Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
Genre: Apocalyptic Action Drama Zombie Horror (USA, Italy)
Starring: Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger
Directed By: George A. Romero (Night Of The Living Dead; Land Of The Dead)
Overview: The Zombie Epidemic has just begun and four people take a helicopter in hopes of finding safety. When they stop at a shopping mall to stock up, they realize that this may just be the good thing they've been looking for.
Acting: Oh God it's terrible, but an endearing terrible! From time to time the tertiary characters just speak and move in a way that makes you wonder why they're there at all, but the kind of stuff you could get away with in the 70s, so it adds to the kitsch. The zombies shamble stupendously and the main characters, though not Juilliard-trained, are still fun to watch while waiting to see if they'll get eaten.
Cinematography: The best part of this movie: A body count of over 60. That means we see so many zombies get shot in the head that you lose count. That means we see so many people get eaten and bitten that we just watch the blood fly all over the place. There's little kids, a nurse, a baseball player, even a Hare Krishna with a tambourine going around trying to consume your flesh. A visual spectacle, and that scene where they rip open a man's guts while he shrieks? Hello, what are you waiting for?!
Script: "Shoot it, man! Shoot it in the head!"
Lord, this is full of quotable quotes, but more than that, this sequel to Night Of The Living Dead intelligently adds intermittent explanations as to what's going on and why. Scientists bicker while narrating theories, characters loose it and go off from time to time, and the black guy main character is full of sweet 70s urban lingo, sucka! Honestly one of the better horror scripts out there for a gorefest.
Plot: On top of everything else, there's a social commentary on consumerism. Thank you Romero, you subtext-rich genius! We have a helicopter pilot wuss, a couple of hard-core SWAT guys with a daredevil complex, one of which is the standard black guy who, as in all Romero films, acts as the voice of reason, and the classic 70s useless worthless twit of a woman who seems to add only the element of 'rescue my stupid endangered life', end up being far more useful than she starts of as. Nice entertaining mission-driven tale with a great gory ending.
Mood: The modern remake changed the universal rules and made everyone else pretty. Today's version sucks. You might not be terrified and nervous the whole time, I mean the acting and characters suffer just a little too much to be completely about engrossing terror, but there's such a unique flair to this film, and so much gore! You'll find this quite original in feel, especially when you add the quirky, fantastic musical score. As tales of zombie survival go, when you also learn a little about the world around you in their diverse little niches, context adds the element of a well thought out universe, a changing culture based on apocalyptic events.
Aftertaste: This is the kind of film that takes me back. When you were a kid and you watched the same movie over and over, because 'the Videostore' was not something your mom would take you to too often, so you watched the same five or six movies over and over. This was one of those for me. Pure childhood memorabilia. I can safely say this is my favorite Romero movie. It's just so awesome, and owning the soundtrack is pretty cool too.