Behind The Scenes Saturday: Day Of The Dead (1985)

Welcome back to Behind The Scenes Saturday! This week, I wanted to talk about Day of The Dead. It’s my absolute favorite zombie film in Romero’s original ‘Dead’ trilogy. The special effects were fantastic, I love the characters, and I think it was a great conclusion to the trilogy. Enjoy!

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  • For their services, the extras who played zombies in the film’s climax received a cap that said, “I Played A Zombie In ‘Day of The Dead’”. They also received a copy of the newspaper from the beginning of the film with the headline: “THE DEAD WALK”, and one dollar.
  • During a break in filming, Greg Nicotero (Johnson) used his realistic and gruesome decapitated-head prop to play a prank on his mother.
  • In the original script, the scientists lived above ground in a fortress protected by an electrical fence and the military lived safely underground. There was also a small army of trained zombies, and the film was supposed to be a more brutal conclusion of the original trilogy. Unfortunately, director George A. Romero couldn’t get the budget for all of this, so the ideas were scrapped and later used for Land of The Dead (2005).
  • Pittsburgh residents volunteered to help in the film and became zombie extras.
  • It’s rumored that Joe Pilato’s character in Dawn of The Dead (1978) was Rhodes as a cop. Fans concluded that Rhodes started as a cop, then joined the army and eventually became Captain. This theory hasn’t been proven or disproven, especially considering there’s no set passage of time between Dawn of The Dead and Day of The Dead. This fan theory is definitely possible.




  • During the first attempt to shoot the dream sequence where the zombie arms burst through the wall and attack Sarah (Lori Cardille), Lori stated that the prop wall fell and the actors behind it fell on top of her. The wall had to be rebuilt with more stability, and the scene had to be re-shot.
  • While filming the scene where Sarah chops off Miguel’s(Anthony Dileo Jr.) arm, her machete bounced off the fake arm because it was made of rubber. Special makeup effects artist, Tom Savini remade the arm with wax and it worked perfectly.
  • During the gory scenes, real pig intestines were used.
  • George Romero has a small cameo as a zombie who’s pushing a cart in the foreground during the climactic zombie feast. When you see him, you should be able to see his signature plaid scarf wrapped around his waist.
  • During the scene where Miguel is sedated, Lori Cardille told Anthony Dileo Jr. to actually slap her so the scene would be more authentic. 





  • Tony Todd auditioned for the role of John before it went to Terry Alexander.
  • In an interview, Joseph Pilato was asked if George Romero always had him in mind for Rhodes. Pilato stated that one of the reasons he got the role was because the film’s budget was scaled down from 7 million to 3.5 million dollars.
  • In the film, all of the military men have their beards grown out, except for Captain Rhodes. This indicates that the men gave up shaving a long time ago, but Rhodes still shaves to preserve his military look. It’s speculated that this is one of the signs that he refuses to face the reality of the situation. Of course, it could also just be attributed to Rhode’s military discipline.
  • While Rhodes is being torn apart by zombies, his famous line, “Choke on ‘em” was ad-libbed by Joseph Pilato.
  • Originally, all of the zombies were going to be destroyed in a massive explosion at the end of the film. Also, one of the crew members who died during the zombie mob attack was going to stay dead instead of turning into a zombie, which would’ve given us hope for the survivors.




  • The blood and guts used for the disembowelment of Rhodes were real pig intestines. At one point, the refrigerator that contained the blood and intestines was unplugged by custodial staff. This caused everything to spoil and most of those involved in the scene became physically sick.
  • This is the only film in Romero’s original ‘Dead’ trilogy to have a zombie speak a line of dialogue. Bub(Sherman Howard) says, “Hello, Aunt Alicia” during one of Logan’s(Richard Liberty) tests. Fans also believe that they can hear Bub say “I’m sorry” after startling Sarah at the beginning of the film.

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