Dawn Of The Dead/Fun Facts

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Dawn Of The Dead


  • Actress Gaylen Ross lied in her resume, saying that she had prior acting experience when in reality she had none.
  • David Emge and Scott H. Reineger used to work in a restaurant together before they were cast in their memorable roles.
  • George A. Romero wrote the Dawn Of The Dead screenplay in a little under a month in Italy.
  • Tom Savini performed most of the stunt work in Dawn, including the Motorcycle crashing through a window scene, Roger smashing a zombie with his truck, and the balcony fall.
  • Boris The Dummy was never hurt in the Dawn Of The Dead Production. (Long live Boris)
  • Christine Romero's mother plays the blond zombie in the blue dress.
  • There is great dispute over the film's alternate ending, where Peter shoots himself in the head and Fran commits suicide by sticking her head up into the blades of the copter. Some, such as makeup artists Tom Savini and Taso N. Stavrakis, maintain that the scene was filmed, while director George A. Romero used to be adamant that it wasn't. However, in the documentary Document of The Dead (1990) which was shot during the making of this film (and is included on some DVD copies), Romero clearly states to Frumkes, as they walk around the mall set, that they did indeed film the alternative ending, although he never filmed the effects shot. Gaylen Ross had a head mold made for the effects scene, and Savini did not want to see it go to waste, so he dressed the head up as a bearded African-American man, and that is the head that is blown off by a shotgun blast at the beginning of the film. To create the exploding head effect, Savini cleared the set and had the head shot at with an actual shotgun. Romero decided that this conclusion would be too depressing (after the horrors that have occurred) and, partially at the suggestion of his future wife, Christine Forrest, gave Peter and Fran a little bit of hope.
  • A Behind The Scenes still from the Extended Version of the Ultimate DVD boxed set indicates George A. Romero had a third cameo in the picture. The still shows the director standing to the side of the camera, his sleeve rolled up, holding a pistol upwards. Behind him a part of the mall can clearly be seen, indicating it was shot on site. Near the end of the picture, a similar shot exists: a POV from a man holding a pistol firing up past a fenced in area on the upper floor where Peter is running across.
  • The weapons store featured in the film was never a part of the Monroeville Mall. George A. Romero shot those scenes in a gun shop in downtown Pittsburgh and edited the footage in to make it look like it was a shop in the mall.
  • In the scene where Roger hits the zombie (played by Tom Savini with the truck and it leaves a bloody smear on his windshield, the effect was created by Savini throwing himself on the non-moving truck and spitting a mouthful of blood on the windshield.
  • Tom Savini chose a friend to play the helicopter zombie because he was notorious for having a low forehead.
  • Much of the fake blood used in the blood packets was a mixture of food coloring, peanut butter and cane sugar syrup.
  • Many effects were thought of on the spot. Tom Savini created many effects (such as the arm in the blood pressure tester) with no preparations whatsoever.
  • Tom Savini used the same dummy throughout the course of filming. During that time it was blown up, burnt, shot, and beaten, among other things.
  • Filming at the Monroeville Mall took place during the winter of 1976-77, with a three week reprieve during the Christmas shopping season (during which other footage, e.g. the TV studio, was shot). Filming at the mall began around 10 p.m., shortly after the mall closed, and finished at 6 a.m. The mall didn't open until 9, but at 6 the Muzak came on and no one knew how to turn it off.
  • Extras who appeared in this film were reportedly given $20 in cash, a box lunch, and a Dawn of the Dead T-shirt.
  • In order to save on production costs, director/editor George A. Romero had all the 35mm film stock developed into 16mm, and used that as his work reel. After choosing the scenes and takes he wanted, he had those alone developed into 35mm prints for the master reels.
  • Some of the actors playing zombies in the movie would frequently get drunk at a late-night bar called the Brown Derby, which was in the Monroeville Mall. One night they stole a golf cart and crashed into a marble pillar, causing $7,000 worth of damage.
  • The car driven in the mall is a 1977 Volkswagen Scirocco.
  • Remade as Dawn of the Dead (2004)
  • Dawn of the Dead is banned in Germany.
  • Ranked #5 on Entertainment Weekly's "Guilty Pleasures: Testosterone Edition" list (#927, March 30, 2007, as part of the article "Bloodbath and Beyond," about Grindhouse.) The magazine wrote, "The alpha and omega of zombie movies. George A. Romero's splatterfest unleashes the undead on a Pennsylvania shopping mall."
  • There are several versions of this film.
    • George Romero's own cut, referred to as the 1979 US theatrical version. (126min)
    • Then there is Dario Argento's cut which is referred to as the Italian or European version. (116min)
    • Then there is the Extended Version which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1978. (139min)
    • Lastly, there exists a pan-and-scan full screen version (of the Argento cut).

The reason is that Argento invested in the movie and in return got the right to produce his own cut of the film for the European release. That version also features different music from the band Goblin. Argento's version is also less humorous and puts more emphasis on action. The extended cut, while widely available, is not a preferred version of either director and constitutes a hastily produced rough version of the film. Then there are numerous censored versions in a number of countries (such as an R rated version, a Japanese version with freeze frames and a Japanese TV version, and a 20th anniversary hybrid cut, among others). There's some disagreement, but Romero is known to have voiced his displeasure about Argento's version. The two are quite different in tone and substance.

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