A Guide to Apocalyptic Cinema

By Charles P. Mitchell | Go to book overview

The Dawn of the Dead (1978)

AKA Zombie

Rating: **** Threat: Zombie plague

Laurel. Written by George A. Romero; Photographed by Michael Gornick; Special effects by Tom Savini; Edited by George A. Romero; Music by The Goblins with Dario Argento & stock music selected by George A. Romero; Produced by Richard P. Rubinstein; Directed by George A. Romero. 126 minutes; European version, 121 minutes.


ANNOTATED CAST LIST

David Emge (Stephen, Philadelphia TV station traffic-report helicopter pilot); Gaylen Ross (Fran, his girlfriend and studio production assistant); Scott H. Reiniger (Roger, Philadelphia SWAT team member); Ken Foree (Peter, his friend, a policeman); David Crawford (Dr. Foster, scientist interviewed on television); David Barley (Berman, talk show host); Howard Smith (TV commentator); Richard France (scientist with eye patch); Daniel Dietrich (Givens, studio executive); Fred Baker (SWAT team commander); Jim Baffico (Wooley, bigoted SWAT team member); Jese Del Gre (old priest in tenement); Rod Stouffer (cop on roof who plans to escape by boat); George A. Romero (TV studio director); Christine Forrest (his assistant); John Harrison (zombie janitor); Clayton Mc-Kinnon, John Rice (cops in project apartment); Ted Bank, Patrick McCloskey, Randy Kovitz, Joe Pilato (cops at police dock); Pasquale Buba, Tony Buba, David Hawkins, Tom Kapusta, Rudy Ricci, Tom Savini, Mart Schiff, Joe Shelby, Taso Stavrakos, Nick Tallo, Larry Vaira (motorcycle gang members); Sharon Ceccatti, Pam Chatfield, Jim Christopher, Clayton Hill, Donald Rubinstein, Jay Stover (principal zombies).


SYNOPSIS

In 1968, Pittsburgh-based filmmaker George A. Romero made history with his ground-breaking feature Night of the Living Dead. The basic story involved a ghoulish onslaught of reanimated corpses, supposedly caused by high-level radiation from a disintegrating deep-space probe. The independent production cost about $115,000, and in time it grossed over $25 million. Romero delayed attempting a follow-up for about six years, and then it took him four additional years to raise the $1.5 million needed to produce the sequel. Dawn of the Dead was eventually issued without a rating and became a marketing phenomenon, the biggest cult blockbuster of the decade, earning over $55 million. Even more surprising, the film was a success with critics, who responded to the satirical heart of the picture, the shopping mall mindset of modern society.

The story opens at WGON, a Philadelphia television studio, which is in a

-27-

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A Guide to Apocalyptic Cinema
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Overview: Cinematic Visions of the Apocalypse xi
  • A Guide to Apocalyptic Cinema: Fifty Films in Depth 1
  • The 27th Day (1957) 3
  • Armageddon (1998) 10
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) 17
  • Crack in the World (1965) 22
  • The Dawn of the Dead (1978) 27
  • The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) 33
  • The Day the Sky Exploded (1958/61) 40
  • Day the World Ended (1956) 44
  • Deep Impact (1998) 48
  • Deluge (1933) 54
  • Doomsday Machine (1967/72) 59
  • Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) 63
  • The End of the World (1930/34) 70
  • Five (1951) 74
  • Holocaust 2000 (1978) 78
  • The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945) 83
  • Kronos (1957) 88
  • The Last Man on Earth (1964) 93
  • The Last War (1961) 98
  • The Last Wave (1977) 103
  • The Last Woman on Earth (1960) 108
  • Lifeforce (1985) 112
  • The Lost Missile (1958) 117
  • The Magnetic Monster (1953) 122
  • The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936) 127
  • Mars Attacks! (1996) 133
  • Meteor (1979) 139
  • Moonraker (1979) 145
  • The Night the World Exploded (1957) 152
  • Noah's Ark (1929) 157
  • No Blade of Grass (1970) 162
  • No Survivors Please (1964) 168
  • One Night Stand (1984) 172
  • On the Beach (1959) 177
  • Quiet Earth (1985) 184
  • Robot Monster (1953) 189
  • Runestone (1991) 194
  • The Satan Bug (1965) 199
  • The Seventh Sign (1988) 205
  • Solar Crisis (1990) 210
  • Star Trek—the Motion Picture (1978) 214
  • Target Earth (1953) 221
  • Them! (1954) 226
  • Virus (1980) 231
  • Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) 238
  • The War of the Worlds (1953) 243
  • When Worlds Collide (1951) 249
  • Where Have All the People Gone? (1974) 255
  • The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959) 259
  • Zarkorr the Invader (1996) 265
  • Appendices 269
  • Appendix A 271
  • Appendix B 279
  • Appendix C 283
  • Index 285
  • About the Author 311
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