#1 - Dawn of the Dead
You should understand I'm talking about the original 1978 release of Dawn of the Dead, written and directed by George Romero ... I said it before and I'll say it again - EJ loves zombies ... And as far as zombie movies go - Dawn of the Dead is the best. For those that don't know, it is essentially Romero's follow up to Night of the Living Dead. The movie starts off with the zombies already up and running and doing what they do. And as one of the few remaining television broadcasts is on the air, discussing the turmoil and trying to keep the public informed, chaos ensues and 2 reporters find themselves teamed up with 2 SWAT team members attempting to hide out in an "abandoned" shopping mall in order to fight for their lives ...
How does it make the top 10?
Horror movies don't come any better than this. The strength of ANY movie is how much it can resonate with an audience, making the 'character connection' the most vital aspect. Therein, the weakness many horror movies suffer from is their limited characterization. They are too bogged down in their own premise or the 'horror figure' itself to truly connect to viewers. Some make weak attempts or try to compensate for the lack with shock, flash, and gimmickry, but its only the very BEST movies can effectively create that connection. And like I mentioned with Night of the Living Dead, zombie movies aren't about the zombies, they are about the survivors, which gives this type of horror film the perfect pallet to create something meaningful.
Romero's 1978 Dawn gave us 4 characters and ONLY 4, which is important. This meant that they weren't just fodder for zombies to pick off one by one. These 4 individuals had to make a story, and that they did. From the point that they decided to clear out the mall of the undead roaming around, we got to ride with them as 'real people' making practical decisions. We got to see relationships form and friendships put to the test ... Sometimes it was lighthearted. Sometimes it was sad and scary.
Some fantastic scenes of the survivors doing something as natural as just shopping and trying to enjoy whatever type of life they can while trapped in a mall ... And of course, the political statements that abound in the film, from its views on consumerism, feminism, and social activism ... It was the 70's afterall .... There is just so much to take away from it. And although Dawn isn't all "horror" and "monsters" all the time, when it is, it is awesome. There's a measure of real fright and intensity in almost every scene, even when trying to accomplish the simplest of tasks. What's going to happen? Can they really keep the zombies at bay?? How much longer can they hold out??? These are the questions that keep viewers on the edge of their seat the whole way through and when you find out the "answer" at the end? ... Wow.
Best horror movie. Hands down. Period.
Love to hear your thoughts, criticism and commentary!
What shouldn't have been on the list? .... What was missing?
Take care and Happy Halloween!!
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