George A. Romero
George A. Romero
Scott Reiniger as Roger
Ken Foree as Peter
Gaylen Ross as Fran
David Emge as Stephen
Anybody who knows me knows that I am a fan of zombies. Some might even say that I have been a zombie fan forever. But alas, it was not always that way. I started my journey into freakdom with slasher films. Then, many years ago a friend introduced me to a film that would change my life. I no longer would be considered just a freak but now “sick and twisted” would be added to my personal description. The legend of The Zombie Master would have its humble beginnings in one of the most famous horror taglines;
“When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.”
Dawn of the Dead continues the story that was started in Night of the Living Dead. The dead are returning to life and feasting on the living. The opening scene takes place in a television studio where we are given an idea of the panic and confusion that is facing the public during this crisis. Here is where we meet Stephen (David Emge), a helicopter pilot, and his girlfriend Fran (Gaylen Ross). Both are employees at the television station. Stephen has decided to leave the station and informs Fran that she needs to meet him on the rooftop.
Switch scenes to a S.W.A.T. team preparing to storm a housing project where the tenants have refused to kill their family members that have become zombies. It is here that we meet Roger (Scott Reiniger) and Peter (Ken Foree), two S.W.A.T. members who have had enough of the housing project zombie mission and want out. Roger happens to be friends with helicopter pilot Stephen and plans to join the flight out of town. He invites Peter to leave with the rest of them.
On the trip north, our four “heroes” discover a mall where they decide to land and try to find some supplies. Instead, they find a place that has everything that they could ever need or want at there fingertips. The only problem is that the mall is infested with zombies. They proceed to block off the mall doors with tractor trailers from outside, and kill off the zombies that are inside until the mall is empty. It is during this time that Roger is bitten, and we discover Fran is pregnant. Roger eventually succumbs to the disease, forcing Peter to dispose of him.
During the following months life becomes pretty much routine until our heroes’ presence is discovered by a band of bikers turned looters that have survived by staying on the move. The bikers also see the mall as a veritable gold mine but they plan on taking – not sharing.
As the bikers bust into the mall, they of course let the zombies back in and what ensues is mass confusion that leads to the destruction of everything that our heroes had tried to keep for themselves.
Dawn of the Dead not only shows us the genius that is George Romero, again taking on the role of writer, director, and editor, but it also shows us the genius of one Tom Savini. The make-up and FX work he did for Dawn of the Dead made Savini a household name among the fans of independent horror and made Romero’s vision come to life.
Dawn of the Dead single handedly put the zombie genre of film back on course and directly led to the success of future gems such as Zombi 2, Return of the Living Dead, and a continuously growing list of zombie films that can trace there influence back to this quintessential tale about the overall failure and eventual destruction of structured society.
Oh yeah, there happens to be some really cool zombie gore (i.e. head shots, bodies ripped in half, etc.) that seems to give everything much more meaning.
NOTE: There is a European Version of Dawn of the Dead that Dario Argento edited. This version has recently become available on DVD by itself rather than being part of a boxed set. I highly recommend it.
By The Zombie Master, Lee Roberts