Land of the Dead

Hi, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab…

I’m working on my review for this one now, having seen it earlier tonight. For now, I’ll leave it in the always-capable hands of Vern:

Fellas –

Well the Batman fans have their good Batman movie to get excited about, the Star Wars fans have their good Star Wars movie to complain and make rape metaphors about*, and now comes the actual, genuine most anticipated movie of the summer. In my opinion.

[*and no, this is not a license to talk about Star Wars in the talkbacks. you even THINK about mentioning Hans shooting whatsisdick the hutt or what have you, even in a relevant comparison to the works of George Romero, you’re fuckin fired]

There’s not much of a rumbling in the media, there doesn’t even seem to be as much excitement on the internet thing here as you’d think there’d be. But some of you out there know what I’m talking about. We’ve been waiting for this movie a long god damn time. I mean how many false alarms can you live through over the years, the guy saying he almost has the money to make another Living Dead movie? It starts to seem like a pipe dream. How many Resident Evils and 28 Days and Haunted Mansions can go by with us saying “fer chrissakes you morons, just give George Romero some money for a living dead picture and make the world a better place for all creeds, colors and stripes.”

Land of the DeadYes, 28 DAYS LATER was pretty good for a sloppy digital video retread of DAWN/DAY OF THE DEAD but with a virus instead of zombies so really its almost like they made up a new idea for a movie. And yes, DAWN OF THE DEAD remake was amazingly good for a remake of a perfect movie that should never be fucked with. And yes SHAUN OF THE DEAD was a funny zombie sitcom that I would’ve enjoyed even more if I hadn’t heard so much ridiculous hyperbolic bullshit about it being great. And yes, HOUSE OF THE DEAD was, well I didn’t see that one not sure about that one. But no matter how much we enjoyed any of those we always had that question in the back of our heads: what about the REAL George Romero zombie movie? The one actually directed by George Romero, in the style of George Romero, with authentic George Romero zombies and non-zombies? The one we’ve been dreaming about. Praying for. Begging for. Give it to us. It is our birthright!

(And then, in another part of our brain: it won’t be like BRUISER. It won’t be like BRUISER.)

I still have a hard time believing it when I see an ad on TV that says THIS FRIDAY. But it’s true. They really made it. I saw it tonight, so I know for sure now.

Yeah yeah yeah quit beating around the bush you asshole, we already know you saw it because otherwise what are you doing here. So did you like it or not? Okay man keep your pants on. I have to explain what I ate for breakfast first.

Nah, just jerkin your chain bud. Or in this case, Bub. Yes I liked it. HELL YES I liked it.

After NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, the dead have dawned and they’ve had their day and now it truly is the land of the dead, because they really have the run of the place. There are some exceptions, outposts here and there, and (spoiler) Pittsburgh (played this time by veteran character actor Toronto). The city is protected by walls, electric fences and soldiers. In the middle, behind rivers and a protective layer of delicious poor people, is Fiddler’s Green. That’s a plush skyscraper/gated community owned by Kaufman (Dennis Hopper) because he took it over, just like our heroes took over the mall in DAWN OF THE DEAD. But this guy is an asshole though, in my opinion. He’s no Peter.

The protagonists are the working class, the mercenary types who go out in a half tank/half bus abomination called Dead Reckoning to scavenge the suburbs and rural areas for usable goods and bring them back to the city. It’s a little bit like ALIENS the way this team of macho soldiers go out into the trenches and sometimes without the best intentions. But zombies are easier to kill than aliens. It’s not “Game over, man!” As the new kid says, “I thought this was gonna be a battle. This is a fucking massacre!” And there’s at least one zombie who gets pretty pissed off about these one sided gunfights. More on him later.

There’s a bunch of characters but the most important are Riley (Simon Baker), the honorable leader of the scavenging team who’s planning to leave for Canada after tonight, and Cholo (John Leguizamo), his asshole second in command who thinks he can buy his way into Fiddler’s Green. His application gets rejected though, you could say, so he steals Dead Reckoning and is going to attack the city if he doesn’t get the money Dennis Hopper owes him. Which is not really what Dead Reckoning was intended for I think. It’s for killing zombies.

By the way let me have a pre-emptive strike here before some wiseass starts picking at the chronology of the dead. I guarantee some hotshot will ask why, if the dead first walked in 1968, there are still zombie gas station attendants, clowns, bands, security guards, etc. Well you see, numbnuts, this series doesn’t take time that literally. DAWN OF THE DEAD was clearly in the ’70s but it was also clearly weeks, months at most, since this zombie shit first came up. According to LAND OF THE DEAD, the zombies came about “some time ago,” and that’s all you need to know. This hasn’t been going on for 35 years. Nobody grew up with the zombie menace*.

