CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

Romero is late returning to "Land of the Dead"

Time flies. It is hard to believe that it has been six
Augusts since "The Sixth Sense" opened and became
the box office champion of all horror movies. The
film's release started a trend with horror movies
dominating the box office from August until Halloween
Even as an adult, the climax of "The Sixth Sense"
made me jump and the film is on my top five list of
ultimate horror movies.

The original "Night of the Living Dead" is also on
that list. The film begins rather campy as the
cemetery zombie (Bill Hinzman) attacks a brother and
sister. Things go from bad to worst as the cannibal
zombies prey on mankind in gruesome and graphic ways
Director and co writer George Romero admitted that
"Night of the Living Dead" was an angry film
produced during the Johnson Administration in the
1960's. The issues of panic, race relations and the
disintegrating family are in the forefront.

Romero went on to write and direct two more zombie
movies, "Dawn of the Dead" and "Day of the Dead."
While the Tom Savini special effect increased the gore
factor, these zombie movies never had the same impact
as the original motion picture. Eventually zombies
spun off into their own zombie sub genre in the horror
field to include "The Return of the Living Dead,"
"Corpses are Forever" and the spoof, "Shaun of the
Dead," a zomedy and Rondo Hatton Award Winner for
best motion picture for 2004. "Land of the Dead" is
George Romero's heralded return to his world of the
living dead.

Riley (Simon Baker)is a survivalist who finds food
for the city ruled by Kaufman (Dennis Hopper). Along
with Cholo (John Leguizamo), Riley captains an urban
assault tank called "Dead Reckoning," against the
cannibalistic zombies. After roaming the earth for
almost 40 years, these zombies eventually learn how to
evolve. Organized by a zombiefied gas station
attendant (Eugene Clark), the zombies lead an assault
on Kaufman's despotic empire.

Some of "Land of the Dead" works and some does not.
Romero fashions some creepy moments and takes sadistic
glee when the zombies start munching on the lifestyles
of the rich and famous. Romero makes a grotesque
statement about supermodels and belly button rings.
The film falters when it takes itself too serious and
the audience may have become desensitized from
previous zombie carnage. "Land of the Dead" may
have had a bigger box office impact had it been
released before "Shaun of the Dead," the zombie's
version of "Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein."

Until a fresh idea occurs like "The Sixth Sense,"
the true horror of movie box office will be that of
diminishing financial returns.
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