(aka "Zombie: Dawn of the Dead" or "Zombi")

directed by George A. Romero
USA / Italy 1978

The living dead were born October 2, 1968, in Pittsburgh, when a group of commercial directors decided to make a horror film, which in turns should become amongst the best and most influential horror films ever: “Night of the Living Dead”. But due to creative differences, John Russo and George Romero broke up. They decided that Russo kept the rights to “living dead” and that Romero would henceforth use “dead”.

After the break, Romero went on to make two quiet brilliant horror films, “The Crazies” (1973) and “Martin” (1978), before returning to zombie territory. Both films were poorly distributed and failed at the box office. Frustrated and longing for a success, he began preparing “Dawn of the Dead”, with the intention, to create a sequel, that would outdo the original in every way possible.

On the surface, “Dawn of the Dead” is an adaptation of “Night of the Living Dead”. A small group of survivors barricade themselves against an invading horde of zombies. But where “Night of the Living Dead” deals with internal conflicts facing death, “Dawn of the Dead” deals with survival and re-establishing order.

The story is quiet simple. The zombies have overrun populated areas and our four protagonists decide to escape and find a safe area. Hijacking a helicopter, they eventually land on a mall to rest, but soon realize, that by locking it down, they can be actually keep the zombies out and live here.

Where “Night of the Living Dead” showed how characters under extreme stress react in order to survive, Romero seems far less interested in complex characters here. Rather the opposite, in “Dawn of the Dead”, the characters are almost psychological stereotypes. One can view the three male characters as the Freudian trichotomy: Where Peter constantly keeps a cool head, always evaluates a situation, Roger is the exact opposite, acting impulsive and hazardous. In the middle stands Stephen, confused, with a foot in each camp. Opposite them is Francine, who initially follows Stephen, but more and more becomes attached to Peter. Hereby Romero is able to create some character dynamics, which in turns advance the plot. Simple, but very effective.

Romero is more interested in creating a roller coaster horror ride: Very effectively, Romero disarms us with lots of action and humour, only to hit us full frontal with horror. For instance, in the beginning of the film a swat team raids a house infested with zombies, shooting left and right, seemingly in charge, then suddenly time almost stops, as a young swat is facing a torso trying to get a bite of him and being out of bullets. Likewise, towards the end, during a huge shoot-out, Stephen suddenly is trapped in an elevator and has to fight off several very aggressive zombies. Just as his choice in characters, Romero uses these transitions not only to create tension and dynamic in the plot, but also to set up some stunning horror sequences. Note here how he uses fast editing during action sequences, then almost stops time and lets a single shot show the horror.

Underneath all this, there runs a social commentary, where Romero creates a parallelism of consumerism. The zombies gather and wander aimlessly thru the mall, just as the monotone announcements in the speakers. Even when no living creature is left, two things will remain: zombies and special discounts. At the same time, the mall represents life, as it has everything you need to live; and thanks to modern days preservatives, the food will last a lifetime. The only difference between the zombies and the survivors is in the end their heartbeat. By using satire, Romero was able to show us sides of our own behavior, without directly pointing a finger, and at the same time setting up some of the humor, which again made the horror so grim.

Originally one of the most banned films ever, “Dawn of the Dead” stands today as one of the greatest horror films ever made.

Posters

Theatrical Release: 2 September 1978 - Italy

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Anchor Bay (Collector's Ed.) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Anchor Bay (Anniversary Ed.) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Anchor Bay (UE Box-Set) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Dutch Filmworks - Region 2 - PAL vs. Aventi - Region 0 - PAL vs. CVC - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Ole Kofoed of DVD-Basen for all the Screen Caps except Jayson Kennedy for the Italian CVC.

(Anchor Bay (Collector's Ed.) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Anchor Bay (Anniversary Ed.) - Region 0 - MIDDLE vs. Anchor Bay (UE Box-Set) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

Features Release Information:
Distribution: Anchor Bay
DVD Release Date: October 28, 1997
Keep Case

 

Edition Details:
• 2 theatrical trailers.
 

Release Information:
Distribution: Anchor Bay
DVD Release Date: April 27, 1999
Keep Case

 

Edition Details:
• Alternative scenes from Argento cut (4:28).
• Theatrical trailer (2:45).
• Monroeville Mall commercial spot (0:26).
 

Release Information:
Distribution: Anchor Bay
DVD Release Date: September 7, 2004
Digipack

 

Edition Details:

• Comic Book.
• Easter eggs.

Theatrical Cut:

• Commentary by George Romero, Tom Savini and Cris Romero.
• 2 theatrical trailers (2:46 + 1:01).
• 3 TV spots (0:57 + 0:32 + 0:32).
• 9 radio spots.
• Posters, lobbycards and advertising gallery.
• Romero bio.

Extended Cut:

• Commentary by producer Richard Rubinstein.
• Monroeville Mall commercial spot (0:27).
• Production / ehind the scenes / memorabilia stills.

Argento Cut:

• Commentary by actors Emge, Foree, Reiniger and Ross.
• 1 Italian and 2 German trailers (3:47 + 1:03 + 3:40)
• 2 UK TV spots.
• Poster & still galleries.
• Argento bio.

Bonus Disc (Documentaries):

• The Dead Will Walk (1:15:04)
• Document of the Dead (1:31:37)
• On-set home videoes (13:25)
• Monroeville Mall Tour (11:28)

(Dutch Filmworks - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Aventi - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. CVC - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

Features Release Information:
Distribution: Dutch Filmworks
DVD Release Date: January - 2001
Keep Case

 

Edition Details:
• Document of the Dead (1:03:03).
• Theatrical trailer (3:44).
• 2 German trailers (1:01 + 3:37).
• Talent files for Romero, Argento and Savini (In english).
• Trailers for Day of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead.

