- Dawn of the Dead
- George A. Romero
- Scott Reiniger, Ken Foree, David Emge, Gaylen Ross, Tom Savini
- 126 min.
Yes, I have been saving this for the release of the remake. Yes, I am trying in my own feeble little way to capitalize on that.
This is the other (see previous Classic of the Week Martin) reason that George Romero is the most criminally underrated American director. Everything just came together for this one, in exactly the way it didn't for Day of the Dead. The writing is solid, the acting is the most consistent of any of the Dead trilogy, the visuals display a director at the very peak of his game. And the music puts it all together. There are precious few bits of movie music as perfect as Goblin's mechanical (this is certainly as industrial as Italian progressive rock ever got), brooding theme to Dawn of the Dead (they might have given themselves a run for their money if Suspiria were a better movie).
I suppose Day of the Dead has better gore (though even bad Savini is hard to beat, and there is no bad Savini), and not every actor in this is great, but Ken Foree should have gotten an Oscar. For a horror movie Dawn of the Dead isn't even all that scary, but in the history of the genre there really are only a handful of movies (Romero's own Night of the Living Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre) that are even in the same league.
We can all weep a few silent tears that Romero never got to make the finale that he wanted for his trilogy (or weep a few more audible tears that Bruiser was such a bad movie), but we will always have Dawn. And that makes me happy.
- Pat Jackson