The original, 1978 release of Dawn of the Dead is the best zombie horror movie I’ve ever seen. Don’t get me wrong, I love Shaun of the Dead (iTunes), Zombieland (iTunes), 28 Days Later, and even the 2004 remake. Part of what makes this movie so fantastic is its originality and sense of humor. The number of times Romero tries to find humor in an apocalypse borders on the ludicrous. From our heroes running through the mall making a game of looting stores while zombies try to catch them to the motorcycle gang throwing pies in the faces of the zombies rather than killing them, there are plenty of opportunities to laugh.
Romero also does an awesome job of showing how the experience of surviving a zombie apocalypse can easily lead to insanity, as two characters in the movie come unhinged during the course of the film. It’s also a gore-fest, despite being an older movie. While some of the effects are nowhere near as realistic as what we see today, there are still some cringe-worthy moments when zombies claim their victims.
However, perhaps the best part of this movie is how effectively it teaches you to survive a zombocalypse. A mall may not be at the top of my list of places to hole up in, but it’s certainly in my top 5. And now that you know how it all goes wrong, you can make better decisions than the characters to survive even longer.