Release Information:
Distribution: Aventi
DVD Release Date: Oct 24th, 2002
Keep Case

 

Edition Details:
• None.

 

Release Information:
Distribution: CVC
DVD Release Date: January, 17 - 2002
Keep Case

 

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (2:38)
• Alternative scenes from Argento cut (4:28)

 

 


Report Card:

Image:

Anchor Bay (UE)

Sound:

Anchor Bay (UE)

Extras: Anchor Bay (UE)
Menu: Anchor Bay (UE)

Theatrical Cut Comparison

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Anchor Bay

Region 0 - NTSC

Anchor Bay
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 2:08:24 2:07:05
Video

Letterboxed 1.66:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 3.97 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.70 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay (Anniversary Ed.)

 

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay (UE Box-Set)

 

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono

DTS 5.1 (768 kbp/s), Dolby Digital 5.1, DD 2.0 Surround, DD 2.0 Mono

Subtitles None. English Closed Captions.

 

Menus

 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Anchor Bay (Anniversary Ed.) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Anchor Bay (UE Box-Set) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Anchor Bay (Anniversary Ed.) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Anchor Bay (UE Box-Set) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Anchor Bay (Anniversary Ed.) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Anchor Bay (UE Box-Set) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Anchor Bay (Anniversary Ed.) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Anchor Bay (UE Box-Set) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Anchor Bay (Anniversary Ed.) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Anchor Bay (UE Box-Set) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Anchor Bay (Anniversary Ed.) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Anchor Bay (UE Box-Set) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 

Extended Cut Comparison

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Dutch Filmworks

Region 2 - PAL

Anchor Bay
Region 1 - NTSC
Anchor Bay
Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 2:19:25 2:19:28 2:19:17
Video

Letterboxed 1.73:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.76 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.42 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

Letterboxed 1.75:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.10 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Dutch Filmworks

 

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay (UE)

 

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay (CE)

 

Audio English Dolby digital 2.0

English Dolby digital 2.0

English Dolby digital 2.0

Subtitles Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian , Finnish or none. English Closed Captions None.

 

Menus

 

 
   

 


 

Screen Captures

(Dutch Filmworks - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Anchor Bay (UE) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Anchor Bay (CE) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Dutch Filmworks - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Anchor Bay (UE) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Anchor Bay (CE) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Dutch Filmworks - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Anchor Bay (UE) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Anchor Bay (CE) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Dutch Filmworks - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Anchor Bay (UE) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Anchor Bay (CE) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Dutch Filmworks - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Anchor Bay (UE) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Anchor Bay (CE) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Dutch Filmworks - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Anchor Bay (UE) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Anchor Bay (CE) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 

Argento Cut Comparison

 

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Dutch Filmworks

Region 2 - PAL

Aventi
Region 0 - PAL
Anchor Bay
Region 1 - NTSC
CVC
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:53:59 (4% PAL speedup) 1:54:16 (4% PAL speedup) 1:59:09 1:54:01 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.33:1 Open Matte format
Average Bitrate: 4.76 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.49 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.86 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.77 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Dutch Filmworks

 

Bitrate:

 

Aventi

 

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay (UE)

 

Bitrate:

 

CVC

 

Audio English Dolby digital 2.0

English DTS 5.1 (768 kbp/s), English Dolby 5.1, French DTS 5.1 (768 kbp/s), French DD5.1

Dolby Digital 5.1, DD 2.0 Surround, DD 2.0 Mono

English and Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1)

Subtitles Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian , Finnish or none. French or none. English (Closed Captions). English, Italian, None
Menus

 

 

Notes about the CVC release:

In one word, awful. This CVC edition has the distinction of being the first time the film was presented anamorphically, with 5.1 audio, and English subtitles. It doesn't help. The print (I suspect is merely a projected-to-death theatrical print) is overly dark with pervasive blue hues. It also features scratches, blemishes, a cheese cloth like appearance, and tears every other frame. The audio is no better. Both tracks are overtly artificially enhanced with amped up effects and echoing. This echoing is so abhorred it audibly doubles Goblin's score. Also, those English subtitles I mentioned are fall down hilarious. No grammatical errors, but they tend to hit so far off-the-mark you begin to seriously doubt they were intended for the film. If this wasn't enough the Theatrical Trailer and Alternate Scenes (scenes from the Argento cut, oh wait, this is the Argento cut!) are ripped directly from the Anchor Bay 20th Anniversary Edition.

**Note: The fifth capture is mismatched. On this disc Ken's finger does not land to the right of the Janitor square, the one shown is the last frame of the shot.

Jayson Kennedy

 


 

Screen Captures

(Dutch Filmworks - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Aventi - Region 0 - PAL - 2ND vs. Anchor Bay (UE) - Region 1 - NTSC - 3RD vs. CVC - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Dutch Filmworks - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Aventi - Region 0 - PAL - 2ND vs. Anchor Bay (UE) - Region 1 - NTSC - 3RD vs. CVC - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Dutch Filmworks - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Aventi - Region 0 - PAL - 2ND vs. Anchor Bay (UE) - Region 1 - NTSC - 3RD vs. CVC - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Dutch Filmworks - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Aventi - Region 0 - PAL - 2ND vs. Anchor Bay (UE) - Region 1 - NTSC - 3RD vs. CVC - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Dutch Filmworks - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Aventi - Region 0 - PAL - 2ND vs. Anchor Bay (UE) - Region 1 - NTSC - 3RD vs. CVC - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Dutch Filmworks - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Aventi - Region 0 - PAL - 2ND vs. Anchor Bay (UE) - Region 1 - NTSC - 3RD vs. CVC - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

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