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Day of the Dead

USA 1985
produced by
Richard P. Rubinstein for Laurel Group
directed by George A. Romero
starring Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato, Jarlath Conroy, Anthony Dileo jr, Richard Liberty, Sherman Howard, Gary Howard Klar, Ralph Marrero, John Amplas, Phillip G.Kellams, Taso N.Stavrakis, Don Brockett, William Cameron, Debra Gordon, Jeff Hogan, Barbara Russell, Mike Trcic, John Vulich
written by George A. Romero, music by John Harrison, make-up effects by Tom Savini

Living Dead trilogy, George A. Romero's Living Dead-series

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Finally, the zombies have overtaken the earth. Humans by now are scarce & it might be that the last survivors of the human race are living in an underground research lab that is shared by a bunch of scientists & a bunch of soldiers - a dynamite constellation - & sparks fly even there.

While the scientists are either trying to domesticate the zombies - like doctor Frankentstein Logan (Richard Liberty), who enjoys to both take zombies apart &/or teach them tricks tht would prove their (rudimentary) intelligence -, or trying to reverse the zombifiction process - like tough-as-nails Sarah (Lori Cardille) - the army-guys, led by ruthless commander Rhodes (Joseph Pilato) would much rather like to blow them all away (despite their extremely limited ammonition), but is reduced to catch specimens for the scientists.

Caught between these 2 fractions are alcoholic communications expert Bill (Jarlath Conroy) & pot-smoking helicopter pilot John (Terry Alexander).

The situation of course is extremely tense, but it completely goes out of hand when 2 soldiers die at a zombie-catching expedition & a third one, Miguel (Anthony Dileo jr) is bitten by a zombie,so the bad militar4y wants to shoot him, but Sarah, Miguel's former lover, saves his life. As if that wasn't enough, Rhodes & Sarah find out (independently, but at the same time), at the same time, that doc Logan has been giving his favourite zombie Bub (Sherman Howard) pieces of the soldiers who have just died as reward. This drives Rhodes totally over the edge, & he pumps doc Logan's body full of lead, shoots another of the scientists (John Amplas) in the head & forces Sarah & Bill into a zombie-infested mine. He only keeps John (you need a helicopter pilot, don't you), but John soon overcomes him & follows Sarah & Billy into the mine with sufficient arsenal.

... what Rhodes didn't know though was that Miguel has since let a vast group of zombies in through the main gate (don't ask me why), so the zombie-infested cave is by now the safest place of the whole compound ... & it's not very safe. Consequently all the soldiers are ripped apart by the zombies, & Rhodes himself is shot dead by resident zombie Bub (who has since learned how to use a gun), while Sarah, Bill & John make it through the mine & to the helicopter, in which they fly to one of these desert pacific islands ...


George A.Romero's 2 previous zombie mobies were both milestones of the whole modern-zombie-subgenre in their own right, Night of the Living Dead (1968) because it single-handedly started the genre & laid down its ground rules, Dawn of the Dead (1978) because it kicked off the wave of late-1970's/early 1980's zombietrend, also singlehandedly (for better or worse, but it has to be stated, Dawn of the Dead showed way more sophistication than any of its rip-offs).

When Day of the Dead came in 1985, the genre did show definite signs of wear & the menace of slow-walking dead people, who might or might not be a metaphor for sheeplike masses, has lost its freshness. So - like in Night of the Living Dead - Romero tries to focus on the psychological drama(s) of those menaced ... but unfortunately this time around his treatment of characters in distress stays a bit stale - only rarely do the characters escape being stereotypes, it's clear from the beginning who are the good guys, who are the bad guys, who's the mad scientist & who is going to survive, who'll die and when ...

That's not to say Day of the Dead is an all-bad movie, it's still way better & definitely more interesting & orignal than the legion of zombie-films made primarily in Italy (which are enjoyable on a quite different level though), it's just nowhere up there with Romero's previous zombie-efforts, and - regardless if you see it as just another genre entry, an effort to innovate the genre, a political message movie or whatever alse - a rather futile exercise. All that said, it does hold a certain entertainment value.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD