The kings of zombies

While Anchor Bay is allegedly planning a special edition/director’s cut of George Romero’s zombie classic, this DVD hits the streets to cash in on the big-budget remake that hit theaters last month. The second, and best, of Romero’s horror trilogy has zombies stalking survivors in a shopping mall, and it has never looked or sounded better. It works both as effective horror and scathing social satire (American consumerism takes a hit), achieving an excellence that would mark the peak of Romero’s career. While Romero’s writing and direction are tops, it is the special makeup effects by Tom Savini that rule the day. A sequence where a group of bikers are consumed before our very eyes stands as one of the more gloriously disgusting sequences ever to grace the horror genre. Released here in its “theatrical cut,” it doesn’t have a rating. Were it to be given one today, it would probably score an NC-17 for intense violence. The MPAA tends to frown upon scenes of people getting their shoulders bitten off or innards yanked out. While Night of the Living Dead was a groundbreaker, Dawn was perhaps more influential on the horror genre. The Evil Dead and 28 Days Later owe a lot to Romero and pals.

Special Features: Last year’s release of Day of the Dead was packed with supplements, and a future release of Dawn looks to match that release’s greatness. This package is relatively skimpy, but the brand new commentary by the likes of Romero and Savini is a must listen for fans. Among secrets revealed: The child zombies that attack one of the film’s heroes are Savini’s nephews. Romero talks extensively of his intentions for a fourth film, a grand-scale zombie movie that he has high hopes for considering the recent cinematic zombie craze.

Movie: A

Special Features: C+

DVD Geek Factor: 6