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Film: Land of the Dead
aka: Landofthe Dead

Mike: "They're pretending to be alive..."
Riley: "Isn't that what we're doing? Pretending to be alive?"

Land of the Dead is the fourth movie in the "Dead" series written and directed by George A. Romero.

Set After the End (and years after the original Night of the Living Dead), Pittsburgh — through geographic blessing and a corporate leader's ambitious mobilization — has remained standing in the post-apocalypse. The rich get to live out their lives much like before, and the less fortunate at least avoid being attacked by the walking dead.

The movie focuses on a group of survivors that go out into zombie infested lands to retrieve supplies (sometimes vital, sometimes not) for a city that can no longer produce anything of any worth. Zombies following on from Romero's Day of the Dead have become smarter, aping their old lives remarkably well; led by a zombie known as "Big Daddy", a large group of the living dead attack the city en-masse, leading to the destruction of the civilised world as the very walls that kept the zombies away becomes their prison.

Had a Video Game tie in called Land Of The Dead Road To Fiddlers Green.

Tropes:

  • Action Girl: Asia Argento's character, Slack.
  • Anti-Villain: This film features perhaps the most likable and sympathetic zombies you'll ever see.
  • Apocalyptic Logistics: Luxury commodities desired by the tower's upper classes are still available, and even still marketable, despite the complete breakdown of all means of production. High-end alcohol and jewelry still fetch a higher price than canned food, even though they're scrounged in exactly the same way and the former aren't necessary for survival.
  • A-Team Firing: For trained soldiers and scavengers, they sure do waste a lot of ammo firing at the Stenches when one well aimed shot at the head would do the job fine.
  • A World Half Full: Interestingly, humanity and civilization survive in this zombie film.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: Charlie pulls this against a zombie.
  • Base on Wheels: A very small-scale example is the Dead Reckoning.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Kaufman and Big Daddy.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Riley and his crew pull one off at the end.
  • The Big Guy: Pillsbury. And how.
  • Boom, Headshot: But of course. A notable example isn't even on a zombie - it's on a fleeing midget, in the middle of a crowd, through a stand of bleachers.
  • Bury Your Gays: Once the Zombies make it to the city, who are the first people we see eaten? A pair of lesbians making out.
  • The Cameo: Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright briefly appear as zombies chained to a wall in a photo booth, where the living can have their pictures taken alongside them. Pegg bears a striking resemblance to Bub from Day. They also appear on the poster with Wright directly to the left of Big Daddy and Pegg at the right edge.
  • Continuity Cameo: Tom Savini reprises his role as the character "Blade" from the original Dawn of the Dead. Only this time, he's a zombie.
  • Catch Phrase Charlie has:" Just look at me/him you can tell..."
  • Chekhov's Skill: Big Daddy still remembers how to operate a gas pump, and the zombie butcher can still swing a cleaver.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Kaufman.
  • Death by Sex: With Les Yay, no less.
    • In a deleted scene, while a soldier is making out with his girlfriend in an alley way, they get distracted by the appearance of Big Daddy that they don't pay attention to the zombies surrounding them. Ironically, one of the intelligent zombies, the female that is holding hands with her lover, bit the soldier's lip off.
  • Death by Materialism: Kaufman, as well as many, many people in the tower.
  • Death by Racism: Kaufman repeatedly refers to John Leguizamo's character as a "Spic," which seems unnecessary given that his accepted handle is "Cholo."
  • Death from Above: After Kaufman refuses Cholo entry into the more affluent areas of Fiddler's Green, the latter steals the Dead Reckoning and threatens to lob rockets at the town unless Kaufman gives him a lot of money. Kaufman instead sends Riley and some others to either talk him out of it, or kill him.
  • Eat the Rich: Invoked. George A. Romero's zombie flicks tend to have an underlying social message, and in the case of this film, it concerns how the wealthy poorly treat the lower classes. When the flesh-eating undead horde siege the Fiddler's Green colony, although both rich and poor die in the onslaught, the more intelligent zombies' main targets are the upper-class establishment. Once they're wiped out the zombies withdraw, and the class system ceases to exist. It's revealed afterward that the majority of Fiddler's Green other residents have survived the zombie attack.
    • Note that this makes absolutely no sense, as the poor live in a large, open city with little but wooden doors and some inadequate fencing to protect them while the rich live in a large, solid building only accessible by (guarded and presumably locked) stairwells and elevators, and even the most intelligent of the zombies should have no clue that the rich people are the ones they should eat, but there was a point to be made, darnit.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Happens with some spirit of the trope Face-Revealing Turn mixed in. Late in the movie, an infected Cholo heads back to the city so he can kill Kaufman before he turns. When the two encounter each other, Cholo's face is hidden by shadows. After Kaufman shoots him a few times, Cholo finally steps into the light, and reveals that he's already turned into a zombie.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Continuing with the recurring theme of the series that humans are more of a threat to themselves than the Zombies, we have Kaufman, a racist, elitist Corrupt Corporate Executive, vs Cholo, a former lackey of Kaufman who steals the cities strongest means of defense, the Death Reckoning and threatens to turn its heavy firepower on them (and by proxy, devastate the city and its economy and certainly kill many bystanders in the process) all because Kaufman refused to allow him into the more prosperous parts of Fiddler's Green.
