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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at an Independent Filmmaker...,
This review is from: Document Of The Dead (DVD)In 1978, film professor/filmmaker Roy Frumkes wrote, produced & directed Document of the Dead chronicaling indepedent filmmaker George A. Romero. Filmed over one long weekend on the set of Dawn of the Dead, Frumkes conducts interviews with various members of the cast and crew, including Romero himself. Mixed with footage from Night of the Living Dead, Martin, Romero's modern-day vampire film, and Dawn of the Dead, the documentary tells it's own story concerning a little guy fighting the system. The little guy being Romero and the system being the modern film industry.
Simply put, this is one of the best documentaries concerning filmmaking. Going from pre-production to distribution, Document of the Dead covers all the grounds that Romero went through in order to get Dawn of the Dead on the silver screen. It's a treat particularly for Dawn fans being that it contains scenes not seen in any version of Dawn of the Dead and the now-legendary alternate ending is addressed. Also worth mentioning is Make-up Effects Artist/Stunt Cordinator/Actor Tom Savini at work creating zombies out of filmmaker Frumkes and his then-girlfriend.
My main complaint is the 4th Act/"10 Years Later..." segment shot on the set of Two Evil Eyes. The documentary was just fine chronicaling the first 10 years of Romero's career. Though, the footage/interviews aren't bad in any manner, the documentary worked better concerning Romero's attempts to make his films his way in Pittsburgh during the 1970s. Once the main story arc (Romero fighting for his cut of Dawn of the Dead for U.S. theatres and succedding with the film becoming a critical/commercial success!) ends, there's nowhere else to go. I can't help but give a little complaint with the lack of any mention towards Romero's post-Dawn films such as Knightriders, Creepshow, and Day of the Dead.
In the Bonus Materials for the dvd, there's a commentary track with Frumkes and other members of the crew. Frumkes is nice, professional and has only kind things to say about Romero, Savini & the other people he was around while making Document. He's certainly a major film fan. It's full of facts and fun antedotes from the set. Well-worth a listen! Also there's deleted footage from the original cut of Document shot on the Dawn set and unused interviews from the "10 Years Later..." segment.
All that aside, Document of the Dead is worth seeing if you're a fan of the horror genre, George A. Romero, or just films in general.