Some months after their emergence, the zombies are everywhere in the ascendant, outnumbering the human population by 400,000 to 1.
A depleted scientific research team conducts experiments on captured zombies in a cavernous Florida bunker under increasingly despotic military protection.
There’s no radio contact with the outside world, and the pressure is taking its toll: the soldiers are impatient for results that Dr Logan’s social conditioning tests just aren’t going to meet.
By this point, it’s hard to tell who we’re really rooting for, the hateful, bickering soldier ‘heroes’ or their shuffling, bloodthirsty zombie captives, personified by the ‘thinking zombie’, the oddly lovable Bub.
There are many who view Romero’s conclusion to his original Living Dead trilogy as something of a comedown, neither as groundbreaking as Night of the Living Dead (1968) or as satirical and entertaining as Dawn of the Dead (1978).
It is true that Romero’s initial ambitions for the project – a wholesale attack on Reaganite inequality, with the zombies as a new disenfranchised underclass – were stymied by budgetary concerns, but Day of the Dead is still an astonishing movie, an unrelenting attack on the senses fuelled by an unprecedented sense of despair and rampant nihilism.
Anthony Dileo Jr
George A. Romero