|I guess it wasn't just a cold.|
I know, I know, I know. You may be amazed to know that this person claiming to be obsessed with horror films had never seen the original Dawn of the Dead until tonight. Well its true. It brings me shame to say I hadn't seen this Romero classic until just a few hours ago, but I have now rectified the issue and will be sharing my thoughts about the film.
Right off the bat I was actually surprised by the quality of the effects in the film. They have definitely withstood the test of time in my books, so Tom Savini you have earned your fame. (also didn't know that he was in the film until I saw the scenes he was in, when I saw him waltz across the screen there may or may not have been some arm flailing) Later on in the film when there is a scene filled with people the main characters called "rednecks" I couldn't help but feel they were portraying some Canadians ala Bob and Doug McKenzie. Was Romero making fun of us up here in the north?
Several times in Dawn a new zombie fighting technique was shown to me first by the total badass Peter (played by Ken Foree) then later by Roger (played by Scott H. Reiniger). This technique would be the Zombie Face Punch. Every time I saw them punch a zombie in the face I just wanted to yell out "ZOMBIE FACE PUNCH". Its like the "FALCON PUNCH", but way better because, well, zombies. Need I say more? Peter then goes on to fight off zombies at the end using a Zombie Scissor Kick, just when you thought he couldn't kick more zombie ass.
Then there was the character Stephen. Probably the lamest human in the movie, but a pretty nifty zombie, he saw a zombie going after his girlfriend. So what did he do? Well since he had a hammer in his hand he did the obvious and hit the zombie... with his body. With. His. Body. Seriously? Isn't that probably one of the best ways to suffer a zombie bite? I mean it wasn't even a tackle, I really don't even know how to describe it, you just have to watch it for yourself.
Even with the generally basic make up in this movie the zombies were great. At some points it seemed like someone had just killed a costume party then revived their corpses and put them in the mall. I noticed at least a nurse zombie and a Hare Krishna zombie. It gets even better if you look up the full cast and crew on IMDB where you find the likes of "leotard zombie hit by sledge" or elf zombie. Then of course the one I noticed and gave the name "I crapped my pants" zombie. I guess he just got really really scared when he saw a zombie shambling towards him. His shame carried on into the afterlife. The best part though was the zombies on ice. There was something adorable about them just slowly shambling along the ice. They need to make a tour called Zombies on Ice, it would be bone chillingly good.
The final scenes of the film were great, and the film over all felt to me to be much better than the 2004 remake. This movie has a sense of fun to it, but in a dark humour form. The smaller cast allowed for better character development and showed how the movie going audience has changed since the 70s. I did enjoy noticing all of the little things they had taken from the original and made into major plot points in the sequel. In fact it was probably a good thing I saw the re-make first, otherwise those little things would never have been noticed.
Dawn of the Dead, after all this anticipation you lived up to my expectations and are definitely a must see.