Dawn of the Dead (1978) Review

So when you have a horror masterpiece that is praised by critics and is changing the face of the horror genre? Make an even bigger and better movie ten years later with 1978’s Dawn of the Dead. I love this movie! It has everything from scares, laughs, likable characters, and social commentary. With no survivors from the last film and the zombie virus on the rise, humanity is struggling to subdue the world issue. Stuff immediately is plunged into chaos when a news station is going crazy and a SWAT team tries to bust criminals when they’re attacked by zombies. Four people, Peter, Roger, Francine, and Fly-boy, try to escape to Canada in a helicopter when they have to stop for fuel. After another zombie attack they eventually come across a mall. They decide to hide out there until they find a way to get north. This film is a complete masterpiece. At this point horror movies were cheap, sleazy, trashy movies. Though once in a while you’d get a great one like The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or John Carpenter’s Halloween most of 70s horror was bottom of the barrel crap. But this film was amazing. So let’s talk about what is great about this movie. The gore and effects have certainly gotten better from last time. With the master of gore, Tom Savini, doing the effects you know you’re in for something. Savini also plays the memorable character of a violent, machete wielding, leader of a motorcycle gang that wants to take over the mall from our main characters. This film is very realistic because if a zombie apocalypse were to happen, more than one group of people would want to hide in there. There is also a scene at an abandoned gas station when Peter gets attacked by two zombie children. Something that bothers me is that in other horror movies where people a killed left and right, nothing bad happens to children. Which is bull because in real life kids would be just a vulnerable as adults. But lets talk about the characters. My favorite is Peter, played by Ken Foree, who’s so tough that when he’s out of bullets he just kicks the zombies away. He also delivers the film’s tagline “When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth.” Also Roger who’s hilarious and say the line “We got this man, we got this by the ass!” The motorcycle gang also cracks me up. These guys break in the mall and start rioting. When our heroes start firing at them, one guy goes up to this other guy and says “What are doing fooling around when someones shooting at us?”, he’s just so restrained too. The one character that I don’t care about really is the female lead Francine. Though she’s not as bad as Barbara from the last movie she’s still flat and useless. There’s this one scene where Fly-boy [her boyfriend I may add] is being attacked by a zombie and she just stands there. Doesn’t help, run, or do anything about that zombie that was coming at her. It would have made more sense if she was getting attacked too but nope. And in this other scene where they’re trying to block the entrance so no more zombies come in the mall and she’s supposed to guard them from zombie attacks, she screws up again. Everyone knows that you need to destroy a zombie’s brain in order to kill it. However she doesn’t [even though she has a sniper-rifle] and Roger gets bitten and later has to be killed. I know you’d probably say she probably didn’t know but according to this movie the zombie rise is getting bigger and bigger everyday and everyone should probably know at this point because of the media’s exposure of zombies. But hey that’s enough of that. The Living Dead movies may be dark and grim, which the film is at times, but when they get to the mall it’s fun and entertaining. Just the thought of having a whole mall to yourself is inviting of fun ideas. Our characters take advantage of it by playing arcade games, going ice-skating, and fooling around the place. The main characters aren’t dumb, they’re smart, which us audience like them more. This is awesome and I would go as far as to say Dawn of the Dead is my favorite horror movie by for and I have George A Romero to thank for it. You don’t have to be in the Halloween spirit to watch this flick. It’s dark yet fun. Night of the Living Dead may have started it all, but Dawn of the Dead is the zombie movie by far! Oh and if you want my thoughts on the Zack Snyder remake, it sucks so bad.


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