I was asked to review Dawning of the Dead from the TERROR DAVES’ site, and I typed in BOLD letters “you had me at ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!” This film has a well thought-out story line with great special effects and some great acting. I will say though that over the last few years there have been more misses than hits in this genre and I am glad to say this film falls into the latter. The director did a great job showing the global scale of a zombie apocalypse and there are many nods to the George Romero zombie classics. Improvised weapons harken to memories of Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive (1992) as well.
I know I speak for many of my fellow horror fans when I say how saddened we Daves were at the news regarding George Romero’s passing. I had the honor of meeting him twice; once in Indianapolis in 2010 and then the following year with the other Dave in Massachusetts. When the news broke, I wrote on our Facebook page how he was one of the most fan-friendly celebrities you could ever meet; spending as much time as he could with you despite the prodding of his handlers. Romero had been scheduled to attend the convention we’ve been in the midst of covering, Days of the Dead Indianapolis, but his declining health forced his cancellation. The “godfather of zombies” had been slated to do a Q&A panel that Saturday afternoon and many of us wondered how DOTD planned on filling the space. It wasn’t until that morning when we learned there would, indeed, be another panel and that it would feature Romero’s dear friend and Night of the Living Dead co-writer, John A. Russo. The following dialogue is based off the audio recordings taken during that hour…
I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to attend a Days of the Dead convention in the Midwest, but it happened. I work with the Rhode Island Terror Dave (David Albaugh) and have been to a few east coast horror events but wasn’t very impressed with them. Needless to say, heading out west to attend one of theirs was never a priority until the other Dave (Dave Fuentes) invited me. Both Daves knew I was a huge fan of Dawn of the Dead and arranged for photo-ops with me and the cast as well as the “godfather of zombies,” himself, George Romero! This left me NO choice but to be there! After securing the time off and getting a great deal on a flight, the wait was on! Thankfully, June 30th came quickly and I was on a 5:55 am flight for a 3-day weekend of HORROR and debauchery!
The Days of the Dead horror convention opened back up for business at 11 am that Saturday. We arrived shortly after the doors opened and noticed immediately that there were at least twice as many conventioneers as the night before. The Dawn of the Dead panel was slated to feature Ken Foree, David Emge, Gaylen Ross, and Scott H. Reiniger but Emge canceled his appearance Thursday, leaving the other three to answer questions concerning their roles and working with Romero himself. Sadly, Romero, who was slated to attend this event also cancelled due to poor health. The following was transcribed from audio of that panel…
The Daves would like to once again welcome Brandon Engel to this site with his continuing retrospectives, this time covering Italian zombie films!
Zombies have long captured the attention of horror movie fans worldwide. George A. Romero, director of Night of the Living Dead, may have started modern zombie madness, but Italian directors offered unique twists with their own contributions to the genre.
If you dig seventies exploitation movies, and you haven’t seen many international releases, you’d be wise to scope out vintage Italian zombie films, particularly those directed by guys like Lucio Fulci and Jorge Grau. Here are the top five Italian zombie movies.
The Daves would like to welcome Brandon Engel to our website with his wonderful entry on George Romero!
And even though it was shot in black and white and on a meager budget, Night knocked the socks off the viewing public. It received mixed reviews (with notable critics like Roger Ebert publicly expressing their distaste for the film, however effective it was) and it wound up essentially establishing the framework for the zombie film as we know it today. The film vividly depicted cannibalistic zombie feasts, and not only did Romero have the audacity to have his lead character played by a black actor (Duane Jones), but he also had the nerve to kill him off in the film’s screen. Not bad for a guy who launched his show-biz career on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.