Following an ever-growing epidemic of former human beings that have risen from the dead to consume the living, two Philadelphia SWAT team members, a traffic reporter, and his girlfriend seek refuge in a suburban shopping mall.
I first saw DAWN OF THE DEAD at the ripe old age of 13 whilst working at the local video store stacking shelves back in Birmingham, England. I took it home one night fully unprepared what was going to happen to my mind and my life.
Through a savagely worn VHS haze, I was sucked full force into George A. Romero’s terrifying universe, a brutally violent minefield of death and nihilism, a place where even S.W.A.T. recognize death is the only escape.
As is the case for so many of us, DAWN OF THE DEAD changed everything: even watching the most barbarically censored, grainy copy of Romero’s living nightmare I was completely transfixed and my love of horror irrevocably solidified.
In many regards, DAWN is why Beyond Fest exists: it set a course, not just for us, but for the audience who give the fest life and the filmmakers who share their films. Scroll forward a few decades from where it first crashed our consciousness and here we are: where it all began – only this time it’s very different.
This is the original, unrated 1979 US Theatrical release version of DAWN OF THE DEAD which has been lovingly and meticulously adapted to a 3-D format under the frame by frame supervision of DAWN’S original producer, Richard P. Rubinstein (*Mr. Rubinstein notes while George’s editing is untouched responsibility for the 3-D format adaptation is entirely Richard’s).
Not only is this the first time this version has screened in the US, and only the second time in the world, it is also the first time laser 3-D has been projected at the famed Egyptian Theatre in its 94 year history. Like Romero’s singular vision, this will never happen again.
Special Thanks to Richard P. Rubinstein
Guests: Producer Richard P. Rubinstein in Person
Director: George A. Romero Country: United States Runtime: 127 minutes Year: 2015
“Gruesome, sickening, disgusting, violent, brutal and appalling. One of the best horror films ever made.” Roger Ebert
FREE Screening / No Advance Tickets: Tickets available from Egyptian Theatre box office day of show starting at 2pm; 2 tix per person max.
Presented by Cinematic Void – US Premiere
Double Feature with MARTIN
A manmade combat virus overtakes the citizens of a small Pennsylvania town, turning the people into psychopaths. The military attempt to quarantine the residents before the virus spreads further.
After unsuccessfully attempting to stretch out from the confines of the horror film with THERE’S ALWAYS VANILLA and SEASON OF THE WITCH, George Romero returned to the genre while riffing on his landmark first feature, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.
While THE CRAZIES and NIGHT both share a similar premise and small Pennsylvania town setting, Romero isn’t making a carbon copy of his previous success.
NIGHT featured an unknown incident that created the horde of the living dead. The genesis of THE CRAZIES on the other hand is crystal clear. A military accident unleashes a virus upon a small town infecting the majority of the population. The lucky ones die right away, the others become savage lunatics.
Trying to prevent this incident from turning into a full-blown pandemic, the army quickly swoops in to contain the situation by any means necessary. However, not everyone in the town has become infected.
A small group with former Green Beret, David, his pregnant wife Judy, his friend Clank, and a strange father and daughter duo of Artie and Kathy (played by 70s horror queen Lynn Lowry) try to escape the Military quarantine. Not only must deal with the infected, but also with the soldiers who are ordered to shoot first ask questions later.
While Romero is much beloved as an iconic horror filmmaker, one of his greatest assets is his skills as an editor. He’s quick cutting gives THE CRAZIES a frenetic energy to the action. It’s a master class in Eisenstein Soviet montage that relays visual information quickly and drives the narrative at break neck speed.
Just as he expanded upon the ideas of NIGHT OF THE LIVING for THE CRAZIES, Romero would use this film as springboard for DAWN OF THE DEAD a five years later. But THE CRAZIES stands on its own out side of Romero’s living dead films.
While it might not have the same esteem as its zombie brethren, it’s truly a remarkable piece of regionally made exploitation cinema.
Special Thanks to Arrow Video
Plays in the Shudder Theatre @Egyptian
Brand New 4K Restoration Courtesy of Arrow Video
Director: George A. Romero Country: USA Runtime: 103 minutes Year: 1973