[*and no, this is not a reason to talk about fucking Phantom Menace, that was a long time ago fellas let’s move on]

Like all the movies in the series this one has its own feel that separates it from the others, while having the classic Romero-istic people-arguing-and/or-bonding-while-surviving-hopeless-situation drama. The feel is a little more modern, the look is more dark (they fight zombies at night now), they even use the word “zombie” once (as seen in the trailer) though they mostly call them “stenches” now. But this still feels like the old Romero, the independent filmatist, before he stopped trying to slay the dragon (see KNIGHT RIDERS for more info) went to the studios and did some good-but-just-not-the-same movies like THE DARK HALF and MONKEY TROUBLE. Er, MONKEY BONE. Er, MONKEY SHINES. One of those. You know, FATAL ATTRACTION but with a disabled guy instead of Michael Douglas and a monkey instead of Glenn Close.)

I like that aspects of the movie come out of what happened in the other three. In DAWN it was renegade bikers that went around looting and scavenging, now it’s an official function for what’s left of, uh, society. In DAWN the zombies had memories of their old lives, in DAY Bub learned how to fire a gun, and now we have zombie education spreading all over the zombie culture. An increasing sophistication due to lack of TV, maybe. Or just from a high-protein diet.

I mean that. There’s more gutmunching in this movie than in any other installment. You got a good gutmunching once or twice in all of them but this one is an all day buffet. Thank the Lord for His holy MPAA double-standards and the majesty of “strong, pervasive gore and violence.” There is finger eating, head exploding, flying arms and heads, intestines in unnatural places (hint: they’re supposed to go INSIDE the body), legless zombie attacks. Also many other much better things that would be unethical and immoral to give away. I was worried about Greg Nicotero (overactor from DAY) manning the effects instead of Tom Savini, but he obviously had the same spirit of trying to come up with the most outrageous ways to kill a zombie or a person or to disgust the audience. I didn’t bring my calculator so I can’t say for sure if this is the most violent, but it’s definitely up there. There probaly wasn’t a scene as disgusting as Joe Pilato’s one-man zombie picnic at the end of DAY, but there are similar scenes all throughout the movie, beginning middle and end. And this is the cut version.

Of course, we’re more desensitized now. I heard a guy afterwards saying that it “wasn’t really that violent,” but if there’s a more violent zombie movie it’s not by much. I really felt like the movie was saying SEE THIS, YOU PUSSIES? THIS IS HORROR. IT HAS BEEN ON A BRIEF SABBATICAL WHICH IS WHY IT LOOKS UNFAMILIAR TO YOUR SISSY PG-13 EYES. WE’RE SORRY FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE THAT MAY BE CAUSED BY THE MULTIPLE DISEMBOWELMENTS YOU HAVE JUST WITNESSED. NOW FUCK OFF.

And yes, we’re talking makeup, latex, those kind of things. They must’ve used computers to make crowds bigger and to open up a rotten cheek or two, but this is an organic, solid object type of movie. None of that video game violence you usually get now, in pretty much all genres.

There are so many memorable zombies that it would be hard to pick a favorite, but one candidate is the real skinny lady near the beginning, probaly a puppet, possibly a half cousin or niece of Gollum. Another obvious choice, I don’t know what they call him in the credits, but there’s a zombie leader. This is the best and freshest part of the movie. Bub maybe was a more sympathetic zombie, because you felt sorry for the guy. But this is a strong zombie character, a zombie folk hero, the guy who finally said I’m not putting up with all this shit anymore. He’s the Neo or Yoda or Jimmy Cliff in THE HARDER THEY COME of zombies because he figures shit out, he helps the other zombies to not get shot, leads a revolution against the humans. In one scene he even puts a zombie out of his misery, just like the humans do to each other any time one of them gets bit. There’s a group of these zombies that have their own subplot, we follow them on a journey throughout the movie. And when they finally get to their destination you can’t help but root for them, at least a little bit, when they start biting.

(If Elektra gets a fuckin spinoff, why not zombie leader: the movie?)

It’s nice to see gorey horror again, but even more exciting to an old timer like me is the return of horror with a point of view. The one thing that bugged me more than the running zombies in DAWN OF THE DEAD REMAKE was how it avoided all politics. Each of Romero’s movies was a movie for its time, clearly about things going on in their era. I know, where do you even start with this era? LAND deals with alot of issues, mostly involving the class differences between the Fiddler’s Green residents and everybody else. Inside is like Monroeville Mall times 100, the people all wear nice clothes and they even get to shop this time. They ignore the problem and don’t seem to care (or know?) about of the rest of the world. For the first time since 1968, we have people who are so sheltered that they only know to run and scream when zombies show up! You’ll notice that the power elite are all white men, and their butler is a black guy with a bow tie.

