Day of the Dead (1985)

102 mins | Horror | 3 July 1985

Director:

George A. Romero

Cinematographer:

Michael Gornick

Editor:

Pasquale Buba

Production Designer:

Cletus Anderson

Production Company:

Laurel Entertainment
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HISTORY

       As announced in the 26 Feb 1980 DV, director George Romero's production company, The Laurel Group, had recently agreed to a three-picture deal with United Film Distribution (UFD) which included financing for the third film of Romero’s Night of the Living Dead trilogy, with the understanding that production would not begin on Day of the Dead for a year or more, The first two films in the series were Night of the Living Dead, (1968, see entry), and Dawn of the Dead, (1979, see entry). The deal allowed Romero creative rights to the film's final cut, as well as advertising approval for the picture.
       The 18 Apr 1984 Var announced principal photography would begin Oct 1984 with locations in PA and FL. A news item in the 22 Oct 1984 DV reported that filming was underway in PA, and a summer 1985 release was expected.
       A feature article in the 16 Dec 1984 LAT cited a $4 million budget, and that filming occurred in Wampum, PA, inside a "125-acre limestone mine," previously used as an industrial supply storage facility.
       The 22 Jan 1985 DV reported that 300 locals acted as zombies for three days of filming in Fort Myers, FL, in Dec 1984, and were paid only $1 for each of their twelve-hour shoot days. Gary Brotz, responsible for hiring background actors, reported that no one complained about the low rate, although the wage was a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which set the minimum wage at $3.35 per hour at that time. Brotz ... More Less

       As announced in the 26 Feb 1980 DV, director George Romero's production company, The Laurel Group, had recently agreed to a three-picture deal with United Film Distribution (UFD) which included financing for the third film of Romero’s Night of the Living Dead trilogy, with the understanding that production would not begin on Day of the Dead for a year or more, The first two films in the series were Night of the Living Dead, (1968, see entry), and Dawn of the Dead, (1979, see entry). The deal allowed Romero creative rights to the film's final cut, as well as advertising approval for the picture.
       The 18 Apr 1984 Var announced principal photography would begin Oct 1984 with locations in PA and FL. A news item in the 22 Oct 1984 DV reported that filming was underway in PA, and a summer 1985 release was expected.
       A feature article in the 16 Dec 1984 LAT cited a $4 million budget, and that filming occurred in Wampum, PA, inside a "125-acre limestone mine," previously used as an industrial supply storage facility.
       The 22 Jan 1985 DV reported that 300 locals acted as zombies for three days of filming in Fort Myers, FL, in Dec 1984, and were paid only $1 for each of their twelve-hour shoot days. Gary Brotz, responsible for hiring background actors, reported that no one complained about the low rate, although the wage was a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which set the minimum wage at $3.35 per hour at that time. Brotz claimed many were willing to pay filmmakers for the chance to be in the picture, and hundreds of the 600 locals were denied the chance to play zombies. According to DV, the "dollar-a-day" rate was reportedly set to qualify locals for Workman's Compensation, had any injuries occurred while filming. Several officials disagreed with the unlawful pay rate, but no action was taken against the filmmakers, and Brotz and several others argued that FL laws did not require a minimum wage for film production.
       The picture opened in New York City on 3 Jul 1985, according to the 12 Jul 1985 Movieline, but would not be released on the west coast until 4 Oct 1985, due to high costs of the summer film market.
      End credits include the following acknowledgements: “Special thanks: Ginger McGuire, Barbara Ann Koehler, Alvin Rogal, Lester Rosenkrantz, Frank Rubinstein, Irvin Shapiro, Norman Stein, Vince Survinski, Mary Ann Volvonas, K.M.G. Main Hurdman, Gelberg & Abrams, Pollack, Bloom & Dekom, Page Avjet Corporation—Wampum Industrial Facility, Pennsylvania Film Bureau & R.C. Staab, Florida Motion Picture & Television Bureau, Page America, Inc.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
26 Feb 1980.
---
Daily Variety
22 Oct 1984.
---
Daily Variety
22 Jan 1985
p. 1, 18.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 1985
p. 3, 14.
Los Angeles Times
16 Dec 1984
Calendar, p. 35, 48.
Los Angeles Times
4 Oct 1985
p. 4.
Movieline
12 Jul 1985.
---
New York Times
3 Jul 1985
p. 19.
Variety
18 Apr 1984.
---
Variety
3 Jul 1985
p. 16, 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
United Film Distribution Company presents
A Laurel Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Co-prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Best boy
Key grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Asst cam
Asst cam
Still photog
Still photog
2d unit cam, Florida unit
2d unit asst cam, Florida unit
Generator op, Florida unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst to art dir
FILM EDITORS
Ed asst
Ed asst
Ed asst
Negative matching
Negative matching
Negative matching
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Set dec
Set dresser
Weapons
Head scenic artist
Asst scenic artist
Head carpenter
Set carpenter/Draftsman
Carpenter
Carpenter
Prop asst
Prop asst
Prop asst
Prop asst
Const coord
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Asst cost des
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus comp & performed by
Mus prod
SOUND
Sd mixer
Daily sd transfers
Daily sd transfers
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
A.D.R. ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec
Re-rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Scenic spec eff
Matte photog
Opticals, Computer Opticals
Zombie background masks
Zombie background masks, THS Inc.
Zombie background masks, THS Inc.
MAKEUP
Spec makeup EFX
Makeup
Spec makeup Efx crew
Spec makeup Efx crew
Spec makeup Efx crew
Spec makeup Efx crew
Spec makeup Efx crew
Asst to Tom Savini
Makeup efx asst, Florida unit
Makeup efx asst, Florida unit
Makeup efx asst, Florida unit
Makeup efx asst, Florida unit
Makeup efx asst, Florida unit
Makeup efx asst, Florida unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod coord
Asst to the prod
Addl casting
Addl casting
NY casting assoc
NY casting assoc
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Scr supv
Prod controller
Asst auditor
Unit pub
Pub relations
Transportation coord
Loc scout
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod coord/Secy, Florida unit
Extras casting, Florida unit
Prod services, Florida unit
Prod asst, Florida unit
Prod asst, Florida unit
Prod asst, Florida unit
Prod asst, Florida unit
Prod asst, Florida unit
Prod asst, Florida unit
Prod asst, Florida unit
Prod asst, Florida unit
Prod asst, Florida unit
Prod asst, Florida unit
Dailies, Technicolor, Inc.
Insurance, Rogal Company, Inc.
STAND INS
Stunt coord
N.Y.C. Stunt League
Stand-in
Stand-in, Florida unit
Stand-in, Florida unit
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 July 1985
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 3 July 1985
Los Angeles opening: 4 October 1985
Production Date:
began October 1984 in Pennsylvania and Florida
Copyright Claimant:
Dead Films, Inc.
Copyright Date:
24 October 1985
Copyright Number:
PA281380
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
102
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In zombie-infested Florida, a rescue team led by a researcher named Sarah arrives by helicopter to search for survivors. Finding no one, pilot John flies them back to their base camp, a science facility within an underground mine. There, they worry about the security of their camp, and tensions escalate between the scientists and the military group assigned to protect them, led by Captain Rhodes. John tells Sarah they should fly to a tropical island and spend their remaining days enjoying themselves. When her military friend, Miguel Salizar, has a nervous breakdown and strikes her in the face, Sarah injects him with a sedative. Meanwhile, a scientist named Logan performs experiments on zombies to determine if they can be domesticated. Working with a zombie he calls “Bub,” Logan teaches the creature to speak. When he gives Bub an empty gun, Logan instructs the zombie to use it, and the scientist determines that Bub is remembering a past life in the military. Later, a man named Bill McDermott invites Sarah to his and John’s living quarters, dubbed “The Ritz” within the camp. There, John tells Sarah that her research is a waste of time, and they should go somewhere safe and start over. Later still, Miguel is bitten by a zombie, and Sarah amputates his arm to prevent him from becoming infected. When Rhodes attempts to kill Miguel, a standoff occurs, and Sarah saves her friend by promising to keep him separated from the others while he recovers. In the lab, Sarah worries about Logan’s sanity when she learns that he murdered one of the military men, then fed ... +


