George A Romero's 1978 zombie horror movie Dawn of the Dead had its fair share of shocking moments, but it also could be funny.
When it comes to zombie films, it's hard to beat George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead. While Romero had revolutionized the zombie genre (and horror in general) nearly a decade prior with Night of the Living Dead, it was Dawn of the Dead that proved a huge commercial success.
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The movie helped popularize the zombie genre, it was a major influence on films to follow (and still serves as a major influence on modern filmmakers), and it's often regarded as the greatest zombie film ever made. It's certainly a scary movie, but it's also a very funny one. The mix proves intoxicating.
Dawn of the Dead opens in truly spectacular fashion with a chaotic newsroom. Too few zombie films concern the middle ground between the initial outbreak and the post-apocalyptic, zombie-littered hellscape. But Dawn of the Dead is different.
The film is set at a time when humanity is still holding relatively strong (strong enough to air and watch TV, at least) but slowly losing ground to the increasing number of zombies. The opening newsroom segment is harrowing and stressful,perfectly capturing the chaos of an ending world.
The gun zombie serves as a hilarious running joke throughout Dawn of the Dead. The movie is littered with recognizable zombies, including the Hare Krishna zombie and the middle-aged zombie who stumbles up the escalator with a bemused look on his face.
There's also the gun zombie who keeps getting his hands on Peter's weapons. He initially grabs a rifle during the initial mall run and later snags a machine gun while Peter is escaping from the mall. He was clearly a gun enthusiast in the past life.
Running concurrently with the chaotic news segment is the opening project raid. The project raid serves as the perfect way to introduce viewers to the horrifically violent, brutal, and gory world that the characters of Dawn of the Dead inhabit.
In the first ten minutes alone, viewers watch as a cop loses their mind, another gets shot in the head, an innocent man gets his head blown off, people get chunks bitten out of their skin, cops dying from suicide, and cops killing other cops. When Roger goes to puke in the basement, viewers certainly don't blame him.
While the movie never really relents in terms of violence and gore, viewers are treated to some much-needed levity in the airport sequence.
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While the sequence still contains some shocking imagery like Peter killing two zombie children and a zombie getting his head torn off with helicopter blades, it also contains the hilarious scene involving Roger and Flyboy. Flyboy keeps trying tokill zombies, and Roger keeps interrupting by knocking his gun away and killing the zombies himself. The best part is Roger's smug face after killing the first zombie.
Roger is a favorite character to many. He's funny, he's charismatic, and he proves capable of both handling himself and defending the group. He primarily serves as the group's joker, and he clearly doesn't let a zombie apocalypse get in the way of his sense of fun.
Which makes it all the more tragic when Roger becomes the first one bitten. He's bitten about halfway through the movie, and much of the dour second half is devoted to his withering health and eventual death. It's tragic and shocking stuff, and it never gets any easier to watch.
Dawn of the Dead is set in an abandoned mall, and the movie takes full advantage of that unique concept. Once the mall is cleared of the undead, the characters go on a bit of a shopping spree and have some fun.
Flyboy and Peter stroll into the mall's bank, rob the tills of their cash, and smile at the security camera while proudly displaying the cash in hand. It makes for a funny and lighthearted little sequence, but it also serves as a stark reminder that society as they know it is ending in the most post-apocalyptic way possible.
Roger isn't the only character to die. During the climactic mall attack ending, Flyboy is shot in the arm by a group of marauding bikers. After calling for help, zombies open the elevator that Flyboy is hiding in and attack in one ofthe creepiest shots in movie history.
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The attack is both sudden and horrifically violent, and before audiences even know what happened, Flyboy is bleeding from multiple locations- including his mouth (certainly not a good sign). It's the last time that Flyboy is seen alive, and it gives rise to the now-iconic Flyboy Zombie.
After coming across the abandoned mall, the characters land in the helicopter and make their way across the roof. They find a little glass window that leads into the storage rooms below. They decide that the room would make for a good hiding spot, but Flyboy asks how they're going to get down there.
Ever the resourceful man, Peter simply grabs his gun and smashes the glass window to pieces, leading Flyboy to give him a hilarious "Really, man?" look.
Dawn of the Dead opens and ends in spectacular (and spectacularly violent) fashion. A marauding group of bikers attack the mall, leaving Flyboy and Peter to defend it.
The entire sequence is grisly, complete with one biker getting torn from a blood pressure machine, another getting his intestinespulled out by a group of zombies, zombie decapitations, gnarly headshots, andmachetes through faces. It's horrific stuff, and it makes for a suitably bloody finale.
One of the greatest characters in the film is the poor police officer who keeps asking for cigarettes. Despite appearing in maybe thirty seconds of the movie, he makes an instant impression. He initially asks the core group of characters, and of course they all say no. As soon as he leaves, both Roger and Fran light up cigarettes, leading Peter to smirk in amusement.
Later,the officer makes his way down to the docks, and amidst all the chaos and noise, viewers can clearly make out his voice asking the other police officers for cigarettes. "You guys got any cigarettes!?"
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5 Of The Most Shocking Moments From Dawn Of The Dead (& 5 Of The Funniest) - Screen Rant
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