Tall, Dark, and Dead – 11 – Dawn of the Dead

Title: Dawn of the Dead
Year: 1978
Director: George Romero
Leads: David Emge, Ken Foree, Gaylen Ross

Favorite quote: “Many have died, last week, on these streets. In the basement of this building, you will find them. I have given them the last rites. Now, you do what you will. You are stronger than us. But soon, I think they be stronger than you. When the dead walk, seƱores, we must stop the killing… or lose the war.”

Thoughts: Dawn of the Dead has really, really bad zombie makeup. They look like cannibalistic Smurfs. (An idea which I find scarier than zombies, honestly.)

Dawn is probably my least favorite of the Romero films. I know it’s a classic, but (and here I risk ostracism), it wasn’t until the remake came out in 2004 that I developed an appreciation for either version. My main complaint is that this installment features Romero’s zombies at their dumbest. The zoms have few opportunities to display real cognition, adaptation, or the ability to learn, which means that I find them horribly boring, which means that I am not happy.

I like my zombies lively, people!

The only parts of the original Dawn that truly make me smile are the redneck emergency squad, the raiding of the mall, and the “personality” zombies…the Hare Krishna, the nurse, the gun-nut zombie on the roof during the final scene. And I appreciate that Romero begins, in Dawn, to really play about with his own universe – for instance, the helicopter scalping scene. It’s wonderful that even the granddaddy of the modern zom genre can poke fun at his own creations. I love the sense of humor that seems to attend zombies. Vampires are so stuck up, I swear that the sealing over of a particular southerly area of the human anatomy must constitute part of their transformation.

Links:
Dawn of the Dead at IMDB
Dawn of the Dead on Wikipedia
Homepage of the Dead

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