Dawn of the Dead Ultimate Edition

Dawn of the Dead Ultimate Edition

4.7 22
Director: George A. Romero

Cast: George A. Romero, Scott Reiniger, Ken Foree, David Emge

     
 

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Director George A. Romero's epic sequel to his legendary Night of the Living Dead has firmly established itself as the equal of its ground-breaking predecessor. Though shot in 1978 -- ten years after the first films' release -- Dawn's story begins as if the events in Night had happened only a few months before: after shambling armies of theSee more details below

Overview

Director George A. Romero's epic sequel to his legendary Night of the Living Dead has firmly established itself as the equal of its ground-breaking predecessor. Though shot in 1978 -- ten years after the first films' release -- Dawn's story begins as if the events in Night had happened only a few months before: after shambling armies of the recently-dead take over every major city -- seeking warm human flesh for food -- the U.S. government imposes a state of martial law, sending in special National Guard units to attack and destroy zombie infestation where they find it. Two members of one such unit, Peter (Ken Foree) and Roger (Scott Reiniger) have been tasked to overthrow a nest of zombies in a Pittsburgh housing project (one of the film's most explicitly gory scenes). When the job turns ugly and Peter is forced to terminate his own berserk, racist commanding officer, the pair decide to split the outfit with the help of his friend Stephen (David Emge), a traffic pilot for WGON-TV, and the station's floor manager, Stephen's girlfriend Frances (Gaylen Ross). Together they steal the station's helicopter and head for less-populated areas, but after some narrow scrapes with flesh-hungry redneck ghouls in the country outside Harrisburg, they opt for a more secure hideout. Eventually they find the perfect solution: a massive, sprawling shopping mall. After the lengthy process of purging the building of zombies is complete, the four secure themselves snugly in the miniature city, consigned to live out their lives in a dull but cushy consumer's paradise... but the arrival of a menacing gang of nomadic bikers proves that this is not to be. With their survival instincts weakened by a mallful of toys and trinkets, the crew are again forced to face grim reality as they face both living and undead foes in a final battle. Romero's excellent, multi-layered story combines high-adventure heroics, three-dimensional characters and explicit gore (by the always masterful Tom Savini, who plays a small role as a leering biker) to excellent effect. The subtext comparing the glassy-eyed behavior patterns of the ghouls to those of American consumers is clear, but not overdone: "It's some kind of instinct," Stephen comments, observing the zombies' attraction to the mall; "This was an important place in their lives." Despite the glimmer of hope offered by the film's closing scene, the outlook for humankind is grim. Perhaps it is Frannie who best expresses Dawn's outlook for humanity: "We're not gonna make it, are we?" Several versions of this film are available on video, including a faster-paced European version edited by overseas distributor Dario Argento and a "Director's Cut" with a great deal of exposition restored (though Romero is quoted as having preferred the unrated cut released initially to U.S. theaters). The shooting script also contains a more downbeat ending, which was never filmed.Director George A. Romero's epic sequel to his legendary Night of the Living Dead has firmly established itself as the equal of its ground-breaking predecessor. Though shot in 1978 -- ten years after the first films' release -- Dawn's story begins as if the events in Night had happened only a few months before: after shambling armies of the recently-dead take over every major city -- seeking warm human flesh for food -- the U.S. government imposes a state of martial law, sending in special National Guard units to attack and destroy zombie infestation where they find it. Two members of one such unit, Peter (Ken Foree) and Roger (Scott Reiniger) have been tasked to overthrow a nest of zombies in a Pittsburgh housing project (one of the film's most explicitly gory scenes). When the job turns ugly and Peter is forced to terminate his own berserk, racist commanding officer, the pair decide to split the outfit with the help of his friend Stephen (David Emge), a traffic pilot for WGON-TV, and the station's floor manager, Stephen's girlfriend Frances (Gaylen Ross). Together they steal the station's helicopter and head for less-populated areas, but after some narrow scrapes with flesh-hungry redneck ghouls in the country outside Harrisburg, they opt for a more secure hideout. Eventually they find the perfect solution: a massive, sprawling shopping mall. After the lengthy process of purging the building of zombies is complete, the four secure themselves snugly in the miniature city, consigned to live out their lives in a dull but cushy consumer's paradise... but the arrival of a menacing gang of nomadic bikers proves that this is not to be. With their survival instincts weakened by a mallful of toys and trinkets, the crew are again forced to face grim reality as they face both living and undead foes in a final battle. Romero's excellent, multi-layered story combines high-adventure heroics, three-dimensional characters and explicit gore (by the always masterful Tom Savini, who plays a small role as a leering biker) to excellent effect. The subtext comparing the glassy-eyed behavior patterns of the ghouls to those of American consumers is clear, but not overdone: "It's some kind of instinct," Stephen comments, observing the zombies' attraction to the mall; "This was an important place in their lives." Despite the glimmer of hope offered by the film's closing scene, the outlook for humankind is grim. Perhaps it is Frannie who best expresses Dawn's outlook for humanity: "We're not gonna make it, are we?" Several versions of this film are available on video, including a faster-paced European version edited by overseas distributor Dario Argento and a "Director's Cut" with a great deal of exposition restored (though Romero is quoted as having preferred the unrated cut released initially to U.S. theaters). The shooting script also contains a more downbeat ending, which was never filmed.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Robert Firsching
One of the most successful independent films ever made -- as well as one of the bloodiest -- this first sequel to Night of the Living Dead couches its splattery goings-on in the context of a satire on pop consumerism. A handful of humans are trapped in a shopping mall filled with flesh-eating zombies who look for all the world like the regular blissed-out customers. Tom Savini's effects are brilliantly and disgustingly realized, with screwdrivers in the head, chunks of flesh bitten from necks, scalps lopped off with helicopter blades, and so on, but this is really more of an action movie than either horror or satire, resembling a particularly gory version of Rio Bravo more than it does its predecessor. Romero fills the film with soldiers, bikers, and other action-movie stalwarts, prefiguring his more obscure genre melding in Knightriders (1981). A tour-de-force of action, gore and wit, Dawn of the Dead is exciting filmmaking, but is not for the squeamish.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/28/1997
UPC:
0013131032598
Original Release:
1978
Rating:
NR
Region Code:
0
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[stereo]
Time:
2:08:00

