DAY OF THE DEAD F.A.Q.

Will there be a remake?
Yes but it will not be Universal. The rights holders put together a completely different story, a movie so low budget it will not hit theaters, only DVD. You will probably never hear much about it because it will be so obscure.

How much time has elapsed since Dawn of the Dead?
In the original script it was "five years after the dead first walked…". When George had to revise the script to fit a smaller scale, he backed up in time though never explicitly giving the amount of time. It can be assumed it’s been months in the laboratory scene where Sarah tells Logan "you’re just proving theories that were advanced months ago!"


Are the survivors the only people left in the world?
From George’s mouth on The Incredibly Strange Film Show: "They are one of…not necessarily the last messes of humanity" . They were possibly the last humans in their neck of the woods and some surrounding areas but due to bad radio signals and hiding underground for months, no rescue party could have known they were there. They represent one of the last groups of survivors in the nation at least.

How is an underground base in Florida possible?
Well, it isn't possible, considering the state’s water table is too high. But the thing is, since the trilogy is timeless (as in it’s not really set in a particular past, present or future), it can be assumed it is in some time when Man figured out how to make an underground base there. The base was actually filmed in Pennsylvania.

What were the last names of Sarah, John, etc. or the first names of Rhodes, Steel, etc.?
No full names besides [Bill] McDermott or [Matthew] Logan were written in any draft of the script. George never thought about it that deep.

What became of the third zombie, the female with her lower face eaten away, that was with the Beeftreats zombie and captive female? Is there any missing footage here?
This is not explained, but she was left behind. She  probably wandered back into the caves into a tunnel Sarah and Billy didn't go into.

How did the Unruly Zombie get killed - there's no head damage?
Mistake possibly. He could have taken a drill to the left eye.

How did Major Cooper die?
This was left open purposely. Was he murdered? How? Did he die of natural causes? Bite? The cast and crew all wondered the same thing upon reading the script. The only clue to why Logan ended up at least switching the body with that of a specimen (if he indeed was not murdered) comes in an unused bit of dialogue from the second script draft: "I needed to measure the time between death and revival. I needed to monitor the functions of the..." (interrupted by corpse rising up off table)

Is Cooper a relative of the Coopers from Night of the Living Dead?
Could be. There’s an awful lot of Coopers who are unrelated in the world though. Fisher’s line "I thought Cooper was an asshole but he’s a sweetheart next to Rhodes" was a trilogy in-reference as was Billy’s line "All the shopping malls are closed".

Is Rhodes supposed to be the guy he played in Dawn of the Dead?
Joe Pilato is in Dawn, with similar dialogue, but it wasn’t planned to have him be the same character. George has never mentioned a connection between the two. Just some fun Romero had writing it, two similar smartasses on similar power trips in two different areas of the US.

Is there really a Seminole County Storage Facility?
There is a Seminole County in Central Florida, around Orlando, but it is not even near Fort Myers or Sanibel Island. That sign in the cave was a prop as the mine scenes were Pennsylvania.

Why is there a moving car on the left side of the aerial city shot?
A movie mistake. I always say, hey Fisher saw one of those things driving down Independence Avenue so big deal.

Is the alligator on the street a zombie?
The alligator is not a zombie. It is there (along with the live snake and crabs) to show that predaceous or scavenging animals have crept in the abandoned city which by now wreaks of dead flesh.

Was Dr. Tongue’s lower face blown away or eaten away? If it was blown away how did he revive or continue being a zombie?
This is a very good question. It IS a gun blast that made Tongue such a character. The makeup crew designed him that way, and close-ups of the prop reveal the detailed pellet marks. But destroying the brain would not produce a zombie, and judging by the damage, at least part of the brain stem would have been affected. So…it can only be determined in the mind of the fan what happened (the script only refers to him as a jawless zombie- no back story). He may have tried to take his own life and still revived, or he could have become a zombie and been shot at by someone who thought they killed him when they didn’t.

Were Sarah and Miguel really supposed to be lovers or just harassed by Rhodes’ men as such?
They were really supposed to be lovers, it was in the script that they had a relationship and publicity shots were taken of the two embracing lovingly outside the complex.

Why experiment on the zombies? Just shoot them all.
"There’s not enough ammunition to shoot them all in the head." As Logan said, there’s too many and they had simply used up plenty of ammunition already in events presumably before the film’s.

