Dawn of the Dead ('85)
Warnings: This review has been marked adult because of the amount of grue in the screen caps - not 70's era grue either - this stuff is really well done, by which I mean nauseating. If you have a special sensitivity to guts, you may want to not click the link.
Also - review is cap laden, and ergo dial ups may want to avoid clicking the link.
Spoilers, naturally, apply. I know I sometimes forget to include that, but it's always so.
Let's see - anything else... I don't think so, click away with your bad self.
Scene 16: Radio guy takes her out of the complex proper and into a cavern being used to store equipment. It's like a huge-ass natural garage. Out there, he and Pilot have a camper set up that they share, away from the army grunts. It's awesome. Out the back door of the construction office camper, they've set up chairs, and backdrop scene off a tropical island, fake plants - it's like a beach veranda. She and the Pilot talk, and he's able to draw out of her that she sort of resents him. She tells him that he was hired to do a job - which he points out is to fly the chopper and he does that as ordered - and that he consumes resources but refuses to help in anyway when he's not aboard the coptor. She also complains to radio guy/mechanic that he does the same thing - the bare minimum despite their dire circumstances.
That seems pretty rude, since they're sharing their stock of non-replacable brandy with her, but Pilot did insist that she get whatever she has on her mind out in the open.
Pilot laughs at her, but not unkindly. He points out the binder in front of him that has tax return data, census data, natural disaster reports and plans... the base they're in has a lot of records and lists and forms... much like all of her record keeping. And in the end, it matters not one whit. No one is going to see any of them, no one is going to care about what they've collected in the warrens of the place (or by extension what they're trying to do). He's a defeatist and tells her that they're 14-mile long prison is in point of fact, one large tombstone for them all. The implication is that he doesn't do more to help because it is all a wasted effort. They're, as a species, done. The only thing to do now, is to just exist with as little conflict as possible until the end comes for them in whatever form, too.
Creepily, from their trailer, who can hear the zombies off in the distant pen moaning and howling their need. Pilot tells Sarah that they've earned the curse of God, and there is no understanding it or reversing it. All they can do is maybe start over fresh by leaving the world as it was behind.
Commentary: He mentions maybe bringing babies into the world with other survivors, but it doesn't come across as if he's actually hitting on her. He also doesn't mention where they're supposed to find these other survivors, or how they're supposed to carry on when the world is filled with billions of undead (assuming that the majority of people have been infected rather than killed outright). This does make me think of pregnant Fran and Peter flying into the dawn sky on their low-fueled helicoptor and what happened to them, which makes me kind of sad, because I really wanted a follow up on them - a follow up in which they found a new mall, maybe, or some other enclave of survivors....
Scene 17: Later, back in a lab, Sarah is running blood samples. She leaves to get more aspirin and sees the lab with the agitated zombie. Inside other-scientist guy is swearing at it. He's trying to get the zombie to see canned beef as a substitute for them, but it isn't going very well. Sarah points out that they're not eating for the nourishment and asks what the point of the experiment is, to which Dr. Logan - entering - tells her that it is about tricking them into satisfying an urge. He explicates the point that "they are us".
He summons her and other-scientist guy to his surgery lab. Doctor Logan shows them Bub, still chained, but relatively calm. He goes up to a table in front of the zombie and lays out a series of objects in front of him. Bub picks up the razor and begins a series of jerking motions which simulate shaving, showing that he does possess latent memory of his time before he was a zombie. He next picks up a copy of "Salem's Lot" and after a brief preoccupation with the drop of drawn blood on the cover, opens it up and stares at the pages in simulation of reading. This excites Doctor Logan while Sarah and other-scientist watch fascinated.
Their welcomed sense of levity over Bub not being agitated and seeing Logan as lunch is somewhat marred by the arrival of Rhodes and Asshole. They enter the lab and Rhodes draws his pistol, but Doctor Logan tells him he need not worry. He calls everyone in to take a closer look at Bub, who remains docile and engrossed in the paperbook in his hands. Logan next gives Bub a disconnected phone which he also seems to remember, holding it up to his ear.
Rhodes drops the chart he was looking over and causes Bub to focus attention on him. As they stare at one another, Bub salutes. This causes Asshole to laugh his high-pitched laugh of assholishness, while Rhodes just seems incensed - which is really not a surprise. Logan tries to get him involved by saluting Bub back, but he won't, so Logan does and then hands over to the zombie Sarah's unclipped pistol.
Bub actually checks the chamber for a round, then points the gun at Rhodes and sizes him up. This should be sending chills through everyone, but it's only Rhodes that is bothered by this development (I'm on his side here, the fact that the zombies are remembering so much is not good - the fact they can learn to operate weaponry is even worse - which Logan apparently isn't considering the ramifications of). Bub squeezes the trigger and then looks at the gun again when it fails to discharge.
Now Sarah also is horrified. Other-scientist guy is shocked. When Rhodes raises his pistol at Bub's head, the zombie definitely reacts with aggressive fear. Before the Captain can shoot though, Logan steps into the way.
