Day of the Dead's Happy Ending Wasn't Meant To Last
George A. Romero's work in the horror genre revolutionized everything from its themes to special effects. But this was best showcased in the Dead trilogy of Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead. However, the third entry may have offered the most, as it had some of the best special effects of the three. It also explored advanced themes of science vs. military strength and the idea that survival makes heroes and villains out of everyone.
While Day of the Dead ended on a high note for its heroes, Romero had other plans that never made it to the big screen. But the explanation for what happened to the protagonists set up a larger concept that established a unique idea. That idea was that humanity's doom was predicated on simple emotions that, if left unchecked, would lead to an inevitable end
What Happened After Day of the Dead's Ending?
Day of the Dead followed a scientist named Sarah who, along with others, lived in a bunker trying to research a cure for the zombie outbreak. However, as time progressed, the soldiers tasked with facilitating their research grew more restless until a battle broke out between both sides. In the end, the zombies they attempted to cure and keep out took over the base, with Sarah and two others escaping via helicopter as the soldiers became food. Before the credits rolled, the movie showed Sarah on a beach, seemingly ready to face a new day of opportunity, with or without a cure.
Hubris Was Always Humanity's Downfall
Day of the Dead had a subtle message regarding hubris and the idea that because humans were smarter than zombies, they could win. However, if that were the case, the dead wouldn't have overrun most of the world and endangered humanity. The movie proved that confidence in survival was a death sentence, even if its confidence in a brighter future. While optimism was a good thing, even Sarah showed that acceptance wasn't enough to survive.
Normalcy would never be attained in Romero's zombie apocalypse, and this was ultimately what killed the heroes of Day of the Dead. Their desire to return to a semblance of normalcy negated the natural dangers of the dead. While their numbers rose, survival lessened, and by trying to achieve a sense of peace, it made way for the unexpected.