What is the goal of Bub’s training?
When Rhodes asked to see some results or else, Logan knew he had to keep working with docile Bub. He figured the further he could trick Bub into "behaving", the better

Is Logan and Bub a reference to X-Men?
No. While its true that George used to read comic books when he was a teenager and when the X Men came out in the early 60s, he was not a teenager anymore. Besides he read mostly EC Comics. For people not getting the connection, the Wolverine character’s "human" name is Logan, and one of his favorite words is "bub".

Is Bub named that way because of either Tony or Pasquale Buba (sound and film editor)?
No. Many have read too much into that.

Is that a real bat flying?
No. It was a windup plastic bird painted black by art director Bruce Miller and pulled around on a string. There are bats in that cave but that particular one was a prop. You try directing bats!

Did amputating Miguel’s arm work? He didn’t die…
We’ll never know really. That was the idea though. According to Rhodes, a hasty amputation doesn’t work anyway – but can we trust his word? Miguel didn’t get the morphine in time and that most likely led to his irrational, begrudged suicide. Had he continued he may have died from the trauma or infection, or both, and revived. This is the only film in the trilogy where a character does not become one of the living dead which is good because at this point that would be predictable.

Bill sees there’s a naked male corpse in a green tank? What is that?
That’s what the effects guys called Baby Nemo (seen on the Living Dead page in Cast). It’s not only frontal male nudity, it’s also rotted and a child’s!

What was Logan’s ramblings about stockings on the cassette recorder all about?
It was merely to show Logan’s shadowy childhood. In the script, Romero merely explains the dialogue means he has gone "utterly insane."

Why is there a clown zombie? Or that ballerina? Is this a joke?
Well, why was there a softball player zombie in Dawn? Or a Krishna? Or a nun? It was only natural that some more ‘character’ zombies would turn up. Of course the people in Dawn came as they were. The costume department were using clothes picked up from the Goodwill stores. Veteran morticians can attest there are people prepared for funerals in their clown, graduation gowns and occupational uniforms.

Why is the football zombie coming out from the cave when she was just above ground?
The most famous of all day continuity errors. The above ground scenes were shot in Florida, the cave scenes in Pennsylvania. In fact they were two different actors. The extras portraying zombies on the elevator (shot in Monroeville) are sometimes not the same as the invasion zombies (in Florida) either. The soldier zombies change, and there’s a cook that changes too-one has a moustache, one doesn’t, but they were intended to be the same guy.

Was it all a dream at the end?
The whole movie was! Kidding. There are ways to look at the film as a dream or a nightmare inside Sarah’s head. All through the film, the point of view is really hers. It began and ends that way. You can look at the film as being remembrance of the events she persevered through before the island retreat (with the exaggerated deaths of the men almost dreamt in her mind). Or one can look at the instances where the dream seems to end as the parts that were really dreams. It wasn’t all a dream, but the days of underground seemed to have provided fodder for recurring nightmares for Sarah. Stylistically it recalled the 1980 DePalma thriller Dressed To Kill where nightmares are used to move the story along in a similar fashion.

Will John, Bill and Sarah be safe on that island?
Presumably it would have turned out to be an uninhabited stretch of beach. It could have been a small island in the Florida Keys or safely far from a city. They could wait it out there until the dead become immobile and less of a threat, or wait for a rescue party to pass by. The helicopter would have to be used sparingly unless John knew where to find fuel close by. No that island wasn’t from Fulci’s Zombie!

Why didn't Logan or Rhodes revive?
Again, up to your imagination. Logan certainly should have come back eventually as we never really did see his head being shot, but the idea Rhodes had was to leave him that possibility - that curse of living death. Rhodes knew it would be ‘doing him a favor’ to shoot him in the head, as with Miguel after his attack. And Rhodes could have revived if he’d been left a torso, but I really doubt that there would be any scraps left of the men with that many hungry zombies loose in the complex.

deadloga.gif (25141 bytes)  Look Ma, no bullet holes!

