Tag Archives: dawn of the dead

Zombie – Review

6 Aug

Italian horror offers some of the most popular and beloved films of the genre. With names like Dario Argento, Mario Bava, and Lucio Fulci, there’s plenty of content to choose from, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that whatever movie you find will be violent and equally gory. But, hey, that’s what people come to expect in horror movies, right? For this review, we’re going to be looking at arguably the most famous film by the Maestro of Gore, himself, Lucio Fulci. Zombie may just be an unofficial  sequel to George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, and an attempt to cash in on the zombie craze, but this film actually stands alone as one of the greatest zombie films ever to be made.

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When Dr. Bowles (Ugo Bologna) goes missing and his boat carrying a rather large zombie shows up in New York Harbor, his daughter Anne (Tisa Farrow) is brought in for questioning. While investigating the boat herself, she meets Peter West (Ian McCulloch), a journalist with the same questions she has. Their inquiries lead them to the Virgin Islands, where they hope the find the mysterious island of Matool. Along the way, they enlist the help of Brian Hull (Al Cliver) and his wife Susan Barrett (Auretta Gay), a seafaring couple who are more than willing to give them a ride on their boat. When the group gets to Matool, they find the island ravaged by zombies, whose numbers are increasing more and more each day. Their only chance for survival may lie with Dr. Menard (Richard Johnson), a scientist working to solve the mystery of these zombies who was also a close friend to Anne’s father.

First, I’d like to give you a little history on this movie since it’s a bit out of the ordinary. It all starts in 1978 when George Romero released Dawn of the Dead, which was the sequel to his 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead. Internationally, this film was known as Zombi. Now, in order to cash in on the massive success Romero’s film, the Italians decided to make an unofficial sequel, this being Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2, now known as Zombie in the United States. This film has absolutely no connection to any of Romero’s movies, other than the fact that there are lots of zombies in it. Strangely enough, from this film, even more sequels were released. That gets a bit too confusing so I’m just going to stick with Fulci’s cult classic.

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Now let’s look at the movie itself. This is without a doubt one of the greatest zombie movies ever made. In a time when zombies have become a subject of parody, even within its own genre, it’s so satisfying to see a movie that takes its subject matter seriously. Let’s just say that when this movie was first released, it was banned in the UK for being too obscene, and as a fun gimmick, the theaters handed out barf bags. Sure, the whole barf bag thing is all in good fun, but that’s not to say that there aren’t some really sick scenes in this movie. Some are so gross that they have become iconic. The most famous scene has to do with someone slowly getting their eye pierced by a sharp piece of wood. This isn’t done offscreen either. Oh no. We see it in all its gory detail. Think Un Chien Andalou, but with zombies.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Zombie is more than just a festival of gore. In fact, it’s still a pretty cool movie in its own right. Think of it as if The Serpent and the Rainbow and Cannibal Holocaust had a baby. There’s a lot of cool voodoo type stuff going on and the gore just kind of adds to how cool everything else is. The pacing moves very slowly, especially the scene with the boat pulling into the harbor. It adds a great sense of suspense and dread that overtakes the entire movie. To top it all off, that late 70s Italian synth soundtrack just makes the movie all the better. It definitely feels like a movie from the 1970s, but it feels like a great one.

No matter how you look at it, Lucio Fulci’s Zombie is a classic of the horror genre. It’s fill of suspense, gore, violence, and fantastic makeup and effects. Zombie movies have become something of a cliche recently, and that’s a shame because they used to reign as some of the greatest horror stories in film. This film may not be for the squeamish of feint of heart, nor is it a movie for people who treasure their eyeballs, but it is an important part of film history as one of the landmarks of horror, and also as a film that has earned its title of a cult classic.

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Romero’s “Dead” Series – Dawn of the Dead

9 Aug

The surprise success that was Night of the Living Dead kick started Romero’s horror career, but he didn’t return to the zombie scene again until 1978 with his release of Dawn of the Dead. This film is many things: horrific, satirical, and darkly humorous. It also happens to be the ultimate zombie film that still hasn’t been topped.

 

Three weeks after the events of the previous film, the undead epidemic is getting worse and society is rapidly crumbling out of stress and sheer panic. Four survivors decide to escape Philadelphia and make their own way. These people are: traffic reporter Stephen (David Emge) and his executive producer girlfriend Francine (Gaylen Ross), and SWAT members Roger (Scott Reiniger) and Peter (Ken Foree). These four survivors take refuge in a shopping mall where they not only have to deal with the undead onslaught, but also a group of violent bikers and their own sanity.

If one were to show this to people today who have been jaded by films like 28 Days Later and Zombieland (both of which are very good movies, in my opinion) may find this film boring. Sure there is a lot of violence and gore, but it’s nothing too over the top or shocking compared with what is shown today. For the time, however, seeing blood spray all over the wall and limbs being torn off was new and jaw dropping.

 

It’s been debated what this movie is truly about. The racial commentary is still here and arguably more overt than last time. A major theory is that this is about the brainwashing effects of consumerism. The zombies come to the mall in the movie because it is a strong remnant memory of a place that they love and have a desire to be. There are even great scenes of zombies walking around and looking at stuff, which reminds me of how some people look while they are shopping. It’s funny and true at the same time. Other people say that this is looking way too deeply into the movie, and it’s just about zombies. I guess that’s up to you to decide.

This movie is a big step up from Night of the Living Dead in all aspect. The action, acting, script, and pacing all have made great leaps forward. Gone is the choppy editing as well which is a real joy. The make up and gore effects by Tom Savini look fantastic, and I love how the blood has a bright red look to it. Savini wasn’t a fan of it, but Romero said that he liked it because of the “comic book” style of it.

 

Dawn of the Dead is the epitome of zombie films and it’s not going to be very easy to top it. I should mention that i did see Zack Snyder’s remake, and while i did enjoy it for what it was I’m still going to have to stick with Romero’s original. It’s funny, gory, and scary when it comes to the zombies and to society. If you love zombie movies, chances are you’ve seen this, but if not give it a watch.

I’ll be continuing my Romero “Dead” series review with his 1985 film Day of the Dead.