Tensions are high, supplies are running low and zombies are at the door. Can this motley group of scientists and soldiers work together long enough to survive?
Following on from the horrific day that saw the dead rising from their graves, the shuffling corpses have now taken over the world. A group of scientists and soldiers are barricaded in an abandoned missile silo where gruesome experiments are carried out on the zombies to try to find a way of controlling them. Tensions are high and supplies are running low: can the scientists get results before the soldiers give up on them? Will the soldiers end up as part of the experiment? And can the two groups work together long enough to survive?
The last in the original ‘Dead Series’ of zombie horror films, Romero acknowledged Day of the Dead as his favourite of the three, describing it as a "tragedy about how a lack of human communication causes chaos and collapse even in this small little pie slice of society." Oh yeah, and there’s some flesh-eating zombies, of course.
Though this 1985 horror was widely criticised upon release, this darker-toned third instalment has become a cult classic. Budget disputes and the director’s desire to release the film unrated and uncut meant the budget was halved, dropping from $7million to $3.5million. Accordingly, Romero was forced to scale back his story, rewriting the script and adjusting his original vision.
Cultural homages have been abundant in recent zombie/contagion films. 28 Days Later has the British military keeping an “infected” woman in captivity for testing; near the end of Resident Evil as Milla Jovovich’s Alice walks outside to a ravaged city street jammed with traffic, a camera pans past a newspaper blowing in the wind with the headline: The Dead Walk!. The song ‘M1A1’ from the self-titled 2001 Gorillaz album samples the pulsing synthesizers and cries of “Hello! Is there anyone there?” from the opening of the film and ‘Hip Albatross’ features a clip of Terry Alexander’s dialogue. The artwork for ‘November has Come’ has a pictures of a calendar pinned to a brick wall, open on the month of October with red Xs marking off the days; and The Misfits has a song about the movie called ‘Day of the Dead’.
Day of the Dead refers to a holiday celebrated in Latin America where family and friends gather together to pray for and remember loved ones who have died. The celebration occurs on November 2 and when you watch the film, you’ll notice the calendars used at both the beginning and end of the film set it about this time.
This film features Lori Cardille as Sarah; Terry Alexander as John; Joesph Pilato as Capt Rhodes; Jarlath Conroy as William McDermott; Anthony Dileo Jr as Pvt Miguel Salazar; Richard Liberty as Logan; Sherman Howard as Bud; and up and coming make-up artists Gregory Nicotero as Pvt Johnson who also worked on make-up effects (which won Best Make-Up at the 1986 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, USA). Extras were paid $1.00 and received a hat that read “I was a zombie in Day of the Dead”.