Were any scenes cut?
There were deleted scenes, but that footage did not stick around. The original work print was 126 minutes and had to be trimmed down to 105 minutes at the most contractually. Aside from some bits of dialogue throughout (as if there is not enough talk), there were some gore/zombie shots cut out. A few zombie scenes were removed including a hung zombie that editor Pat Buba realized looked as if it had committed suicide after he became one (which wouldn't make sense), and a bridal shop scene where a zombie woman stares out a window with a live boa constrictor around her neck. The latter scene wasn't used due to the strobing effect resulted from a camera loading glitch. There was a few seconds of the zombie carrying Torrez’s head into the crowd closeup. These scenes are preserved in stills however. One zombie shot by Steel (the fifth one in the lab) before he kills himself is edited out (likely for better pacing with the score…or for poor acting on the extra's part? You decide!)

Where are NRBQ in the film?
The members of NRBQ are in the scenes where Steel machine guns the locked door to the complex and runs in.

Why are NRBQ in the movie at all?
They are/were George Romero fans or at least fans of the previous two zombie films. Why else would they have driven from a gig in Massachusetts to be extras?

Where is George Romero in the film?
He is the zombie seen only from his legs as he wheels a cart past the screen in the feast scenes. You’ll notice blue jeans and a plaid scarf hanging.

Was Stephen King supposed to be in the film?
Yes. He was going to come out as a zombie in one scene but couldn’t make it. He would have been a featured zombie if he had, like the shovel zombie for example. However, in the movie, there’s a zombie the crew called the Jordy Verrill Zombie (as in King’s Creepshow character). This guy looks like he apparently drowned in some swamp with mold growing on his clothes and seaweed still attached to his person. He attacks Steel near the end in the lab first. There’s also a copy of ‘Salem’s Lot in Bub’s lab scenes.

 kingundead.gif (18881 bytes)  Gotta have the glasses...a DEAD giveaway.

What is that bit of classical music Bub listens to on the tape player?
Ode to Joy from Beethoven 9th Symphony. It was decided upon by John Harrison and Howard Sherman, and not Romero's idea.

My own question: why do the calendars change day orders?
One of the biggest continuity errors.... I don't think anyone else has found this one. The
days on the calendars in beginning and end are not the same. The one in the cubicle shows October with the last day X'd out. Friday and Sat. are left. According to the shot of Sarah's handmade one at the end, Nov. 4th fell on a Thursday. So the Friday would be the 29th of Oct....but in the film there were only three days of events. We either missed some action, Sarah is changing the calendar to her new standard of keeping time, or we have a genuine continuity error.

Did Return of the Living Dead coming out ruin Day’s box office results?
No they stayed out of each other's way but both caused minor confusion in the media and public. Although Day had just started shooting when Return was already basically in the can (Oct. 1984), Day wound up getting released BEFORE Return (July 1985). It was not released on one day, but rather a chain of dates whereas Return, being backed by major studio Orion, had one nationwide date in August. The critics generally favored Return, however the two films stayed clear of each other. The only incidence of both films "clashing" were in the Midwest areas when they were simultaneously released in late August. Return kept playing at midnight shows as Day saw release in the South and West in October. At the end of the year, Day had made close to $3 million and Return $5 million. Another difference was Return was R rated, Day had no rating, which could have scared some people off.

How much did $ to date has Day made?
An estimated $34 million worldwide to date.

Is there any behind the scenes/documentary other than the featurette?
There is, but not commercially available.

Is there a novelization?
Not in America. Just Japan. See the Literature section.

Is there a Day CD?
Yes. Numenorean Music just released it in 2002.

Is it true that they are filming the original Day script?
No. I am 99.9% sure that won’t ever happen.

Was Day originally 3-D?
It was not shot in 3-D but in pre-production, the idea came up. With all the use of hands and arms groping at the camera, it would have been perfect.

What Day-related cast reunions have there been?
The first appearance at a convention by a cast member was at the Zombie Jamboree in Pittsburgh when Lori stopped by on the second day (Aug. 28) unannounced. Her father had been scheduled however. The first official cast reunion was in January 1999, at the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors in New York. Lori, Joe and Gary all were invited and signed autographs. Terry was scheduled but failed to appear. After being left out of that reunion, Richard Liberty made one appearance at the September 2000 Weekend of Horrors in Orlando, Florida before passing away a month later (Oct. 2) at 68 years old in Ft. Lauderdale due to heart failure. Fangoria devoted issue #201 (April 2001) to him.

Is it true someone in the Day cast died?
R.I.P. Ralph Marrero (1991), Don Brockett (1995) and Richard Liberty (2000).

Why don't you put up wavs, avis, etc. of trailers, behind the scenes, ads, etc?
Don't want to violate licenses. The pictures aren't enough??

