133 of 147 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2004
Its about time. What more can we say? Anchor Bay has decided to release its ultimate DVD edition of George A. Romero's epic Zombie film, Dawn of the Dead. Here are the specs.
DISC 1: The origian unrated director's cut. NOT THE EXTENDED EDITION, which is not truly Romero's director's cut. This disc includes commentary with George Romero, Tom Savini, and Chris Romero along with Theatrical trailers and radio spots.
DISC 2: The extended edition, often mistaken for a 'director's cut.' This disc includes an additional 12 minutes of glorious footage. Also includes commentary by producer Richard Rubinstein, who also helmed the recent Dawn of the Dead remake. The disc has a commercial for the Monroville Mall and a memorabilia gallery.
DISC 3: The Dario Argento cut. This version of the film has less humor and more drama, released in Europe with additional music from Goblin. This version includes commentary by all four stars of the film.
DISC 4: This disc contains several documentaries including the all new THE DEAD WALK (75 min) and the classic DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD; a feature-length documentary shot during the making of Dawn of the Dead. This disc also includes home movies from the set and a tour of the Monroeville Mall with actor Ken Foree.
Buy this DVD set, you won't be sorry. Even if you haven't seen the film, for any zombie fan, this is a must own.
132 of 147 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2004
Zombie movies. Lots of "serious" types look down on them. That's a shame, because some of them are really first-rate films. Dawn of the Dead, the middle film of George Romero's "dead" trilogy, is a case in point. You want zombies, we got your zombies RIGHT HERE! You want blood? Guts? Flesh eating? Oh boy, does Dawn of the Dead ever deliver!
And then it does something really unique - it also delivers drama, engaging characters with realistic delimmas, a smartly crafted story, and a heavy dose of dead-on social satire. And did I mention that it's just flat-out scary as hell, too?
There is one scene in particular, toward the beginning, that still haunts me - twenty some-odd years after I first saw it. The National Guard has been called in to clear a tenament building. In the basement, they find a cage where the dead have been locked away. The simple, unsettling music of Goblin rises on the soundtrack, underscored by a heartbeat-like bass drum. There are the zombies, many in death shrouds, feasting on body parts. Guardsman Peter Washington (Ken Foree) steps into the nightmare with a pistol to dispatch the zombies with bullets to their heads. The whole thing takes on a surreal, hellish texture, like a Bosch painting. Foree's performance is striking - he is truly IN THE MOMENT, as they say, without a hint of the winking self-awareness we see in other genre flicks. If the dead really started coming back to feed on the living, this is exactly what it be like. This is the toll it would exact on people trying to grapple with the situation.
Yet, in a way, Dawn of the Dead IS self-aware. It knows when to step back, too, and admit that it's playing with you. Another scene, of this sort, occurs when we see a group of rednecks hunting the shambling corpses as though they were deer. They sip coffee from thermoses, pass sandwiches around, and banter about their accuracy with their rifles. It's a very funny bit, in part because it's so deadpan.
Those are just two favorite examples. There is much, much more to this film, and almost all of it works beautifully. Even the sometimes obviously low budget and gleeful use of library stock music doesn't hurt. Romero turns these limitations to his advantage, by making them serve as searing comments on mass media, consumerism, and pop culture.
Performances by David Emge, Scott Reiniger, and Gaylen Ross are worthy of mention, too. They play real people in an extraordinary situation, rather than two-dimensional horror-movie characters.
Dawn of the Dead schlock as high art - complex, funny, scary, and engaging. And thank goodness it's coming back to DVD, because it's one worth watching over and over again.
73 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2005
"Shop 'til you drop" takes on literal form in "Dawn of the Dead", Splattermeister George Romero's 1978 magnum opus of the flesh-eating Living Dead. "Dawn" rightly deserves its title as the 'Mount Everest of Zombie Movies'.
The Zombie Apocalypse is all George Romero's fault! And if Grandmaster Romero let the Walking Dead out of their tombs with the groundbreaking "Night of the Living Dead", he gave the zombies the keys to the kingdom in this flick, which laid down all the rules for a Zombie Apocalypse and how to survive It---and, interestingly, managed to break many of them.
Rule #1: AIM FOR THE HEAD!: When "Dawn" opens up, Philadelphia is in its death throes, though the city doesn't know it yet.
The plague of flesh-eating monsters rising from their graves to devour the living has spread from the countryside to the big cities like a firestorm. The slightest scratch or bite causes infection, the infected die horribly, and then return to Life, hungry for the flesh of the living, a mindless Zombie.