And of course, this is a post 9-11 movie. There’s probaly one line more than necessary to point out the parallel between Leguizamo’s character and those fuckin terrorists. But the metaphor works. Riley takes a mission from a leader he doesn’t like because he wants to save lives. Kaufman just wants to save his own ass, and prevent damage to his property. It’s a complicated world with many factions (rich looters, poor revolutionaries, sadistic criminals, dangerous mercenaries, fed up zombies) all going after each other, trying to get what they think they deserve. It’s a hopeless and familiar scenario. With zombies.

If I had one complaint about this movie, and I only bring this up because I do have exactly 1 (one) complaint, it would be that I wish it was longer. I haven’t checked the running time but it definitely felt shorter than the last two, even though the subject matter was more epic. I know the DVD will have more gore but I’m hoping for the full-on Lords of the Rings onslaught. It could definitely go more in-depth with the arrangement between Cholo and Kaufman, for one thing. And the lifestyle of the Fiddler’s Green residents other than Kaufman. And the methods of scavenging. Also, longer zombie mayhem sequences are always a bonus.

That’s not to say it feels choppy or incomplete, it just feels a little lighter weight than the others. A little. Is it a worthy followup? I definitely think so. Will anybody like it better than Dawn of the Dead (original recipe)? Probaly not, except for people you wouldn’t listen to anyway. Is it better than Day of the Dead? The acting is definitely better and the characters are more sympathetic, I know that much. Will I consider it a masterpiece ten years from now if I’m still alive? I haven’t even had ten hours to think about it yet, who the fuck knows, but I think there’s a good chance. Why am I writing in this annoying question/answer format? I was wondering that myself, man, I hate that shit. Sorry bout that guys. no time to fix

I know I gotta make my reviews shorter, but this one is justified. This is the most important movie of the year. Sorry, BEWITCHED fans, but that’s a fact. I’m sure alot of people have impossible expectations after so many years, but I for one (1) was not disappointed. And I think this might actually be a time when Romero’s style and mainstream tastes have an overlap. (if the movie flops though, fuck those assholes, they would want to live in Fiddler’s Green anyway. Stupid fiddlers.)

Okay, so two of the Georges have fulfilled their obligations to the world, now let’s have that MAD MAX 4 please.


Thanks, Vern. Great work!

“Moriarty” out.

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/20542

View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback

  • June 22, 2005, 4:40 a.m. CST

    Romero Rules

    by RedFive

    This flick is gonna rock.Another two films after this would rule.

  • June 22, 2005, 4:42 a.m. CST

    Rubber Johnny is out.

    by Trevor Goodchild


  • June 22, 2005, 4:48 a.m. CST

    Still cant believe Romero got the shaft on the Resident Evil mov

    by Rogue_Leader

    Wonder if this one will have the same dreary ending as previous films.

  • June 22, 2005, 4:55 a.m. CST

    does he have to swear?

    by Krangelus

    my delicate ears!

  • June 22, 2005, 5:04 a.m. CST

    holy crap…

    by bubcus

    When you mentioned “breakfast” I nearly gave up on your review. Is it just me or do most of the reviews on here ramble about “how my day went” for three paragraphs before we even get to the theater. Then there was the time Harry was comparing one movie to some extreme sex fantasy of his. It just makes me want to throw up. If I want to think about sex, I certainly wouldn’t be on this site for it. Let’s get to the theater and limit down the rambling a bit, shall we? ANYHOW… sounds like a good flick. I enjoyed Shawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later, I’ll have to check this one out… except likely a rental – I tend to like watching zombie flicks at home around 2 in the morning when I can really flip out.

  • June 22, 2005, 5:08 a.m. CST

    In the middle, behind rivers and a protective layer of delicious

    by IamNumber1

    I almost bust out laughing my whole ass off! And that’s hard to do when it’s 3 in the morning. Ohhh, haven’t read a review that funny in a long time! Oh yeah, and I’ll definitely be there on opening twilight

  • June 22, 2005, 5:15 a.m. CST

    geez and i thought insurance salesmen were pushy…

    by deadphishiy

    putting one out of its misery… i also saw a clip online @ ifilm its pretty beautiful in a bittersweet Were dead so what do we do now, kinda way. and you get to see zombies holding hands!


    its cute. in a …. i dont know, just watch it

    oh and it has barking!

  • June 22, 2005, 5:23 a.m. CST

    Anyone remember a film called ‘Pin”?

    by Trevor Goodchild

  • June 22, 2005, 5:23 a.m. CST

    Stupid fiddlers.

    by docfalken

    I’ve got my catchphrase for the week. So when I’m chilling around the cooler and drop it, I’ll be able to weed out the AICN geek in a heartbeat. Secret handshake indeedie.

  • June 22, 2005, 5:30 a.m. CST

    I had my finger on the scroll button ready to scroll down immedi

    by Thirteen 13

    to the talkbacks and read no more, when he mentioned what he ate for breakfast. Then my finger relaxed when he wrote just kidding. I have an automatic -scroll down skip the remainder of the review- as soon as I read how the reviewers previous days events went, sex fantasies and nuances of eating pussy compared to a movie, or, phoney reviews that begin to indicate and just say whats in the movie trailer and stuff we already know.

