1979: It’s a broiling hot Indian-Summer day in Rahway New Jersey. You’re a pre-teen Media Fiend trapped visiting an Aunt and Uncle with your Parent Fiends. There’s talk of “visiting that new indoor mall”...all seems lost.
Suddenly Father Fiend throws out a life-preserver, “Wanna’ see a movie instead?”
The others leave for the wilds of JC Penney, Hickory Farms, etc. as you scan the unfamiliar movie listings. Suddenly, with no expectations, there it is! Though no larger than 3 postage stamps it is the most impressive movie ad you’ve ever seen, the heart of a dream made reality, part 2 in what is inarguably the greatest cinematic trilogy of its type… DAWN OF THE DEAD is playing at a theater near you.
1974: You’re allowed to stay up past your bedtime with Big Brother and Big Sister Fiend on Halloween to watch NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD on Chiller Theatre. Defying all permissive parenting predictions, you actually DO stay awake.
It instantly becomes your favorite movie. Wayyyy scarier than WILLY WONKA, with none of the damn singing.
1979:So here it is. The long awaited sequel. Father Fiend notices there’s no rating in the ad, “ Well, it’s not X, and I’ll be with you…just tell mom that we went to THE BLACK HOLE.”
Father Fiend is usually cool that way.
Now you’re there, a block away at high noon for a 12:10 showing. You notice it’s an old time theater from your Fathers childhood, the box office is an art deco curve jutting from the center of the façade, and the woman inside wears a uniform with epaulets.
You just know there’s a balcony and old vaudeville stage in there, as well as one huge screen. The word Multi-plex has not infected the English language yet. Suddenly, Rahway,NJ is cool.
As these thoughts are sinking in you notice there is only one other person approaching the theater. “Early on a Sunday for this type of movie for most people I guess”, Father Fiend always rational.
Then you really SEE the approaching stranger. He looks like the love child of Keith Moon and the guy who played the super in SEVEN-YEAR ITCH… only with a lazy eye. Then Father Fiend says, ”I think that’s a Venus Fly-Trap he’s carrying.”
We decide to let him get to the Box-office first.
After a few minutes of increasingly loud conversation between the Box-Office Woman and the Fly-Trap Man, and fearing you’ll miss the beginning, you sidle closer with Father Fiend. Maybe you can discern the point of contention and help to resolve it, thereby acquiring your own tickets and assuring a full viewing. You lean in to listen…
“I assure you, sir, you don’t need a ticket for your plant!”
That strange, but true, experience is about the only thing missing from ANCHOR BAY’S new 4-disc ULTIMATE EDITION: DAWN OF THE DEAD.
While there have been many DOTD releases, on all forms of home media, NONE can compare to THE ULTIMATE. All 3 versions of the film are included; Romero’s cut AKA the US Theatrical version, the Extended version (with almost 20 more mins.), and the European version cut by Dario Argento with less plot to get in the way of the gore, and a different score.
All 3 discs are loaded with commentaries and other minor bells and whistles, but it’s Disc 4 that sets this collection apart. Not one, but two Full Length “making of” docs. The original DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD, made as they were shooting the movie, and the brand spankin’ new THE DEAD WILL WALK featuring current day interviews with everyone.
But it’s the free mini-comic of issue number one of DOTD, and the walking tour travelogue of the Monroeville mall from Ken Foree/Peter, that make this the best genre box-set in years.
10 out of 10!
And for those of you unfamiliar with DOTD, why are you still reading? Go see it!… especially if you’re a kid trapped in Rahway, NJ for the weekend.
Buy it here if you dare!!!!!