In keeping with my theme for the next few days, I am posting my reviews for all of George A. Romero’s zombie films. Yesterday was Night of the Living Dead and today is the 1978 classic Dawn of the Dead. Although I believe Night of the Living Dead to be more impactful and relevant than Romero’s sequel, Dawn of the Dead is a fun film. It’s filled with social commentary and great character development; it also has blue zombies that expel large amounts of pinkish blood when shot. Overall, it’s a great zombie film that does more than just show the living and the living dead being torn apart. It speaks volumes about our culture, or reliance on modern conveniences, and our adherence to stability, regardless of what that stability provides.
One of the executive producers is Dario Argento (a seminal Italian director/producer) and it was made for about $1.5 million dollars. Wikipedia states that it earned $55 million dollars at the box office, which makes it the most profitable of Romero’s zombie films. It was released without a rating, which made it difficult to get it distributed into large theaters, but even without the support of large cinema chains it was a large success. I wonder how much it’s made on video and DVD.
Here is the trailer for the film.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
George A. Romero’s 1978 splatter classic Dawn of the Dead is more than a campy, comic bookish horror flick filled with the living dead; it’s a story about consumerism and how we are bred to devour. The majority of the film takes place in a Pennsylvania shopping mall (the Monroeville Mall) and displays the living dead wandering through the shopping center, mimicking the everyday actions of American patrons, except that many of their heads are blown off by the four protagonists who make the mall their home. Blinded by the flash of their new surroundings, the characters settle in the mall, setting up a life that contains all the amenities of their previous world but is lacking due to their only being four of them (three men and one woman). Even though the movie is low budget (costing only $1.5 million dollars back in the late 1970s) and isn’t as stylized as the 2004 remake (which amazingly is also a fun watch), Romero’s apocalyptic society, complete with an amazing score by Italian prog rockers Goblin, is a great example of what many horror movies of the 1970s were trying to accomplish: push limits, ask questions, and give the audience one hell of a ride. For anybody interested in a zombie movie, a movie about the pitfalls of American consumerism, or for anybody who wants to see people get their heads blown off only to expose pinkish blood, this is the movie for you.