Scene 18: Back in the meeting room/mess hall, Rhodes is angry (again - he spends the whole movie yelling). Doctor Logan tries to convince Rhodes that this is the beginning of imposing some sort of civility on the walking dead - but his line delivery should make it clear that he's not exactly sane. This apparently has escaped everyone's notice until now, but other-scientist guy is looking at him like he's realized that Logan may have run off the rails. Rhodes is just... well, the same - belligerent, stereotypically martial, yelling....
Commentary: I really wish this character had been given some more shading, especially since I agree with him on his reaction to the zombie knowing how to work a gun, but since he spends the whole movie being borderline psychotic, it's impossible to sympathize with him at all. And, again, that just isn't a fair portrayal to the military - there isn't one of them that comes across as a sympathetic character.
Scene 19: We jump cut to some time later. Sarah and background soldier with the beard and blonde hair who I'd do in a second if I was trapped underground during a zombie-pocalypse with him are rounding up another subject-zombie from the corral. Steele, a.k.a Asshole is in charge of the operation and Miguel is there again handling the leading pole with the chain. Other background soldier is also there to lend his support, so one can presume that Rhodes came around to at least allowing borderline nutty Doctor Logan's experiment to continue.
This time the collar break allowing the housewife zombie her freedom and she immediately launches herself at background soldier with the greying hair. He gets throat ripped by her. Worse, as he is bitten, he squeezes the trigger of his semi and sprays bullets around. Both a second zombie is sprayed (all body shots, so useless) and the blonde-guy who I would have totally done. Blonde guy takes several to the chest.
Miguel freaks out, yelling that he didn't do it, while Sarah puts a bullet through housewife's head. Other zombie lurches toward him. He reacts by clubbing the guy with the pole and they both go down. The zombie (ironically) moves quicker, grabs Miguel's arm and tears a chunk out of it. Asshole jumps down and kicks zombie in the face and then puts a bullet through his head. Miguel stares at his chunk-missing arm and screams and screams.
Sarah tries to look at his wound, but Miguel runs off screaming with her following.
In the meanwhile, Salt-N-Pepper background soldier is struggling to breathe with a tore out trachea. As he slides to the floor, he begs Asshole to "take me" so that he doesn't become a zombie. Asshole raises his pistol. *BANG* And, he actually seems to feel real emotion about it, too. I mean other than laughing maniacally and being a unbearable jerk. Wow, is that tears in his eyes - yes, yes, it is.
Commentary: If only there had been more moments like this one - human moments, rather than all of the constant yelling and threatening. This is a great scene though because of the gruesome effects, including the head shot here, in addition to giving us real grief. Of course, background soldiers have been so far in the background that we can't feel the pathos that Asshole feels... this may have worked better if Little Shit bought it here, instead. Still, nice job on this whole scene.
Scene 20: Miguel has made it back to where Pilot and Radio Guy's construction trailer sits. Pilot helps Sarah grab the still screaming and fleeing Miguel. Sarah brains her ex-boyfriend in the back of the head with a large, heavy rock... TWICE. Unsurprisingly he's rendered unconscious.
Without a moment of hesitation, Sarah grabs a machete out of its holster that Pilot wears and chops off Miguel's arm. He grabs a tourniquet while she saws the blade through Miguel's arm to complete its severing. Next, she makes a torch while Radio guy grabs a can of gas. She uses the fire to cauterize the heavily leaking wound, while Pilot is applying as much pressure as he can.
Ew, God - Miguel wakes up as his arm stump is being severely burned.... *Urrggghh.*
In the meanwhile, Asshole can be heard shouting in the distance and getting closer. Pilot draws his gun and sends Radio guy to grab his. There is a stand off with Rhodes and Little Shit joining Asshole. They're there to shoot Miguel, but Sarah desperately tells them that she amputated and she thinks she got it in time. She adds that if she didn't, then she'll shoot him herself. Things get even more tense, as Asshole tells Sarah he'll cut right through her if she doesn't get out of the way, necessitating everyone pointing their guns at each other.
Rhodes calls his men off, but he also makes it clear that Miguel isn't to come back in the complex. He's also adamant that they'll get nothing else from him or his men and that he's destroying the other corralled zombies the following morning. After the army men walk away, finally, Sarah breaks in front of Pilot. He grabs and holds her while she shakes and sobs, which is a wonderful moment for the "stand off and not get involved" character of Pilot.
Scene 21: A bit later, they've gotten Miguel settled on a cot. Sarah tells the others that she has to go back to the lab for morphine. Radio Guy goes with her to make sure the Rhodes, Asshole and Little Shit don't interfere or get threatening with her (he has a sub machine gun which makes a pretty good deterrent). Pilot warns that he's only giving them half-an-hour to grab what they need and to return before he comes in after them.