Special Features

movie trailer; alternate scenes; commercial spot

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Scott Reiniger Roger
Ken Foree Peter
David Emge Stephen
Gaylen Ross Francine
Tom Savini Motorcycle Raider
James A. Baffico Wooley
Fred Baker Commander
Pasquale A. Buba Motorcycle Raider
Pan Chatfield Lead Zombie
Jim Christopher Lead Zombie
Jese del Gre Old Priest
Dave Crawford Dr. Foster
David Earle Mr. Berman
Richard France Scientist
Howard K. Smith TV Commentator
Daniel Dietrich Givens
Rod Stouffer Young Officer on Roof
Clayton McKinnon Officer in Project Apt
John Rice Officer in Project Apt
Ted Bank Officer at Police Dock
Randy Kovitz Officer at Police Dock
Patrick McCloskey Officer at Police Dock
Tony Buba Motorcycle Raider
Taso N. Stavrakis Motorcycle Raider
Sharon Ceccatti Lead Zombie
Jay Stover Lead Zombie
Christine Forrest TV Producer (uncredited)
John Harrison Screwdriver Zombie
George A. Romero TV Director
Marty Schiff Motorcycle Raider
Scott H. Reinger Actor

Technical Credits
George A. Romero Director,Editor,Screenwriter
John Amplas Casting
Claudio Argento Associate Producer
Dario Argento Score Composer
Tony Buba Sound/Sound Designer
Josie Caruso Costumes/Costume Designer,Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Kenneth Davidow Editor
Christine Forrest Asst. Director
Goblin Score Composer
Michael Gornick Cinematographer
Richard P. Rubinstein Producer
Tom Savini Makeup,Makeup Special Effects
Donna Siegal Producer
Taso N. Stavrakis Stunts

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Scene Index

1. Start Program/Credits.
2. "Move in!"
3. Peter.
4. Basement of the Dead.
5. Heading Straight Up.
6. "It's everywhere!"
7. Fuel Station.
8. "We gotta find our own way."
9. Big, Indoor Mall.
10. "Free lunch."
11. Hit and Run.
12. Shopping Spree.
13. Access.
14. The Decision.
15. Pure, Motorized Instinct.
16. "May I say something."
17. Blocking the Entrances.
18. Guns and Ammunition.
19. Test Drive.
20. Putting Up a Wall.
21. Cleaning It Up.
22. "The Dead will walk the Earth."
23. Roger.
24. "Not now."
25. A Brand New Day.
26. Being Watched.
27. Cavalry Charge.
28. Light Out.
29. Stephen.
30. A New Man.
31. "Get out of here!"
32. End Credits.

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