  • Eye Scream: One of the soldiers is unfortunate enough to have his right eye BITTEN OUT by the zombie invasion when the fence goes down.
  • Fan Disservice: Slack's introduction. She's wearing a Stripperiffic outfit, but she has to fight for her life from two zombies trying to eat her in an arena, and is clearly panicked out of her mind.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Worm by several characters throughout the film.
  • Friendly Sniper: Charlie and his trusty M1 Carbine.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Pillsbury.
    • You can make a good case that the zombies are the heroes of the movie.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Kaufman at the end when Big Daddy gets his payback.
    • Also, the soldier who prepares to toss a grenade at a cleaver-wielding zombie, only to have his hand chopped off and then fall on top of it so the grenade blows him apart.
  • Incongruously Dressed Zombie: Big Daddy gets his name from the patch on his distinctive denim outfit; there's also a clown, a cheerleader, an undead marching band (with instruments), and a young boy in an upper-class school uniform. An almost-headless zombie has a priest's collar around its nearly-severed neck.
  • It Can Think: The zombies are shown to have somehow become sentient enough to form a coherent group and fight against the human survivors.
  • Look Behind You: "Watch Out! Get Down! Quick!" as Kaufman executes the poor bastard trying to question why Kaufman is running off with all their money.
  • Meaningful Name: Paul Kaufman. The Kaufmann family is very prominent in Pittsburgh where the first Kaufmann's Department Store was before expanding into a long running chain and eventually being absorbed by Macy's. The name Kaufman literally means "merchant" in German.
    • And there is a mentally challenged man named Charlie
    • Also, Fiddler's Green, which is described in myth as an afterlife that has earthly pleasures, but isn't heaven. One poem places it "halfway down the trail to hell."
  • Mercy Kill: Big Daddy performs two: First on a zombie that has been reduced to a severed head (he smashes it), and then on a flaming zombie, who he shoots with a machine gun.
    • Slack also does this to Motown, one of Kaufman's officers, shooting her in the head while she's being bitten to spare her either being eaten alive or reviving as a zombie.
      • Subverted with Cholo.
  • Monster Clown: Randomly shows up when killing Mouse.
  • Not Using the Z Word: Zombies are referred to as "Stenches." The series tradition for this trope is, however, pointedly subverted by Kaufman, who uses the word while picking his nose.
    • The photo booth also averts it, having a sign that says, “Get your picture taken with a zombie.”
  • Papa Wolf: Big Daddy.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The zombie attack on the city is essentially Big Daddy avenging the scavengers killing several zombies at the beginning of the movie.
  • Scary Black Man: Again Big Daddy. Literally...
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Kaufman's butler abandons him during the zombie attack.
  • Storming the Castle: The zombies attack on Fiddler's Green.
  • Stab the Scorpion: While in the countryside, accomplished sharpshooter Charlie starts to menacingly point his rifle at Slack, but fires just past her ear. Then we see the zombie that was standing behind her fall to the ground.
    • Then humorously returned when Slack fires at a zombie just past Charlie's ear, nicking him in the process.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Pretty much everybody when outside of Fiddler's Green. You'd think that, years after the zombie invasion, people would have gotten more skilled at fighting them, even if only through sheer selection pressure. People still spray small-caliber rounds in the general direction of zombies that are only stopped by head shots, fail to properly clear out infested buildings, split up the gang etc.
    • Of particular note is the military guarding the Green. One of whom takes a clip and a half to kill an immobilized zombie. Another is in a guard tower when the zombie invasion occurs. He looks down, and sees his tower is completely surrounded by a mob of zombies. None of those zombies are even trying to climb up and get him. So what does he do? He fastropes down to the ground, and is immediately eaten.
    • Or Mouse for that matter. He's out on his own with absolutely no idea what might be near him and what does he do? He rolls around on his skateboard (not exactly the most practical vehicle when having to get away) while blasting heavy metal into his ears (because that will help him notice zombies).
    • In an overlap with Too Greedy To Live, Kaufman could have gotten away much sooner if he hadn't stopped to fleece the joint on the way out. Especially considering there was little-to-nothing outside of Fiddler's Green that would have made his plundered riches worth anything.
  • Took a Level in Badass: As a human, Big Daddy was nothing but a gas station attendant. After turning, he becomes the zombie equivalent of General Patton.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Nigh-unstoppable zombie hordes will stop in their tracks to watch "skyflowers" (fireworks). Subverted once the ability to learn starts spreading among Big Daddy's group.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Other than what's obviously happened from Night of the Living Dead.
  • Zombie Infectee: One of the Dead Reckoning Scavengers is quick to put a gun to his own head after he gets bitten. Cholo, after getting bitten, asks his subordinate to drive him to Fiddler's Green so he can take some zombie vengeance on Kaufman.


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alternative title(s): Land Of The Dead
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