Friday, May 24, 2013

dawn of the dead [1978]

i had a few moments this evening to watch the first third of this pic.  every time i see it i am in utter wonder at its beauty.  yes, a horror film can be beautiful.  the principals are not gorgeous models.  when they hit someone or some zombie they do it awkwardly and fall down too just as we would if we were fighting for our lives.  the choreography of the action scenes are underscored by fear and exhaustion.  luck plays an important role here too.  some people get eaten and/or killed in other ways just because. 

there is survivor's guilt and pure happenstance as the world slowly falls apart.  one of the best scenes is when the survivors fly over a group of hunters and soldiers who out for a good time drinking beers and shooting zombies.  what better way to pass a day, right.  and you know that that is how it would probably play out should the dead rise and start eating the living.  we would be both scared shitless and brainless too in our self-importance and self-worth.  we would think that our own chances of survival are good and that the shit going down is for other people. 

romero's craft gives the lie to that thinking.  he shows us that when the shit happens what makes survivors and what makes victims will be just fortune and not fate.  our noses bleed and we lose our balance as we try to make a round-house to the temple of a zombie.  our aim is not true and we will waste a lot of ammo trying to kill one threat.  romero shows us that we are short-sighted and often as nasty as what threatens us.  this movie is a proof of the role chance has in our lives.  the survivors get by on -- yes -- pluck but also being in the right place at the right time.  these people are not innocents either.  they steal and kill as the worst of us.  romero shows us how sloppy we are and how deluded we can be.  and yet, as the poet said, and yet there is dignity in all of that awful we can do.  we survive because we don't know any better.   


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