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Day 27: 'George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead'

After nearly losing it during my last solo outing at the Nuart (the nightmarish preview of The Cremaster Cycle, as the tag line says, "sticks in the craw"), I almost chickened out before I reached the theater for today's screening of George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead.

Thankfully, my friend Robert volunteered to face down the undead so I wouldn't have to go it alone. It's amazing what company can do for you at a horror movie. See it alone and even the most tepid B-thriller can give you the chills. Bring a buddy and all of a sudden the intentional – and unintentional – laugh factors become readily apparent.

As far as scares go, Romero's sixth movie in his "living dead" series – set on a remote island and concerning an ongoing battle between two clans, a bunch of zombies and some National Guard folk – is about as terrifying as one of those "World's Deadliest Grizzly Bears" specials. You really only skip a heartbeat at the "jump" moments (enhanced here by the requisite sound effects…I counted four altogether). The rest of the time, you grin – or grimace - at the over-the-top blood, guts and dining on human entrails.

Like I mentioned, if I'd been watching it alone, it may have creeped me out…I remember another friend used to brag about growing up on an isolated farm and getting a kick out of watching A Nightmare on Elm Street in his basement when no one was around for miles. For me, the only time I'm watching Freddy, Jason or Romero's zombies is if I'm in a crowded theater or on my iPod at the beach.

Survival doesn't come close to the director's seminal works Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. There's nothing new to see here, but I do applaud Romero for his uncanny casting of a lead who walks the fine line between near-competence and abysmal line readings. Alan van Sprang's Sarge is the anti-John Wayne and his narration is fantastic hokum. His and Romero's awkwardly delivered message about flag mongering and teaching zombies a new way of digestion could be lost in translation, but it won't stop fans from getting a stomach's worth of down and dirty cheap thrills...

What do you think? Up for some Romero? Or have you had your fill already? Let me know which Romero classic you favor in the poll and comments below...

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