Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Going back over the blog and adding categories, I discovered I’ve covered hardly any horror films (five posts so far, and the last three just in the last week). This is something that must be rectified, so I decided it was time to dust Dawn of the Dead off; also, it was uncle George’s 70th birthday on the 4th, so how better to mark the occasion (if slightly late)? It only occurred to me while watching it tonight that you can also view it as a kind of war film; if, as someone says during the film, it’s a war between the living and the dead, then our heroes could be considered an invading army occupying the land held by the dead, until another invading army in turn displaces them. Try transplanting it to Iraq or something. I daresay this is hardly an original critical insight, none of mine ever seem to prove original, but there you go anyway. In any case, it really is one of the titanic achievements of the horror genre and of American indie cinema generally; I don’t know where Romero’s gifts went on Diary of the Dead, but they were in full evidence back in 1978, creating one of a handfulof horror films that justifies being more than 90-100 minutes long (as a general rule I believe horror films—more so than most movies—work best at shorter lengths so that they don’t dissipate; this is one of the few exceptions) and inadvertently pioneering a thousand cheesy synth scores for the next decade along the way…

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