Considered by some to be a must-watch of the zombie apocalypse genre, Day of the Dead is a fine example of how horror long possessed the potential for intelligent storytelling.
Day of the Dead didn’t fare too well during its big screen release. Audiences entered cinemas expecting an upgrade of the gleeful gorefest found in the previous two episodes. They did get what they want. But only after an hour of intense human drama, some parts of which worthy for Shakespearean stage. As defence or explanation, director George A. Romero also revealed how budget cuts forced him to scale down his vision for the movie. This ambiguously feels to imply he couldn’t throw in as much gore as he wanted. Or, he could have actually been even more verbose.
Much as I wish to portray myself as preferring a rant over a rumble, I have to say I agree with general reactions. By no means am I implying the script or effects were lacklustre, both were exemplary, possibly among the finest in the history of horror. The problem here, for me, is how we have been inundated with zombie apocalypse stories in movies, TV and games. The genre itself simply no longer holds any freshness. Made worse by the fact that the “modern” sprinting zombie is honestly way scarier than Romero’s (somewhat adorable) lumbering types. Now, I do realise such a statement is unfair in many ways. It’s akin to saying War of the Worlds is amateurish compared to Star Trek. Thus, please allow me to rephrase my reaction to Day of the Dead as the following.
Watch this if you’re a true horror fan, and is interested in the development of the genre as a potent storytelling medium.
Watch this to get a feel of the incredible devotion and creativity of producers in days when CGI was but a myth.
Skip this if you’re solely interested in splatter. Or at least, just fast forward to the second half.
Skip this if you’re uninterested in the human aspects in horror stories. You’re going to be bored by all the talking.
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