  • June 22, 2005, 5:35 a.m. CST


    by Darth Kong

    “And yes SHAUN OF THE DEAD was a funny zombie sitcom that I would’ve enjoyed even more if I hadn’t heard so much ridiculous hyperbolic bullshit about it being great” – Blame Harry for that one Vern.

  • June 22, 2005, 5:42 a.m. CST

    If it’s real, there is only two ways to see it….

    by ChickenGeorgeVII

    One is drunken in the drive-in on the tail end of the double feature that gets out at 1:30am….the other is late night TV when you don’t even have money for tacos and you are snacking on three year old pizza rolls you found under the freezer frost…..but most people will see it at THE 4PM RUSH HOUR SHOW?!?!?!?!?! WHO ARE THESE PUSSIES????? THIS IS WHAT KILLED HORROR – THE MULTIPLEX!!!! NOTHING BRINGS YOU BACK TO THE SAFE WORLD THAN A PIMPLY FACED POPCORN HOCKER TELLING YOU TO HAVE A GOOD DAY – CAUSE IT STILL IS!!!!! YOU WANNA DO YOURSELF A FAVOR? SEE THIS AT A THEATER YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN TO….SEE THE LAST SHOW POSSIBLE, THAT LETS OUT WELL PAST MIDNIGHT!…THEN – LEAVE OUT THE FIRE EXIT! THAT’S RIGHT..OUT THE FUCKING BACK EXIT THAT FORCES – I SAY – FORCES YOU TO HAVE TO WALK BACK TO YOUR CAR FROM A DARK STRANGE ALLEY IN THE DEAD OF THE FUCKING NIGHT!!!!! AND IT IS BEST IF YOU ARE NOT EVEN SURE YOU ARE GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION!!! SO GO OFTEN…AND LEAVE ALONE!!! VERY VERY ALONE!!!…And thus, why not rent the DVD at 9am? – – – George, The 7th Chicken!!!!

  • June 22, 2005, 6:02 a.m. CST

    I clocked it at about 90 minutes

    by islander

    I saw it Monday night in Atlanta and loved it! So did most of that packed theater. I am going to see it again with friends this weekend. You are right it needed to be longer.

  • June 22, 2005, 6:05 a.m. CST

    Mad Max 4?

    by Karl Childers

    Is that totally dead now?

  • June 22, 2005, 6:55 a.m. CST

    house of the dead!

    by Dr Uwe Boll

    House of the dead! House of the dead! No cap’n, we must not go there! It’s eeeeevil!

  • June 22, 2005, 6:56 a.m. CST

    this reviewer is up his own ass

    by theymademedoit

    [*and no, this is not a reason to talk about fucking Phantom Menace, that was a long time ago fellas let’s move on] his comments in brackets are really not needed and not very funny.

  • June 22, 2005, 6:58 a.m. CST

    shaun of the dead

    by theymademedoit

    “And yes SHAUN OF THE DEAD was a funny zombie sitcom that I would’ve enjoyed even more if I hadn’t heard so much ridiculous hyperbolic bullshit about it being great” – at least in England it was a pleasant suprise when it came out and was appreciated for what it was, sounds like u guys had it hyped up a bit too much.that said it was very good

  • June 22, 2005, 7:06 a.m. CST

    Land of the FUCKING Dead?

    by dr_dreadlocks

    So they’re having children now? Peculiar, but interesting. — http://www.cafepress.com/thenewpulp

  • June 22, 2005, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Land of The Dead: Hey Paul Anderson, who’s your daddy, bitch

    by satansteve

    I sincerely hope that the start of the movie has an opening crawl like star wars, with the dawn of the dead music playing that read something like this: A long time ago in a studio far, far away, George Romero created Zombie movies. They ruled so much ass the studios wouldnt let him make any more. Then when they replaced him with Paul Anderson on Resident Evil, something stirred in ol’ George. He decided he MUST make a REAL zombie movie. And he did, and you’re watching it. And he has one message to Paul Anderson, and to the studio that made Resident Evil: Ha Ha.

  • June 22, 2005, 7:46 a.m. CST

    Just one question……….

    by liljuniorbrown

    Zombie movies have always scared me to death. The Romero living dead movies and even return of the living dead with all of it’s bad humor and decent nudity all scared the shit out of me like no other,but when it comes to Dawn of the dead and the remake,Day of the dead and now this one my question is if you have safety and shelter and are really well armed and protected, why not starve the zombies out? You gotta figure without flesh to feed on they’d rot away after a while right? I know thats over thinking it and if you over analyze any movie you can ruin it for yourslef but i just can’t help but wonder why other than going for supplies every now and then why would you try and move out and roam aroud the zombie infested areas.Oh well like posted a couple of days ago,this summer has given us some movies i’ve been waiting for since i was old enough to understand movies and comic books.I guess we better enjoy it while it lasts,cause if Superman Returns,Ghost Rider,and X3 suck it’ll be some dark days ahead.

