Dawn of the Dead (1979)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film  |   Run Time - 126 min.  |   Countries - Italy , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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One of the most successful independent films ever made -- as well as one of the bloodiest -- this first sequel to Night of the Living Dead couches its splattery goings-on in the context of a satire on pop consumerism. A handful of humans are trapped in a shopping mall filled with flesh-eating zombies who look for all the world like the regular blissed-out customers. Tom Savini's effects are brilliantly and disgustingly realized, with screwdrivers in the head, chunks of flesh bitten from necks, scalps lopped off with helicopter blades, and so on, but this is really more of an action movie than either horror or satire, resembling a particularly gory version of Rio Bravo more than it does its predecessor. Romero fills the film with soldiers, bikers, and other action-movie stalwarts, prefiguring his more obscure genre melding in Knightriders (1981). A tour-de-force of action, gore and wit, Dawn of the Dead is exciting filmmaking, but is not for the squeamish.