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Dawn of the Dead

Entry updated 2 August 2020. Tagged: Film.

Film (1978; vt Zombie Italy; vt Zombies UK). Laurel. Directed by George Romero. Written by Romero, with Dario Argento (who also cowrote the music) as script consultant. Cast includes David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H Reininger and Gaylen Ross. 127 minutes, cut to 125 minutes. Colour.

The first of three sequels to Night of the Living Dead (1968) – the others are Day of the Dead (1985) and Land of the Dead (2005) – this was (unusually) premiered in Italy, under the title Zombie. Dawn of the Dead is true sf, not just because of the pseudoscientific explanation for zombiism but because Romero is interested in Zombies not only as occasions for horror – though Dawn of the Dead remains primarily a Horror film – but also as phenomena (their sociology, their possible intelligence) in the way that an sf writer might be interested in Aliens. Where the first film was unremittingly black, this has a comic-strip and satirical humour about it, as four survivors hole up in a shopping mall besieged by zombies and bikers. Jokes about the death of capitalism, even while the capitalist instinct survives, are focused on the many goods displayed in the spotless temple of consumerism. The subtext (we, the working class, are, or could be, the zombies) is spirited though unsubtle, and the film is remembered by most for its violent, well-choreographed action.

The novelization is Dawn of the Dead (1978) by George Romero and Susanna Sparrow. [PN]

see also: Satire.


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