  • June 22, 2005, 7:49 a.m. CST

    I cannot wait to see LotD but, do you know what, I doubt if I&#3

    by workshed

    …imho the British have always made the best horror directors, from James Whale onwards they have made movies that are imbued with the finest black comedy – something the Americans have never quite mastered. Edgar Wright is no exception to this tradition. I sometimes find Romero’s allegories a little sledgehammer in their approach. And have you ever though that, in the future, rather than Romero’s films being a commentary on America, America might be a commentary on Romero’s films..? Work that one out!

  • June 22, 2005, 7:57 a.m. CST


    by Ribbons

    My head just exploded ….Savini style!!

  • June 22, 2005, 7:58 a.m. CST


    by Ribbons

    Is this, like, the Summer of the Geeks or what? I will be seeing this on Saturday…

  • June 22, 2005, 8:06 a.m. CST

    They said “Zombie” in the original Dawn of the Dead

    by Squashua

    So stop claiming the guy never used the word.

  • June 22, 2005, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Nice review Vern, you lucky Bastard

    by John-Locke

    I think I’ve got to wait until August to see this in the UK, by which time the unrated DVD will be available in US so I’ll buy that instead. Yeah I also found that SotD was overhyped on this site, so much so that I found the film a little disappointing, although It is good. A good Zombie film will always give me Zombie Nightmares, so many have I had since first Seeing NOTLD back in around 1987 when I was 7, Dawn and Return of the Living (okay not Romero but it is a sequal of sorts to Night, remember) completely freaked me out, I wouldn’t watch Day for years because I found it too scary (hands out of the walls dreams, and uber tense going into the caves for fresh Zombies) but managed to appreciate it properly when I was about 16. since then there have been practically no films willing to explore the same levels of Gore and of frights, (Peter Jackson’s Brain Dead Had the Romero/Savini style Gore but It was not in the slightest bit scary). Dawn remake was enjoyable but different, it didn’t feel like Romero’s world which is probably why I don’t have too big a problem with it, despite all it’s flaws (running Zombies, Lack of Gore or tension) I really like the characters (well Ving Rhames, Sarah Polley, Skinny white dude and the guy with the Handle Bar Tash) but it by no means triggered off a Zombie Nightmare Attack in me. Actually the only thing that I’ve really enjoyed from a Romero Zombie point of View was the beggining of 13 Ghosts with what I believe was called the Juggernaught, a Zombie/Ghost that looked like a Massive Romero Zombie, the film turned shit but the beginning was memorable. Anyway I’m rambling now, I hope Land of the Fucking Dead gives me nightmares, it’s been a while and I’ve been waiting patiently.

  • June 22, 2005, 8:55 a.m. CST

    Naw man, THE catchphrase of the week is:

    by Kid Z

    (Drumroll) “A protective layer of delicious poor people”!

  • June 22, 2005, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Look, I don’t want to be sympathetic to zombies, mmkay?

    by GrandMuffTarkin

    I’m a huge Romero fan, but this Big Daddy zombie thing sounds like a big daddy mistake to me. Bub was interesting because it showed the retained memory of his previous life, plus the actor who played him was amazing. I don’t want to see some zombie leader rallying the troops, accurately shooting a Steyr AUG, and PUTTING A ZOMBIE OUT OF ITS MISERY!? We’ll see about this…. Also, I wouldn’t hold my breath for a huge DVD package, although Dawn got 3 different freakin DVD releases, who’da thought…

  • June 22, 2005, 8:57 a.m. CST

    My view on a few things raised

    by John-Locke

    Trevor Goodchild I remember Pin, sort of like a horror Pinocchio only not very scary and a bit twisted, Why do you ask? it’s a bit off subject or is there a link to this series, or Is it better than I remember considering I was about 10 at the time. ChickenGeorgeVII, you is damn right buddy, that is the only way to see this movie, anyone who doesn’t is a pussy. liljuniorbrown you asked “why not starve the zombies out? You gotta figure without flesh to feed on they’d rot away after a while right?” I think these Zombies are like Beef Jerky, old, dried out and tough as leather. Elijah Wont ROTLD2 has it’s moments, like the Kid with the braces munching into his own mums brains, or the two guy’s returning from film one only to suffer exactly the same fate. Things like the Thriller Zombie at the end let it down though :-(

  • June 22, 2005, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Zombies are BA-ID…

    by Kid Z


  • June 22, 2005, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Saw preview last night: it’s good, but falls apart about 3/4

    by Buck Turgidson

    I had high hopes for LOTD after reading some favorable reviews. It’s a decent entry into the genre, but not Romero’s best work. While there are some good things (social commentary, humor, war on terror metaphors, and “Dead Reckoning”), LOTD didn’t induce much in the way of chills or scares, and didn’t have enough flesh eating zombie action for me. I’m also mystified as to why the film wraps up so quickly. The end feels truncated. It’s an enjoyable diversion, but it’s no Dawn of the Dead.

