Dawn of the Dead (Zombi) (George A. Romero, 1978)
Let’s go to the mall said Robin Sparkles, but here it is a question of survival that our four protagonists escape by helicopter and land on a mall in Pennsylvania. Two SWAT members Peter (Ken Foree) and Roger (Scott Reiniger), an helicopter pilot Stephen (David Emge) and his wife Francine (Gayleen Ross) take refuge in this suburban mall where they have food, ammunition's, and leisure to pass the time. However, the zombie infested lands of America isolate them from the rest of the world and zombies seem to be attracted by the shopping centre. Explaining why, the characters only summarize it by saying that it is their instinct of converging to a place that was important for them. As a consultant I have worked in a mall for two years straight at a client’s offices and I really enjoyed it and someone can almost never leave the place and live his whole life there. It wouldn’t be sane to do but most people may find it appealing. Even the central characters of the film go on a shopping spree and calculate how much the things they get costs.
This observation of the society of over consumption that is criticized in Dawn of the Dead is not the best thing about it. Even if we are as zombies wandering for the nice displays and good deals. Romero’s film is a landmark in zombie movies and it doesn’t need much presentation. Made with a slim budget of 650 000 $ at the time and produced by Dario Argento, Romero’s film generated more than 55 millions $ in revenues. It again that a good story and a brilliant filmmaker can do anything even on a restricted budget. Just like his groundbreaking Night of the Living Dead, Romero manages to observe the American society and translate it clearly and wisely into a sheer entertainment piece of classic Horror.
The real mastery for Romero is his use of editing and montage that patches the places he couldn’t have used much money to shoot his film. A fast editing and a simple but efficient framing of his images made this film more realistic and like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds or his famous shower scene in Psycho he brought Horror in places that we linked with happy places or neutral zones in our lives.
Around the time of Halloween it is always nice to watch some classic Horror films, this year I wanted to take a break from my recent marathon in a quest I’ve been pursuing for a time now and re watch some classics. The re watch factor here was very high and the whole sequence before they land on the mall I didn’t remembered it at all. Also, it is interesting to re watch such an iconic movie that influenced so much of what Horror is today. It is even more relevant now that I’ve seen it a couple of times that it is a mandatory film for any film lover.