It’s 5:57 AM and I just finished watching the three classic zombie movies by George A. Romero.
Released in 1968 this is the first movie in the Dead Series, it’s shot in black and white and is seen by most people as the defining influence on the way zombies are portrayed today. The setting is simple, a group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a rural farmhouse. Before I start criticizing the movie I should mention I have a hard time seeing popular, old movies in the perspective they deserve. A movie like Night of the Living Dead would, of course, be horrible if released today but 40 years ago it was very popular and extremely gory. So, even though the editing is ridiculously bad, the acting is horrible and the zombies are quite comical it’s still worth a watch.
The sequel came out 10 years later, in 1978. Once again we follow a group of people, this time seeking refuge in a secluded shopping mall. Compared to its predecessor it focuses more on the effects a zombie apocalypse would have on society, and it’s also a lot more comical. I quite liked the 2004 remake and I’ve been wanting to see the original for a long time. As mentioned, the movie isn’t really about a struggle against zombies, sure there are lot of run ins with the undead, but they never seem threatening. They are extremely slow and clumsy, and never seem to be able to bite even though they’ve grabbed somebody. Still, the movie is pretty awesome, I should mention I love post apocalyptic movies, and Dawn of the Dead really nails that part. It’s longer than the other two, appr. two hours and 20 minutes, but I was never bored, even though you just follow the characters around in the mall, barricading stuff and exploring. The make up and special effects are also very well made, even though all the zombies are painted in weird blue or green colors. The gore is very explicit, all gun wounds result in exploding cascades of blood, no matter where the zombies are hit, so you’ll definitely have a laugh watching it.
I knew nothing of the third movie in the series, and didn’t expect much, but it was surprisingly good. This time we follow a group of scientists and soldiers in a military base underground, the scientists’ leader, Dr. Logan, is determined to make the zombies behave as we want them to, as killing all of them is impossible. The soldiers are growing weary and impatient of the lack of results. The movie’s setting is very cool, although you begin to miss nature scenes, especially after watching Dawn of the Dead. The base is built in a huge cavern, most of it is closed off, a huge maze of caves, and that’s where they bring zombies, so whenever they need new specimen to examine they can bring them in like cattle. The special effects are mind blowing, they would be acceptable even today, and this movie is more than 20 years old. Since this was released seven years after Dawn of the Dead they’re now using realistic looking blood instead of the weird ketchup-red stuff they used before. This also makes the zombies a lot scarier than in its predecessor, that and the fact that they’re actually a threat. They still move slow, but whenever they get a hold of somebody you’re done for, this movie has some of the most violent zombie killing scenes I’ve ever seen, and Rodriguez was obviously heavily inspired by this movie when he made Planet Terror. For instance, Doc Block looks exactly like one of the scientists in Day of the Dead (he can be seen at 7:58 in this clip). The movie is mainly interesting because of all the theoretic talk about how zombies work and how they can be manipulated, and one zombie, Bub, has a pretty big role in the movie.