and I put that down to Liberty's acting prowess. He has some great lines, but his whole look on screen is a sight to behold. When he talks, you just have to listen! He has presence by the bucketload.

Day of the Dead, United 1985

I like the zombies. There are some real ugly ones and I know that Tom Savini went to great pains to create each zombie as individual and unique as possible. Of course, Bub is great, but to be honest, I'm over that now. Even so, I've just got to mention the bit where he dribbles after licking the blood from his cut finger. Beautiful!

Let's finish this review off...

On the Triple-B, I'm going to give you 6 minutes to find what you're looking for. And if you're not back in time, or there's any sign of trouble, rest assured that the helicopter will be started and I'll be outta here!

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