October 14, 2015

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

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Welcome to Week 2 of Month of the Living Dead!

This week, the guys sat down to watch Dawn of the Dead, the 1978 follow-up to George A. Romero's 1968 classic, Night of the Living Dead.

This one takes place primarily in a mall, after television executive Francine (Gaylen Ross) and her idiot boyfriend Stephen (David Emge) leave Francine's very yell-y news broadcast and pick up a couple of S.W.A.T. guys (Ken Foree as Peter, and Scott Reiniger as Roger), fresh from shooting up a tenement in Philadelphia, while fueling Stephen's helicopter at a gas station out in the boonies of Pennsylvania. Seriously. That happens. Do all Pennsylvania gas stations carry helicopter fuel?

These are the smartest people in the '78 Zombie Apocalypse.
Once a group consensus determines that a nearby shopping mall is the best place ever to wait out a flood of zombies, plans are made to get stuff done. Oh, and at some point, it is revealed that Francine is pregnant with idiot Stephen's child.

"That means your boobs will get bigger!"
So, with all of that stuff going on--zombies outside, a moody pregnant chick inside--the only logical thing to do is go shopping! Thus begins a fifteen- to twenty-minute montage of them trying on outfits, grabbing guns and ammo, Francine putting on makeup...Everybody just generally enjoying the hell out of themselves.

At this point, Peter decides, hey, why bother just grabbing supplies when they can just stay right there in the mall that has everything they need? The only problem is that, eventually, the glass on the main floor will give out after a few days of zombies pounding on it constantly, so Peter comes up with a plan that involves moving trucks in front of the entrances and windows. It goes off without a hitch and everyone is happy and lives forever and Francine and Stephen's child grows up to discover a cure for the zombies!

Hint: Part of the cure is a new wardrobe!
Just kidding.

Roger ruins almost everything by getting himself bitten repeatedly by the zombies because he forgot to get his bag out of the second truck they moved. Now, we here at Ugly Couchcast Industries are all about accessorizing, but when you forget your man-purse and are being pursued by hordes of the flesh-eating living dead, we believe you might just want to chalk it up as a loss and maybe go back inside your fully-stocked mall and just grab a new one.

After what seems like months passing in real-time, during which we get to watch everybody smoke a lot, Francine and Stephen having dinner, and Peter keeping watch over the obviously infected Roger, the monotony is broken up not by the zombies breaking in, but by a rogue gang of bikers led by special effects guy (and apparent immortal) Tom Savini.

Somewhere, there's a painting of him that just keeps getting older.
The bikers just want a piece of the action (merchandise-wise), and rampage through the mall, inadvertently letting the zombies inside. What follow can only be described as the best zombie-cleansing ever put down on celluloid. And what, you may ask, makes this so? Observe:

Yep. And there's seltzer spraying, too!
But, alas, there is one tiny flaw in the bikers' plans to kill everyone, destroy the zombies, and take over the mall: Stephen is, as mentioned before, an idiot. He opens fire on the bikers and bad things happen to him. Then, when he's trapped in an elevator, even more bad stuff happens to him.

Tragically, he cannot handle his Fruit Gushers.
And even though the bikers appeared to be making some headway, things did not work out for them, either.

Consult your doctor about whether a zombie apocalypse is right for you.
Zombie Stephen steps up and leads the rest of the zombies up to the secret hiding place that Peter had built for them, which leads to the final confrontation between Francine and Peter, and the undead! Will anyone survive?

Jake likes the remake of this movie much more than he liked this one. Partly because of the improved effects, but also because Stephen and Francine aren't quite as useless in that one as they are in this.

Larry wants to know what the hell the deal is with this guy:

We guess the whole reincarnation thing was a bust for this dude.
Derek is visibly shaken by a single image from the movie. It involves the fat, shirtless zombie in the black shorts. We won't go into detail, other than to say that it involves a glimpse of way too much wrinkly inner thigh meat. It's...It's horrible.

There's also New York Comic Con news and more in The Lobby, new movies Coming Soon, a new Hollywood Purgatory, and Larry's List!

So grab this week's episode and give it a listen!