Picture this: You’re a high school teenager at a Saturday night movie. During film previews before the main event of the evening glows hugely on the screen before you, the following graphic appears:
There is no explicit sex in this picture.
However there are scenes of violence which may be considered shocking.
No one under 17 will be admitted.
What do you do?
Well … if you were in the group of friends I cavorted with, you’d be champing at the bit to get to that particular film, that’s what you’d do.
And that’s precisely where we headed when Dawn Of The Dead was finally released in early September, 1978. I mean … it was the long awaited sequel to one of our favorite films of all time, Night Of The Living Dead. How could we not go … ?!?
Of course, there was the requisite blood splatter we craved at the time (something which wasn’t so shocking as it was laughable), but there was a whole lot more going for this film.
First off, the premise was completely plausible. With the world in shambles because of an unknown and rampant plague which reanimates the corpses of the recently dead, a ragtag group of individuals — a television studio chopper pilot, his television executive girlfriend and a couple of SWAT team members — swipe a helicopter and venture out into the apocalyptic unknown. They stumble upon a shopping mall that appears perfect for their own personal haven. A little zombie extermination if there are any pests lumbering about in the wide open mall spaces, secure the place with big rigs to keep the undead riff raff out and they’re golden. They’ve got everything they want, all self-contained inside their little ivory tower. Like I said: Completely plausible.
That is … until wilier riff raff in the form of a biker gang happens upon their little utopia and causes havoc.
This interesting vehicle was all the rage back in the day, 30+ years ago. I remember we reveled in the varying undead who sloughed across the screen. And many years later I found there were quite a few groups of fans out there who were creating lists and stories about many of those same corpses, not only giving them names but chiming in as to who their favorites were. The Nurse Zombie, the M-16 Zombie, Miguelito, Machete Head, the Hare Krishna Zombie and so many, many more. I remember referring to some of the more prominent zombies by different names before this even became popular.
A personal favorite of mine was the corpse who got the screwdriver stuck in his ear, piercing his brain, and effectively and finally killing it. The squeals of joy and/or squeamishness which rang throughout the theater were nothing but music.
And! Speaking of music, this film lends one of my favorite Halloween compositions, The Gonk. I mentioned my love for this quirky polka toe-tapper in my previous 31 Days Of Halloween post Some Halloween music you might not expect back at the beginning of the month here on Flicks.
Look … do yourself a favor: Grab the original Night Of the Living Dead and this super and worthy sequel by zombie master George A. Romero and have yourself a fun and frightening little Halloween show.
Your name might not be “Barbra” … but they’re coming to get you all the same.