BOOK REVIEW: The Making of George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead (2014)

By Nick Durham

The Making of George A. Romero's Day of the Dead
We all know who George Romero is, and we all know about his Dead movies. While Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead are the films that everyone rightfully recognizes as the benchmarks of the genre, Day of the Dead has often been relegated as that red-headed stepchild of his initial Dead trilogy (that's right, I said trilogy...I don't count Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, or Survival of the Dead much). Despite its initial lack of success with critics and audiences during its original 1985 release, the film has underwent a bit of reclassification in recent years, and is now recognized as practically being a classic of the zombie genre.

With all that in mind, here comes this super enjoyable book from Romero super-fan Lee Karr, The Making of George A. Romero's Day of the Dead. This book begins with a foreword from effects icon Greg Nicotero (who got his start in the business with this film working under Tom Savini) and continues with plenty of behind the scenes stories, anecdotes, rarely-seen photos, and material from the film's cast and crew. We learn of the trials and tribulations that Romero went through making this film, having been forced to slash his original script when discovering just how low-budgeted the film would end up being. Not to mention the fact that filming in an actual mine and the rotting guts used for Savini's landmark effects work making Joe Pilato (Captain Rhodes) require some quick hits of oxygen during his infamous death scene, just goes to illustrate how making these kind of films is no picnic (no pun intended). Hell, the book is a good reflection on the trials and tribulations of filmmaking in general, regardless of the genre.

If there's any drawbacks to The Making of George A. Romero's Day of the Dead, it's that I wish the book was hardcover. This is mostly a personal thing with me I guess, because I just like the way hardcover books sit on my shelf more than paperback ones do. Then again, after reading this thing cover to cover and paging through it again afterwards, it becomes really apparent that the book's binding kind of sucks. That doesn't speak to the quality of what's in these pages, but when the spine starts cracking that fast, that's not really a good thing is it?

Anyway, I've always tended to enjoy Day of the Dead a little more than I probably should, so seeing all these candid photos and reading about all this is a true treat for me personally. If you enjoy Day of the Dead and/or any of Romero's films at all, you need to check this book out as soon as you can. If you can get past the cruddy book binding, you'll enjoy what all you get here. That being said, check this out as soon as you can.

Rating: 4.5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee

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