  • June 22, 2005, 9:52 a.m. CST

    Romero’s the shit…I’m there on Friday night

    by Lost Skeleton

    real horror is back. Summer 2005 is pretty damn good so far and Lohan is not that hot anymore after her blond twiggy transforamtion.

  • June 22, 2005, 9:57 a.m. CST

    That was a great review.

    by Godardwhowhatnow

    I am officially giddy with excitement.

  • June 22, 2005, 9:59 a.m. CST

    “Okay man keep your pants on. I have to explain what I ate for b

    by koomoReborn

    AICN Line of the Year? I think so.

  • June 22, 2005, 10:04 a.m. CST


    by Harker-Writes

    No, this is second rate actors and extras in rubber masks trying to resurrect a lame formula that was dead 30 years ago.

  • June 22, 2005, 10:23 a.m. CST

    I’ll read this after I see it

    by Chicken2nite

    Stopped reading for fear of spoilers beyond “shot in toronto, not Winnipeg”, which I knew already

  • June 22, 2005, 10:25 a.m. CST

    Looking forward to seeing a true zombie flick

    by Chicken2nite

    in the theaters for once

  • June 22, 2005, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Just watched ‘Rubber Johnny’…

    by workshed

    .. A FRICKEN MASTERPIECE I TELLS YA’! Serious ‘state-of-the-art’ editing at play here. The best part, for me, was (spoiler) where we get all the best mashed bits from Rotten.com at the end whilst pooch looks on curiously/shitting itself. Cunningham hits another home run. ‘Windowlicker’ still my fave though give it a couple of years and I’m probably gonna discover shitloads of subliminal cuts in this. I mean it really does move like lightning. I think ‘Outer Space’s influence is evident in places.

  • June 22, 2005, 10:49 a.m. CST

    “the always reliable” Vern

    by Olsen Twins_Fan

    otherwise known as “the reviewer who actually writes reviews.” Mori is getting as bad as Harry these days with the unnecessary details.

  • June 22, 2005, 10:50 a.m. CST

    I saw LoTD….

    by redfly2023

    and my biggest complaint is when Anakin turns to the dark side it seems really contrived and abrupt….

  • June 22, 2005, 11:22 a.m. CST

    by BankyFan

  • June 22, 2005, 11:23 a.m. CST

    Shit, read here

    by BankyFan

    “Pittsburgh (played this time by veteran character actor Toronto).” You rock, Vern. But no mention of Asia Argento?

  • June 22, 2005, 11:27 a.m. CST

    A review in dire need of editing….

    by fiester

    And it seems to be getting worse and worse. Reviewers with long, rambling intros, trying to be cute and clever and only sounding forced and aggravating the reader. It’s in danger of becoming SOP on her. That review should have been edited down so that the first sentence was “After NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, the dead have dawned and they’ve had their day.” It’s obvious many of these reviewers need to “write their way in” to their review. Whether this is a method to limber up before the real writing begins or some bizarre form of reviewer upsmanship in which they try to out knock-knock joke one another is irrelevant. What it ultimately boils down to is sloppy editing and a disservice to your audience: two things you would not laud in a film so why do you tolerate it in your reviews?

  • June 22, 2005, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Tom Savini

    by GaladrielTX

    Vern, you forgot to mention that Tom Savini’s Blade (from Dawn) is in this AS a zombie!! Haven’t seen it yet, but is he maybe the zombie leader you were talking about?

  • June 22, 2005, 11:47 a.m. CST

    Lord of the Rings is better than Star Wars!

    by crackerfarmboy

    NOTLD (1968) was an interesting adaptation of I Am Legend with a twist. Dawn was WAY overrated. Make a faithful version of I Am Legend and I’ll be more interested.

  • June 22, 2005, 12:16 p.m. CST


    by chickychow

    Thats such a fucking horrible movie, and yet Romero claims it was his best experience making a film… Maybe he was stoned the entire time (I know Peter Stormare was) because itlooks like the work of a fucking crackhead… That being said, I sure am looking forward to this fuckin flick!

