I've never been the biggest zombie lover and I'll tell you right here and now why that is. The only zombies I had been exposed to before my horror kick were the annoying kind. The REAL kind. Only the not real kind because it was just lame kids pretending to be a zombie ALL THE FUCKING TIME. For a while, and still kind of right now, kids are obsessed with zombies. During college there was this school wide game called Humans Vs. Zombies. Now I mean no offense to anyone that took part in this game but for those of us that did not, it kind of really sucked. When I am walking to class, the last thing I want to do is get violently shoved to the side by a "human" while he runs away from a pack of "zombies". It was ridiculous. It was annoying. And it greatly marred my opinion of zombies for a long time to come.
Then during my reincarnation into a horror fan, I watched George Romero's Night of the Living Dead and not long after, Dawn of the Dead and I realized that zombies weren't annoying---they were a vital part of the horror genre until teenagers started ruining it for everybody. Why do we have to treat zombies like a boy band? Why does every piece of clothing, jewelry and thong have to be cool and reference a zombie?
Zombie movies are getting out of control and while they may be entertaining they are starting to make me hate zombies. Which is why when I go back and see Romero's early zombie films I get excited--because it's a movement back to when zombies were to be feared, loathed and most importantly---dead and acting like it.
Sure I may cause a bit of a ruckus here with all you zombie lovers but I'm just tellin' it like it is. Day of the Dead is an interesting one for me because well.....because I LOVED it. I was completely and utterly amazed. Why had no one told me to see this? Why was I barely even aware that this was part of Romero's zombie series (don't laugh it's TRUE) (And sometimes I'm an idiot)? And the answer is; because it's just not talked about enough. And this begs the question- Why??????
I'm not a zombie expert obviously, but I found it completely fascinating that the zombies in Day of the Dead start behaving more like our present day zombies. They have a character and they start acting surprisingly human. The best evidence is when we see the zombies chained to the wall and they have a certain look of frustration and anger that they are chained and unable to move. I couldn't help but think back to the zombies in Night of Living Dead, completely void of emotion or any actions that would merely suggest a thread of reaction. Would they be acting in the same way? Somehow I couldn't imagine it. Rather, I pictured them just standing there trying to walk and getting the same old results BUT not caring. They were simply the walking dead and they did not make us laugh or cause us to name what our favorite zombie was. In a similar fashion to how each zombie film evolves to fit society's fears-- Romero's zombie films also evolve with the fads. Zombies soon become actual characters and vital parts to the story---they soon come to stand for entertainment.
With the introduction of Bub the zombie, we are given a glimpse into the future of zombie comedies. Giving a zombie oddly humane characteristics, is almost like dressing a dog in clothing.
It's absurdly funny but also depressing when you think about it. After all--do I really want to know that zombies are capable of human emotion once again? Don't I want them to just be dead and still walking? Well yes, but you can't deny the power of a dog in a top hat er---zombie shaving his face
Or listening to some really sweet jams.
That being said, even though I despise where zombies are being taken right now, I can understand that Day of the Dead is great. I really started to enjoy how the great science debate fanned out. Even the concept of donating a body to science was apparent and fantastically drawn. War vs. science. Gaining knowledge by taking the problem and figuring out how to use it vs just killing everything? It's all there and I loved it. We are still presented with the age old conundrum of what is more terrifying; the zombies or us? But then we are also handed the question of what happens when the zombies start acting like us. Double the trouble apparently. Perhaps Logan wasn't entirely right---but you can't deny that blowing all the zombies away won't solve the problem. And that's where the real thinking begins.
Now the zombies although a bit more humanized, were loads more terrifying. I attribute this to the fact that they were suddenly given a brand new set of disfigured and gross looking teeth. I'm telling you, it's all about the teeth.
That first scene when the group is searching Fort Meyers--and we get all those fantastic shots of dead bodies. And then the zombies slowly start coming out? Fantastic stuff. It's moments like that, that will continue to prove to us that these zombies while starting to go mainstream, do not fuck around. They are still terrifying and that is so important to me.
The gore and special FX were of course outstanding. I'm not one to get excited about the extent of gore and or/ intestines having a free for all--but this was great. This may as well have been zombies actually pulling apart someones body. I was convinced. Those moments of zombies eating and ripping apart someone while they are still alive? Holy crap. Where is this movie when people talk about holy crap? Not only the scenes towards the end with the disemboweling and decapitations...but what about those laboratory scenes?
Even the nightmare sequences,
the subtle moments of skin ripping? Wow wow wow.
To put it lightly- I whole heartily enjoyed this film. I may even go so far as to say that I enjoyed it more than both Night and Dawn? Is that wrong? I have a strange feeling that I'm not supposed to like this as much as I did. But it's the truth. I was engrossed the entire time and didn't surf on Facebook or Twitter which is pretty astounding. I was invested in each of the characters, and cheered loudly when those assholes were ripped apart.
I rooted for Bub and all his sharp shooting skills. And I loved the resourcefulness of our heroes.
I wasn't crazy about that abrupt ending though. That final getaway could have really been something you know? But I was also stressed out--and to instantly know that our heroes were OK was fine by me. Overall I couldn't have been happier with my final decision to go on ahead and watch Day of the Dead. But seriously why aren't we talking about this all of the time? I feel like I could write a thesis on its importance if I just had some caffeine and my dorm room back. Hmmmm sounds like a project for my vacation.