As my final Halloween-themed entry into Watch This!, I didn't pick anything obscure or anything that people would punch me in the face for. Instead, this week, I want to discuss what I feel is the greatest zombie movie of all time, George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead.

Released in 1978, Dawn of the Dead was a sequel in theory to Romero's 50's masterpiece Night of the Living Dead. In this installment, four people escape by helicopter and land at a mall. Feeling that this place will suit their needs, they go through the process of ridding it of zombies, fortifying it, and eventually creating a new life for themselves...until an enemy still alive eventually ruins everything.

Romero is the king of the zombie genre. The original dead trilogy (Night, Dawn, Day) are some of the best horror movies of all time, and definitely the greatest zombie movies of all time (although I like the 1990 remake of Night starring Candyman a whole lot better). Dawn is the crown jewel of the series. The effects were leagues above the first film, as Romero employed makeup and FX guru Tom Savini to make his zombies lifelike and the blood flow. The plot itself is a little thin and boring, but that's not what the film is about so you can forgive that (although props to Ken Foree, the future Kenan's Dad on Kenan and Kel). It's all about the action, the suspense, the zombies, if they will survive...it's a scary movie and even though its dated it still is a little scary.

Along with that, Romero also injected his own opinions and criticisms of America by basing it in a mall, at the time just sprouting up all over America. People are zombies to consumerism and Romero made sure to slap the audience in the face with that, which probably made people seeing the film at the mall cineplexes laugh. There are layers to this film that many horror movies don't have. It doesn't rely on just jumpy moments or gore, although both are there. Dawn of the Dead is as much a critique on America as it is a film about the undead consuming the living.

After Dawn, Romero made Day of the Dead, which was okay but not as good and the less said about Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead the better. Although the 2004 remake of Dawn was good, you cannot forget the original and just how awesome it was. Outside of the obvious slasher films this Halloween, pop in Dawn of the Dead for a good old fashioned 70's zombie fest with a social message stuck in there for fun. I know I will.
 


Comments




Leave a Reply