  • June 22, 2005, 12:16 p.m. CST

    On its own, much of the world would go on as normal I think with

    by Shan

    … We often think that because the zombie situation would bring the end to the world as WE know it, that it would be the same the world over. I actually think a lot of the world would go on largely unchanged. The big urban areas would be vulnerable but in all the isolated places which are hard to reach like high mountain areas (Himalayas), wide deserts, Siberian wastelands and the densest Amazonian forests, Isolated communities would go on more or less as they did before. Able bodied people find it hard enough to get there, let alone zombie hordes. They could easily block off entrance to such things. Then there’s islands (Pitcairn, Norfolk, Falklands) … I’d love to see a movie which touched on the overall global impact in a few places as I think it would be much more complex than just the end of humanity full stop. Then there’s the immediate aftermath of the situations like in Dawn … You still have aircraft carriers which a giant autonomous cities which can function for months, submarines, remote and heavily protected military bases ringed by minefields … what would they do in the beginning of it all? …

  • June 22, 2005, 12:17 p.m. CST

    On its own, much of the world would go on as normal I think with

    by Shan

    … We often think that because the zombie situation would bring the end to the world as WE know it, that it would be the same the world over. I actually think a lot of the world would go on largely unchanged. The big urban areas would be vulnerable but in all the isolated places which are hard to reach like high mountain areas (Himalayas), wide deserts, Siberian wastelands and the densest Amazonian forests, Isolated communities would go on more or less as they did before. Able bodied people find it hard enough to get there, let alone zombie hordes. They could easily block off entrance to such things. Then there’s islands (Pitcairn, Norfolk, Falklands) … I’d love to see a movie which touched on the overall global impact in a few places as I think it would be much more complex than just the end of humanity full stop. Then there’s the immediate aftermath of the situations like in Dawn … You still have aircraft carriers which a giant autonomous cities which can function for months, submarines, remote and heavily protected military bases ringed by minefields … what would they do in the beginning of it all? …

  • June 22, 2005, 12:29 p.m. CST


    by Neosamurai85

    See the remake of Night of the Living Dead. The problem is if you stay in one place they will gather. Zombies are strong in numbers. Out in the open they can be dispersed and slain. What would I do in a zombie invasion? Break into the knife shop, grab a No Dachi, and stick to parking lots. If out of town I’d hit up the first hardwear store. Bullets run out… baracades hold so long… at least that’s the case in zombie movies, and we’ve all discussed many times how easy zombies would be to nip at the bud in real life. Peace.

  • June 22, 2005, 12:31 p.m. CST


    by Neosamurai85

    Seeing as zombies are packing heat these days… that old plan might not be so wise anymore. Peace.

  • June 22, 2005, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Is AICN paying by the word now?

    by Smurfette

    That was the longest review I ever read.

  • June 22, 2005, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Good review, Vern.

    by Devil’sOwn

    It managed to entertain while keeping me stoked about the movie. Here’s to the Horror Renaissance!!

  • June 22, 2005, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Re: Shan

    by Neosamurai85

    All very good points. (Consider Zombi 2 with the islands though.) It really comes down to what kind of zombie invasion you’re dealing with. Space radiation, Virus, no more room in hell… How are the zombies being made. If hell’s full then ANY time someone dies you should get a zombie… that would be the real tough one. No borders could stop that. The Virus idea is very containable. The Radiation from space could hit everywhere as well. There is also the question of animals. Get some zombie birds on your hands an we’re in deep shit. Just do some reshearch on that bird flu everyone but the States is getting very concerned about. Anyway, I think one of the points of zombies in most films is to bring back order. It would make sense that cultures up in the mountains and deep jungles would not be as effected. It’s when there are lots of people cramped together that the zombies can spread and cause trouble. Peace.

  • June 22, 2005, 12:52 p.m. CST

    will it be better than DAY OF THE DEAD

    by la_sith


  • June 22, 2005, 1:12 p.m. CST

    “There, pretty as a picture. Ach… zombies!!”

    by DrLektor

    You can read the script online now, I found really easily on google. Yeah, they call the zombie “leader” Big Daddy and no it’s not Tom Savini. Before you baulk at the silliness of it you should maybe watch the movie first, then make up your mind eh? I probably posted this before but I never pictured that ham Hopper as the bad guy, I’m hoping to be surprised by his performance.

    I don’t know what the policy of posting links to scripts is, this’ll probably get erased so make it quick?

    *warning: contains spoilers*


  • June 22, 2005, 2:04 p.m. CST

    to Squashua

    by Vern

    You may be right, but tell me where it is in Dawn of the Dead where they use the word. Usually they just call them “things.”

  • June 22, 2005, 2:06 p.m. CST

    about the score

    by Vern

    To whoever it was who asked, no, Goblin didn’t do the score. Whoever did it did a good job though, it has that Goblin style BAH-BOMP… BAH-BOMP… BAH-BOMP… driving feel, but more overpowering than in Day of the Dead.

  • June 22, 2005, 3:54 p.m. CST

    yuh huh

    by DrLektor

    There’s one use of the word zombie in the original Dawn of the Dead, I myself was corrected on a previous talkback about this very thing. I do believe it’s when the motorcycle mob attacks and is it Tom Savini himself who says “A couple of you guys, hold off them zombies…”? Of course you can check the scripts which have lmassive usage of the Z word. Don’t know if they say it in the remake, I’ve never heard it.

