Notes and summary by Chris Fischer (1998) and Sopang Men (2006).
Notes: 126 minutes.
Roger Demarco: Scott H. Reiniger
Fran: Gaylen Ross
Peter Washington: Ken Foree
Stephen: David Emge
Dr. Foster: David Crawford
Mr. Berman: David Early
Scientist: Richard France
TV Commentator: Howard K. Smith
Givens: Daniel Dietrich
Commander: Fred Baker
Wooley: Jim Baffico
Directed: George A. Romero
Produced: Richard P. Rubinstein
Story: George A. Romero
Special Effects: Tom Savini
Type of Zombies: Slowing-moving, flesh-loving zombies with an unconscious desire to return to familiar, important places such as shopping malls or the back rooms of shopping malls.
Made eleven years after the original Night of the Living Dead, this is George Romero's second entry in the Dead Trilogy, a continuing story where the entire world is infected with a disease that causes the dead to come back to life and seek human flesh.
The film begins with the world just beginning to be overrun by the dead. Everybody is frantically trying to get away from the cities and to save their lives. The main characters of the story -- Fran, a television executive; Roger, her helicopter-flying boyfriend; and Peter and Stephen, two SWAT members -- escape the city by helicopter and decide to land on top of a huge abandoned shopping mall to hide from the marauding undead.
The four do a good job of making the shopping center their home until a thieving band of bikers ruin their isolation. Inside the mall begins a long battle against the zombies. After the damage is done, every member of the biker gang has been devoured by zombies and two of the main characters are also dead.
With the mall overrun once again by zombies, the only alternative is for the surviving members of the party to hop in the helicopter and try to find another place of refuge.
Dawn is arguably the best entry in Romero's Dead series. The acting is superb, the deaths are grisly, and the social commentary is clear and biting.
This film is a gore lover's paradise. Heads are blown off from shotgun blasts and intestines are ripped apart and eaten. The head of make up effects Tom Savini loaded the film with exploding blood packets (made from food coloring, peanut butter, and cane sugar syrup) and it splatters all over. FYI, Savini hated the bright, apple-red blood but Romero thought it gave the film a nice "comic book" feel.
No Brains...No Brains...:
In the middle of the zombie/biker mall fight, a heavyset biker decides it's a good time to check his blood pressure. A group of zombies get hold of him and take him away, leaving just his arm attached to the machine.
"Every dead body that is not exterminated becomes one of them. It gets up and kills! The people it kills get up and kill!" -- Dr. Foster
In the theatrical release, Roger chooses to leave with Fran in the helicopter after contemplating suicide. The alternate ending has Roger shoot himself instead while Fran lifts her head into the whirling chopper blades.