Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Rating X

Length 2Hr 7

Release 9.3.1980

About As hordes of zombies swarm over the U.S., the terrified populace tries everything in their power to escape the attack of the undead, but neither cities nor the countryside prove safe. In Pennsylvania, radio-station employee Stephen (David Emge) and his girlfriend, Francine (Gaylen Ross), escape in the station helicopter, accompanied by two renegade SWAT members, Roger and Pete. The group retreats to the haven of an enclosed shopping center to make what could be humanity’s last stand.


Treat

  • As an audience, you’re thrown in the deep end. Chaos has already taken hold and you have to run to keep up.
  • There was a zombie POV shot in the Peter/Roger opening scene that was really well done and I was very surprised to see that this film has more balls than Walking Dead by having, and killing, children zombies.
  • There’s plenty of shots that have clearly inspired others, namely the Mall based sections of S3 of Stranger Things.
  • Rogar’s fate was played out in a rather unexpected way that I found interesting. If he hadn’t been just a toolbag, I might have actually cared.

Trick

  • Despite its relatively high powered opening, I ultimately found the film boring and lifeless. Pun aside, I felt no sympathy or attachment to any of the four main characters.
  • Is it wrong that I was waiting for the baby to claw it’s way, all zombie-like, from the woman’s womb?
  • While the four characters provide a certain dynamic that works to a certain extent, I fell as if more human characters are needed for the length of time the film runs for. Perhaps it’s the quality of the acting, or the expectation of a human body count but for me it really stalled the plot.
  • Some of the zombie scenes are rather too comical. From having the humans punch them in the face to falling all over the place, it’s hard to take seriously.

Final Thoughts

Of my creatures featured in movies, zombies are my least favourite. It comes as no surprise that I’m indifferent to this movie. Yes, it’s well(ish) made for an independent effort from the 70s, but it’s not the amazing fanfare to cinema I’ve been made to believe.


Halloween (1978)

Rating: 18

Length: 1Hr 31

Release: 25.1.1979

About: On a cold Halloween night in 1963, six year old Michael Myers brutally murdered his 17-year-old sister, Judith. He was sentenced and locked away for 15 years. But on October 30, 1978, while being transferred for a court date, a 21-year-old Michael Myers steals a car and escapes Smith’s Grove. He returns to his quiet hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, where he looks for his next victims.


The Good

  • The filming is atmospheric: from the voyeuristic Michael Myers’ POV shots to the ones that track Michael, have him placed in shot without showing him fully.
  • The music adds to this with that creepy and chilling score.
  • I love that there’s no running really. It’s all sneak attack, up close and often without them expecting it. Largely that seems to do with the fact that it’s all set around the one day.
  • Donald Pleasance having his own storyline away from the survivor is a refreshing change. Having no one believe him is terrifying.

The Bad

  • Laurie is a little bit dumb. Not once, but twice she discards the knife right next to Michael Myers’ body. Okay, first time I’ll let you off. But you know the bastard is good at playing dead, why the fuck would you hand back the knife?!?!

The Ugly

  • What sort of basketball player worthy cameraman did they use for that opening sequence in which Michael, a six year old Michael at that, is given a camera POV shot? Way too tall and it really pulled me out of the scene.