Dawn of the Dead (1978)
AKA: Dawn of the Living Dead
AKA: George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead
AKA: Zombi (Italy... see also Zombi 2)
AKA: Zombie: Dawn of the Dead
AKA: Zombies

(Release Date: September 2, 1978 [Dario Argento's Italian Cut as "Zombi"])
(USA Release Date: May 24, 1979)

3.5 Stars... Great Horror Film, with Radioactive Blood!3.5 Stars... Great Horror Film, with Radioactive Blood!3.5 Stars... Great Horror Film, with Radioactive Blood!1/2

One of the True Horror Greats!
More blood and 1970s references than Kill Bill!

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The J.C. Also Rises! (Man, that's some HAIR there!)

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Complete Zombie Collection:

Dawn of the Dead: The Second Chapter in George A. Romero's "Living Dead" Sextilogy, Preceded by Night of the Living Dead and followed by Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead!

The Zombification Family Tree:

A trilogy in 13 Parts?
(Better make that 14... Land Of The Dead just came out!)

In the Beginning there was Night of the Living Dead, and it was good! It was written by John A. Russo and George A. Romero who also directed! Redefined the Zombie Horror Genre it did!

A Decade Later came the sequel, Dawn of the Dead by Romero solo, and it was good! Prurient, puissant and prescient was this film, both under this title and in Italy under the name Zombi!

So Successful was Zombi/ Dawn of the Dead that audiences all over demanded a sequel. Unpleased would Romero be with further sequels until seven years had past! Undaunted, Italian Schlock hoister Lucio Fulci created his own sequel known as Zombie 2: The Dead Are Among Us in 1979! Released in the United States as a stand-alone called Zombie it also carried such questionable titles as Island of the Flesh-Eaters, Island of the Living Dead(!), Die Schreckensinsel der Zombies, Sanguelia, Woodoo (!!), Gli Ultimi zombi, and even Zombie Flesh-Eaters depending on which country or which Video One you might be renting at.

Still not ready was Romero, so the Italian sludge continued with Fulci's City of the Living Dead (1980), Bruno Mattei's Hell of the Living Dead (1980-81), Fulci's (again) Zombi 3 (1988) and Claudio Fragasso's Zombie 4: After Death (1988), all of which have about as much to do with Romero's Night of the Living Dead as Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird (1985)! (And I'm not about to Review all of them!)

Russo (who had parted somewhat amicably with Romero after the original Night of the Living Dead) finally got his own "sequel" to their film off the ground in 1985 with Return of the Living Dead which was a complete farce (but a good one) and only peripherally related to the original film. By that time, however, Romero was ready to finish his series with Day of the Dead which hit American Theatres just over one month before Return of the Living Dead did (and it was good).

Still awake? Good! Like the Fulci-meister's other unofficial sequels, Return of the Living Dead returned to theatres twice with two more tepid installments, Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988), and the surprisingly titled Return of the Living Dead III (1993)!

Meanwhile, Romero himself creeped back in 1990 to executive produce the remake of the original Night of the Living Dead directed by Tom Savini, that crazy makeup & cosmetic special effects dude from Dawn of the Dead!

While the remake spawned no actual sequels, flash forward to 2004 and you'll find that Dawn of the Dead has been less-than-faithfully remade by Zack Snyder independently of Savini's film (though Savini does appear briefly)!

I challenge you to find any Trilogy out there with this many entries in it! A trilogy of 13 films! Pretty much destroys this even being a trilogy, no? (and... now that Land of the Dead has been released... does that make it a Quadrilogy???) Man, I need to get a life... or, at least... undeath!

-Horror Historian Kneumsi!

  See Also these Zombie Favorites:
  Night of the Living Dead (1968)
What is a Zombie?
  Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
LeeLoo Kills the Dead!
  Night of the Living Dead (1990)
Savini's Revenge!
  28 Days Later(2002)
J.C. is a budding sex god!
  Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Spoiler Free unless you hit CTRL+A!
  28 Days Later: The Soundtrack Album (2003)
  Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Is it a Sequel or not?
  I, Zombie (1998)
The Twelve Steps to Zombie Recovery!
  Zombi 2 (1979)
Not even NUDITY can save it!
  Zombi 3 (1988)
Just avoid it... it sucks rear!!!
  Zombie 4 (1988)
Was that REALLY necessary?
  Zombie 5: Killing Birds (1987)
I guess so, yeah!
  Dead Alive (1992)
More Gore than Tipper's Hubby!
A european version of the poster with the Alternate title

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I'm not exactly Don Juan... More like DAWN OF THE DEAD!
J.C. Maçek III
The UNDERWorld's Greatest Critic!

In the 1970s Americans flocked to the Malls and bought and bought and bought. Lead my Madison Avenue, we were like Zombies staggering to the Shopping Centers because we were supposed to.

And the more things change, the more things stay the same! Hence the ease at which George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead was remade in 2004. The plot of a gang of four holing up in a shopping mall while the walking dead slowly lumberingly converge and attack isn't exactly timeless, but it's definitely of the now!

