Day of the Dead DVD | Blu-ray
Director: George A. Romero
Screenwriter: George A. Romero
Cast: Lori Cardille, Joseph Pilato, Terry Alexander, Richard Liberty, Jarlath Conroy, Anthony Dileo Jr. Scream Factory
Not Rated | 101 Minutes
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Written and directed by George A. Romero, 1985’s Day of the Dead takes place some time after the events of 1978’s Dawn of the Dead.
From farmhouses to shopping malls, the undead have now overrun the entire planet. The remaining fragments of humanity – the U.S. government and military – barricade themselves in an underground missile silo, attempting to find a solution to the zombie outbreak.
Survivors Dr. Sarah Bowman (Lori Cardille), US Army Private Miguel Salazar (Anthony Dileo Jr.), and helicopter pilots McDermott (Jarlath Conroy) and John (Terry Alexander) arrive in Fort Myers, Florida where they encounter a large horde of the undead.
The survivors escape to an underground Army base in the Everglades, where a small group of scientists search for a way to stop or reverse the re-animation process, assisted by a skeleton crew of psychotic, animalistic soldiers.
Dr. Logan (Richard Liberty), the lead scientist – also known as “Frankenstein” due to his bizarre experiments – believes that zombies can be trained to become docile. Dr. Frankenstein has amassed a collection of undead test subjects, over the objection of unhinged base-commander Captain Henry Rhodes (Joseph Pilato).
Rhodes banishes the scientists to the underground caves where the living dead shift and stumble about, but unfortunately for Rhodes and his soldiers, the zombies have found a way into their bunker. Like Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead is a harrowing story of survival – humanity’s last stand against the reanimated corpses of their fallen brethren.
When it was originally released in theaters on July 19, 1985, Day of the Dead was a critical and financial failure, one-upped by Dan O’Bannon’s humorous critique of the zombie sub-genre, The Return of the Living Dead.
Since then, revisionist history has been kind to Romero’s third zombie flick. Compared to recent entries in Romero’s series like Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead, Day of the Dead looks every bit as radical and subversive as its predecessors.
One thing’s for sure: special make-up effects artist Tom Savini and his assistant Gregory Nicotero (now executive producer and special effects make-up designer for AMC’s The Walking Dead) deliver some of the best zombie make-up effects ever committed to screen.
What Day of the Dead lacks in story and dramatic performances it more than makes up for with buckets of blood and flesh-ripping fatalities. There are several memorable moments in Romero’s film, and most of them involve Savini’s iconic make-up effects, like Captain Rhodes’ horrific torso-busting disemboweling. As the zombies are eating his entrails, Rhodes screams “Choke on ’em!” – talk about grizzly!
Presented by Scream Factory, the horror-thriller offshoot of independent film distributor Shout Factory, the Day of the Dead Collector’s Edition Blu-ray features a new high-definition master as well as an audio commentary with writer/director George A. Romero, special make-up effects artist Tom Savini, production designer Cletus Anderson, and actress Lori Cardille.
There’s also a 30-minute behind-the-scenes documentary featuring production footage from Tom Savini and an audio interview with Dr. Frankenstein himself, actor Richard Liberty. Your usual assortment of bonus materials like photo galleries, theatrical trailers, and TV spots to also be included.
While the third chapter in Romero’s zombie series isn’t the best, it’s still a disturbing and intelligent horror flick – and this new transfer makes the previous DVD and Blu-ray releases look like beat-up Betamax scans. If you’re a fan of Romero’s films (and who isn’t?) then this purchase is a no-brainer (SEE WHAT I DID THERE!?)