Derek Sherlock –Anchor Staff
“When there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.” This is the tagline from George A. Romero’s 1978 horror classic “Dawn of the Dead.” I have seen hundreds upon hundreds of horror movies from all over the world, old and new, but I believe “Dawn of the Dead” is the best film in the history of horror cinema.
It is both iconic and influential – one of the reasons it is superior to other classic films such as the original “The Thing,” “Halloween,” and “Jaws.” Some might argue that Romero’s first film “Night of the Living Dead” is his best film, but I believe that it set the bar for horror movies after its release in 1968. “Dawn of the Dead” is the genesis of modern horror movies in terms of slow burning terror, its special effects and storyline. Although it is about zombies, it is not just another zombie movie. “Dawn of the Dead” further expanded the lore of the flesh-eating ghouls. Many zombie-esque films take their cues from this film.
Some skeptics might believe the film to be dated because it is a product of the 1970s, but the satire the movie possesses still resonates today. In “Dawn of the Dead,” Romero compares the zombies, who aimlessly shamble around a mall, to the un-living-dead who walk around malls shopping for the latest thing to hit shelves. Just go to Providence Place Mall on a weekend and observe so many people mindlessly buying products.
In comparison to his first zombie film, Romero’s characters are more fleshed out (no pun intended), showing his growth as a director. It has spearheaded the splatter-house type of films that made up the 1980’s horror films like “The Thing,” “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th.”
I wish many horror movies today would be like “Dawn of the Dead.” Instead, we are stuck with the same old jump-scare-gore-fest type movies like “Saw.” If the greatest horror director, George A. Romero were here, things would be different. I doubt we’ll have another like him.