Best Opening Horror Scenes Ever: Dawn Of The Dead (2004)

I remember back in 2004 when I begrudgingly went to the theater to see Zack Snyder’s Dawn Of The Dead remake.  I was timid….I was pessimistic….I was craving some movie theater popcorn with extra butter.  Now back in 2004, there hadn’t been a lot of horror remakes made yet.  So when I heard that my beloved 1978 version of Dawn Of The Dead was in fact being remade, I shuddered and threw something at my crappy laptop that I had at the time. And then I saw the opening sequence in the theater and much like The Grinch, my heart started to grow……

Love that aerial shot towards the end.  And you gotta love how Ana’s husband Luis is in full pursuit of her car, but then quickly veers off to the side to grab some lunch at the expense of a hapless neighbor.  Obviously, the biggest beef I did end up having with this movie was the debut of the sprinting zombies (28 Days Later had it, but at least it was explained there).  It just never really computes with me and I much prefer the slower brain dead version when I’m watching the walking dead in a horror film.

Oh – and one more beef was the character Nicole’s obsession with fucking Chips the dog.  Seriously?  Oh sure – it’s a cute dog, but when you’re in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, why in the fuck would you endanger your life and the lives of all of the other people to go and……..ok – I’m sorry I need to calm down.  That’s a sore subject with me and I’m obviously very passionate about it in a much unneeded and semi-disturbing way.  So yeah – hooray to the opening scene from the Dawn Of The Dead remake!  It almost made me forget about that stupid ass Chips the dog subplot.  Almost.

Holy Shit Horror: The Opening Scene In ’28 Weeks Later’ (2007)

I’m not sure if the makers of 28 Weeks Later ever thought about giving away some promotional diapers at their screenings, because some of us could have used them during that opening scene.  No, I didn’t poop my pants everybody….but I do recall saying “Holy Shit!” after the 8 minute introduction was over.  Now, I’m not about to say that this sequel as a whole is better than Danny Boyle’s groundbreaking first from 2002, but the opening for 28 Weeks Later is easily on par with anything in 28 Days Later.

For those who have seen it, you know what I’m talking about.  And hopefully you share my enthusiasm as well.  If you haven’t seen it, the best I can do right now is provide a link from Youtube of the scene in full, but shown through the eyes of a camcorder.  You see, the copyright gods won’t let anyone put up actual clips from the movie, so this will have to suffice.  I can say that it’s some of the better bootleg footage out there in terms of quality, so we have that going for us.

Once the “In The House, In A Heartbeat” song kicks in, you know the rage-infested zombie shit is gonna hit the fan.  And when Don chooses himself over his wife and a random hungry kid, that’s when the reality of the situation sets in.  From there, we’re treated to a great zombie chase scene and then one of the best zombie water moments since Lucio Fulci’s infamous shark biting in 1979’s, Zombie.  This is how you do an opening sequence people, and luckily the rest of the movie didn’t dramatically fall off after this impressive little setup. So thank you 28 Weeks Later for your “Holy Shit!” moment and for almost (I can’t specify ‘almost’ enough) making me soil myself.  Now can we finally get 28 Months Later, please?


Why Is George Romero So Cranky?

Get off my lawn you damn kids!”  Those are the words of a typical cranky old man.  “The Walking Dead is just a soap opera with a zombie occasionally!” And those are the words of a cranky George Romero, who recently came out to British magazine, The Big Issue, and pretty much slammed The Walking Dead television show.  Matter of fact, he has a problem with the whole concept and theme in general, so he’s pretty much slamming the source material comic books as well.

His main beef it seems, is what he feels is a “soap opera” feel to the show. Apparently, producers of The Walking Dead approached Romero and asked if he wanted to direct a couple of episodes. Well, nothing doing!  He pretty much told them to fuck off because he’s sitting on top of his undead high horse where he feels that the zombies in The Walking Dead aren’t being used for satire or political criticism.  Right.  Because movies like Diary Of The Dead and Survival Of The Dead (two of Romero’s latest) are just so full of deep agendas against the system.

I do watch The Walking Dead, but have not read the comics.  As a show, it definitely has it’s missteps, but take a look from a horror standpoint what you’re seeing on TV for a minute.  Did you ever think that you would be watching zombies that could have easily been in Romero’s earlier and better efforts, munching on guts in glorious HD on regular cable TV?  The make-up FX alone are worth tuning in, and the overall product is far more satisfying than anything Romero has done in the last 10 years.  It’s actually a shame he’s not on board with this, because I would have loved for him to be a part of it.  I know that he hates the whole ‘fast moving zombie’ phenomena, so the fact that The Walking Dead keeps it old school in that realm would make me think that he would have more interest in it.

But alas, George Romero is in full on cranky old man mode.  I still love the guy, love his early work, and there’s no debate about his influence not just in the zombie genre, but the horror genre as a whole.  He’s a legend and a revolutionary one at that.  But you need to pick your battles George.  The Walking Dead is in it’s own way, honoring your work.  Respect and realize that, and maybe you can learn a thing or two for your next inevitable zombie project.