  • June 22, 2005, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Goblin rocks…

    by GrandMuffTarkin

    That creepy music was the best – the background sounded like the dead wailing. Rock it.

  • June 22, 2005, 5:02 p.m. CST

    Peter said the “Z” word in DAWN

    by SeanHarris

    “There’s gonna be a thousand zombies in here”… just like this talkback.

  • June 22, 2005, 6:27 p.m. CST

    This is the quiet board…

    by Neosamurai85

    I guess you can only spread GR fans so thin. Peace.

  • June 22, 2005, 8:56 p.m. CST

    “When you mentioned “breakfast” I nearly gave up on your review.

    by AeroB

    That was the whole point of Vern’s joke for Christ’s sake do you ever even read anything on this fuckin site? Harry compares EVERY movie to an extreme sex fantasy. And there are always sidetracks about breakfast and shit. Consider yourself informed.

  • June 22, 2005, 10:39 p.m. CST

    “28 Days Later” was “Omega Man”, “Dawn of the Dead” and “Day of

    by Dark Knight Lite

    thrown in a blender set on high speed. It was fun, but about as original as “Event Horizon”. By the way, can’t wait for Friday, to see Romero show ’em how its done. Dark Knight out.

  • June 23, 2005, 3:10 a.m. CST

    “Hey, Vern” (I miss Jim Varney!)

    by Basswizard8

    Thanks for mentioning “Knightriders”. One of my faves! Ed Harris and Tom Savini as “leading” characters…What’s not to like? (And it’s a damn GOOD movie!!) Can’t wait to see Romero’s new “Dead” movie. I, recently, expounded (on another TB) why slow-moving zombies were, actually, scarier than the fast-moving variety. I stand by it!! Like stompin’ an ant-hill. You’re laughin’, you’re stompin’…after a few minutes, you’re still stompin’, but you notice ants are gettin’ on your shoe…OOPS, You realize, you’re FUCKED!! You can’t win!!! Slow-movin’ zombies…VERY deceptive!!!!!

  • June 23, 2005, 3:29 a.m. CST

    Neosamurai …

    by Shan

    Well, I think the basic premise that there are naturally fortified areas in the world, in the case of Pittsburgh, rivers flanking 3 sides but there would be a lot of other impenetrable areas thanks to geography. As for causes, I think in the original DotD, well they didn’t specifically state what the cause was but it was suggested you didn’t have to be bitten, you just had to die at some point. Even so, given the slow moving nature of the zombies, you’d be able to contain it in remote communities especially once you worked it out, after all no-one’s getting in easily from outside.

  • June 23, 2005, 3:33 a.m. CST


    by V&B

    Looking forward to watching LOTD, looks like it will be good. But has anyone seen the trailer to UnDead yet? The movie is suppose to be out in theatres July 1 looks like it maybe a good show as well.

  • June 24, 2005, 6:39 a.m. CST

    ” the look is more dark (they fight zombies at night now)”

    by Judge Doom

    Genius! Can

  • June 25, 2005, 3:46 a.m. CST

    vern’s right again

    by AZJim

    Nice review, Vern, but I agree with whomever said you might have mentioned Asia Argento. Plus those dudes from SotD in their little Abu Grab-ass cameo. Plus, I disagree that the movie needed to be longer. It could have been but I think he said everything he wanted to say and it was tight, tight, tight. Refreshing to get out of a movie in 90 min, and feel like you actually got your money’s worth. My favorite aspect of the movie is how bluntly and effectively it criticizes American policy in Iraq and the growing head-in-the-sand self-interested conservatism here at home. And as part of that “delicious layer of poor people,” I will hereafter refer to you Republican neocon types as Fiddlers.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005 at 12:17 pm and is filed under Action, AICN, Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Responses to “Land of the Dead”

  1. Saw this when it first came out on DVD then again tonight. This is really satisfying film. Well-acted. Great atmosphere. Great team bonding element. Big Daddy (the zombie leader) is awesome. This definitely taps into the whole politics of income inequality and racism vibe. Dennis Hopper is a heavy for the ages. This holds up very well.

  2. Watched it yet again yesterday, and it still still holds up. I think the Mentalist is too pretty to be the lead in a Romero zombie film. I like him, but it detracts a little from the scrappiness to have Australian Mark Harmon in the lead role. Still, I like what this film does. A friend who watched this with me was complaining that it’s just Romero’s familiar schtick, but I feel like this is the first of his zombie films to really consider the politics of class inequality as a central focus. And looking back, it is very prescient, being a full 6 years before Occupy Wall Street and 10 years before 2016’s “burn it all down” populism. And Hopper is still genius casting and a great performance.

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