Did you see the guy wearing a Day of the Dead shirt in…?
Yes. While not as culturally notorious as its predecessors, Day of the Dead has a few appearances in rock music. In the music video for Anthrax’s "Madhouse" look for a wheelchair-bound actor in a blue Day t-shirt. And their album, Among the Living, the drummer wears the grey Bub shirt. The goth punk group Misfits (seen and heard many years later in Romero’s film Bruiser) named songs after both "Night of the Living Dead" and "Day of the Dead". In 2001, Gorillaz recorded a song called "M1A1" which samples part of the street scene and includes Harrison’s music looped.

Did you know that there's a Twilight of the Dead?
Yes, Lucio Fulci's Gates of Hell (1981) was called that and the hack blatantly ripped off Dawn of the Dead for its advertising. Check my Zombie Films List for other weird titlings. Did you know Dawn was subtitled Twilight of the Dead in some countries??

What is the status of Twilight of the Dead (Romero's fourth Dead film)?
TOTD is not even written...by George, that is. When he does it will be based on his online serials 'The Death of Death.' Many fans have written their own conclusion to the series calling it "Twilight of the Dead" (based on articles and The Zombies That Ate Pittsburgh's mentioning). They have even sent these to him hoping he would select it for his own use. Now he's gathered all the ideas and is writing the thing...no just kidding. He is not using a shred of the material that has been sent in.   The only other alternative to making a new deadscape would be the obvious: a prequel sandwiched between Dawn and Day. If Hollywood thought the concept to be lucrative one, it would be in production now. But they're not interested in "adult horror" as we know. The prequel concept has been done in countless variations and George would probably not want to look like a clone...of himself. "Twilight of the Dead" would DEFINITELY NOT be the name of the fourth film. George has stated this several times. Partly because of legal problems with the title ('...of the Dead' is owned by other producers who George does not deal with anymore). But also  because there's so many other wannabe fourth films with the title. The very title has become a predictable cliche. Ditto for "Dusk of the Dead". 

Had he filmed a fourth film in the 90s George has stated it would be 'the silliest of the whole series...far so than Dawn.' The 90's to me, were a cultural throwback to the 60s so in that sense, a NOLD remake was a logical contribution to the decade. And a final film would imply finality to the crisis. I don't think any fan could honestly say "hooray! the zombie crisis is cured in Twilight!" If the crisis is not cured, what is the point of a "conclusion"?  If you think critics shat upon Day, this fourth jobber would be ten times worse.  The jump in time in Day caused some confusion about how the dead took over the world. People would be just as lost if they have not seen the other films, and due to the legal hangups the trilogy suffers from, a re-release of the trilogy to help "Twilight" out would be improbable. That's producers for you.

twili.gif (27729 bytes)
First he calls his movie Zombie 2 to confuse people into thinking there's a sequel to Dawn. Then Lucio Fulci's advertising company rips off Romero's Dawn  while beating him to the title for a fourth film. (Romero got even of sorts with Day being called Zombie 2 overseas)

  Now the dead are pretty much ignored since they're in a stage of declining power (hence the term twilight). The empire of the dead would be almost over (images of unthreatening, immobile, skeletal forms with no sight or other senses left). Gone are the hordes of wailing dead. Forget about zombie luncheons - if they are there, they're going to be forced. It may play similar to events in the other films: zombies are over here, held off for a while till lack of cooperation forces them in, then they eat everyone up. Sure, there's a whole generation who hasn't seen this on the big screen, but it would be great if only George had enough new twists, made it realistic and not over the top like the original Day script, brought some real finality to it... and had a REAL budget! Otherwise, this fourth film would be quite dull compared  to the others (Day bashers would have to redefine 'boring'). Parts would no doubt resemble Dawn's apocalyptic utopian drama, the rest would probably look like Night of the Comet.  

Now we all know the title George chose was Dead Reckoning, after a vehicle of the same name. It was changed to Land of the Dead in 2004 after producer pressure. The makeup in the finished film has nothing on Day's makeup despite being supervised by Greg Nicotero. But what should the dead have really looked like in a film that is set years after the plague? like this Lee masterpiece:

Instead we got generic latex Hollywood style makeups that allow the actor to make goofy expressions.

