Monday, July 17, 2017

Top 20 moments of Day Of The Dead

 Top 20 moments of Day Of The Dead

Over here at Staystillreviews we're paying tribute to the great George A Romero who sadly passed away yesterday morning. Horror fans from all over the world mourned the loss of this legend, and are celebrating not just his life, but his brilliant film career as well. I'm sure anyone who knows me, or follows this blog understands how much Dawn and Day Of The Dead means to me. So in honor of George, I decided to highlight the top twenty moments from my all time favorite zombie movie.

1) October 31st.
- This movie starts off with such a surreal bang. I love the creepy shot of Sarah, looking at the calendar which features a pumpkin patch in her empty cell. The score builds, and just before she sweeps her hand across the photo millions of rotting hands burst through the wall to grab her. Such a cool nightmare scene, and such an amazing effect which sets the tone for the rest of the movie!

2) The dead walk.
- What makes the opening of this movie so awesome is the Florida setting. I love the sweeping shots of the ghost city, and Miguel's voice over the bullhorn "HELLO? HELLLLOOOO?!" Here we meet some very awesome looking zombies, but the one who takes the cake has to be Dr. Tongue who is the first zombie we get to see. This design has always been a favorite, and I still wish they weren't in such a hurry to shoot this scene, had it been lit better, it really would have shown off how awesome it looked!

3) "And then there were twelve..."
- Once Sarah, Miguel, John, and McDermott arrive back to the base, they climb out of the chopper, and instantly Sarah notices a new grave. It appears their leader, Major Cooper died that morning. How exactly why is never mentioned, even though I've had my own theories. Here John utters the famous line "And then there were twelve..." Always gives me chills.

4) Rhodes, the ultimate villain. 
- A big reason why I adored this movie so much growing up was the fact I had such a huge crush on Rhodes. What I loved about the casting of this character was the fact they didn't get this huge scary looking guy. Here he stands next to Steel, this massive guy, and all the while the true madman is this short Italian guy. I love the scene when we first meet him "YES SIR! FUCK YOU SIR!" Right off the bat you can see what an asshole he is, which makes his death ten times more rewarding.

5) Dr. Logan's lab.
- Day Of The Dead features some of the best effects ever to grace the silver screen. I mean thirty plus years later and it still holds up! In Logan's lab we're shown the mad scientist and his crazy experiments. From a zombie who's basicaly an autopsy victim, a zombie who's had his entire face, head, and skull taken off only showing the brain, and of course in the background the iconic zombie Bub. Here Sarah wanders in listening to Logan's ramblings, as he shows off his experiments. One of the coolest effects has to be when the autopsy zombie wakes up, and breaks one of the straps which was holding him down. Slowly he turns over, letting his guts spill out onto the floor before getting destroyed by Logan with a drill. Awesome.

6) The sit down lady scene.
- During the dinner scene, we see truly what a shit show this unit is. The military basically lounge around harassing the scientist and smoke weed. McDermott is giving zero fucks and getting very tanked, and they are all bickering and carrying on since they haven't been able to reach anyone via chopper or radio for some time now. The frighting question starts to come up..."What if we're all that's left?" Here tensions and tempers are risen, when Sarah has had enough of the teasing. It appears she's having a relationship with the very unstable Miguel, and the men are constantly on her about it, as well as yelling very racial slurs about Miguel. When Sarah goes to leave Rhodes orders her to sit down. When she doesn't listen, he tells Steel to shoot her. When Steel thinks it's a big joke, he shows his true colors by turning on his men with his pistol and things get super real, super fast. Here you see Rhodes isn't fucking around. He's willing to shoot perhaps the only female left on the planet just to prove a point. After this of course happens, Logan enters, and we see how frustrated everyone is. The scientist are working on a very impossible task, trying to figure out how to stop the zombies from wanting to eat them, to trying to figure out why the virus even began. Rhodes lays down the law very quickly, telling the scientist he's giving them a little more time to figure out what exactly they are doing before his men won't help him anymore. If anyone questions him, they will be killed. Legendary! 

