(The original script)
by George A. Romero
THE EMPTY STREET OF A CITY - DAY
No people. A FEW CARS
AND TRUCKS are parked at odd angles, abandoned. A TITLE FADES IN, one phrase at
SINCE THE DEAD FIRST
2 EXT. THE CITY - DAY
We hear THE SOUND OF A
STRONG WIND. DEBRIS flutters through the streets. A LARGE ALLIGATOR slithers
into frame, stops and looks around.
MONTAGE: as MORE GATORS
explore the empty streets, knocking over GARBAGE CANS, upsetting the MANNEQUINS
in A DEPARTMENT STORE WINDOW. A GATOR crawls out through the open doors of AN
ABANDONED BANK. LOOSE BILLS are dragged along under the animal’s tail. They
flutter away on the WIND.
3 EXT. THE CITY - DAY
GATORS crawl over A ’79
CADELLIC. A FEMALE SKELETON sits slumped over the steering wheel. In the back a
BABY’S BONES are strapped into AN INFANT’S SAFETY SEAT. One of the gators
THUMPS its tail maddeningly against the windshield. ANOTHER TITLE APPEAR:
FLORIDA - 1987
4 EXT. THE CITY - DAY
CLOSE ON A SECTION OF
PAVEMENT as we hear THE SOUND OF SLUGGISH FOOTSTEPS approaching. A SHADOW
appears at the bottom of the frame. It gets longer and takes on the shape of a
TIGHT ON THE AFTERNOON
SUN, blinding us. Into the FOREGROUND lurches THE FIGURE which cast the shadow.
Glare obscures all facial detail until the head jogs into position directly in
front of the fiery ball in the sky. Then we see its hideous, dead eyes, its
blue-grey colour, the blackened wound where a large portion of jaw has been
ripped away. This is a ZOMBIE! A MUSIC CHORD SOUNDS and THE MAIN TITLE APPEARS:
DAY OF THE DEAD
5 EXT. THE CITY - DAY
HEAD CREDITS ROLL over A
MONTAGE: the CITY STREETS are now populated by the WALKING DEAD. In every
shape, size and colour they wander, without purpose, up and down the avenues,
in and out of buildings. The city is theirs, they have inherited the place.
Man, in his human form, seems to be gone.
As the CREDITS END, we
6 EXT. A MAIN STREET - DAY
We are looking down from
a HIGH ANGLE. The corner of A TALL BUILDING is in the FOREGROUND. A CORPSE is
dangling from A NOOSE. It’s been dead for some time. It’s mostly bone now, its
blackened flesh picked clean by scavenger birds and harbour rats. A SIGN flaps
against its chest cavity. Its hurriedly scrawled message reads: TAKE ME, LORD!
I LOVE YOU!
THE ROPE BREAKS suddenly
and THE CORPSE FALLS out of frame.
7 EXT. THE STREET - DAY
We’re at GROUND LEVEL
now...SMACK!!! THE CORPSE HITS THE PAVEMENT and SHATTERS as though made of potter’s
clay. BONES bounce over a wide area. THE SIGN is carried off by the WIND.
8 EXT. AN ABANDONED
MARINA - DAY
THE SIGN gallops across
the grass of A HARBOUR PARK towards the water where A FEW DERELICT BOATS sway
in the WIND.
Slowly, THE SOUND OF A MOTOR
9 EXT. THE MARINA
(CLOSER ANGLE) - DAY
A FISHING BOATS, old and
sea-worn, chugs into the harbour.
10 EXT. THE MARINA (CLOSE ON THE FISHING BOAT) - DAY
There are people on
board, THREE MEN AND TWO WOMEN. They look like guerilleros from somewhere in Latin America. They’re heavily armed, unshaven, covered with months worth of jungle crud.
They are obviously exhausted. They gaze up to the city. Their deep-sunken eyes
are too war-weary to show much emotion but we can read their despair.
Another dead place. I tol’
you. Let’s get out to the islands.
The radio signals were
coming from this area.