In zombie-infested Florida, a rescue team led by a researcher named Sarah arrives by helicopter to search for survivors. Finding no one, pilot John flies them back to their base camp, a science facility within an underground mine. There, they worry about the security of their camp, and tensions escalate between the scientists and the military group assigned to protect them, led by Captain Rhodes. John tells Sarah they should fly to a tropical island and spend their remaining days enjoying themselves. When her military friend, Miguel Salizar, has a nervous breakdown and strikes her in the face, Sarah injects him with a sedative. Meanwhile, a scientist named Logan performs experiments on zombies to determine if they can be domesticated. Working with a zombie he calls “Bub,” Logan teaches the creature to speak. When he gives Bub an empty gun, Logan instructs the zombie to use it, and the scientist determines that Bub is remembering a past life in the military. Later, a man named Bill McDermott invites Sarah to his and John’s living quarters, dubbed “The Ritz” within the camp. There, John tells Sarah that her research is a waste of time, and they should go somewhere safe and start over. Later still, Miguel is bitten by a zombie, and Sarah amputates his arm to prevent him from becoming infected. When Rhodes attempts to kill Miguel, a standoff occurs, and Sarah saves her friend by promising to keep him separated from the others while he recovers. In the lab, Sarah worries about Logan’s sanity when she learns that he murdered one of the military men, then fed him to Bub. When Rhodes discovers this, he shoots the scientist dead, takes Sarah and McDermott hostage, and orders John to fly him and his men off of the base. When John hesitates, Rhodes murders another scientist, and forces Sarah and McDermott into a zombie-infested tunnel. John fights Rhodes and goes after his friends. Elsewhere, Miguel returns above ground, and sacrifices himself to a swarm of zombies as he opens up the industrial elevator to allow the creatures into the camp. While the zombies overtake his men, Rhodes flees, and encounters Bub, who has freed himself and found a gun. As Rhodes tries to escape, the creature shoots him dead. Meanwhile, John finds Sarah and McDermott, and they make their way above ground. When Sarah reaches the helicopter door, a zombie lurches at her. Sometime later, she awakens on a tropical beach to see John and McDermott fishing in the ocean. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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