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.
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).
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