Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

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

 

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 Review: Arrow Video (Arrow 2010 4-disc Edition) - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Arrow Video

Region 0 - PAL

Disc 1 - Theatrical Disc 2 - Director's Cut Disc 3 - Argento Cut
Runtime 2:01:44 (4% PAL speedup) 2:19:20 (4% PAL speedup) 1:59:00 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.55 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.82:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.82 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.82:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.82 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 : Theatrical

Bitrate Director's Cut

Bitrate Argento Cut

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo; English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles none English, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• DISC 1:
• Audio Commentary by George A. Romero, Tom Savini, and Christine Romero moderated by Perry Martin
• Audio Commentary by producer Richard P. Rubinstein moderated by Perry Martin
• DISC 4:
• DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD (4:3; 1:24:11 with optional commentary by Roy Fumkes)
• DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD: Lost Scenes (4:3; 7:28)
• FAN OF THE DEAD documentary (4:3; 51:49)
• Double-sided fold-out Poster
• 16-page collector's booklet
• 4 sleeve art options on either side of the two digipacks

DVD Release Date: 20 September 2010
2 digipacks in slipcase

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.82:1

Edition Details:
• DISC 2:
• THE DEAD WILL WALK documentary (16:9; 1:14:51)

DVD Release Date: 20 September 2010
2 digipacks in slipcase

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.82:1

Edition Details:
• DISC 3:
• Scream Greats (4:3; 52:40)
• US Trailer (4:3; 2:37)
• German Trailer (4:3; 0:58)
• UK TV Spots (4:3; 1:28)
• Radio Spots (2:23)
• Review Text Gallery
• Trailers for HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY (4:3; 3:15), MACABRE (16:9; 2:10), and SLEEPLESS (16:9; 1:22)

DVD Release Date: 20 September 2010
2 digipacks in slipcase

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments

NOTE: Eric has matched the captures to the older Anchor Bay DVD versions compared on DVDBeaver HERE. This should bear out that the Arrow set is visually superior. (ed.)

Arrow's 2010 4 disc SD-DVD set reproduces the contents of their 3-disc 2009 Blu-ray/DVD combo (theatrical version and some extras on Blu-ray disc 1, the director's cut and Argento cut and other extras on SD discs 2 and 3). Arrow's theatrical cut on disc 1 is framed at 1.78:1 while the Anchor Bay was framed at 1.85:1. Since they likely come from the same master, it appears that AB added the 1.85:1 matte as there is a sliver of information present on the top and bottom of the Arrow image not present on the AB but 1.85:1 would have been the aspect ratio for projection in the US. Anchor Bay's bitrate is slightly higher but some of that is taken up by the half-bitrate DTS track. The commentaries on the theatrical cut disc have been ported over from the the Anchor Bay Ultimate Edition. The Theatrical Cut (actually Romero's director's cut but the label has been applied to the extended Cannes cut out of contractual obligation dating back to the Elite laserdisc edition) on the AB set featured the Romero commentary (the Arrow setup menu only mentions Romero even though Tom Savini and Christine Romero also appear on the track) while the producer commentary was featured on the extended cut so it has likely been trimmed to fit the theatrical version). The previous 2004 Arrow single disc edition (HERE) of the theatrical cut featured these two commentary tracks (the 2010 edition adds a 2.0 original mono - mislabeled 1.0 mono - track to the remixes; the original mono track was not included on the Arrow Blu-ray edition) and the "Dead Will Walk" documentary as its substantial extra.

Disc 2 features the Cannes cut which is also known as the extended version or the director's cut (see above). The image on this longer version is interlaced and the running time suggests that it is an NTSC-PAL standards conversion. For some reason, Arrow has supplied English subtitles for this version and the Argento cut so that could be considered a bonus. The bitrate is lower than theatrical cut because of the presence on this disc of the 75 minute DEAD WILL WALK documentary (also present on the AB set) but the standards conversion issue (and the fact that the element for this pre-release version was not as well-cared for as the other versions) already means it's not going to look its best here. The inclusion of the Rubinstein commentary here in its full form rather than trimmed to fit the theatrical cut on disc 1 might have made this a better disc.

