George A. Romero’s original Living Dead Trilogy consists of Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1979), and Day of the Dead. And while the latter (released on this day in 1985) is perhaps the least lauded, it’s still a bleak and impactful finale to the series that popularized the modern zombie.
If it’s been a while, or if you’ve yet to experience the apocalyptic mayhem of Day of the Dead, give the trailer and synopsis a spin below.
Trapped in a missile silo, a small team of scientists, civilians and trigger-happy soldiers battle desperately to ensure the survival of the human race, but tension inside the base is reaching breaking-point, and the zombies are gathering outside.
All the extras who portrayed zombies in the climax received for their services: a cap that said “I Played A Zombie In ‘Day of the Dead'”, a copy of the newspaper from the beginning of the film (the one that says “THE DEAD WALK!”), and one dollar. Some of the headlines from the newspaper that says “THE DEAD CAN WALK!” appear to be: “Vice President Declares State of Emergency,” “Whereabouts of President Unknown,” “Food Supply Dwindles” and “Man Bites Man.” (Source)
The original script, for which George A. Romero couldn’t get budget, involved the scientists living above ground in a fortress protected by electrified fences and the military living safely underground. It also involved a small army of trained zombies, and the conclusion to the trilogy more brutal than the released version. This later became the basis of Land of the Dead (2005). (Source)