10/15/2020 DAY OF THE DEAD (1985) The zombie apocalypse in Dawn of the Dead (1978) continues in South Florida years later. The search for additional human survivors in the cities turns up nothing yet again. A group of scientists and military personnel work together to find solutions. Much of the time is spent down under as in an underground bunker. Very little to get optimistic about though. Nicknamed "Frankenstein" by his peers, Dr. Logan (Richard Liberty) estimates the zombie population outnumbers the living 400,000 to 1. Supplies including ammunition are running low. Stress levels are off the charts. This is helped in no way by the volatile Captain Rhodes (Joe Pilato) who assumes command following the death of Major Cooper. Fearless scientist Sarah (Lori Cardille) works extra hard along with her inner circle in the fight for survival. The biggest question for the moment might be how long before the undead penetrate the safety of their bunker? For the third film in George Romero's living dead series there is an overwhelming sense of dread and urgency in a claustrophobic setting. There is a stark contrast from the camaraderie found in Dawn of the Dead where the four central characters really stuck together. Nearly everyone hates each other spending ample time hurling F-bombs and pointing guns at one another. Would have preferred to see some additional above ground action. The little we do get in that regard is cool with some alligators seen in the city streets overrun by zombies. Budget cuts must not have helped. Much of that money no doubt went to special effects. Tom Savini displays some of his finest work in that department with plenty of content still packing a punch today. Sherman Howard is terrific as Bub, the focus of Frankenstein's controversial zombie experiments. Lori Cardille shines as a strong heroic lead. Joe Pilato is arguably one of the best villains in the Romero universe with his scumbag portrayal. We got to meet cast members from Day of the Dead years ago at a horror convention. Lori and Joe were by far the nicest, with Pilato loudly getting into character and reciting some of his memorable dialogue uncensored. Enjoyed revisiting this while waiting patiently for the Second Sight release of Dawn of the Dead. THEY LIVE (1988) A drifter called Nada (Roddy Piper) finds his way to Los Angeles looking for construction work. Landing a gig he meets another down on his luck dude named Frank (Keith David). Both of them bunk down in a homeless camp across from a church which serves as a secret meeting ground for an underground resistance. A turning point occurs when Nada one day discovers sunglasses with special abilities. Wear these and your world view changes dramatically. All the colors of the environment are now seen in black and white, subliminal messages to control the masses are everywhere, and most alarmingly a significant percentage of the population are alien creatures trying to disguise themselves as humans. A resistance leader named Gilbert (Peter Jason) has bigger plans for the construction duo in their organization. I acknowledge that They Live is much more of a science-fiction adventure than horror, but just felt inspired to watch this with the U.S. presidential election drawing near. 32 years later, director John Carpenter's film feels perhaps even more relevant today given the current toxicity of politics in this country. High unemployment, a vanishing middle class, police brutality, violence in the streets, and dissenters labeled as terrorists are onscreen in the feature while reflecting much of the madness of 2020. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper is my all-time favorite wrestler. Nada was a great fit for his ring persona. The dialogue delivery and improvisation comes naturally with all of the wrestling interviews and storylines he was so famous for. The extended alleyway brawl with Keith David is a highlight. Piper credited Keith David years later as being tougher than a number of his WWF foes. Meg Foster doesn't get a lot of screen time but makes the most of it in her pivotal role as a cable television employee. Carpenter regular George Buck Flower gets more than his usual cameo. While it's rather shocking how his character "drank the Kool-Aid" later on, it's a nice change of pace to see George with a role of more substance. Still unsure how I would rank my favorite John Carpenter films, but They Live would probably sit near the top for me personally.