Rule #2: THE CAVALRY AIN'T COMING. Things go down and go down hard in the housing project: faster than you can say "tastes like Chicken", SWAT troopers Peter (the great Ken Foree) and Roger (the underrated Scott Reiniger) get outta Dodge with traffic reporter/helicopter pilot Stephen (David Emge, hereafter known as "Flyboy") and Flyboy's girlfriend, Fran (Gaylen Ross).
When the Going gets Tough, the Tough go Shopping.
Rule #3:HE WHO GOES "YEEHAWW" HAS A HALF-LIFE MEASURED IN NANOSECONDS. Romero moves at a taut, brisk pace, letting the feeling of impending doom sink in, the sense of increasing wrongness, all underscored by the brooding, thudding, unearthly pulsing of the Goblin soundtrack.
What's interesting about "Dawn of the Dead" is just how much of a collaborative effort it really was: "Dawn" reprised the team that had helmed "Martin": Mike Gornick on the camera, Romero calling the shots, John Amplas (who played the young vampire Martin) running casting (and who gets gunned down as a rooftop gangsta in a quick cameo), and special spatter effects guru Tom Savini finally strutting his stuff (and getting in some quality screen time with a machete, to boot).
Some have criticized Romero & Crew for lacking artistry in their cinematography, but think about it: "Dawn" was still a low-budget family affair, and Romero's best work has always had an edgy, guerilla feel. But the new print is gorgeous, and clear up any questions about Romero's genius: there is some beautiful stuff here.
Take the scene with the helicopter lifting off against a dying Philadelphia skyline---with the lights in the floors of one skyscraper winking off, bottom to top, floor by floor. Or the nerve-jangling cat & mouse game between Flyboy and a zombie in a darkened engineering room. Or the sere beauty of a Mall parking lot overrun with the Dead hankering for that Blue-light special on human flesh, Aisle 9---all of this lends a brooding, sick, rotten atmosphere to "Dawn". It works in spades, and it's gorgeous, too.
Rule #4: THEY'RE DEAD, THEY'RE ALL MESSED UP. Yes, Romero laid down the "Rules" of the Zombie apocalypse. They move at a lumbering crawl, you put `em down with a blow or bullet to the head, they don't use tools, they're deadly but stupid, they can't learn. Purists judge a remake, or any Zombie flick, according to the rules of the Romero canon.
But take a look at "Dawn" and you'll find something interesting: Romero proceeds to violate---or toy with---nearly every rule about the Living Dead he put forth. You think turbo-zombies first showed up in "28 Days Later"? Not so: zombie kids in an abandoned airport charthouse charge at Ken Foree like they've got a Delorean in their tushses. Zombies can't use tools? Seems one of them finds a wrench very handy in breaking a truck window to take a chomp at Roger.
Rule #5: NO GUTS, NO GLORY. If you love "Dawn of the Dead", you *must* pick up Anchor Bay's lovingly assembled "Ultimate Edition". First off, the print is gloriously restored: the colors are so intense and the picture so clear that "Dawn" looks like it could have been shot yesterday---long gone are the days of cheapo full-screen VHS copies that made early versions of "Dawn" look like porn.
There are four DVDs, tricked out in red and black and handsomely mounted in a glossy package crammed with goodies (including the shot-for-shot comic---nothing special in itself, but a nice addition). You get commentaries with everyone, the original 'Making of' Documentary, a brand-new documentary made especially for this edition, even a creepy commercial for the Monroeville Mall.
The real treasure trove here is the ability to watch all three versions of the movie: the original US theatrical cut (the best, in terms of pacing and atmosphere), the Extended version (featuring a tense and effective stand-off at the Phillie docks), and the shorter European version. It's intriguing to compare how editing and music can radically alter a film: in the Euro version, we have much more of Goblin's soundtrack---but everything feels off, not nearly packing as much punch.
Rule #6:DON'T GET TRAPPED IN THE BASEMENT. Time has been kind to "Dawn of the Dead" and George Romero; justly so. "Dawn" is a deliciously wicked little jewel of a movie, one I can watch over and over again. The consumerist angle, done to death my movie critics, is a little much: Romero filmed the flick in the Monroeville Mall because it was cheap, not because he was making a scathing commentary about American consumerism.
Then again, maybe it is a movie about the extremes of Consumerism: the Zombies have risen again as the ultimate consumers, after all.