Romero's newer vision isn't so much a chronological sequel to Night of the Living Dead as it is another story happening at the exact same time as the first story. Possibly simultaneous to Ben and Barbara's ordeal at the farmhouse, a TV Reporter, a Helicopter Pilot and two S.W.A.T. troopers board a whirly-bird to escape the ravages of the undead city (keeping all the Cigarettes with them). Their (literal and figurative) flight brings them to a pit stop at one of those huge indoor shopping centers where (like humanity) the Zombies are flocking to from some inner need, without real understanding.

What follows is the gradual conversion of the Mall into a fitting fortress, a Bastion of Humanity against Undeath. With everything from stores of food to every kind of Hardware, Hunting Rifle and Clothing, you can't ask for a better castle to live out the future of humanity in. But as time goes on the forlorn foursome find out that in these apocalyptic, coptic times there just might be one thing out there worse than Zombies!

Ken Foree (of Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling) is pretty damned good as our Action Hero, S.W.A.T. Trooper Peter Washington. Foree adds so much depth and cynical humor to his portrayal that one wonders why his career hasn't soared since that time! Both his wit and his actions are worth your time to check out!

If Foree is our "Ben" Scott H. Reiniger's Maverick S.W.A.T.-ally, officer Roger DeMarco is Han Solo! This guy's got the heart of Gold, but he's happy-go-lucky and cocky beyond safety!

As crack-a-shot as DeMarco is, that's nothing compared to the safety-is-a-four-letter-word antics of Stephen "Fly-boy" Andrews (David Emge)! As likeable as this guy can be, it's a wonder that he managed to get the girl at the beginning of this episode.

She might not be Linnea Quigley, but Gaylen Ross' reporter Francine Parker is a practical and lovely tie to reality as opposed to the caricature that Fly Boy offers! Occasionally she's a scream-queen, and it's clear she's capable of much more, maybe in the vein of Patricia Tallman's Barbara in the Night of the Living Dead remake, but when she takes charge, brother, you listen!!!

Like its predecessor this is more of a Drama (with a Horror Backdrop) that is story and character driven! It delves into some of the same nauseating horror as the original at times, but unlike the first film Dawn of the Dead delves heavily into the action and violence that forced Romero to withdraw this film from MPAA Rating Consideration. There's more blood, dismemberment and exploding heads here than you're likely to find in your average Troma film.

Sometimes the action can be stunningly realistic and cringe-worthy. Other times the blood looks downright florescent whether coming from an irradiated Zombie or just plain old Officer DeMarco. It's more of a Comic Book than an experiment in realism, and in that respect it just plain works. It's one more proof that the presence of Tom Savini as actor, stunt man, and especially Special Effects coordinator was a very good idea!

True, this movie is more violent than the crowd outside a Rage against the Machine Concert, but as the majority(!) of the violence takes place against unthinking, probably unfeeling Zombies it's easier to take. The cartoonish fun and silliness also don't hurt.

It's the Fun and the Funny that really endears one to this movie. The social commentary of Shoppers as Zombies isn't lost on anyone, but the satire isn't ever taken too seriously! Whereas in the original Night of the Living Dead we sympathized with the poor folks who had no idea what was going on or why with these undead assailants and had to make it up as they go along, Dawn of the Dead gives us a group of wired and tapped-in individuals familiar with the rules and the phenomenon. This makes their surroundings no less horrific, but being immersed in this apocalyptic dystopia as they are, it's almost easier to laugh their asses off rather than crying! It's a bleak and pessimistic world these folks are trudging through, and along with Bullets and Knives their weapons are Laughs and "Retail Therapy!" Makes me proud to be an American!

On the downhill side there are a few jump-cuts that makes one wonder if there's a problem with the old DVD Player. In spite of the temporary nature of the title, Dawn of the Dead actually takes place over a number of days and weeks. Romero certainly couldn't give us each and every dead dawn, but some of the time shifts can be confusing. Some of the decisions are a little What-The-Eff-You-See-Kay, which is especially noticeable when most of the film seems so smart. There are other times when one simply wants to reach in and bitch-slap some of the players on screen for their lethargic lack of logic! For the most part though you're dealing with a gory and violent yet remarkably complete and enjoyable Drama. It might make you a little uncomfortable, but it's great, great fun, rather like that nauseous roller coaster ride you took while on Meth!

Three and One Half Stars out of Five for Dawn of the Dead! In Hindsight it might appear to feel familiar from all the imitators (and unofficial sequels), but trust me, this is one of the better Zombie films ever made! You might even find this triumph over tragedy film rather inspiring like a Midnight version of My Left Foot! One word of warning, though, don't try and reenact anything you've seen in this film. I thought it'd be cute to converge in full Undead Makeup with about fifty of my closest friends on St. Vincent Mall in Shreveport, Louisiana stumbling and grabbing at people moaning and begging for brains to eat! I got arrested, damn it all! Then I had to go down to the Police Station, and they didn't even get the joke down there. I guess you'd just have to be there! One of those jokes you'd have to see to get! Some people have no sense of humor. It's like you can't even be a nice guy anymore!

You can get anything you want from the Mall...
Except for more of my reviews! Those you get by Clicking Here, Deadsy!

Dawn of the Dead (1978) Reviewed by J.C. Maçek III
who is solely responsible for his own views
and for his vow to return again, no matter what occurs! I Will Find You!
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