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In 1968, George A. Romero brought the dead back to life and introduced us to the zombie genre. In 1978, the second part of his apocolyptic trilogy redefined the genre. “Dawn of the Dead” opens in Philadelphia several weeks after the original, during the final stages of social demise. On top of being outnumbered by zombies, the living are succumbing to their own greed and ignorance. At times, they’re more dangerous to each other than the zombies.

Aside from all the social commentary, the story takes us inside the minds of a group of survivors who have barracaded themselves in a shopping mall. There do have to deal with more zombies, of course. And there’s the gang of bikers.

“Dawn of the Dead” is one of the best survival films I’ve seen. You could substitute the zombies with any other disaster, disease or war, and you’d probably get much of the same outcome: social collapse. That’s what makes the movie smart. It proves we are our own worst enemies. Oh, and it’s pretty damn gory, too. Romero was sure to provide viewers with one of the bloodiest, most disgusting movies of that time. The effects haven’t aged, well, but who cares? It worked for the time and it works for true fans still today.

“Dawn of the Dead” 1978

Memorable Quote: Honestly, there aren’t any. The script for the 2004 remake was superior.

Best Scene:

Did You Know? Some of the zombies (notably one in the tenement scene) were actual amputees.

See the rest of the 31 Great Horror Movies.

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