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Dawn of the Dead (1978)

by

Jeff Nelson

Dawn of the Dead (1978) ranks as one of the best zombie movies of all time...

Dawn of the Dead (1978)
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When I hear about zombies, the very first thing I think of is George A. Romero. He created three incredibly popular zombie films, and many more recent dreadful ones. The original trilogy of zombie films he released will never be forgotten in the horror community.

In the second entry in the Dead series, an undead army of flesh-eating zombies have taken over every major city in the United States. Running for their lives, Peter, Roger, Stephen, and Francine find refuge in a remote shopping mall and zombies aren't the only obstacles they must overcome. The idea of using a shopping mall as a safe house is brilliant. Hundreds of movies and video games have taken the concept. The screenplay has some lines of dialogue that have become some of the most memorable ones in cinema. The biggest issue with the screenplay is that it drags at times. There is a lot of comedy thrown into the mix, but not all of the humor works.

The small cast of main characters handle the screenplay well. None of them go over the top with their roles and just have fun with it. Ken Foree has some of the most memorable lines as Peter.Gaylen Ross does a decent job as Francine. If this film was taken too seriously by the actors, it wouldn't be as amusing to watch by the audience. It's a horror film with comedy and action thrown in that wouldn't work as well with being serious and dark.

Since this was made in 1978, the special FX are dated. The blood doesn't look real at all and the bite wounds from zombies look terrible. However, the film doesn't deserve to be knocked down for something so small. The zombie make-up is decent for the time it was made. Zombies are mutilated in numerous different ways with weapons and objects found around the shopping mall. It allows for a variety of deaths and they're undeniably entertaining.

Most horror films brought about in 1978 had very little blood. Dawn of the Dead was known as extremely gory for the time, but doesn't compare to the levels of gore in movies today. Since this is the second entry in this zombie series, I recommend audiences to watch Night of the Living Dead (1968) before checking this out. Dawn of the Dead (1978) ranks as one of the best zombie movies of all time, although if you enjoy zombie flicks, you should have already seen it.

My Rating = Four and One Half Stars

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