Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 28th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1978
Director: George A. Romero
Writer: George A. Romero
Cast: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, Gaylen Ross, David Crawford, David Early
DVD released: September 13th, 2010
Approximate running time: 122 Minutes (Theatrical Cut), 139 Minutes (Director’s Cut), 119 Minutes (Argento’s Cut)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English, Dolby Digital Mono English (Theatrical Cut), Dolby Digital Mono English (Director’s Cut, Argento’s Cut)
Subtitles: English (Director’s Cut, Argento’s Cut)
DVD Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £19.99
Synopsis: Following a zombie outbreak four people seek refuge in a shopping mall.
Dawn of the Dead is the second film in George A. Romero’s ‘initial’ zombie trilogy. The other two film’s being Night of the Living Dead and Day of the Dead. And while there is an underlying continuity which connects the three films Each film reflects the mood from the decade in which they were made. With consumerism being the main focal point of Dawn of the Dead.
“What are they doing? Why do they come here?” – Francine Parker
“Some kind of instinct. Memory, of what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives.” – Stephen
More often than not, sequels never quite live up to their predecessors. With the rare exception in which a sequel ends up out shining its predecessor. Dawn of the Dead is one of those film’s which fall into the latter category.
Sure George A. Romero had more control and resources with Dawn of the Dead than he had had with Night of the Living Dead. Also he had a decade in between the two film’s in which he could reflect and refine where he wanted to take the series. And as much as the two aforementioned things add greatly to Dawn of the Dead’s durability. One should not overlook or under value George A. Romero’s brilliant screenplay.
Every aspect of this production excels, the direction, the pacing, the performances and its biting satirical tone. The film is filled with a colorful assortment of characters which include a biker gang which take care of zombies in a comical fashion. Also the interplay between the four main characters (seek refuge in a shopping mall), is a key element that elevates this film beyond a mere gut munching zombie film. Of course no zombie film would be complete without an ample of gore. And this film more than delivers when it comes to gore.
Over the years there have been many imitators, who all pale in comparison to Dawn of the Dead. And in the thirty two years since George A. Romero directed this film. He has yet to eclipse what has was able to achieve with Dawn of the Dead.
All three versions of the film are presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. All three transfers look very good as colors look nicely saturated, flesh tones accurate and black levels look strong throughout.
The theatrical cut comes with three audio options, a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in English, a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in English and a Dolby Digital Mono mix in English. The director’s cut and Argento’s cut each comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. All the audio mixes sound clear and consistent throughout. There are no problems with distortion or background noise. The director’s cut and Argento’s cut both comes with removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release are spread out over four discs. Extras on disc one include a pair of audio commentary tracks. The first audio commentary track with Director George A. Romero, actors / special effects Tom Savini and Chris Romero. The second audio commentary with producer Richard P. Rubinstein. The first audio commentary is more cast and production related, while the second audio commentary deals with the financial aspects of the production. Even though there is some cross over content wise that is covered in the other extras included with this release. There is still more than enough information to be gleaned from these tracks. Making them must listens for fans of this production.
Extras on disc two include a documentary titled ‘The Dead Will Walk’ (74 minutes 55 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). Extras on disc three include radio and T.V. spots, the U.S. and German trailers and trailers for House by the Cemetery, Macabre and Sleepless and documentary about Tom Savini’s work as a special effects artist titled ‘Scream Greats’ (52 minutes 42 seconds – 4:3 full frame).‘The Dead Will Walk’ is a well rounded look into the making of this film.
Extras on disc four include the documentary ‘Document of the Dead’ (84 minutes 12 seconds – 4:3 full frame) with optional audio commentary with director Roy Frumkes, a lost interview and deleted footage from ‘Document of the Dead’ (7 minutes 29 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and another documentary titled ‘Fan of the Dead’ (51 minutes 50 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in French with English subtitles. ‘Document of the Dead’ is the standout extra included with this release. It not only includes a lot of behind the scenes footage. It gives fans of the film a chance what those involved thought about the project while they were making it. Rounding out the extras is a double sided replica poster and a sixteen page collectible booklet with liner notes about the film written by film critic Calum Waddell. Overall Dawn of the Dead get a comprehensive release from Arrow Video that not only includes three versions of the film. It also comes with a wealth of extras detailing every area of this production.