Dawn of the Dead
Special Divimax Edition
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David Emge, Ken Foree. Zombies take over a shopping mall and terrorize four people hiding there in this sequel to George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. This remastered special edition is loaded with bonus features and trailers. 1979/color/128 min/NR.
- Theatrical Trailers, TV & Radio Spots, and Poster Galleries
- Exclusive Preview of the Upcoming DAWN OF THE DEAD Comic Book from IDW Publisher
- 4 Page Collector's Booklet with all-new liner notes
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Dawn of the Dead Picks up sometime after Night of the Living Dead, and we see a television studio in pandemonium as the zombie plague spreads and various commentators argue about a course of action. It's here we meet two of the main characters of the film, who are romantically involved, in Francine Parker (Gaylen Ross) and Peter Washington (Ken Foree). Francine works in the studio, and Peter is a helicopter pilot. Peter speaks of a plan to leave the city and fly to Canada using the helicopter. We then cut to a SWAT team getting ready to enter a tenement where it is thought local residents are harboring a group of family members who are now of the undead variety, unable to let go of hope that they may be helped in some way. Here we get our first look at the zombies and some particularly violent and brutal scenes involving the munching of flesh and the popping of heads with various small arms weapons. One of the SWAT members, Stephan Andrews (David Emge) is in on the plan to leave the city in the helicopter, and confides this information to another member, Roger DeMarco (Scott H. Reiniger) who both soon departs to meet with Peter and Francine.
Flying in the helicopter, they come across a shopping mall, land with the hopes of getting supplies, and find that this might not be a bad place to hole up for awhile. They begin to clear the mall of the undead, and fortify their position by blocking the entrances into the building, keeping the zombies at bay. Things seem to be going pretty well until a roving gang of bikers/mercenaries crash the party, allowing for the zombies to re-enter the building. This sets up some pretty funny scenes with the bikers racing around stealing now useless articles and beating up on zombies.
A few things set this movie apart from the original Night of the Living Dead (1968). Obviously this film being color is a huge difference, allowing us to see the visceral gore in all its Technicolor brilliance whereas the original was in stark black and white. Another point is the inclusion of comedy. Some of it ironic, some subtle, and some being slapsticky (a pie fight with zombies? Yep, it's here). The elements I appreciated most were seeing the zombies walking around the pinnacle of western consumerism, the shopping mall, and hearing the pre-recorded announcements playing ("For each five dollar purchase, customers will receive a complimentary one pound bag of hard candy") A final point I found different from the original was the scale of that film compared to Dawn of the Dead. Night of the Living Dead was a much smaller production, relying on a small number of settings to tell that highly effective tale. Here we are treated to a number of large sets, and most of the film takes place within a shopping mall with a cast of hundreds, many being zombies. This really served well in displaying the extent of the problem, in that it seemed no matter how many zombies you dispatched, there were always more to take their place.
It's interesting to see how well the more violent scenes hold up in this movie, eliciting revulsion from this viewer, despite a number of previous viewings. I'll never get used to seeing a zombie take a chunk out of someone's neck, blood spurting, flesh tearing...I'm serious, if you have a weak stomach, this film should be avoided. The realistic portrayal of the violence is not toned down one bit, but certainly doesn't go as far as some of the European horror/splatter films of the late 70's/early 80's. Tom Savini really set a standard here with his mastery of special effects.
I really appreciate Anchor Bay for re-releasing this original theatrical version on DVD again. Their first release sold out quickly and now commands a much higher price from third party sellers than I was willing to pay. Along with a beautiful print of the film, we get a commentary by Romero and effects master Savini, trailers, TV spots, promotional materials, a preview of the comic book, and exhaustive liner notes. This film is followed up by Day of the Dead (1985), also written and directed by Romero. I had heard Romero was working on a fourth film, tentatively titled Dead Reckoning, but given his sporadic output and his seemingly continual difficulties with financing and creative control, I would be surprised if that project ever saw the light of day. One can always dream...
Most recent customer reviews
...this is my jam...
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