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Thursday, January 19, 2012

ZOMBIES - Fun with "Dawn of the Dead" '78, Part 2

by Bowie Ibarra
Pool's closed, brother.
Yeah.  We'll open the second hour of 'Dawn of the Dead' with Fat Swim Trunk Zombie.  Everybody's picked this movie apart for decades.  It's time to have some fun with it.

The second hour opens with the "Scientist" talking up some of the facts he's found on an Austin Public Access type show.  Best quote from the scene:  "They must be destroyed on sight!" 

Fran also decides to make a move for Susan B. Anthony.  She approaches the guys with a joke, saying she would have cooked breakfast but she didn't have her pots and pans.  There's a weird tension, and then Fran says she wants to be kept in the loop and wants to learn how to shoot guns.

That doesn't sit well with her man, Stephen, who felt punked out in front of Peter and Roger.

Roger and Peter make a run to block the entrances to the mall with 18-wheelers.  The moment features one of the best quotes from the movie.

"Full speed!  Let's go!  C'mon!"

But Roger, who has been dealing with the horrors of the zpoc, finally goes off the deep end when Steven helps him kill a zombie.  The zombie gets its head blasted by Steven, shooting blood all over him.

He even finishes yet another zombie with a bizzare intensity.

Then, when Steven asks if Roger is alright, he delivers the classic line:

"Perfect, baby.  Perfect."

Fun Fact:  The zombies that got hit by the 18-wheeler.  Every one, that is, was played by SFX god, Tom Savini.  Check it out.

One of the ways Tom made the stunt look legit (and funny) was a trampoline.  In fact, you can see it in the picture below.

In one of the next shots, you see some of the featured zombies, including Nurse Zombie, Escalator zombie, Blue Suit Zombie (who also has a statue dedicated to him), and rifle zombie.  Check it out.

This is one of the only shots Blue Suit Zombie is featured in the entire movie.  But he gained a bit of celebrity as he's one of the zombies that was featured on the back of the old VHS box.  So was the Nurse, but she was featured prominently throughout the movie.

Here's a fun throwback to another time a place.  Do you remember when gun shops were in actual shopping malls?  I do.  And the Monroeville Mall had one.

Another one of the best quotes from the movie:
Peter:  Ain't it a crime.
Steven:  What?
Peter:  The only person who could miss with this gun is the sucker with the bread to buy it.

Romero brings a real bit of humanity to the zombies.  Perhaps a remnant of humanity.  In this moment, a zombie in a bush league softball team cops a squat by JC Penny's where Fran is waiting for the guys to lock the doors.  She is then admired by the zombie.

After the guys lock the doors and smash the zombies in the building, the next classic line is said.

Dressed in a pimp fur coat, Peter says, "There's no more room in hell."

When pressed as to where the expression comes from, Peter explains a relative was into voodoo.  One of the myths from his youth was that, "When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth."

He later repeated the line in the remake.  They used it as the tag line for the remake as well.

Another zombie apoc cliche starts here with Roger.  Infected and hopped up on morphine and Jack Daniels, asking for Peter to kill him only when he knows he is coming back.

Roger dies during a discussion with the Scientist with the Austin Public Access crew.  During this intense scene, yet another famous line is said that is a favorite of one of my Permuted colleagues, Jason Hornsby.

"We must remain UNEMOTIONAL.  We've got to remain logical.  We've got to remain logical.  We've got to.  It's that or the end."

Peter sets up a dinner for Fran and Steven where Steven proposes.  Fran turns him down.

Now how do you turn down a dude when not only you are carrying his baby, but its the frikkin' zpoc?

Then she spends some spare time getting tarted up.  WTF?

Now here is the biggest mystery of this movie.  What the hell is the name of the Spanish guitar song that is played during the household tension scene?  Please, if you know it, comment below!

Also, it sucks being in the middle of a domestic dispute.

Then, a group of scavengers figures out that the three survivors are holding it down in the mall.  One of those survivors is Tom Savini.  For the unititiated, Tom is also 'Sex Machine' in 'From Dusk 'til Dawn'.  He's also 'Machete Zombie' in 'Land of the Dead'.  And he also did the special effects for 'Day of the Dead'.

Fun Fact:  I confirmed with Savini that he did teach 'Walking Dead' special effects artist, Greg Nicotero, his trade.  I also confirmed that Nicotero is, indeed, Savini's legacy in the world of special effects.

The bikers communicate via CB with the trio in the mall.  I liked the quote:
"We saw their whirlybird on the roof."
"Want to see my whirlybird?"

Don't lie.  Every time you see this woman, you think Roseanne Barr.  Admit it.

One of the dumber bikers wore a sombrero.  He also carried a classic gangster Thompson "Tommy" Gun.

It will always be such a strange scene, but the bikers find a pie shop in the mall and start pie'ing the zombies.  Savini even used a classic clown Setzer bottle.

Lenny Lies is known as "Machete Zombie".  He was actually just a grip on the set that got put into this scene. He became a zombie icon with this scene.  Funny how things work sometimes, huh?  

Fun Fact:  You can see his name in the credits as a grip.

Fun Fact:  Tom Savini actually got hurt in this stunt.  The glass, made of 'sugar glass', cut him as one part of the glass set too thick.  You can see the thick part in the pic.  It's the part that didn't shatter.

Good ol' racism shows its face again.  Savini, running heel, calls Peter "Chocolate Man".

Funny scene:  Tom's biker character tries to hold a zombie hostage as a shield against Peter.  Well, Peter shoots him anyway.  Imagine that.

Steven becomes a zombie, by the way.  One of the most iconic zombies in the zombieverse.

He ended up getting blasted by Peter in front of his girlfriend, Fran.  And to think she turned the poor guy down.

Fun Fact:  The end of the movie was to have Peter kill himself and Fran throw herself into the propellers.  True story.

You can kind of sense that in the final lines of dialogue.

Peter:  How much fuel do we have?
Fran:  Not much.
Peter:  Alright.

And they fly off into the literal 'Dawn of the Dead'.

If you think the 'Dawn..." remake was great, you really need to see the first one.  Don't get me wrong, I thought the remake was alright.

But no zombie movie made since then holds a candle to the original 'Dawn..."  Many come close, but you can't beat the original.


Did you miss the first part?  Check it out here.


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Bowie Ibarra is the author of the acclaimed "Down the Road" zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuester.  You can explore all his works and network with him at

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