9. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Date First Watched: 7/05/2005
Date Last Watched: 26/03/2011
# Viewings: 3

I’m generally not a big fan of the ‘older’ zombie films (I like Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, but apart from that this is actually the oldest of my favourite zombie films). I find that most around this time weren’t very intelligent, creepy, interesting or complex [goes for most pre-70s horror tbh]. But this one is not only good, it is the best.

The zombie effects are goddawful (other effects are good) and half the zombies are missing the face paint, yet still manage to be effective. What makes this film work is that it is drenched in atmosphere and has amazing tension. There’s a constant sense of dread and once it gets on its feet after a slightly shaky start you can’t take your eyes off the screen. The characters neither feel real nor like stereotypes, and the actors are a bit wooden, making them slightly dull but this works as well since these particular characters aren’t really the focus and gives the bigger picture precedence. Normally I prefer character-driven zombie type films, but this succeeds on another level (Day of the Dead is fantastic for characters and smaller picture issues though). The other thing is that there are no real human vs human conflicts until near the end. As humans are the real ‘enemy’ in these films, that build-up really drives it home. Although I like fast and slow zombies pretty much equally, this film does a pretty awesome job at making slow zombies seem dangerous.

The soundtrack is also awesome and I somehow never noticed until now that shot in the beginning that was obviously the inspiration for the one in Pulp Fiction.

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