Dawn of the Dead
Collector's Edition, Ultimate Edition
DVD | Box Set
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In 1968, director George A. Romero brought us "Night of the Living Dead." It became the definitive horror film of its time. Eleven years later, he would unleash the most shocking motion picture experience for all times. As modern society is consumed by zombie carnage, four desperate survivors barricade themselves inside a shopping mall to battle the flesh-eating hordes of the undead. This is the ferocious horror classic, featuring landmark gore effects by Tom Savini, that remains one of the most important – and most controversial – horror films in history. When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth: The original "Dawn of the Dead" is back!
Zombie fans, all rise from the bowls of the earth and rejoice! Anchor Bay's Ultimate Edition of Romero's horror classic Dawn of the Dead not only delivers the DVD goods in spades but goes above and beyond all expectations. The ongoing fan dissatisfaction of which version is available can now end, and the neverending debate of which version is the best can continue ad nauseum. For Anchor Bay has included all versions of the film in their pure, grotesque glory for fans to fully analyze, dissect, and digest. Included in this four-disc set are the "U.S. Theatrical Release" (127 minute, unrated director's cut, with the famous "Goblin" soundtrack in DTS; this is Romero's preferred version), the Dario Argento-edited "European Version" (118 minutes, a faster pace, a few extended scenes, and more "Goblin" music), the "Extended Version" released for the 1978 Cannes Film festival (139 minutes, with additional scenes, more gore, and a music score of library tracks), and a bonus disc of documentaries. All films are remastered and presented in 1:85 anamorphic widescreen. The U.S. and European versions have 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Surround, and all three versions are presented in their original mono.
You may have your favorite version of the film, but there is no arguing about quality. They all look and sound fantastic. Each version has its own commentary track. The European version has the actors' commentary track, while the extended version has producer Richard Rubinstein. But it is the commentary track on the U.S theatrical version that is the real gem. It includes Romero himself, his wife Chris, and makeup artist Tom Savini. If you enjoyed the stellar commentary on Anchor Bay's Day of the Dead, you can expect more of the same. The three of them will take you on a strange trip down memory lane discussing every possible nuance and anecdote of Romero's crowning achievement. The extras on this set are too numerous to lay out in detail. However, two documentaries are particularly noteworthy. The Dead Will Walk (75 minutes) is an all-new documentary tracking the entire life cycle of the Dawn of the Dead phenomenon. It includes tons of interviews with cast and crew members. It is interesting to compare the new documentary with Roy Frumkes' Document of the Dead (92 minutes), an excellent, original documentary that was shot during the making of the film. All in all, Anchor Bay has done an exceptional job with this Ultimate Edition. If you make it through the set, feel free to award yourself an honorary Ph.D in the undead. --Rob Bracco
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I have to admit: I only recently just saw this film a couple weeks ago. I never bothered to watch it because I saw the 2005 remake upon release and felt that was sufficient. Well, don't make the same mistake I did! Romero's 1978 version is far superior to the 2005 version. Sure, the special fx (the blood looks like red melted crayons!) and the acting isn't quite as good as the 2005 movie. I will freely admit this. But this film is much more creative in its use of the mall as a setting than the remake.
The remake used the shopping mall as a claustrophobic space most of the time, the survivors locked away, stuck, under the security gates. In this version they really utilize the space of the mall. They're on the roof, the air ducts, all the stores, the basement/broiler area, the parking lot. There's even an epic fight against other humans for control of the mall, complete with motorcycles and cars racing down the lanes of the food court. The survivors even create their own apartment--a zombie-free shangri-la--in an office near the roof and live there comfortably for months on end.
I'll leave you with a little quote from Roger Ebert, who gave the film 4 stars:
"If you can see beyond the immediate impact of Romero's imagery, if you can experience the film as being more than just its violent extremes, a most unsettling thought may occur to you: The zombies in "Dawn of the Dead" are not the ones who are depraved. They are only acting according to their natures, and, gore dripping from their jaws, are blameless. The depravity is in the healthy survivors, and the true immorality comes as two bands of human survivors fight each other for the shopping center: Now look who's fighting over the bones! But "Dawn" is even more complicated than that, because the survivors have courage, too, and a certain nobility at times, and a sense of humor, and loneliness and dread, and are not altogether unlike ourselves. A-ha."