Wouldn't it be better if George shot  the first drafts of Day?
Had that been done, you wouldn't have a fan here. Many who believe that the original draft was better than the final one have not actually read it!  I was disappointed reading the overhyped first draft for a number of reasons (too many disposable characters, too much gunplay and sneaking around, many explosions, too many swamp zombies, too much raunch, too much corny dialogue, lack of science, so on). 

In 2000,  he chose to write an online series called THE DEATH OF DEATH. Each chapter was downloadable (somewhat like his buddy Stephen King's online novel). Each was about humans living in "the last days of the dead."  

What does George think of Day now?
Glad you asked! He has called Day his favorite of the series for over ten years now, always maintaining that its 'scarier and more mature' than his previous zombie films. It's definitely a purer horror film. This is from his 8/1/02 airing of The Directors on Encore Channel:
"Alot of people think of Day as the least successful of the three zombie films, but it happens to be my favorite for some reason....when you try to rank them as how successful you think they are, so much of that is personality, is the time you had making it, the people, how much fun did you have and did you enjoy it...the nostalgia. Beyond that there's something about it that I think is the most apocryphal...the idea that maybe these things are developing intelligence, a scientist that is actually feeding them...I like that about it. There are things that I can't even see. Everything about it was such a good time. I particularly loved the score. Some of the actors are really good friends of mine so I'm satisfied with it."  

Was Day ever on Television?
Yes. Twice on USA Network and most recently on Encore Channel/Mystery. Overseas, in England, on Bravo.
USA did so primetime July 30, 1988 as part of their zombie movie-friendly ‘Saturday Nightmares’ series. Then re-aired it again July 29, 1989 for Up All Night with then-host Gilbert Gottfried who had a ball poking fun at the overacting – "Joe Pilato should have been nominated for an Oscar!" USA ran it on a Saturday afternoon of June 16, 1990 also. Scifi Channel ran it Dec. 13, 2003 at 3 PM for the first time. In 2006, the widescreen Day will premiere on the Hi Def Monster Channel.

USA's had the defunct UFDC leader replaced by Hal Roach Studios. Most cursing dialogue is muted. Fisher’s death in intact as is the shovel gag (minus the head rolling upside down). Any gratuitous bloodletting, pus-letting, flesh-eating, intestine-eating or splatter is edited out. Of the soldiers’ deaths, only Rhodes is slightly cut - his legs being dragged down the hall is missing.

Mystery and Encore used the Media print unedited.

What did the television listings describe Day like?
TV Guide printed the following:

Day of the Dead (1985) NR: SL,                    Day of the Dead (1985) George Romero's zombies are on the loose again.
GV. Soldiers and scientists try to
prevent living corpses from taking
over the world in the final entry in
George Romero's zombie trilogy.
Sarah: Lori Cardille. John: Terry
Alexander. (1 hr. 45 min.
H H)

TV Book, included in most national newspapers, printed:

Day of the Dead H H (85, Horror)
Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander.
The living dead regroup above as
lone humans sweat it out below
in a Florida missile silo. Directed
by George Romero. NR. Language,
violence. (1:40) MOVIE * * 1/2 "Day of the Dead" (1985, Horror) Lori Cardille, Joseph Pilato. George Romero's flesh-eating zombies close in on a handful of military and scientific personnel holed up in an underground bunker. Ω

Is he going to use elements from the unfilmed Day script in another Dead film?
No. Don't expect trained zombie soldiers, explosions, or anything else like that in it, especially considering if he does another, he will have a budget the same or lower than Day's ($3m).

What awards has Day won?
1986 it saw a few honors. Saturn Award for effects, and at the Cinema du Fantastique/Sitges Festivals awards were given to Lori (actress), Tom (makeup) and George (directing).

Have you got or seen any Scandinavian posters for Day?
I am pretty sure these Living Dead films were all banned in those countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark). There are some Scandinavian DAWN posters.

Why is your screenname Trioxin if you like Day of the Dead?
I also like Return of the Living Dead part one, and have a website on that film as well.

Did Bub really do Norelco ads after Day?
This was a joke printed in a Fangoria Poster Magazine under a picture of Bub shaving. Nor did Howard Sherman really listen to Iron Maiden on his headset. But Bub did do some ads...

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Where can I buy Beef Treats?
Beef Treats or potted meat product is available at Army Surplus stores. But, don't expect to find Welch's Prehistoric Jelly anywhere! (it's extinct)

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