Welcome to the investigation into Romero’s original Dead trilogy as we take a look at our central characters’ Best Of/Worst Of Character Moments.
In this posting we’re concerning ourselves with the original “Dawn of the Dead”, my personal favorite of the trilogy, though I wouldn’t dare suggest it is perfect as a film.
The characters that we’re stuck in the mall with are: Peter, Roger, Stephen and Fran.
Our Characters: Happy To Be With You!
Peter: Though Peter shares in a kudo for preparing the mall for their habitation, he actually gets his KUDO for saving Roger’s life from a zombie who has him cornered in a truck with a well-aimed shot to the back of the walker’s head… not that it does any good… *sigh*
Roger: Roger shares in a KUDO with Peter and Stephen for the plan to reinforce and isolate the mall, clear out the zombies within and hunker down in the perfect place. Retrieving trucks to block the mall doors was an excellent idea that the three of them coordinated on.
Stephen: Stephen shares in a kudo with Peter and Roger for the plan to reinforce and isolate the mall, clear out the zombies within and hunker down in the perfect place. Retrieving trucks to block the mall doors was an excellent idea that the three of them coordinated on. But what he really gets rewarded for is his Half-KUDO for finding a way to get Peter to Roger’s location when the latter was in imminent danger.
Fran: Frannie gets a Half-KUDO for not only pointing out that Stephen is the only one that can get them out of the area if they need to run because he’s the only one who can fly, but then goes the extra step of learning out to handle their helicopter herself – despite Stephen’s seeming irritation over the matter in the beginning.
I’m going to give a Half-KUDO to the Redneck Hunting Parties who are clearly owning the undead [at least in the beginning], as none of them even look slightly endangered [at least as far as we see… until Day of the Dead].
I’ll also grant a Half-KUDO to the Raiders, who own the zombies at the mall as well. They also easily get around Peter and Stephen’s meager defenses.
Our Characters: I’d Prefer To Spend Time With Zombies!
Peter: I’m issuing Peter a Half-DEMERIT for the mistake in tactics when they were securing the mall’s entrances with the trucks. Although it is mostly Roger’s fault that he was put in danger because of his own behavior and lack of care, Peter definitely shouldn’t have driven off and left him alone until he was sure that Roger had his truck successfully hot-wired.
Roger: Roger! G’d dammit. Roger gets a DEMERIT for not taking the zombies seriously enough, even after his close call due to his not paying attention! And the second time around, it costs him everything *sigh*
Stephen: Stephen earns a DEMERIT for firing on the Raiders and causing a shoot-out that puts Peter in immediate danger, puts Fran and their unborn child at risk and ultimately ends with his dying in an elevator. If he’d just retreated when Peter wanted, it is very possible that the raiders would’ve had their fun and went away and the rest of them could’ve then left peacefully for other pastures.
Fran: Frannie doesn’t earn herself a demerit.
We have a special DEMERIT to hand out to TV Station Manager that Frannie works for: he’s insistent on running a screen crawl listing evacuation sites for people, despite knowing that the information is out of date by 12 hours at least because he thinks it’s tied to their ratings. Not only is he absolutely clueless about the magnitude of the disaster he’s in, but he’s sending people out to rescue stations that are already fallen to their deaths! Asshole.
We’re also giving a second special DEMERIT to our racist SWAT commander who goes on a shooting spree inside a tenement and he isn’t worrying about whether he’s hitting civilians or undead.
We also have another special DEMERIT to our Puerto Rican who has assumed control of gunmen in said tenement against the police who are trying to confiscate/destroy the undead that the residents won’t give up. He ends up killing a young police recruit by violently resisting the police.
And since we’ve mentioned it, I’m issuing a Half-DEMERIT against the tenement residents who are allowing their personal beliefs to interfere with a health crisis by hoarding away their animated dead rather than allowing them to be disposed of safely during a pandemic of apocalyptic proportions. I’m sorry that destroying the undead flies in the face of your social/religious convictions, but the world is at risk! Get over it.
I’ve got to issue a DEMERIT to the Raiders for their mall hit… not for being bad guys, but for getting caught by the undead. A lot of these idiots deserve exactly what they got with special mention going to the guy who is shot out of a motorcycle sidecar with a machine gun in his hands, but manages not to have any headshots and especially the guy who decided to play with a coin operated blood pressure machine while the undead rage around him… you can imagine he doesn’t last.