George A. Romero had big plans for his third zombie movie. He wanted to create a mega epic masterpiece of horror but as he worked on the film, he had trouble securing the budget.
As the money dwindled Romero reworked the script, changing the scope until what was left was a smaller movie set mostly in an underground base. The result was a movie that initially was poorly received by fans of Romero’s two previous zombie movies Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead but has managed to find a following.
The film starts with a helicopter looking for survivors. The dead have taken over most of the cities. Returning to base empty handed are Lori Cardille, a scientist, Anthony Dileo Jr., a shell shocked soldier, Jarlath Conroy, a radio operator and Terry Alexander the pilot. The base is underground and a small group of soldiers are guarding an even smaller group of scientists who are trying to find a solution to the zombies. Joseph Pilato is the captain in charge and he’s reached his limit. They have a corral of zombies that the scientists need for research and the soldiers are getting tired of risking their lives for nothing.
Richard Liberty is the lead scientist and he thinks he’s found a solution. He’s managed to train a zombie named Bub (Sherman Howard) by positive reinforcement aka Bub does something human and he gets a bucket of body parts. Naturally Pilato doesn’t take it to well when he finds out.
The movie is better than it’s reputation. Critics like Roger Ebert hated it and it didn’t do too well at the box office either. It did have better success on home video. Romero started his zombie remembers past life motif here that he carried on with it 20 years later when he made Land of the Dead. He’s also currently exploring that theme in his current Marvel comic series Empire of the Dead though he’s thrown vampires into the mix too. This is a little slower and more talky than the rest of Romero’s Dead films but it’s still pretty entertaining.