Directed by Tom Savini (1990)
Reviewed by Steve, added on Nov 22 2005
Once upon a time a man named George A. Romero created what must be one of the greatest horror movies of all time. It was a film about the recently deceased rising from their graves and terrorizing humanity. The film was followed years later by Dawn and Day of the Dead where instead of terror you got incredible gore effects by the legendary Tom Savini. And then 22 years later Savini himself remade the original horror classic.
For now lets pretend Land of the Dead doesnít exist.
First off, for a film with Tom Savini involved, I found this film to be pretty gore-lite. The gore shots that were present were great, like the body Ben gets his rifle from and my personal favorite being one of the very first zombies you get to see with the ďYĒ incision beginning to come open. Otherwise itís mostly people with gobs of chunky make up and no real bloody money shots or sprinkler-like bites. Speaking of bites, after having pretty much established the ferocity of zombie dietary habits in Dawn and Day, I canít recall ANY bite scenes in this movie, sure thereís the little girl who has already been bitten at the time the movie starts, but not once do you really get to see a zombie tear into anyone. I suppose the aim was to induce more fright than stomach churning and for the most part it works.
The characters are nicely portrayed in this movie and hell with Tony Todd in the film youíre guaranteed to have at least one winner in the film. Just say that name again. Tony Todd. Ooooooo, chills. Barbara has been turned from a timid little blonde into a red headed, short haired, rifle wielding, acid dropping, hardcore, psycho of a woman with family issues. Okay, so you donít actually see Barbara drop acid in this movie but damn, after the first 25 minutes or so of the movie, even the zombies with no eyelids look less shocked, surprised, and crack out than Barbara. Mr. Cooper is, well, Mr. Cooper, the guy who you just canít wait to see die. Doesnít get more simplistic than that. Rounding out the characters are Cooperís family as well as Tom and Judy, two kids who should they have actually been lucky enough to become zombies, it would have only improved their ACT scores. Seriously, take it from me, if you need gas and the gas pump is locked, donít shoot it with a shotgun. Those two didnít listen. And now you know, and knowing is half the battle. Barbaraís brother Johnnie whoís famous for saying, ďtheyíre coming to get you Barbara!Ē is also in the movie just as long as he was in the black and white classic (which isnít long). Just donít watch the scene where the zombie cracks his head on the head stone too many times. Whoever designed the dummy they used in that scene must have had more important things to do that day than make it look convincing. That pet peeve aside, this film is very good for what it is; a remake of a classic. For a little bit of irony, you may notice that the zombies in this film use tools and blunt objects to get into the houses and cars containing the sweet human yummies therein. These are more or less the same ďadvancementsĒ in zombie intelligence that Romero took four films and 37 years to fully incorporate into his works (minus the zombies using guns in Land of the Dead).
A few years ago when I first saw this film I may have only given it about a 5 or 6, but now after sitting through Land of the Dead I now appreciate it more. A lot more. And thus since Mat gave Land a 6.75, Iím giving this a 7 just to spite him. And to spite Romero. Mostly Mat though.