Horrify Me feature: Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead tribute shoot
Why I love the original Dawn of the Dead:

There's really not much new to say on Dawn of the Dead's poignant, prescient, almost prophetic commentary on modern consumerism. George A. Romero's satire on our zombie-like trance when lured towards the shopping mall is one of its great strengths as a piece of cinema, but, of course, it's been studied and discussed to death. I can't add anything new that you haven't already heard. But I do love its still-relevant social satire.

The make-up effects tend to divide opinion these days. Pioneered by Tom Savini with a modest budget but sky-high imagination, many have stated that the FX work has badly dated and looks ropey these days. The grey greasepaint makes the zombies look "like smurfs" under certain lighting and the red blood looks like "spilled paint". It's easy to say these things when it's been copied and improved-upon over several decades, and equally easy to forget just how shocking and groundbreaking this stuff was back in 1978. It's also easy to forget that Savini had very little in the way of a special effects "industry" to fall back on. Today, if you need a cool zombie prosthetic, just head to the internet and one will be on a next-day courier. Savini had nothing like this. He had to invent, fabricate, innovate, and craft his way through this whole production. This was state-of-the-art back then, and it still works pretty well today.

To be honest, there isn't much I don't like about Dawn of the Dead. I love the performances of the cast, I love the zombies, I love the location, I love the gore, and of course I love the music - both the library tunes and the amazing tracks supplied by Goblin.

It was inevitable that I would one day do this tribute shoot. After all, Dawn of the Dead was instrumental in shaping my young brain towards horror, as I discovered it so young. I was lucky enough to have a dodgy old copy on Betamax as a kid and it was watched and re-watched far too much to be healthy. Doing this tribute shoot to one of the films I love most in the world has been wonderful, fun, and exciting.
Dawn of the Dead
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