Dawn of the Dead
Dir: George A. Romero. Starring Gaylen Ross, Ken Foree, David Emge & Scott H. Reiniger. 1978
George A. Romero returned to the familiar shambling grounds of his groundbreaking Night of the Living Dead (1968) with a more openly satirical, day-glo splatter fest. The hype when Dawn of the Dead was released was astounding. A full-page ad in Rolling Stone magazine promised: “There is no explicit sex in this picture. However, there are scenes of violence which may be considered shocking.” And at the time, boy, were they! Unfortunately, the under-age me saw the cut Canadian version at my local theatre. Images in the first issue of Fangoria, however, let me know what I was missing. Seen uncut, Tom Savini’s effects give guts to the film’s plot, which, by now, is the stuff of legend: Zombie plague survivors take sanctuary in an abandoned shopping mall where the dead return out of mindless habit. Obviously, Romero was giving us the last word in consumerism, but he had even more on his politically-oriented mind. Romero frequently anchors his films with strong female and African-American characters, as evidenced in this, the ultimate zombie flick.