Zombies are very hot right now – in terms of their popularity, at least; physically they seem to stay at around room temperature (well, depending on the version). The Walking Dead has remained one of the highest rated shows on AMC, and earlier this year we saw a zombie find love in rom-zom-com Warm Bodies. Zombieland got a TV pilot follow-up on Amazon (unfortunately it wasn’t very good), the undead were given a big-budget treatment in World War Z, and upcoming zombie movies include high school flick Detention of the Dead and the bizarrely-themed Cockneys vs. Zombies. Apparently you can drop zombies into just about any situation to spice it up.
Since zombies are in vogue, and horror movie remakes continue to spring up frequently within the genre, it was inevitable that another zombie movie remake would be on the way soon enough, and apparently that remake will be of George Romero’s 1985 film Day of the Dead.
Whereas Night of the Living Dead took place right at the beginning of the zombie plague, and Dawn of the Dead followed shortly thereafter, Day of the Dead is set in a time where virtually all human life (in North America, at least) appears to have been wiped out. Among the last few survivors are a team of scientists and soldiers who have been set up in an underground bunker and charged with finding a solution to the zombie problem.
The LA Times reports that Lati Grobman and Christa Campbell, two of the producers behind the Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot Texas Chainsaw 3D, have secured the rights to produce a remake of Day of the Dead, a mere five years after the last remake of the movie was released. The pair don’t have many specific ideas so far, beyond the fact that they want to “honor” the original movie.
Campbell assured Romero fans that:
“We want to keep it as close to the Romero version as possible, to make sure that his fans are happy. These are not going to be zombies climbing walls and doing back flips like in ‘World War Z.'”
Day of the Dead is interesting in the sense that, for much of the film, the zombies do not pose an immediate threat. They are either kept outside of the compound by a strong fence, corralled into cages or kept chained up in laboratories, where the scientists are able to dig into them with a clinical eye and begin to learn exactly how they function. The lead scientist, Dr. Logan, is even able to “tame” one of the zombies through behavioural conditioning.
The real villains of the tale are the soldiers assigned to protect the scientists – especially the hot-tempered Captain Rhodes, played in the original by Joseph Pilato – though there are still plenty of zombie attacks to keep fans of the genre happy. Day of the Dead also features a fantastic and extremely striking opening sequence, in which the characters head out in a helicopter to try and find survivors, and instead encounter nothing but a few alligators and thousands of zombies.
There is often an understandable compulsion to roll one’s eyes every time another horror movie remake gets announced, especially if the movie being remade is a classic. Carrie has already received the 21st century treatment, and will be out later this year, and Poltergeist is also being rebooted in the near future. In the case of Day of the Dead, those who admire Romero’s original trilogy might be a little more open to this news, since Zack Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead actually turned out to be one of the better horror movies of the last decade. With that in mind, it’s possible that a remake of Day of the Dead in the light of current social and political issues could actually bring something new to the table.
Whether or not it actually manages to do so will depend very heavily on who Grobman and Campbell hire to write and direct the remake. They plan to produce the film on a modest budget of between $10 and $20 million, but many great horror films have been made for a lot less than that.
Do you think that Day of the Dead could benefit from a modern remake, or would you rather see original zombie movies being produced? Let us know if you’re starting to get zombie fatigue in the comments.
Day of the Dead is in the early stages of production and doesn’t have a release date yet, but we’ll keep you up to date on any further details.
Source: LA Times