Day of the Dead

Saw Day of the Dead again, and it's great, great, great. Dawn is of course the critics' favorite, for its comic book flavor, relative lightheartedness, and commentary on consumerism; when they went to see Day, they were expecting more of the same.

But Romero had moved beyond the satire of Dawn; he was making metaphysical and philosophical statements on the human condition, rendered in extremis. Soldiers vs. scientists, men vs. women (or woman), pacifists vs. idealists, all cooped up in a hellhole of a pressure-cooker, temperature set to 'apocalyptic.' Unpleasant characters and nasty, tense dialogue? It's the end of the world; things are falling apart. They're not going to sit down and drink tea, they're going to fight each other tooth and nail for whatever little is left worth having.

This is black comedy on the order of Dr. Strangelove. More, it's influenced a number of films, from 28 Days Later (the macho military mindset) to Shaun of the Dead (zombies being educated--hilarious film, perhaps the best of recent zombie flicks). The Dawn remake tries to one-up Day, by showing us that island paradises aren't safe either, but Day's metaphor is just too powerful. In my book, top of the heap of undead movies.

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