Dawn of the Dead (1978) – Blu-Ray review

Dawn of the Dead (1978) – Blu-Ray review

Rarely does a sequel ever live up to the original, one of those that did was George A. Romero’s 1978 horror classic Dawn of the Dead. Second Sight Films have gone to great lengths to fully remaster his film and deliver to audiences an utterly remarkable boxset.

SWAT team Peter (Ken Foree) and Roger (Scott H. Reiniger) battle their way through an apartment block, eradicating all of those who are undead and evacuating the still living to safety. They find some residents are unwilling to leave and thanks to their guns, put up a hell of a fight. Roger has Stephen and Fran fly him and his now buddy Peter off to somewhere a little safer, coming upon a seemingly deserted mall. They plan to only to take what they need and move along, yet they soon realise that this is the perfect place to sit and wait it out for a while.

It is probably safe to say that everyone who loves the Of The Dead series, that they have one specific one that they love the most. Dawn has always been that for me. It could be due to it being the first one that I got to watch at a young age, but an affinity for this film has always rose above the others. Having not watched it in quite some time, so this boxset turned out to be the perfect chance to revisit the classic.

Dawn of the Dead movie review (1979) | Roger Ebert

The imagery of having dozens of zombies trying to bash their way into a store for their “products” is not lost on audiences with the idea that humans are just too addicted to consumerism. A brilliant line in Dawn of The Dead is about how the mall means something important to people, so after death they go there. When our dead get back into the mall, they roam around carefree. Romero has shot these scenes as if they are in fact browsing around. We know they’re not, but damn if it doesn’t feel like they are.

As with all things, this perfect world that our group has built gets destroyed when a squad come to the mall. Instead of trying to use the space for all, the group come in and try to take it for themselves, and not only take it, wreck it and only take with them what they can carry. They cause destruction, by not only letting the zombies in, but also by their need to take anything. Unlike our original four, they have no interest in holding up in a safe spot that could last them years, they want to scavenge and keep moving, take what they need and leave when they have had enough.

These humans are more zombie than the zombies themselves. The zombies go off instinct, go to where the noise is. These scavengers somehow manage to put even less thought into their actions than those who are dead.

Romero brings more comedy here than in Night of the Living Dead, with plenty of jokes shared between our group. Roger is having fun being away from the trauma of SWAT team and is able to relax and be a tad more reckless, he makes jokes and taunts the zombies. The social commentary jokes fill the middle act as our group contain the mall for themselves, how they act and treat their new home. There is plenty of fun to be hand

Dawn Of The Dead (1978) Movie Review from Eye for Film

Yet, Romero doesn’t want us to forget what is going on out in their world. Keeping that mean, grim streak into the film right when we and the characters are at their most comfortable. He isn’t going to let the audience nor his characters off lightly. If they want to survive, he is going to make sure they fight for it and when sanity disappears from a couple of the characters in vital moments, he presents the flawed nature of man. The chance is there for the group to see out the scavengers, yet one decides to fight and chaos for the remaining survivors ensures. We knew not all of our group would come out of this alive, yet the reasons for the deaths we see is pure foolishness. They didn’t need to happen.

We are fed drips and drabs of gore after an intense opening the audience is waiting for something bad to happen. When it does, the gore practically does not stop until the end credits. The blood is typically 70s, with it being so brightly red and obvious to modern audiences. Special effects such as the helicopter scene where we have a zombie that has a forehead that is just distracting enough to make it apparent where the prosthesis is. Tom Savini has a whale of a time in front and behind the camera as he designs all of the makeup and death scenes. Using his experience as a Vietnam War photographer to try and depict real injuries. We can tell they are dated, yet they still work. Watching chunks of a human being ripped out of them by someone else affects you, however much you don’t want it to.

Dawn of the Dead is the zombie film, and this 1978 version still stands the test of time. Even if it’s effects are slightly dated for modern audiences. It still gets you, be it via the horror of the moments within. The relaxation of some scenes (without the humour here we most certainly would never get Shaun of the Dead). Romero would go on to make many more films in this series. Yet few if any resonate as well as Dawn of the Dead

Film – ★★★★★


We are provided three versions in thus limited edition, the theatrical, the extended and then the Argento cut. It is always good to go with the theatrical as the first watch as it is the one that is the closest to the version that Romero had intended for audiences to see. With the extended Cannes cut, it is the one that was from all reports a rush edit job. So there are scenes and extended moments not originally meant to be included. The oddest cut in the fact that it exists is the Argento cut. It is the shortest version of Dawn of the Dead by around 7 minutes. This is due to Argento wanting to make the film move along at a quicker pace.

