The finale of the original Romero trilogy, following Dawn of the Dead
(78), though George Romero would return many years later to follow up on the films. For some reason, this one lacks the visceral bite of the previous two films, as if the trilogy was winding down in the same way that the world is winding down in this film. It's a logical progression, however. The strange plague of flesh-eating zombies began in Night of the Living Dead
(68), caused by some mysterious bug from space, brought in by a satellite (though it's just urban legend, maybe). Mankind was still the dominant force in this first film, and the threat seemed localized, even minor. In Dawn of the Dead
, the forces between humanity and zombies were more-or-less equal, though mankind seemed to be losing the battle. Now, in this 3rd film, the zombie hordes have taken over; humans are holed up in small pockets of despairing or demented survivalists.
The most striking thing about this 3rd film, to me, is that none of the human characters are sympathetic or likable. Supposedly, as these are among the last survivors, the viewer should probably strongly identify with them or at least feel some pity for them, but this was not the case with me. Romero may have done this on purpose, i.e. make all the humans unsympathetic - the only character which one may find as strangely endearing is one of the zombies, an almost clownish animated dead thing nicknamed Bub (Sherman Howard), one of the new society (so to speak). Bub does seem to evolve from the usually mindless eating things we have seen so far in these films, so it suggests that he is indeed the future and humanity is the past. Bub is being studied by one of the remaining scientists at a fortified underground base, mostly staffed by military personnel (or what used to be our military). But, it's all fruitless; these remaining humans, all callous and brutal, are the actual walking dead, going through the motions since they know themselves to be doomed. The only one who pretends that there may be a chance is the commander, a captain at the base, and he's the biggest a-hole because he's in denial. The main character is a doctor who tries to keep things together, but she fails even though she effects a personal escape at the end - a miscalculation by Romero to duplicate the climax of his previous film. BoG's Score: 6 out of 10Day of Trivia
: a drawback for this film was the budget, which was cut in half while Romero was planning this as a big budget finale to his trilogy; with the budget so curtailed, Romero had to scale back and change plans, probably instrumental in the film's less inspired results compared to the previous films; Romero returned to his Dead films 20 years later with Land of the Dead