Wednesday, December 2, 2009

#415: Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Director: George A. Romero
Cast: David Emge, Ken Foree, Gaylen Ross & Scott H Reiniger

Soon after the events depicted in Night of the Living Dead, pandemonium has spread across the country. At a television station in Philadelphia, reporters have few facts to report on the cause of the reanimation of the dead. The traffic helicopter pilot, Stephen, decides to hijack his chopper and flee the city with his girlfriend, Francine. They soon encounter two SWAT team members, Roger and Peter, who are clearing out tenement buildings of the undead whose former families kept their bodies in the basement. The four find refuge in a barricaded shopping mall, awaiting for the day when it is safe to go leave the building.

This movie's got nothing on the original Night of the Living Dead. Romero toys with his work, making everything seem a-okay until somebody's head is blown off. It's never quite clear how comedic he intended the film to be, and it doesn't seem all that serious at all. Comparing this to Night of the Living Dead, where there is absolutely no hope left for the survivors, this film was a let down to me.

Only mediocre acting, horrible choices of music (which never help depict what should be dread), not such a great script... the only good thing was the depiction of disembowelment. I promise, my review (which I wrote last night) for Night of the Living Dead will be more positive.

Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):
  • Tom Savini chose a friend to play the helicopter zombie because he was notorious for having a low forehead.
  • Tom Savini used the same dummy throughout the course of filming. During that time it was blown up, burnt, shot, and beaten, among other things.
  • While writing the script for Night of the Living Dead (1968), George A. Romero and John A. Russo contemplated how they should have the zombies destroyed. Co-star and makeup artist Marilyn Eastman joked that they could throw pies into their faces. This is undoubtedly the basis for the pie fight scene in this film.
  • Director George A. Romero has said several times that David Emge's zombie walk is his favorite out of all the Dead movies. He has even gone on to go on to say that the performance is worthy of Lon Chaney.
  • SPOILER: Real cow intestines were used in the scene where Sledge (Taso N. Stavrakis) gets his guts ripped out. Tom Savini said that he lived near a slaughterhouse and that's how he got the idea to do the effect.

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