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Dawn of the Dead: Gore Incorporated

  • Jun 1, 2002
Pros: depiction of gore

Cons: really no social message to discern

The Bottom Line: If blood, guts, and gore is what you are after, this is the place to get it.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.


I tossed and turned in my bed in the heat of a July night, fitfully asleep. We had no air conditioner, so the lone window in the small bedroom was thrown open wide, and the fan was going full blast, but neither offered much relief from the steamy summer night’s assault on my person. Beads of sweat gathered on my forehead, and finding no place to settle, then rolled like thin streams down the sides of my head soaking my pillow. And the sheets I lay on top of were also damp with my perspiration, and smelled musty from my fear.

You see I was dreaming a horrid little dream, a terrifying little nightmare of my own design. Hours earlier I had watched the 1979 version of Dawn of the Dead with some of my friends and now for the first time of my 17 year old life, I was having a nightmare centered on the movie. They (the zombies) are chasing me through the street of my hometown. They’ve already eaten two of my friends and torn off the arm of another. I had to leave him in a garage not too far back, and now I was all alone with "them."

I had managed to make it to my street and as I was running perpetually uphill to my house (and safety), I ran into one of the girls who lived on my street. She looked gruesome; one eye was missing, her hair was caked in blood, and her head was hanging to one side. She was naked to the waist and one of her breasts had been bitten off, and blood oozed from the half scabbed over wound like lava from a volcano. As she approached me she called out my name in that sexy way she had, and instead of running for my life I was going to her, drawn by the power of her voice. My mind recoiled at the sight of her, and my soul begged me to go the other way, but my legs would not listen. Soon she was enfolding my in her arms. I wanted to run, wanted to scream as her teeth plunged into my flesh and ripped the skin from my neck in long bloody pieces, but I was paralyzed between sleep and wakefulness. My mind begged me to wake up, and finally after what seemed like an eternity locked in her arms being slowly digested, I awoke with a start and a scream.

My heart was racing and I fought to catch my breath. Finally, after a while I was able to calm myself, and lay my head back down upon the damp pillow, and stared into the darkness of the night. But sleep would elude me for the rest of the night, as if my mind was too afraid to allow it.

Never before and never again has a movie affected me so profoundly, so absolutely, so dreadfully, that I can still remember it and the nightmare it evoked.

The Review:

The ever present Chicago Sun Times film critic Roger Ebert has called George Romero’s zombie classic Dawn of the Dead "an ultimate horror film!” and "a savagely satanic vision of America." Indeed Dawn of the Dead is unlike any horror film I have ever seen. The graphic depictions of gore, cannibalism, barbarism, and crazed human behavior are unparalleled in the annals of American cinema. I can still recall vividly, scenes of zombies tearing off people's limbs, and munching on human arms and thighs like chicken drumstick without the benefit of the Colonel's eleven herbs and spices. And the sickening scenes of heads exploding and entrails spilling were enough to make me gag.

Released in 1979, Dawn of the Dead is Romero’s follow-up to his 1968 classic zombie undertaking, Night of the Living Dead. The zombie outbreak begun in Night of the Living Dead has spread to major cities around the nation causing chaos and mass hysteria among the populace. Martial law has been declared as the governments (city, state, federal) quarrel endlessly, trying helplessly to decide how best to deal with the human munching pandemic, sweeping the nation.

A group of people (heroes), played by David Emge, Gaylen Ross, Ken Foree, and Scott Reiniger decide enough is enough and set off to find a better place to be. That better place turns out to be a deserted shopping mall in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, which was only supposed to be a pit stop to stock on supplies, but the four decide to stay a while and set up shop, once of course they’ve cleared out the zombie interlopers and secured the place from future attack. And so ensues the carnage.

The script, penned by Romero and Dario Argento, is vintage horror and gore, but also quite intelligent. The character development is surprisingly strong and the actors (all unknown at the time) did a fair job of acting out their parts, with believability.

Unlike later such teenaged slasher movies as Friday the 13th and Halloween, where at least some attempt is made to explain the “baddy’s” state of mind and or creation, it is never adequately explained how the zombies of Dawn of the Dead came to be zombies, they just were. And I accepted that they just were, because trying to make sense of the carnage unfolding on the screen would have detracted from the simple formula of the film. Dawn of the Dead is not high-handed film-making; it’s a simple, gore-filled, bloody, nasty affair, which will scare the crap out of anyone bold enough to watch it. And I warn you bring a strong stomach and a stout heart, both will be needed to view this decent into hell and beyond.

This has been an entry to the Creepy Movie write-off, hosted by Arielssong. Please visit these other fine Epinions writers to view their contributions to this effort.



Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
a B rated movie that was good enough to spawn a spoof lol. its cheezy corney and funny i love it.
About the reviewer
Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #77
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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About this movie


Picking up where NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD left off, and still offering no explanation of why the dead are walking the earth, DAWN OF THE DEAD plunges headlong into one of the most violent and original horror films ever made. After securing an apartment building overcome with flesh-eating zombies, two Philadelphia area SWAT team members, Peter (Ken Foree) and Roger (Scott Reiniger), flee to a television station, where they escape in the station's helicopter with Francine (Gaylen Ross) and Stephen (David Emge), two station employees. Seeking refuge from the zombies and the ensuing hysteria, they land on top of a Pittsburgh area shopping mall, despite the fact that the undead seem to be flocking there. What begins as a stop for supplies becomes a longer stay as the four become embroiled in a futile war within the mall to keep their flesh to themselves and remain alive. <br> <br> The film's relentlessly disturbing and innovative gore effects are one reason to see DAWN OF THE DEAD, but those who can stomach...
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Movies, Horror Film


Cast: David Early
Director: George Romero
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 1978
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Screen Writer: George A. Romero
DVD Release Date: Anchor Bay Entertainment (April 27, 1999)
Runtime: 2hr 10min
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