Forgotten Frights is back! To celebrate the second anniversary of our annual horror movie roundup, every weekday for the next month we’re going to sound off on a scary good sequel (or, if we want some cheese with our corn syrup, a schlocky second), ruminating on the returns of our favourite monsters, murderers, heroes (or heroines), creepies, crawlies, chills and thrills.
DAWN OF THE DEAD
What came before it: The iconic “first” zombie movie, Night of the Living Dead. Directed by George A. Romero and written by Romero and John A. Russo, the classic set the grounds for all zombie films that would ultimately follow, not to mention zombie culture and fandom (think: zombie walks). However, after the film became a hit, creative disagreements caused Romero and Russo to split. Although Russo retained rights to use the title’s “Living Dead” portion for his future works, we all refer the other writerly half as the Godfather of all Zombies.
What remains: Dawn of the Dead picks up exactly where Night of the Living Dead left off, however, moving from the first film’s rural setting to the overpopulated city. And of course, what was once overpopulation of the living now means overpopulation of the dead. A brand new cast leads this film about a small band of survivors who take refuge in a shopping mall (obviously, what better sanctuary) and their fight to ward off the undead.
Why it deserves a second (or third, or fourth) chance:
- The zombie picnic in the basement. When it comes to zombies, the only thing creepier than an attack is a pack of zombies contently gnawing on human remains together.
- Zombies are already at the bottom of the uncanny valley, but when Roger and Peter turn on the shopping mall music before they sweep the place clean, their uncanniness is completely exemplified. As much as it is funny, it’s also so creepy.
- Creative use of radio and TV to create a full and complex picture of the world outside our handful of cast members, much like its predecessor.
- Dario Argento. The iconic Italian horror director was a fan of the original film and jumped at the chance to take part in the sequel in several ways, encouraging Romero to write in Rome, contributing to music and distribution, and even making it his own cut of the film, retitled Zombi.
- A continuation of zombie theory where Night of the Living Dead left off. Picking up where the original story left off, we continue to hear the perspectives of scientists and journalists who are still coming to terms with what exactly is happening to the world and what that means.
- Over 30 years after it’s original release, it’s still a top notch, enjoyable zombie movie. It’s thrilling, well-paced and entertaining.
- “When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.” Could there be a better tagline?