They now consume our Flesh.
40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2004
Hey all, Dawn of the dead is coming out in a 4 disc special edition. Before I tell you the features i'm going to tell you what I though about the movie. It's a classic. The movie had good special effects and a great story line. This movie and the other Night and Day will remain classics throughout history. Overall i give this movie 5/5. The story is a group of swat officers take refuge in a shopping mall during a zombie epidemic. The differnece is in this one from the new one is they could leave at will. They had a helicopter and everything! I'd be in paradise if i was them. I won't ruin the rest but it was a good movie, now here are the special features.
Disc One: Theatrical Cut with an anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1), DD5.1 and 2.0, DTS 5.1 Surround, audio commentary (George A. Romero, Tom Savini and Chris Romero, moderated by Perry Martin), George A. Romero biography, poster & advertising gallery, comic book preview, trailers, TV and radio spots.
Disc Two: Extended Cut with an anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1), DD Mono, audio commentary (Richard P. Rubinstein with Perry Martin), Monroeville Mall commercial, memorabilia gallery and production stills galleries.
Disc Three: European "Zombie" Cut with an anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1), DD5.1 and 2.0, audio commentary (David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger and Gaylen Ross), Dario Argento biography, international lobby card gallery, international poster & advertising gallery, international pressbook gallery, home video & soundtrack artwork gallery, international trailers and UK TV spots.
Disc Four: "The Dead Will Walk" all-new 75-minute documentary (featuring interviews with Claudio and Dario Argento, Pat and Tony Buba, Zilla Clinton, David Crawford, David Early, David Emge, Ken Foree, Michael Gornick, John Harrison, Clayton Hill, Sharon Ceccatti-Hill, Jim Krut, Leonard Lies, Scott H. Reiniger, George and Chris Romero, Gaylen Ross, Tom Savini and Claudio Simonetti), "Document of the Dead" documentary by Roy Frumkes, On-set home movie footage (with audio commentary by zombie extra Robert Langer) and a Monroeville Mall tour with George A. Romero.
Great special features HUH? :) i hope you buy this dvd and add to your collection. I also hope they do this with night and day also.
135 of 170 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2004
3 stars for this DVD's features, 5 stars for the movie itself.I am being blunt and to the point to the fans. This DVD sounds to me, like a half-fast rushed job, to get something on the shelves before the popularity of the new Dawn movie takes off, which is due to be released soon. Don't allow yourselves to be sucked in by simply a remastered version (I know it's hard).
If you're a real fan like me, you will wait for the directors cut later on this year, with all the bells and whistles that you've been dreaming of. I've seen both versions and the directors cut is the only way the movie should be viewed. The theatrical version is rushed. You may think an extra 20 minutes or so is no big deal, but try to think how many little scenes you can cut out of a movie, with 20 minutes.
Trust me, the bells and whistles of the 2 DVD disc set are not to be missed. I have Dawn on my old Laserdisc (It was a total of 4 laserdiscs in a big box and the only way I will watch this classic) and it has most these bells and whistles that i'm speaking of. It has the full original script, with the original "Suicide Ending" that was rewritten. It also has things like the commercials, the board game, the floor plans of the mall and interviews to name a few. I'm telling you, you will kick yourself for not waiting.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2012
The 2 star rating is not for this classic film itself, which is arguably the greatest zombie movie ever made. It easily warrants 5 stars as far as I'm concerned.
This is just regarding this Blu-ray release. With the 4 disc Ultimate Edition(and believe me, it lives up to that title) available, this Blu-ray release is in many ways inferior right out of the gate due to it being just the theatrical cut of the film and some of the bonus features ported over from the Ultimate Edition with absolutely nothing new thrown in the mix. Naturally the movie does look better on Blu-ray in native 1080p, but frankly the DVD version looks damn good upconverted through a Blu-ray player anyway. Not to mention there's not much else you can do to improve the picture quality on 30+ year old low budget horror movie like this. It's hardly going to be a tech demo for high definition video like a newer 200 million dollar CGI action fest will be. Frankly, this is the problem with a lot of these Blu-ray releases of catalog films. Often they look so good on a DVD upcoverted through a Blu-ray player there's little incentive to upgrade to the Blu-ray release. The "Beyond High Definition" blurb on the case is laughable.
