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as of: 10/17/06

Dawn of the Dead (1978)



out of 10


George A. Romero


David Emge .... Stephen
Ken Foree .... Peter
Scott H. Reiniger .... Roger
Gaylen Ross .... Francine


For those of you who don't know, I absolutely LOVE Romero's zombie films.  So much has been said about this classic horror film that I cannot really add anything unique, so I'll just cover the basics.  Romero's Dawn of the Dead is set in late 1970's America, several years after the initial zombie outbreak seen in Night of the Living Dead.  Francine (played by Gaylen Ross) works at a TV station in Philadelphia with her helicopter pilot boyfriend Stephen (David Emge).  As the movie opens, the station is trying to continue broadcasting amidst the chaos of the massive zombie attacks.  Peter tells Francine that they are leaving late that night on the helicopter and tells her not to be late.  Soon we cut to a SWAT team attack on a building in the ghetto where residents have holed up.  We meet Peter and Roger, a black and white member of the SWAT team respectively, who end up forming a sort of bond in the frenetic attack on the building.  It turns out Roger is a friend of helicopter pilot Stephen, and he invites Peter to go along as well.  These four characters do end up leaving on the helicopter at the assigned time, eventually ending up at a shopping mall.  They had originally intended to pick up some supplies, get some rest, and keep on moving.  However, the short stay turns into an extended one as they realize the large number of readily available supplies available to them.

This movie is as renowned for its social commentary on consumer based society (i.e. we are all zombies when it comes to shopping) as it is for its zombie elements.  Tom Savini makes an appearance as a member of a motorcycle gang later in the film.  The four actors listed at the top of this page are all excellent.  They carry the film on their backs and we as viewers owe them a lot of credit for doing so.  Romero is at his zombie best here, though the aging effects on the zombies (done by Tom Savini) don't hold up too well today.  That is literally the ONLY critique I have of this movie.  Dario Argento was involved as the producer for his friend Romero, and Goblin does the soundtrack.  Horror fans know Goblin for their work on Argento's classic flick Suspiria.  There really isn't much more I can say that hasn't been said ad nauseum.  If you are a horror fan, RUN to the nearest store and pick up the Anchor Bay Ultimate Edition you see above.  Dawn ranks second only to the classic Night of the Living Dead in my mind as far as zombie films go.


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