7) "He won't shoot me, cuz I'm his ride..."
- I always say each Dead movie in the original trilogy was so smartly written by George since they reflected the social times that was going on durning each decade. After the very tense dinner scene, Sarah and Fisher walk out as Sarah is completely outraged saying she can't believe Rhodes would have tried to shoot her. Here John strolls over, smooth as silk and explains he wouldn't have done it...he would of had Steel do it. Sarah shakes her head saying he can't be that inhuman, in which John explains that Rhodes is in fact human, that's what scares him. He then explains how Rhodes won't shoot him because he's his ride, he won't shoot McDermott because he works radios, and he'll probably won't shoot Logan since basically the doctor can bullshit his way out of anything (for the time being) here he stares at Sarah and Fisher and tells them they better start watching it. The rich score continues to play. John and Sarah's relationship is what really stands out in this movie. He's honestly the smartest one there...I mean come on anyone who wants to say fuck this, let's get drunk at the beach always is the voice of reason in my book!

8) Sarah's nightmare.
- Again, this is where I feel Savini was at the top of his game since he had such a brilliant young group of talented artist working behind him on this film. Sarah has a very vivid nightmare of Miguel turning over on his bunk, only to have his chest flap open like an autopsy with his guts spilling just like from the zombie scene in Logan's lab. Very affective, and very gross.

9) John's speech.
This goes to show you how beautifully written the script to this movie was. Sarah after breaking up with Miguel, decides to take McDermott up on his offer to get white girl wasted. Here they go into the cave to the trailer they share The Ritz, and go into the beautiful backyard paradise they made. Sitting and drinking whiskey (yuck) John tells Sarah why he feels what the scientist are doing are a waste of time. This scene is beyond captivating as John's rich accent feels like a warm glass of milk. You can't help but get drawn into it. Here he explains maybe why this horrible virus was brought to the earth, and is ending lines of this very speech always sends chills up my spine.

10) Saving Miguel.
After a tragic chain reaction leaves two of the men dead and Miguel bitten, we see truly how strong Sarah is. Here she chases her ex-lover through the cave with John Harrison's score playing (I feel the music was a huge factor in why this movie is so good!) and we watch as Sarah, John, and McDermott all work together to cut off Miguel's infected arm and stop the bleeding. Talk about team work!!!

11) Discoveries in the lab.
- Displaying even more killer set design and effects is when Sarah and McDermott go to the lab for supplies. Here McDermott plays one of Logan's tapes, only to hear him ranting and raving like a complete madman. In a panel for Day Of The Dead I was floored and a little embarassed I had never thought of this before, but this movie gave us a modern day Frankenstein and Dr. Frankenstein. Between all of the dead corpses, what's the coolest is of course is Johnson's cut off head with wires sticking out of it's brain, returned, blinking, and moving. So many cool props in this damn movie!

12) Bub's jams.
- Bub after Flyboy is my all time favorite zombie. Brilliantly played. I adore the scene where Logan is showing off the zombie's talents to Sarah, Fisher, Rhodes, and Steel. Between him using the book, razor, and telephone (here we faintly hear him speak) and of course his reaction when he firsts sees Rhodes is legendary. I LOVE the moment right after when Rhodes is outraged, slams his gun down and says "What the fuck is wrong with you people?!" In this tender scene, we see Logan working with Bub yet again. I love the moment where Bub's first impulse when Logan fixes his headphone is to bite him, when suddenly he remembers this is his friend and he relaxes. The expression on his face when the music plays always makes me smile. Truly what an adorable creature. I think when I do get my Day Of The Dead tattoo I would love to add in Bub wearing those killer headphones. Iconic!

13) Rhodes' discovery.
- Rhodes discovers Logan's little "reward" program for his star student Bub. After being led to the freezer, Rickles opens it and Rhodes stands back stunned as he sees the butchered remains of his men laying on the floor. When Logan tries to reason with Rhodes, he opens fire with his assault rifle, blowing him away. Demanding that the men take the guns, he turns and grabs Sarah. Here you can truly see this has pushed him over the edge as he screams in Sarah's face "Those are my men in men. THOSE ARE MY MEN IN THERE!"