More effort needs to be put forth here to warrant a purchase. See the Blu-ray release of Lucio Fulci's "Zombie" to see how it's done. They went back to the original camera negative and painstakingly digitally restored the movie to create a Blu-ray release that would truly blow your mind. Oh, and they produced a crap ton of new quality bonus material to boot. That's Blu-ray catalog film done right.
In short, if you don't already own the Ultimate Edition, get that one instead of this half-assed Blu-ray release. The slight improvement in picture quality just isn't worth it when the massive 4-disc DVD version offers soooo much more.
34 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2000
Elite's reissue of Dawn of the Dead on VHS a couple of years ago is, to me, the definitive version of this movie -- tight, horrific, and organic, with a macabre rhythm all its own. On this DVD edition, the film lost nearly 10 minutes, resulting in a more jarring sense of editing and overall a less effective cut than the 138-minute one.
This is one DVD that could have used more bonus material, for example from the George A. Romero documentary, behind-the-scenes footage (if such footage exists), outtakes, and so on. Comments have already been made about the Monroeville Mall commercial and they are more or less correct -- amusing, but too short. The "alternate scenes from Zombi" are even worse -- there are only two scenes, and that's pretty scant. Firstly they aren't as indicative of Dario Argento's hand in Zombi as they should be: Argento reputedly used more of the Goblin score, and neither of these scenes is heavily scored; Argento veers towards imagery, but these scenes are dramatic, shot in loose basic coverage; Argento crafted the Zombi cut for European audiences, and neither of the extra scenes shows any difference in the European sensibility. The biggest gripe is that they simply didn't include enough of the different scenes.
There are no cast bios, no articles, no interviews, and there's only one theatrical trailer which, though well done, pales in comparison to the endlessly fascinating European trailers (some German, some English) included in the earlier VHS reissue from Elite.
I'm disappointed in the release and hope to see a more complete one of the complete 138-minute cut in the future on DVD.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2004
I was fortunate to stumble across the "Ultimate Edition" today at a local retailer, 2 days ahead of scheduled release! You have all seen it so I don't need to go into detail. The first disc is the exact same as the Divimax edition, same special features and everything. Disc 2 is the "Extended Version" which is basically the same thing but with an additional 12 minutes of footage integrated into the film. The new scenes don't add anything but it is always nice to see new footage. Disc 3 is the "European Version" which runs at about 117 minutes. Some scenes are shortened and some are lengthened and it features some different musical cues by Goblin. There is also a nice commentary track featuring all four major cast members. Disc four is a treat! I features a new 75 minute documentary with interviews featuring cast and crew. There is also a 90 minute original documentary filmed during the production of the film. Also included is a short "home movie" shot by a zombie extra during filming. The icing on the cake is a recently recorded tour of the mall, with tour guide Ken Foree! He takes a large group of fans through the mall and tells them what happened where. David Emge and other cast and crew join Ken on the tour.
By the way, the "alternate ending" was never filmed so, no, you will not find it here...or anywhere else.
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2001
This is without a doubt the greatest horror film of all time. Scary, horrifying, funny, intelligent, humorous and atmospheric, George A. Romero pulled out all the stops and created a sequel that well and truly rises above its predecessor "Night of the Living Dead". I first saw this in 1988, and it was the first film I ever saw that not only made me want to see the sequels and prequels, but find out everything about the people who made it and how they went about it. In short, in started my love of film-making, as opposed to movies, but anyway back to the film...
A co-production with Dario Argento, "Dawn" picks up the story where "NOTLD" left off, depicting the collapse of society as imminent and establishing the four main characters (Two SWAT troopers, and two television employees) who decide to flee the city and wind up holing up in a large shopping mall beseiged with the living dead.
Watching the zombies staggering around the aisles and escalators is pretty obvious symbolism, but is still pretty potent viewing. Particularly when combined with Tom Savini's splatter FX and Goblin's superlative score (one of the best soundtrack's of all time in my opinion). The acting is realistic and the production values astounding for $1.5 million or so.
Unlike most reviews I have seen here, I totally disagree with the comments about this 127 minute version. This is the version that Romero wished to release, THIS IS THE DIRECTOR'S CUT, and he fought the MPAA tooth and nail to get it! The 140 MINUTE VERSION IS A ROUGH CUT and while it does have extra gore and extrapolation scenes in it, none of them add that much with the possible exception of one shot of Peter riding a trolley through the empty mall. In addition to which, that edition being an unfinished version misses out on much of the Goblin music that adds so greatly to the atmosphere of the film. It is certainly worth seeing and even owning, but I would not say it is any better than this version.
