HMM Day 16 – Day of The Dead

As the zombie hordes roam the earth a group of lone survivors are living deep within an abandoned missile silo.

Day of The Dead is George A. Romero’s third installment of the popular dead series. The effects were both done by horror legend Tom Savini and Greg Nicotero. Although set in the same universe, Day of The Dead isn’t connected to the events in the past two films other than zombies.

Now, I have to say that Day of The Dead is my favorite of all the Romero films. I appreciate Night and Dawn, but to me Day of The Dead is a much more intriguing and gorier film. Also, I appreciate the social commentary behind this film. The zombies look much better in this film and the gore is much more believable and solid.

Yes, I am aware Romero eventually made three other films. But I look at those a separate series as the first three. Mainly because they were made after 2000. I do like those films but the original trilogy is where it’s at.


I love how people crack under tremendous amounts of tragedy and pressure. To me Captain Rhodes represents how people will go insane with power. He’s a terrible man that has lost all sense of compassion or understanding. Even in the face of possibly finding a solution to the infestation; he remains blind with rage. Willing to kill the people with the answer in order to maintain authority.

“I’m Running This Monkey Farm Now, Frankenstein!” – Captain Rhodes

d7I sort of understand his plight, he’s trying to survive. He’s just going a little “dictator.” He doesn’t want answers, he just wants order. Like all Romero films, it’s meant to serve as a message or critique of our culture. Where Dawn of The Dead tackles consumerism and the barbarianism of man. Day of The Dead is a message about power and the amount of power our military and government should be allowed. Where the first two films dealt with social issues, this film was very much more political.

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Bub

I also find the evolution of the zombies compared to the humans interesting. The zombies seem to be getting smarter. They’re banding together and learning while the humans are being defeated and working against themselves. They don’t trust each other and are living for power. This has always been the case with Romero films. It’s an example of humans being replaced by a new (and better) species.

Even though the zombies are dead, they are in some ways better than humans. They don’t get sick, they don’t feel pain. They don’t fight or argue because all they want is to eat. As odd as it sounds, being a zombie is better for your health than being alive.  Romero’s dead series are literally a shaping of a utopia. It’s just in order for that to happen, humans have to die.

This is no better displayed than the comparison of Bub the zombie and Captain Rhodes. Rhodes is bad and doesn’t want to solve the outbreak problem. He doesn’t look at the people around him as fellow humans. But rather submissive servants. He’s given up human progression. Where as Bub is learning and showing a form of civility, even ignoring his craving for human flesh. When he discovers the dead Dr. Logan, it enrages him and he seeks revenge on Rhodes. This shows a sense of love and friendship Bub had for Dr. Logan. These things are displays of affection Rhodes and his men don’t have. This lack of humanism is what eventually leads to Rhodes’ gruesome death and boy is it an awesome scene.

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day-of-the-dead-spillLike I said before Tom Savini and Greg Nicotero both did the makeup-effects and I truly think it’s Savini’s best work. To be honest, the Dawn of The Dead zombies always looked a little too green for my taste. I get it, a low budget can be a pain. But Day of The Dead zombies shine bright. They look amazing, and they’re gross. If you were to ask for the best example of zombies then Day of The Dead would be it.

Day of the Dead is a film that I think goes under appreciated in the Romero franchise. It’s a great conclusion for the series and I think the story and message is better established. The title “Day of The Dead” is symbolic for how the zombies “day” of reign is at hand!

Where Night Of The Living Dead is one of the greatest zombie films ever, Day of The Dead might be one of the best “ethical” zombie films ever made. It’s gory, it’s sad and eventually uplifting for those that route for the zombies. It concludes the first three series perfectly. Watch Day of The Dead and enjoy.

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