Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dawn of the Dead (1978, George A. Romero)

What can I say that hasn't been said before? Anyone who knows anything about Zombie movies knows and loves Dawn of the Dead. I'll start out by saying that anyone who utters the phrase (or any variation of) "The Dawn of the Dead remake is better than the original" should receive a taser gun zap to the balls. No disrespect to Zach Snyder's re-imaging since it was much better than most remakes for a handful of reasons. But still, the original is untouchable. I watched this film back when I was in high school and it changed my life. It instantly became a favorite and will always be. I actually watched this for the first time during the same week long school vacation that I watched Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead, Evil Dead and Dead Alive, all for the first time. Definitely one of the greatest and most important weeks of my life.

The world is over run by zombies. Everywhere you go, you run the risk of being killed and devoured or being bitten and becoming a zombie yourself. Two SWAT team members, Peter (Ken Foree) and Roger (Scott H. Reiniger) meet up with Stephen (David Emge), a news helicopter pilot, and his girlfriend Fran (Gaylen Ross) who decide to steal a news chopper and escape from the madness. They aren't sure where they're going and run into many close calls when stopping for gas. They eventually see a large shopping mall and decide to stop and see what it can offer them. The group end up settling in the mall for the time being, creating a perfect utopia. Until their secret hideaway is disrupted...

Upon my most recent watch (probably time number 20 or so), my thoughts on Dawn of the Dead haven't changed. I think I may actually say with 100% certainty that Dawn of the Dead is my favorite movie of all time. Everything about it is great. The characters are some of the best dreamed up for any film, horror or otherwise. The special makeup effects, courtesy of Tom Savini, who also acted and did stunt work in the film, is unbelievably groundbreaking. I remember one of the key Zombie attack scenes towards the end of the film was like nothing I had ever seen before. It hooked (and nauseated) me instantly and sent me on a search for something as good or greater (which I am now convinced doesn't exist). The camera work, actors, the Mall setting... just about everything in this movie is impeccable. Go do yourself a favor and buy the 4 disc Anchor Bay Ultimate Edition and enjoy!


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