Celebration: George A. Romero’s Birthday
Mission: Watch a zombie film of your choice
Notes: George A. Romero was born in New York on this day in 1940. He has written and directed many movies and acted in a few as well – he was an FBI agent in Silence of the Lambs don’tcha know. Six of his films to date include the words “of”, “the” and “dead”. His directing debut was 1968’s sublime “Night of the Living Dead” in which a group of people hide in a house from the hoards of zombies who rise up and attack while they fail to over come their social prejudices and petty squabbles.
His zombie sequel, 1978’s “Dawn of the Dead”, picks up the apocalypse still in its early days, and follows a news crew who abandon their post on a TV public info show and bunker down in a shopping mall.
But today, the zombie film of my choice is 1985’s “Day of the Dead”. The apocalypse hasn’t been going too well, with zombies now heavily outnumbering the living. A scientific research group supposedly supported by a military unit is conducting experiments on the zombies in an attempt to find a solution to the living dead problem. Typically, they forget to find a solution to the problems of the living folk, and as soon as the squabbling starts someone gets their intestines ripped out by a pack of hungry corpses.
The central theme of “Day” is scientist Dr Logan’s theory that if the zombies can be taught to behave in a civilised way then humankind might be able to co-exist with the dead, rather than just getting eaten by them. Logan, affectionately referred to as Dr Frankenstein by the group, has managed to teach his zombie subject Bub to perform a manner of simple actions such as lifting a telephone receiver to his ear, or flicking though a book (Stephen King’s “‘Salem’s Lot”), or aiming and firing a sidearm. That’s not going to come back to, ahem, bite them later on, now is it?
The creepy intimidating heartbeat music (and dialogue) of the opening sequence in which the group scout out the local area with a helicopter and a megaphone, was sampled in the intro to the zombie hiphop cartoon band Gorillaz’ fantastic “M1/A1”.
And for all you coulrophobics out there:
Happy 72nd, George!