Brains… Braaaiiins… Uhggghhh
The original 1978 Dawn of the Dead by granddaddy to the zombie genre, George Romero, is easily one of the best zombie movies ever. The (then) proven setup; Zombies kill Kill KILL all of the non-zombies and the continuation of infection and infestation in Pittsburgh from the first installment Night of the Living Dead (literally one of the catalysts for the placement of MPAA ratings). A wonderful setting; a shopping mall! Think of the possibilities — no lines at the Gap and more Orange Julius action than you can handle. The film succeeds on so many levels, horror, tension, makeup (thank you Tom Savini), and soundtrack (thank you Goblin).
Dawn of the Dead, and realistically, the entire Dead Trilogy (which includes the good, but much paler in comparison, Day of the Dead) have been so inspirational to horror (and zombie films in particular) that they have almost single-handedly defined zombie mythology in film. Zombies, or Eatibus Fleshus, feed on living flesh, sometimes just brains, and through the bite spread their “disease”, you know… death. Zombie population then increases exponentially. This has basically remained the standard Zombie formula with minor additions being added here and there over the years, like last year’s spin in 28 Days Later, in which zombies aren’t really dead (or undead), they are just really angry and can run instead of lurch.
Sadly, such strong and widely accepted groundwork has led to some seriously poor zombie films. Add that with 28 Days Later’s cult success and Hollywood will wet their panties and place 10 more zombie films on the fast track. Predictably in the aftermath, quality gets traded in for speed (RE: House of the Dead, Resident Evil). We really don’t need any more film adaptations of video games.
What does all this mean? Well, lets add it up. Zombie movies back in style. Hollywood’s penchant for bandwagoning and recognizing the small window of capitalization. The Solution? Why bother delaying script-to-theater time even more by thinking of something new… did somebody say, remake! That’s right, a fresh remake of Dawn of the Dead hits theaters next month.
Yeah, this entire diatribe reeks of elitism, but what can I say, I like my movies to be a sort of time capsule. Bad or good, it’s nice to remember (or in the case of the dreadful ones, pleasantly forget) a movie for what it was. Otherwise, the reemergence of said film in a new form threatens to sour the view of the original in the populace’s collective eye. Not unlike when a band reforms and smears their once good memory.
Though there really is no need to remake this fine movie (except ka-ching!), I will say this, the trailer holds some glimmer of hope; no awful one-liners, children out smarting adults, or talking animals (a nearly infallible start of a screening process). And even if there are far too many characters alive in the mall to start, it looks as though there may be some good scares. Hell, I would probably be happy if they didn’t skimp on the gore.
If you are like me, you enjoy being optimistic about these things, even if in the end it turns out bad. In the meantime, I have been having fun playing the zombie game “Blackout” on the film’s site. I lasted for 169 seconds.