Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day of the Dead

There seems to be two camps in the Zombie loving community; those who LIKE the 80’s installment in Romero’s storyline, and those who DON’T. Some ride the fence, as folks always will, but who cares about what they think? This is about absolutes- the “Big Picture”. So, it would go almost without saying (if you read my first blog) that in the grand scheme of things I fall dead center into the camp of the “LIKES”, and I will tell you why.
There are SIX episodes in the ongoing story of Romero’s world of the undead: Night, Dawn, Day, Land, Diary and the upcoming Survival. Everyone on the planet who has a taste for rotten flesh will have at least one movie above all the others that will stand out as a masterpiece. One movie that has that “certain something” the other films do not. Most of the time, the decision is unexplainable- just a preference towards a specific film. Sometimes, however the impact of the film can be so strong that the viewer is left thinking “This is the bestest Zomblie movie I have ever seen!” This was what I immediately thought when I saw the Day of the Dead. Unlike other folks though, I knew exactly why I fell in love with this segment in the series.
Day is very methodical. It’s grim. It feels a damned site more realistic than its two predecessors. There is no freaked out catatonic chick on a couch. No living dead with the urge to go shopping. Nope. This movie puts us into a realistic situation and then tells us that there is no way out. Romero claims that his movies are about the human condition, and this movie is closer to the issue than any other before or since. "My films are about the human condition more than the dead condition," says Romero. "I got news for you: You can't save the world. The world is going to do what it wants to do, that's what I think. We'll see what happens, and then see what happens after that. The zombie plague could be a hurricane, or any kind of catastrophe or disaster, really. It's all about humans and how they respond, fail to respond or respond stupidly." (For more on the interview go here--> )
Ever watched Day? For those a little rusty with the material, allow me the chance to catch you up.
Day takes place after the dead have begun to rise. The movie has military and non-military personnel holed up together in an underground missile silo. The object of the grouping is to instigate some tangible research into the living dead phenomenon. However, just like all of Romero’s films not everyone in the group gets along. The characters are larger representations of society’s problems. There is Capt Rhodes, the dominating asshole in charge. Apparently he is running this monkey farm. Then there is his jerk off grunt Pvt. Steel, who has a penchant for cursing. The Pilot John and the booze swilling Communications Tech McDermott; both of who want nothing more than to fly to a beach somewhere and sit the whole thing out. We have the innocent and overworked Research Scientist Lady- Sarah, the only one in the whole movie who seems to keep a level head. And of course the macabre, brilliant and oftentimes spooky Research Scientist- Dr Logan, or as the crew refers to him Frankenstein! The characters fuss and fight and bad things happen as a result. They take a unique situation where they could have lived for years and years together as a single unit and blew it all sky high. But they are human, and this is what humans do. We cannot get along, especially under duress.
I love the film for several reasons. As stated it is the most realistic out of the Dead series. From the way some folks in the movie crack up, to how others surprisingly keep it together, there is a seedy reality to the storyline. You can just see folks in a situation similar to this acting just like this. Aside from the drama, there are some great effects and wonderful zombie scenes. Hell, the movie even has an Alligator for Christ’s sake! Now, some folks will cite the cheesy music or the overlong bickering scenes as down points, but I love booth the 80’s era soundtrack and the arguing. But mainly, it’s the Doc that keeps me coming back for more.
I will admit I have a crush on Doctor Logan. He is seriously disturbed, but sexy in some sort of bloody mad scientist way! I won’t go into details, because I know you are not here to read about my sordid fantasies, but let’s just say that he is on my ‘list’… *wink wink nudge nudge, know what I mean?* Aside from being total sex, the Doc is also quite the genius and proposes a concept that I have embraced and since initially watching the film have maintained as the basis for my idea of what the living dead are about. “It wants me! It wants food! But it has no stomach, can take no nourishment from what it ingests. It's acting on INSTINCT!” More on that in a later Blog…
Overall, the movie is superior to me because it explores the scientific aspects of the problem. It just doesn’t throw some folks together with living dead at their door and say “Do something”. It treats the Zombie menace as an actual MENACE and not just a monkey wrench in an otherwise perfect day. These folks are together specifically to deal with the problem, but instead spend their time fucking up each other’s lives. This concept coincides with my rather low opinion of human beings overall. I am positive that if given the opportunity, mankind, when faced with a chance to overcome such insurmountable odds will spend more time pissing on each other than doing their job.

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