10 reasons why Captain Rhodes rules.
The late George A Romero was responsible with actor Joe Pilato for creating one of the best villains ever to be featured in a horror movie.
I don't remember the first time I first watched Day Of The Dead, but I'm sure it was shortly after I discovered George A Romero's horror Pittsburg world, and jumped straight in, trying to watch as many films of his as possible on tape. I instantly fell in love with Day Of The Dead, but one of the main reasons was the character of Captain Rhodes. The short tempered manic that hands down is the biggest asshole to ever grace the silver screen. Not only does he steal every scene he's in, he also suffers one of the most epic deaths of all time! Here are ten reasons why Captain Rhodes rules!!!
1) Played brilliantly by Joe Pilato.
- Joe, originally from Boston (represent!) moved to Pittsburg after a very successful career in theater even touring across Europe. Joe appeared in the Pittsburg horror movie Effects (such a brilliant movie decades ahead of it's time.) and a brief cameo in Dawn Of The Dead. After George made the choice not to cast Savini as Rhodes (believing he was going to be too busy juggling the effects on Day) he chose his friend Joe. I for one think this casting was brilliant. Also Savini got the play the villain in Dawn, wouldn't that be a little confusing?! Any who, Joe knocked this performance out of the park. It was as if he was born to play this role. I've watched several interviews as well as reading that Joe was a little afraid he was too over the top. George on the other hand told him that's exactly how he wanted it. Another reason why Mr. Romero rules. He saw talent, and made the best choices in casting!
2) Super attractive.
- One of my first movie crushes was Captain Rhodes. (I for one have always loved the bad guys over the hero. Come on, they are ten times more interesting!) Joe Pilato was one sexy short Italian guy back in the day. I pray I get to meet the man one day and express to him that he was my sexual awaking as a pre-teen. (What? Too far?)
3) Not a tall big guy, yet terrifying.
- One of the funniest stories I've heard about the production of this film was that when Joe went in to read for Captain Rhodes, he wore six inch cowboy booths to make him appear taller. I think this was brilliant casting with making Gary Steel, the sidekick who as much of an asshole as he is...isn't really a bad guy, and make the psycho be Rhodes, this smaller, shorter, not physicaly big...but still terrifying. Sure he's got a loud mouth, but whenever he pops out of nowhere, mostly like in the scene when he appears out of nowhere after Sarah and McDermott discover Logan's reward system, makes me jump every time.
4) Steals every scene he's in.
- Over the top? Maybe. I think that's what makes it work. I adore the "Sit down lady." scene. Here is a man who's honestly such an asshole, so driven to the edge, once he gains control it's all over. He gives some epic speeches, and is so bat shit crazy he's willing to actually have who might be the only woman left alive shot like a dog because she's questioning his authority. I LOVE Sarah and his exchange "Yes sir! Fuck you sir!" Or when he first meets Bub. Just the look on his face after he hears Bub talk says it all. The best of course is after he sees Bub's little tricks and he slams his riffle down and yells "What the fuck is wrong with you people? They're dead! They're fucking dead and you wanna teach them tricks?!" A very colorful character indeed.
5) Has some of the best lines in the entire movie.
"I'm running this monkey Frankenstein! AND I WANNA KNOW WHAT THE FUCK YOU'RE DOING WITH MY TIME?!" "Mouth full of Greek salad." "Sit down lady or so help me God I'll have you shot." "You want me to salute that walking pile of puss? Salute my ass!" "What the fuck is wrong with you people?! They're dead! They're fucking dead and you wanna em tricks?!" "You puss fuck!" "Choke on em!" - All brilliantly delivered by Mr. Pilato.
6) Double sided story.
- If you really think about it, you could actually be on the military's side. Here are these men, trying to follow orders, getting cabin fever down below in a cave, knowing that this small group very well might be the last group of people to exist. These men have watched six other people from the group (five of which were their own.) die. Day after day they risk their life's for the scientist, dangerously bringing in zombies to get experimented on, all the while everyone is getting stir crazy and frustrated since there doesn't seem to be any answers. Wanting to do right by his men, Rhodes is suddenly put into command, and has had enough with these scientist wasting his time. For all me know, Rhodes had a family, a wife, maybe children. All of these people must have left someone or something behind. Would it add to the pressure? Of course. We'll never know. Rhodes is finally pushed to the edge after he discovers his men being used to be butchered and fed to the zombies by Logan. It's heartbreaking seeing him scream at Sarah "Those are my men in there...my men...THOSE ARE MY MEN IN THERE!" When he truly crosses the line is when you know he's completely snapped and murders Fisher. The man also runs from his men. A human reaction nevertheless, but it goes to show you what kind of person he really is. Still, I've always tried to find a better side for the villain (Jason, Hannibal, Toby from Popcorn, ect) So as much of a prick he might be, you also gotta see his side as well.
7) Still iconic after all these years.
- Captain Rhodes is a legendary character in the horror world as well as Romero's. He goes down along with ranks as Flyboy, and Bub the zombie. Beyond iconic. It still warms my heart seeing artwork, shirts, and merch featuring him after all these years. Rhodes is a classic character as well as a villain. Thirty plus years later he still rules being the biggest bad ass of the Dead world. Sorry Negan, you don't have anything compared to this guy!
8) Has the best showdown in a Romero film.
- The pure hate relationship between Bub the zombie and him is classic. From the moment he laid eyes on him and heard him talk, you knew what was going down. I love the moment when Bub is given the gun and aims it straight at Rhodes. It's as if he knew he wouldn't salute him hahahaha! The final scene between these two is legendary. LOVE how Rhodes stops short in the hallway and comes face to face with him. What always gets me is why didn't he shoot him after he discovered what Logan was doing? Still, this proves to be a fatal mistake since Bub is a much better aim than half the people who were alive in this movie. Here he guns him down several times, making him walk straight into his deathtrap. The final salute is so fitting, it works just as well maybe even better if he had flipped him off. Beyond awesome. I wanna see a shirt one day with him and Rhodes Vs. each other. What a showdown!
9) Best death ever shown in a horror movie.
- Day is packed full of gory awesome bloody effects. In fact I would say it's in the top 3 best effects featured in a horror movie during the 1980's and even still after all these years holds up. All of the military in this film suffers pretty awful deaths, but Rhodes hands down has to be the best. I've always loved the scene of the zombie hands reaching forward and him screaming. This scene has gone down in horror history (mostly with the rotting guts and how horrible the smell was!) The classic moment of Bub smirking and saluting him as Rhodes is shot again, and slowly dragged down before all of the zombies rip him apart, taking hold of his bloody organs and dragging his lower half away. Such a great death. Makes me almost wanna tattoo it on me. Who knows... *smirks*
10) Goes down like a total boss.
- Thanks again to Mr. Pilato, he made up the classic final line of Captain Rhodes. Not being a character to go down without fighting, after he's been ripped apart, in his last seconds he has alive, he is able to say one of the most bad ass lines ever spoken. "Choke on em! Choke on em!" Utter perfection.
So let's raise a glass to one of George's greatest written characters. Played by a brilliant actor, and forever frozen in Mr. Romero's masterpiece. Thank you George for Rhodes. As many zombie movies that have come and gone, Rhodes will forever be the greatest villain of all time!!!