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Dawn Of The Dead

Dawn Of The Dead

By Patrick Samuel • February 12th, 2014
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
Orion Pictures

Original release: September 2nd, 1978
Running time: 117 minutes

Writer and director: George A. Romero
Composers: Goblin, Dario Argento

Cast: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger, Gaylen Ross

Dawn Of The Dead

If the world would come to end today, how different would it be to any other day?

Should we suddenly find ourselves in the grip of a zombie apocalypse, how would we be able to tell the un-dead from the regular folks who walk around aimlessly in city centres and a ride the trains and buses with vacant stares? Thankfully there’s more than a handful of films to choose from to help us answer that question – including Dawn Of The Dead

It’s rare for a filmmaker’s name to be so synonymous with an entire genre, but when we think of zombie films, it’s George A. Romero name that springs to mind.

After scaring an entire generation witless with his groundbreaking Night Of The Living Dead (1968), he returned in 1978 with a surprising follow-up, the aptly titled Dawn Of The Dead, which again saw him delivering a commentary on a society built on consumerism.

The story follows Roger (Scott Reiniger) and Peter (Ken Foree), two Philadelphia Police S.W.A.T. officers, Stephen (David Emge), a helicopter pilot and his TV reporter girlfriend Francine (Gaylen Ross) as they escape the city following the news that the zombie population is growing at an alarming rate. They take refuge in an abandoned suburban shopping mall, but only after a series of attacks from a group of zombies along the way.

There’s an exploding head, shoulders and arms being bitten into, torsos torn apart, intestines pulled out and eaten, and even a couple of child zombies get tossed onto a sofa and shot at with a rifle. After securing the mall, what’s left of the still-human group begin to experience something of a utopian existence, and for a while they’re happy as the world outside is claimed by the undead. They can do what they want and live like royals without paying for anything. They take what clothes they need, eat anything they want, they drink expensive wine, but this materialistic existence doesn’t keep them happy for long and they soon realise their palace has become a prison.

Dawn Of The Dead

Dawn Of The Dead is part social commentary yet full-on horror. As the traditional world view of society begins to collapse and chaos and anarchy begin to take over, it offers a look at the balance between dystopia and utopia. There’s no more waking up at 6am with dead-end jobs to go to, no more standing in queues at the supermarket, banks, post office, no more traffic jams – life would be great – but on the other side there’s also no one to produce the food for the supermarkets, no one to drive the trains, planes or buses and no one to keep producing the fuel to keep them running. If you’re one of a handful of survivors, utopia can turn into a living nightmare.

While filmmakers have been mixing the living dead with dystopian societies for a few decades now, what’s interesting to see is how quickly society can break down in such situations and that’s why Dawn Of The Dead remains such an enjoyable experience. Without Romero’s “Living Dead” films, we wouldn’t have had 28 Days Later, Resident Evil, Shaun of the Dead, or Zombieland, which just goes to show – while these creatures might be long dead, the genre certainly isn’t.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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