A Look Back At The Original Classic - Dawn Of The Dead (1978)

alcarlson's picture

In 1968 George A. Romero’s first feature film Night of the Living Dead was released to a worldwide audience. It was highly praised for its graphic visuals, simple, yet effective plot and characters on such a minuscule production budget. The film helped dawn one of the most popular sub genres of horror today; the zombie movie. It kickstarted Romero’s directing career and lead him to direct other horror films until ten years later when Romero returned to the zombie genre and created Dawn of the Dead. After nearly 40 years since its initial release, it still holds up as one of the best zombie films of all time.

  The film is a sequel to Night of the Living Dead, in which the zombie apocalypse is still ongoing and civilization is starting to fall. It follows a group of four people, which consist of two SWAT members, a news anchor and his girlfriend who take refuge in an abandoned mall while the zombie outbreak continues to wreck havoc. They lock the mall down and prepare themselves to hold out as long as necessary.

  The mall serves as a great location for the movie. It’s massive in size, so there’s so much opportunity for the main characters. Upon arriving, there are still zombies walking around inside they have to deal with. Then they need to secure all the entrances to make sure no additional zombies can get in. There are a lot of shops, including a gun shop, a grocery store and other stores that cover necessities. It’s the ideal place to be held up for an extended period of time. During this time, we learn more about the characters who are all great and interesting to watch in the zombie-filled environment.

Dawn of the Dead 1978

  Where this movie shines is in its graphic violence, which features heads being blown off, limbs being torn, zombies eating people alive among other gruesome scenes. Created long before CGI, Romero had to use a lot of creativity when depicting all the violence. What he made was very convincing and highly entertaining. Unlike some movies today who prefer to use computer generated effects to save time, Dawn of the Dead uses all genuine effects and for that stands out from a lot of zombie movies. It’s one of the more graphic zombie films, and probably one of the goriest films period, and isn’t for the faint of heart.

  Despite all the gore there’s some black humor in this movie. It’s humorous to watch the zombies attempt to use simple devices, such as escalators, or try standing on the ice rink. Inside the mall the zombies also fall victim to the survivors shenanigans. They often play around with them, throw things at them among other things. These humorous moments help give the film a more human feeling to it.

This is one of the early zombie films and still holds up to this day as being one of the pinnacle zombies movies out there. It helped set the standards and general theme that all zombie films today follow. From the plot to the characters and the creepy soundtrack, it’s an overall zombie masterpiece. All fans of horror should get a lot of enjoyment from this movie.


By:Al Carlson

Your Rating: 
Average: 4.3 (3 votes)


zombiechick's picture

I have watched this zombie flick more than any other zombie movie! It's by far my fav!

ladydragon's picture

I absolutely LOVE looking at the old trailer. Too neat to see how films like this were scary and gory, but VERY originail back in the 70's. Very different from modern horror films.  

ladydragon's picture

Dawn of the Dead is a classic. My friend Nick D'Amico got me hooked on some more of the old-school films. He hosts Cleveland Classic Cinema, where he gives you a very in-depth look at the stars of the films and facts you may not have known. It's quite fascinating. A great watch!

zombiechick's picture

The classics are the ones to watch! Especially this one!