Scene 22: Sarah loads up on medical supplies from Dr. Logan's lab, while Radio Guy finds a tape recorder of Logan's notes. He plays it while waiting for her. On the tape, Logan is clearly mad - talking to his dead mother and beating on one of the zombies. Radio Guy brushes against fresh blood from a sheet, and foolishly looks under it: It's the decapitated head of Blonde-Guy who I'd have done - and it's still animated!
Sarah flips out a bit, throwing the recorder onto the floor. She goes to put a pistol bullet in formerly blonde-background soldier's animated decapitated head, but Radio/Mechanic stops her as the noise will bring Rhodes and his remaining men right to them. He tells her that he thinks they should just take the coptor and get out of there before somebody else does.
Scene 23: In the hallway, they spy Dr. Logan going into a locked room. It is the room that contains Bub. We follow him as he carries a bucket into the room and greets Bub. Sarah and Radio Guy follow him and spy through the one way glass, listening as Logan speaks to Bub. He has Bub wearing a set of headphones and when he goes to take them off, Bub grabs and hold's his bloody sleeved arm.
There are really tense moments as we wait for Bub to take a chunk out of Logan's arm - even he looks worried for a minute, there. But Bub let's him go. When he does, Logan resettles the earphones and gives him a 'reward' by playing music. He then shows Bub how to turn the music on and off on the tape recorder.
He further gives Bub a 'reward' for pushing the play button -- the bucket contains internal organs, of course: Human internal organs.
Unfortunately, while Radio Guy and Sarah were busy being appalled by Logan's "reward system", Rhodes and his two men arrive and take them into custody. He grabs Logan as he exits and outraged asks him what he's giving Bub, though he clearly recognizes what the zombie is chowing down on. He is pissed (again).
Scene 24: Doctor Logan has pushed too far this time. He and the others have been marched to a storage closet where the body of decapitated, blonde-haired guy is lying. Asshole throws the doctor into the room with the corpse. Captain Rhodes cuts off the scientist's pleading by gunning him down. Now it's Rhodes turn to freak out a bit. Fisher (other scientist guy) comes in at the noise and he's grabbed up. With them is another army guy I don't remember seeing before? Maybe he was just another dialog-less background soldier and escaped my notice - anyway, Rhodes has three soldiers, not just Asshole and Little Shit. He orders the civilian's disarmed (which I would think would have been the first thing he did in Bub's observation room, but I guess not).
Scene 25: With the others having not returned, Pilot takes up a machine gun and goes after them, leaving Miguel to sweat and shiver on his cot. As soon as he's not under watch anymore, he gets a look of determination....
Scene 26: Pilot hears the sound of Asshole kacking, as he is wont to do and ducks behind some crates. He sees Fisher, Sarah and Radio Guy being marched in the direction of his trailer. The others remain at gunpoint. He tells them to "hold it right there" as he points his machine gun at them.
Rhodes tells Pilot that Logan is dead and that Fisher will be next if he doesn't throw down his gun. He surrenders. Rhodes tells him that he's piloting himself and his men out of the bunker, leaving the other behind. When Pilot refuses, he pulls the trigger, killing Fisher.
He next orders that Radio Guy and Sarah be thrown into the zombie corral. Even though Pilot immediately backs down, Rhodes raises the gate on Sarah and Radio Guy as the zombies in the corral close in on them. Pilot tries to bargain for their lives, but no deal. Rhodes is beyond reasoning, background guy is background so he's incapable of not following orders and Asshole and Little Shit have been even more repulsive than Rhodes since the beginning.
He's ordered to get his shit together and then they're getting out. Pilot acts like he's going to cooperate under duress, before charging background guy and grabbing at his gun. The other raise their own, but Rhodes orders Pilot not to be shot, as they need him. Pilot was right when he warned Sarah that he's the only one that truly has immunity. Pilot is able to wrestle the rifle from Background, but drops it and gets his pistol drawn on him instead. He's once again relatively helpless, except for his not-doing-much-good bargaining power.
Rhodes orders Asshole to knock him around until he comes to his senses.
Scene 27: In the meantime, Sarah and Radio Guy have decided that they have to run past the closing zombies deeper into the caverns to find an alternate way out. Radio Guy isn't confident in their chances, but Sarah has pointed out that if they stay in their box, they'll get ripped apart. He grabs a slab of wood to use as a club.
They run off with Rhodes taunts.
Scene 28: In the meantime, with Asshole closing in on Pilot, he punches out Background Guy. Asshole punches on Pilot a bit. Rhodes tells him the other two are gone now, so he should just take them out of there, but he refuses. Another pounding is preempted by the sounds of the elevator leading to outside echoing in the chamber....
Rhodes sends Little Shit and Asshole to check that out, while he holds his gun on Pilot. Background Guy is still knocked out from the punch.
Scene 29: Outside, Miguel has truly lost his mind now.
Scene 30: Meanwhile, back with Bub, he's investigating his chain holding him to the wall. He's yanks on the pin and realizes that he's now free to wander....
Onto Part III