June 12th, 2010

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Oh, Dawn Poll!




Go Answer, then come back....


"So I discovered on Buffy Forums today that the majority of fans think that Dawn's keyness definitively ended in The Gift, and that any story that involves her still being the key would require a major retcon.  I don't really want to argue the case here.    What is puzzling to me is that I've always thought the exact opposite.  I thought it was obvious she was the key, and that while her keyness was dormant, it was always around to become a plot point again.  It's just weird when it turns out that what you thought was a plain fact is the opposite of what others regard as a plain fact.  So I want to find out how out of the loop I am on this."

Is Dawn Still the Key?
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Review - Dawn of the Dead (70s), Part I





WARNING: This review is LOOOONG - it will take several posts to get through due to LJ's posting limits. IN ADDITION, it is graphic intensive - I have loads and loads of screenshots, so dial up folk need not clicky the cut-link at all. SPOILERS always apply - I'm doing a scene by scene description, here, so expect the ending to be blown. There is also discussion of "Night of the Living Dead" & "Day of the Dead" which mentions plot points - like the endings, in passing. SCREEN SHOTS contain grue.


Dawn of the Dead

(1978)

DIR: George A. Romero

Starring: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, Gaylen Ross


Foreword: Back in 1978/1979 when this came to theatres, I was but 10 or 11 years old. As a kid during the drive in era, I was basically at the mercy of others as to whether I'd get to see any movies that weren't shown during matinee hours. Now, I did get to see a lot of movies that might have been questionable for a kid at that time to see. We were a bit more sheltered than the young hoodlums these days (get off my lawn, you punks!) and we had a certain amount of innocence still - even with all of the drugs and the general dystopia of the 70s... at least in my neighborhood.

So back when there was this new movie coming out about zombies who - OMG, EAT PEOPLE ALIVE - AND YOU SEE IT ONSCREEN - it was the talk of everybody in my age group. All of my classmates were insisting they were going to see it, they all insisted that they had seen it - whether they had or not (and most of them hadn't, but they'd picked up the highlights and tried to fake that they had). I didn't get to see it. And, for that I was actually kind of grateful. You see, this movie's reputation proceeded it on the news, in the general commentary, on the street. This was the movie where they were actually showing people being ripped apart in all of its gruesome detail. I lived in fear of this movie. I didn't know if I wanted to see bloody guts all over the screen. And, plus, the music and the commercials on television were nearly enough to send me to another room in fear and loathing. Just the marketing campaign was enough to scar my young brain.

Such was my fear of this movie, that I hadn't seen it until ... well... until I took a deep breath and the Anchor Bay DVD edition was sitting on the store shelf, readily available. I know, it is sort of sad isn't it? I'll never be a horror-junkie in the blood & guts mode. Now, to be fair, I think that you have to understand something about the personal circumstances where I grew up. You see, I HAD seen 'Night of the Living Dead' (well, the edited, blurry edition on UHF) and 'Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things' was a staple on the late night monster movie shows, before making its way to a staple on the afternoon monster movie shows after school (in my area it was Sir Graves Ghastley who brought us all manner of monster, including giving me my first exposure and developing my subsequent love toward Godzilla and his ilk). And, we lived abutted to a graveyard. See, even as a young, naive lad in my hideous orange & brown striped pants that were worn indecently tight for a prepubescent, I knew that if the zombies rose, we'd be one of the first houses surrounded and the thought of being eaten alive kept me up at night, sweating and staring into the black rectangle of my open bedroom door, waiting for pale rotted flesh to come out of the darkness and block off my means of escape from a fate worse than death.

This fear (and overactive imagination - a movie was never JUST a movie in my head) carried over, unspoken and mostly unacknowledged, well into adulthood. I'm afraid of the zombie apocalypse. I've run through scenarios of where I'll go and how I'll survive thousands of times, if not tens of thousands. The thoughts of Zombies scared me far, far more than the kiddie-raping pervert handing out free candy. They scared me far more than a nuclear holocaust. Plane hijacking? Who cares. Vampires, Frankenstein's Monster, Werewolves... hah! (Although, I'll admit to a certain trepidation toward our lycanthropic buddies, too.) No - it was the idea that people we knew would be walking around dead, wanting to tear our flesh from us as we were still alive that got to me (probably in the exact same way that the thought of sharks getting me post-Jaws got to me, and that I did see at the drive in).

So, you can imagine that by the time I sweaty-palm-edly bought my edition of 'Dawn of the Dead' I had it built up quite a bit in my head. I literally watched it for the first time, in my 30's now, crouched up into a ball, with all the lights off, trying to remember that I could hit the stop button if it was too gruesome, if it was too much for my poor, weak brain to take.

So... how did I do? Well, I loved it! I love this movie with everything I have. Final Girl has a series of survey-postings from horror bloggers in which she asks them to name one film that they heart so much they want to stick it down their pants - for me it would be Dawn of the Dead (safely ensconsced in its case though, so the undead couldn't bite off my weenie). There are some scenes of grue that still hold up against modern blood & guts, but the zombies themselves are far less horrifying than I imagined they'd be. A lot of 70s greasepaint is used, which isn't exactly as horror-inducing as curdled flesh falling off of bones. What struck me as I watched Dawn for the first time though, is how likeable the cast is. For large portions of the film, we don't even see the zombies killing and eating victims - we're stuck quite safely in a mall - with our stars, and yet I'm never bored by this break because I like these people. I like them a lot, which makes me not want to lose any of them - and really, how many times does that happen in a movie anymore? Dawn of the Dead (1978) is a movie I return to over and over again... thanks, George.

And, now, onto the show:



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Onto Part II, Instead