Now is the time that we detail all of the wonderful and extensive and I mean extensive features that we have in this edition, so let’s have a wee gander.

Dawn of the Dead - Second Sight - Blueprint: Review



NEW 4K scan and restoration of the Original Camera Negative by Second Sight at Final Frame New York and London supervised and approved by DoP Michael Gornick

Audio: New restoration of the original OCN Optical presented in Mono 1.0, Stereo 2.0 and 5.1.

Commentary by George A Romero, Tom Savini, Christine Forrest

NEW commentary by Travis Crawford

NEW optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired


• Produced using 4K scan of the Theatrical Cut Original Camera Negative and 4K scan of the Extended Cut Colour Reversal Internegative

• DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono

• Commentary by Richard P. Rubinstein

• NEW optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired


• 4K scan of the Interpositive by Michele De Angelis at Backlight Digital, Rome

Audio: DT-HD Master Audio Mono 1.0 / Surround 5.1 / Stereo 2.0

• Commentary by Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger, Gaylen Ross, David Emge

• NEW optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired


• NEW Zombies and Bikers – With John Amplas, Roy Frumkes, Tom Savini, Christine Forrest, Tom Dubensky, Tony Buba, Taso Stavrakis and a whole host of zombies and bikers! (59 mins)

• NEW Memories of Monroeville A tour of the mall with Michael Gornick, Tom Savini, Tom Dubensky and Taso Stavrakis (34 mins)

• NEW Raising the Dead: The Production Logistics (25 mins) With Michael Gornick, Christine Forrest, John Amplas, Tom Dubensky (23 mins)

• NEW The FX of Dawn with Tom Savini (13 mins)

• NEW Dummies! Dummies! – An interview with Richard France (12 mins)

• NEW The Lost Romero Dawn Interview: previously unreleased archive interview (20 mins)

• Super 8 Mall Footage by zombie extra Ralph Langer with option of archive commentary by Robert Langer and new commentary by Ralph Langer (13 mins)

• Document of the Dead: The Original Cut (66 mins)

• Document of the Dead: The Definitive Cut with optional commentary by Roy Frumkes (100 mins)

• The Dead Will Walk 2014 Documentary (80 mins)

• Trailers, TV and Radio Spots (TBC)



• The Goblin Soundtrack – 17 tracks including Alternate and Bonus Tracks


• Dawn of the Dead: A De Wolfe Library Compilation Part 1


• Dawn of the Dead: A De Wolfe Library Compilation Part 2


• Rigid box with lid featuring the original iconic artwork

• Two inner digipaks

• Dissecting the Dead – 160 page hardback book featuring 17 new essays, archive article and George A. Romero interview plus original marketing, artwork and merchandise images and behind-the-scenes stills.

• Dawn of the Dead: The novelisation book by George A. Romero and Susanna Sparrow with exclusive artwork

Now this is a release that is worthy of a purchase for a fan of Romero or Dawn of the Dead. It is truly definitive in how much detail has gone into it. From the three versions, all with their own commentaries and special features. You will have to set aside to watch everything inside.

All versions have been painstakingly restored here and the colours are so vivid (especially the reds…). You also get to see the details that perhaps have been missing ever since the original runs of the films. The same can be said for the audio tracks featured as they help bring that extra oomph to the film.

Regarding the commentary tracks. They are all a mixture, which is quite pleasing as having three different film versions and similar tracks would be a bore. With the threatrical we focus on the process of the film with Romero, Savini and Christine Forrest. In the Cannes cut, this is much dryer, but still interesting. We are focusing more on the financial sides of the film with anecdotes regarding funding etc. An interesting track for those who are interested in that side of cinema. The Argento Cut track is for the cast and this is probably the one that would be deemed as fun. There is a casual atmosphere as they all speak of their experiences during the film and it is most akin to feeling like a hangout.

With all of the documentaries and featurettes on all of the discs, there will be something for everyone. Document of the Dead is of course the standout feature, but in an edition with so many. It does become hard to choose which is the favourite. As expected, this is a phenomenal set for a tremendous film.

Boxset – ★★★★★

Second Sight Films release has a very limited number of sets available, 12,000 4K UHD and 6,000 Blu-Ray, so you will need to be quick to get yourself or that close zombie fan a wonderful piece of cinema.

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