Disc 3 features the Argento cut. The cast commentary track for this version that appears on the AB ultimate release has not been carried over here. The running time and interlaced image suggests that this is an NTSC-PAL standards conversion. Like the extended cut, English subtitles have been provided for this version. Audio is 2.0 English mono (the AB edition featured 5.1 and 2.0 surround remixes as well). The bulk of the supplements are included on this disc including the near hour-long Tom Savini episode of SCREAM GREATS (not present on the Anchor Bay Ultimate Edition), US and German trailers, TV spots (UK spots so they have the ZOMBIES title card rather than DAWN; on the Rubinstein commentary, the producer explains that it was negotiated that the UK would get the Argento cut first - explaining why this version had an English mix created in the first place - and then the US version later), radio spots, a text gallery of reviews, and trailers for three titles from Arrow's MASTERS OF GIALLO line (strangely, the trailer for HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY is squeezed to 4:3 although it appears in 16:9 on other releases).

The volume name of Disc 4 is actually "DAWN_OF_THE_DEAD_DISC_TWO" which suggests that if Arrow puts out a subsequent 2 disc edition of the theatrical cut, this will likely be the same extras disc. All of the extras on this disc were SD-resolution extras that shared space on the BluRay disc of the aforementioned 2009 Arrow 1x BluRay 2x DVD set. The 84 minute Roy Frumkes documentary DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD is ported over from the US Synapse Films release along with the deleted scenes from the documentary (the Anchor Bay release had the Frumkes documentary but not the deleted scenes or optional commentary). Although there is an option labeled DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD: THE LOST INTERVIEW & DELETED SCENES, Arrow has not carried over the 20 minute "The Lost Interview" segment which was present on their Blu-ray edition (this option only features the 7 1/2 minutes of deleted scenes and a title search does not reveal the interview segment as being present anywhere on the disc). It is perhaps appropriate that it is not included because it was shot on the set of TWO EVIL EYES and was not part of the original assembly (but the menu option suggests it was not intentionally left off). The optional Frumkes commentary (ported from the Synapse US release) was not present on Arrow's Blu-ray edition nor Anchor Bay's Ultimate Edition. FAN OF THE DEAD is a documentary by French fan Nicolas Garreau who talks about the film, visits the locations, and interviews some of the cast (the interviews are in English while Garreau speaks French with English subtitles). The Garreau documentary is not on the US set.

Owners of the Arrow
Blu-ray set have no reason to double dip (as mentioned above, the Arrow Blu set has the Lost Interview erroneously omitted from the SD set) but not the Frumkes commentary (nice if you don't own the Synapse disc of the documentary). Owners of the US Ultimate Edition might want to as the Arrow version does not contain all of the extras of the US edition but it does feature its own exclusive extras (owners of the Anchor Bay Blu-ray might pick this up for the alternate cuts and exclusive extras but would need the UE version to be more comprehensive). Diehard fans may want to also track down one of the two BMG DVD editions which featured an exclusive commentary track by Savini and stuntman Taso Stavrakis (note that the original BMG issue was cut by 6 seconds).

  - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
 

 

Director's Cut

 

 

Argento Cut


Screen Captures

 

1) Theatrical Cut TOP

2) Director's Cut - MIDDLE

3) Argento Cut - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Theatrical Cut TOP

2) Director's Cut - MIDDLE

3) Argento Cut - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Theatrical Cut TOP

2) Director's Cut - MIDDLE

3) Argento Cut - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Theatrical Cut TOP

2) Director's Cut - MIDDLE

3) Argento Cut - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Theatrical Cut TOP

2) Director's Cut - MIDDLE

3) Argento Cut - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Theatrical Cut TOP

2) Director's Cut - MIDDLE

3) Argento Cut - BOTTOM

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Arrow Video

Region 0 - PAL

 

 




Search DVDBeaver
S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!