14) Showdown.
- What's so great about this movie is that it really is more than a zombie movie. The real battle is what's going on between the scientist and military and how truly ugly people can get when the pressure builds. After discovering Logan's "experiments" Rhodes has his men hold Sarah, McDermott, and Fisher by gunpoint into the caves where they force John to give up his weapons. Here Rhodes states what he wants. John needs to pack up and fly his men out of there. When John refuses Rhodes shows he means business by shooting Fisher right in the head. This is truly a fast yet shocking moment since Fisher truly seemed like such a nice innocent guy (why Sarah was with Miguel instead of him was always beyond me?) This goes to show you that Rhodes has gone to the point of no return (One can argue what Rhodes did was truly not the work of a madman, but someone who was determined to save his men...that is until he runs out on them.) As much as a double edge sword as the argument is, it really is a shocking heartbreaking moment seeing such a great character fall. Truly a bummer.

15) Being a better man.
- After McDermott and Sarah are forced to run for their life's into the caves, poor John gets the ever living piss beaten out of him by Steel. As soon as the alarm sounds from above, alerting them that the elevator is being used, Steel and Rickles run to go check it out. When Rhodes goes to kick Torrez awake after being punched out by John, he's attacked as John lunges forward, and grabs his rifle knocking him out. Here, John climbs on top of Rhodes and takes his pistols out. Ready to kill him, he pauses before looking down. There he sees poor Fisher's murdered body. The look on John's poor beaten and tired face says it all. He sighs, looking completely heartbroken and here you see he's made his choice. Rhodes deserves worse, and besides, he doesn't want to be a killer like him. With that, he gets up, only to have Rhodes and Torrez snap awake minutes later to discover all of their weapons are missing. Way to go John!

16) The center can't hold.
- One of my all time favorite scenes is when Miguel lowers the platform and all of the soldiers below freeze and watch. John Harrison's score is at it's most beautiful. Here Joe Pilato (Rhodes) completely sells the scene as he stands there and his eyes lift up watching the elevator lower. Just the expression on his face says it all. I love this shot of all of the zombies lowering, even the one that falls off before it completely stops. Slowly all of the zombies begin moaning and groaning as they lumber forward.

17) Torrez' final screams.
- Ah Torrez, the really attractive solider. I always DIE laughing whenever the platform lowers and you see his puzzled expression as he watches the platform lower as Steel utters his famous line "Holy shit! Holy fucking shit!" As the men split up, scrambling to get to the compound, hundreds of hungry zombies are wandering about. Torrez gets captured and one of Savni's very cool effects are displayed. The zombies grab his hair, and rip his head off his neck. What makes this scene so awesome is how high pitch Torrez's screams become as his vocal cords are stretched and torn. 

18) Steel's choice.
- Steel was one of my favorite characters from Day Of The Dead. He was a complete asshole, but in the very end you see a more human side to him. After getting bit on the neck by a zombie, he takes out as many as he can before knowing he's going to die. Not wanting to become what he hates the most, he makes a quick sign of the cross before killing himself with his last bullet.

19) Rhodes Vs. Bub
- If anyone was to ask me what's the ultimate death ever shown in a horror movie, several come to mind, but one will always win first place. Captain Rhodes' death. Coming face to face, Bub now armed begins to fire at Rhodes, taking his revenge over his fallen master. Unable to load his weapon, Rhodes is shot several times, and crawls screaming for Bub to face him. Making it to the door at the end of the hallway, he opens it, when suddenly hundreds of rotting zombie hands reach forward, waiting for him at the other side (one of my all time favorite shots in the whole Dead series.) Rhodes turns, only to get shot again. Collapsing as the zombies pull him down, he witnesses Bub salute him before the zombies rip him apart, carrying his lower half away. Like a total boss, his final words will go down in horror history. "Choke on em!" What follows is one of the goriest and awesome bloodbaths ever shown on screen!!!

20) November 4th.
- At the end of our epic final act, we find Sarah awakening after a nightmare of her escape. Safe, she finds herself on a beautiful beach. Looking down she sees her friends John and McDermott. It appears they have survived. Sitting back, not knowing exactly how long they have, out of complete force of habit, she takes a piece of paper out and shows she's still keeping record. Marking off her man made calendar, she marks off the date. It's November 4th. Day of the dead. I would like to believe these three spent the rest of their days having lots of sex, drinking, and soaking up lots and lots of sunshine.

Will be watching countless times for the remainder of the summer. Thank you George. This truly was your masterpiece!!!

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