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John's Horror Banana-nanza Episode Fifty-Four : Dawn of the Dead
Dawn of the Dead is George Romero’s second installment in what has now become a never-ending slew of zombie movies. It’s actually part of a trilogy, at least in my opinion, that starts with “Night of the Living Dead” and ends with “Day of the Dead.” But to make it more confusing, Lucio Fulci made a movie called “Zombi 2” which is supposed to be a sequel to this, even though it’s far removed. There’s Italian influence all over this movie, including the “Goblin” soundtrack.
So the story starts in a newsroom where Francine and Stephen plan to steal the station’s helicopter and get the hell out of there. A police team enters a building and starts shooting a hoard of zombies. Two of the police meet up with Francine and Stephen, including one played by badass Ken Foree, and they fly across Pennsylvania looking for refuge.
Along the way, they see a bunch of rednecks shooting zombies for fun. Sounds like my dad’s wet dream. Anyway, they stop to fuel the chopper and get attacked by some of the most grotesque and best looking zombies you’ll ever see on film, thanks to the genius of Tom Savini, who also plays a biker later in the movie.
Eventually they settle at the Monroeville mall. They do some work to keep the place shut, and eventually live pretty normal lives inside. Until the biker gang breaks in, and forces more chaos than they can handle.
There is less social commentary in this movie than in “Night” . One line, “This is where they all go”, is a stab at consumerism, but it’s a light stab, really.
The effects, story, and overwhelming number of zombies make this one of the all-time greats. If you’ve only seen the remake, you’re missing out, because this is truly superior. Check it out.