Cast members from Dawn of the Dead, from left to right : Tom Savini (make-up guru and biker gang member); Jim Krut (helicopter zombie); Leonard A. Lies (machete zombie); Sharon Ceccatti (nurse zombie); and Mike Christopher (Hare Krishna zombie)
Mike Christopher hamming it up for the fans.
Day three was dedicated to the Day of the Dead. I have to admit that for years this was my least favorite of the original Romero trilogy -- until I sat in on the panel. Listening to the actors discuss the movie and their interpretation of their characters was eye opening. This movie is much more than just a film about the zombie apocalypse and the total collapse of society. As described by the actors, the movie is also about each person's ability (or inability) to cope. Gary Klar, who played the bully Private Steel, discussed a nuance that I had never noticed before. Throughout the movie he's the muscle man for the military unit, threatening the civilians in almost every reel and venting his anger on the zombies, whom he despises with a vehemence bordering on irrational, until you feel his character has no redeeming quality. But in his final moments on screen, when he's about to be overrun by zombies and opts to take his own life rather than come back as one of them, Steel crosses himself with his pistol before eating a bullet, an act of religious piety hinting that maybe this man was once a descent guy in the pre-zombie days. (On a personal note, Gary is one of the nicest guys you can meet at these conventions. We had a sidebar discussion after the panel during which, after he learned about my own aspirations in the genre, he offered some unsolicited nut much appreciated support.)
Cast members from Day of the Dead, from left to right: Michael Gornick (cinematographer), Terry Alexander (John), Gary Klar (Private Steel), and Joe Pilato (Captain Rhodes).
A reproduction of the Dr. Tongue zombie from Day of the Dead on display in the exhibit room.