Halloween Horror Movie Month: Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Zombies are dumb, but they do love the mall.

Running for their lives, Peter (Ken Foree), Roger (Scott H. Reiniger), Stephen (David Emge) and Frances (Gaylen Ross) find refuge in a remote shopping mall, only to discover they have to fight a motorcycle gang, too.

George A. Romero will always and forever be known as the “zombie-king” and after finally being able to see this classic, I can’t say that I disagree with that statement.

I still can’t believe I went my whole movie-viewing without seeing this and seeing the remake, that is actually pretty good as well. I don’t know where to begin with this film other than the fact that right from the get-go ish is just crazy and it doesn’t stop once until the final second is off. There are so many scenes filled with action, blood, gore, teared limbs, etc. and for some it will turn them away, but if you’re looking for just the right amount of action and gore then this will definitely satisfy.

There’s this one scene that sticks out in my mind right away when they need to get supplies and they are carrying around this big-cart full of supplies because not only does it rack up the tension as to whether or not they’re going to get everything out alive and well but the fact that they are constantly just shooting down these zombies left-and-right but having a fun time even though half of the world on the outside is just about dead as well. I don’t know why this scene stuck in my head the most but for some reason I came away thinking about this film.

I thought that since these zombies were just a bunch of walking dumbies, that everything was going to be pretty much a bore and nothing unlike any other zombie flick before, but much to my surprise, these ones were actually pretty freaky and it wasn’t how one just lunged at you, it was the fact that there was about 500 coming at you, at one time. This made me feel really creeped out and even more then a little claustrophobic especially when they all get inside the mall.

What sets Romero away from any other zombie-film director is how he’s able to bring a lot of humor and social commentary into his script, even though the film itself is just about a bunch of walking dead. Somehow Romero is able to bring in a lot of funny moments with these people just having a lot of fun basically running around the mall, taking whatever they’d like not having any problems at all. However, there is an under-lining sadness to it all as well.

Even though they are all doing what they want in the mall and having a bangin’ time, they are still in a world that seems to be falling apart. A little bit of life of solitude, no matter how comfy or relaxing it may actually be can still provide people with an empty existence in the world we live in especially when everything else in the outside world seems just about dead. It’s an important point to bring up and it’s surprisingly done very well in this zombie flick.

The only problem I had with this film is that I did not like the ending, and the reason I did not was because of how they originally had it made out to be. *SPOILER ALERT* At the end of the flick, Francine is seen waiting in the chopper, hopeful that Peter will come to his senses and come with her, which he ends up doing even though he was contemplating suicide. The original ending was that he actually did kill himself and Francine was going to end up getting her head chopped off by a chopper blade and to have the end credits roll and then end as soon as the choppers blades stopped moving, showing that had they made it out alive, they wouldn’t have had much fuel in the first place. This I thought would have been a very powerful and great ending even if it sounded a tad bit too depressing for the people who would have seen it but hey, it was banned so having an abrupt and sort of sad ending wouldn’t have done too much either I don’t think.

The whole cast here is pretty alright with everyone doing a good job of reading their own lines but the one who stands out the most to me is none other than Ken Foree as Peter. Of course, the black man is the coolest guy in the film but that’s because his character always seems not just one step ahead of the zombies, but ahead of everyone else around him as well and that’s what sets him apart from many other zombie flick protagonists. It also helps that every time I look at him, I can’t stop thinking of Kenan & Kel. That show was the shit!

Consensus: George A. Romero’s classic, Dawn of the Dead, is exactly what everybody has said it is: action-packed, fun, entertaining, gory, bloody, smart, full of humor, and altogether just a total classic that had me watching the whole time.

9/10=Full Pricee!!



  1. Another good review, Dan. I hadn’t seen it before, either, though I’ve seen the original several times. I remember seeing it at the theater in a Halloween double bill with an amusing but largely forgotten horror flick called Motel Hell.

  2. One of my favourite films of all-time! If you haven’t seen Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, definitely check that one out, too. It is awesome.

  3. This is the film that inspired me to make movies and really look closely at what was going on beneath the surface. There is so much going on in this film it almost makes me head explode Scanners style. I saw this at a young age and it sparked my interest in hardcore cinema, ultra-gory flicks from the glory days of trash, and grind house features. You should check out films like Rabid, Sugar Hill, Burial Grounds, and Zombie. All are insanely entertaining and sure to make you reach for the barf bag.


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