It takes a special kind of person to sit down and watch what amounts to three versions of the same movie (two times each, if you count audio commentaries). But director George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead isn't just any movie; it's one of the greatest horror films of all time. Likewise, the recently released Dawn of the Dead Ultimate Edition isn't just any other DVD release--this is the holy grail for fans of Romero's seminal film.
The sequel to Romero's equally seminal 1968 film Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead chronicles the collapse of civilization as the recently deceased rise from the grave and attack the living. In this nightmarish world, four survivors seek refuge in a suburban shopping mall. Heavily armed and fortified against the living dead outside, the survivors create a consumer's utopian world, where they have everything they want at their fingertips--except a normal life free of flesh-eating ghouls.
A four-disc box set, this incredible collection features three versions of Dawn of the Dead on three separate discs: the original U.S. theatrical cut, the European cut, and an extended version often called the "director's cut." Each disc has a different audio commentary, and the bonus fourth disc features The Dead Will Walk, a comprehensive documentary that features interviews with tons of cast and crew. Roy Fumkes' Document of the Dead, filmed on location during the original production of Dawn of the Dead, offers an insightful behind-the-scenes look at the making of a modern classic.
What makes Romero's film so amazing is that despite its obvious horror trappings, Dawn of the Dead is actually a dark satire that offers a scathing look at consumer culture. The film works not only as a tale of terror but as subversive comedy and profound social commentary.
And if three versions of Dawn of the Dead --plus audio commentaries, documentaries and a whole ass-load of other bonus features--are not enough to keep you busy, there's always the 2004 remake to keep you occupied. Now, I'll be the first to admit that no one was quicker to write off director Zack Snyder's ill-advised "reimagining" of Romero's film than I was. But then I saw the new Dawn of the Dead, and it was really good. Don't get me wrong: It will never hold up to the original film, but thankfully it never tries to. Instead, Snyder and screenwriter James Gunn take just the very basics from Romero's original--human survivors seeking shelter from a zombie invasion in a shopping mall--and craft a straightforward horror film. This new Dawn of the Dead is available in its original theatrical version, as well as an uncut version for the less faint of heart. Both editions feature audio commentaries and a bevy of bonus material. Either way, you'll be in for a treat.