The extras are not fantastic I agree. The other Anchor Bay version (140 min) has two trailers on it, instead of just the one we get here. The bits from the Argento version are interesting, but nothing special (although it's interesting that Argento version has slightly less gore, a lot less humour and more talking!!), I liked the Monroeville Mall ad it was pretty kitch and funny. Extra scenes would have been great (but then Anchor Bay can't sell two versions), A featurette would have been cool (but you'll have to dig up "Document of the Dead" for that), a commentary would have been the best (but I guess Elite had the rights and George couldn't be bothered again), I think 5.1 would have really added to the film, but the Mono is clear and is all I've ever heard, so I'm not going to let it annoy me too much. I have seen this film in the cinema (both 127min and 140min) and both were matted at 1:66:1 like this, so that's cool with me as well. As far as I'm concerned this is the best film Mr Romero has ever done (surpassing NOTLD, Creephshow, Knightriders, Monkey Shines and Martin), and was and is and probably will always be THE BEST HORROR FILM EVER CREATED. Much respect to George A. Romero and thank you for the only film I have seen over 100 times and still find fresh.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2005
When the original B&W classic "Night of the Living Dead" was released in 1968 it proved to be quite the shocker of its time, despite the limitations for the low-budget film that it was. Eleven years later after its success with audiences everywhere, George A. Romero and Italian director Dario Argento created this 1979 follow-up that introduced us to an apocalyptic world that could [or may] one day exist: a society living off nothing but paranoia and chaos! The atmosphere is mesmerizing and nightmarish, the acting is superb, & the makeup effects are amazing and very close to looking realistic! (Kudos to Tom Savini, who would later go on to directing the remake of 'Night' in 1990)
The storyline concerns a group of four survivors who end up taking refuge at a local shopping mall infested by the living dead. There they are treated to all the shopping desires: from food, to clothing, to weapons & accessories. In addition, the flesh eating creatures are driven out temporarily but continue to surround the place from the outside. Later, a brutal motorcycle gang invades the perimeters, stealing or destroying anything in their path, while teasing some of the zombies in the process. From there, all hell breaks loose as we witness some of the most shocking (not to mention, INTENSE) scenes ever caught on camera that should obviously NOT be viewed by anyone with a weak stomach! On the other hand, gore hounds and horror buffs will definately eat this all up--LITERALLY!
There are three different versions of the film in this wonderful four disk set & include the Original U.S. Theatrical Cut, the Extended Edition (AKA "Director's Cut"), & the rarely seen European Cut (Edited on behalf of Mr. Argento) Here's a short briefing for all three...
ORIGINAL THEATRICAL CUT (Disk One)
This is the original R-rated feature shown in theaters during the film's release. Considered to be the best by Mr. Romero. Special features include: the Theatrical Trailer(s), T.V/Radio spots, Poster & advertising gallery, a George A. Romero bio, & a preview for the DOTD comic book.
EXTENDED EDITION (Disk Two)
The Director's Cut of the film with a few additional scenes thrown in along with some extra blood and gore. If you want to see the film in its entirety, this is for you! Special features include: Audio Commentary by Producer Richard P. Rubinstein, a Monroeville Mall commercial, a BTS photo gallery, Memorabilia galleries, & production stills.
EUROPEAN CUT (Disk Three)
Edited and presented by Dario Argento, this version has some scenes cut out, while the soundtrack has either been altered (music score composed by Goblin) or not used at all in some parts. You can also actually hear the crunching of bones & the munching of flesh in this one! Special features include: Audio Commentaries with actors David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger and Gaylen Ross, International theatrical trailers, U.K. T.V. spots, International lobby card gallery, International Poster & Advertising gallery, International Pressbook gallery, Home Video and soundtrack artwork, & finally, a Dario Argento Bio.
Finally, the fourth disk included in this package contains Documentaries with most of the cast/crew members and a tour through the Monroeville Mall with Ken Foree (who played Peter) There is possibly much more! Although I enjoyed the remake (with the fact that it gives a more modernized twist to the story), in my opinion it simply cannot top the 1979 original which is, and always WILL be the best! If you have been looking for the appropriate DVD for this movie, this is the ONLY one to buy and at a very reasonable price! So pop a little popcorn, turn out the lights, grab a seat & prepare yourself for the classic that will both scare and gross you out at the same time!
"WHEN THERE'S NO MORE ROOM IN HELL, THE DEAD WILL WALK THE EARTH."