George A. Romero's "Land of the Dead" [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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06-25-2005, 05:11 PM
George Romero the master of the horror film with brains (not just for munching) manages to rouse our senses in gore infested social commentary 4 deaces after his original masterpiece "Night of the Living Dead." What separates Romero from the chaff is that his zombie movies especially in the 1978 Dawn of the Dead are really not zombie movies whatsoever. The zombie plague in Dawn was more about the plague of consumerism, and in this new film the zombie plague is really the plague of paranoia or the plague of poverty separating the elite and the rest of us zombies on our daily routines of serving our masters in the towers (certainly a shot at the folks of Enron and their ilk).

Romero is old school and what strikes one about Land of the Dead versus the fun but pointless Dawn of the Dead remake is that CGI is NOT our friend. The Dawn remake and most CGI films have an artificiality about them. Romero is old school. With his biggest budget ever for a Romero zombie film, a massive reported 15 - 17 million, he has more money than he has had in his three previous zombie films combined and by a rather massive margin. Romero uses good old puppets bags of entrials and stomach turning(literally) raw special effects.

The plot you can read about on other sites such as, but like Dawn of the Dead (1979) land of the Dead has a plethora of social commentary of a time in our not too distant future as a post 9/11 world. Three groups, The social elite, the people who serve that elite and a new downtrodden zombie class (third world) growing smarter with each passing day and interestingly the most humane of the lot. Mixed with a steady helping of humour and absolute over the top gore the film manages a strange process of dessensitization as the gore increases farther into the film we watch and it becomes almost routine.

The casting of Dennis Hopper alone is enough to chuckle at a commentary of 60's hipsters who have traded their ponchos in for mega corp suits. Hopper as you will recall was a main figure in Easy Rider. Here he is Kaufman a ruthless CEO that Trump and George W Bush would be proud of. Kaufman provides the liquer and other vices to the peons and has mercenaries run and gun the zombie wasteland for items he needs to keep the rich fat cats secure in their towers with the niceties of life and screw the rest.

It's not all politics and social commentary -- a band of survivors we like simply want to leave this strange bankrupt self made prison - take a truck and go to Canada - Micheal Moore would have had a chuckle at this I suspect. Maybe Zombies in Canada won't eat you without permission? And perhaps in Canada they don't treat the zombies so bad and thus don't incur the zombie wrath?

There is much humour in this film as zombies attempt to live their old lives playing the tuba or working as gas station attendants. the zombies here are growing smarter not being fooled into diversionary fireworks tactics used in previous encounters. And lets not forget the gore -- there are a few jumps sprinkled in but the fear Romero creates is more in the politics of his films and the gross-out effects.

If you are not interested in seeing numerous decapitations spikes in the head, heads being crushed, pulled off, intestines being ripped out through the mouth and numerous grissly body parts being munced on then this is not the movie to be watching -- especially after eating a big bowl of Spaghetti. But there is a bit of the Ghoulish in most of us and the Zombies despite their nature are treated as a pitiable underclass and that friends is why like Dawn of the Dead, Land of the Dead draws its life and why this film is very strong. Not as raw or scary as Night of the Living Dead, and not as strong as the seminal work of the original Dawn of the Dead it is nevertheless the best zombie film since those two works. The master has come home to his genre and takes the copycats to school err or eats them for lunch!