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The Awakening of the Useless (Daybreak of the Useless, 1978)



by George A. Romero
If in The Night of the Living Dead, Romero began his zombie revolution that would change the course of horror movie history, in Awakening the Dead, he realizes his masterpiece, the cornerstone of the genre forever, and throws his scathing wide open. social criticism making it clear to everyone that the zombies are us, and we are the zombies.
Romero takes the loose spots he had left with the end of the first movie and leverages them, spreading the zombie infection throughout the United States. And clearly there was a power shift in that middle ground. As The Night ends with the rednecks and the cops exterminating the undead and making fun of it, early in Awakening, you see that the zombies took control and humans practically turned their livestock, losing this fight. Even at one of the moments in the movie, a controversial interviewee on a TV show says the situation could have been easily overcome if people had put their emotion and religious morale aside and simply killed the zombies, regardless of whether they were related. or friends. Well, Awakening from the Dead begins three weeks after the events of the previous movie, when Francine, a TV producer, decides to set aside the chaos that has become the television station where she works, which anyway wanted to continue broadcasting and maintaining the audience at all costs, even if it passed a lagged list of safe places for viewers (spectator = zombie?), and ran off with her boyfriend, the station's pilot, and two other SWAT officers, Roger and Peter. During the low-fuel, tired-out air getaway, the group unintentionally stumbles upon what would be the perfect escape: an abandoned shopping mall, except for zombies that roamed its interior. So they decide to make their base from there.
The initial idea of ​​using the mall came when Romero went to have a business meeting with a potential sponsor at a mall in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. There Romero was intimidated by the gigantic consumerist temple (let's remember that in the 1970s, shopping centers were not as common, with one on every corner as nowadays). Hence all his base for the film's script went. It was also the starting point for the development of the argument that even as the world falls into the purest social chaos, human beings are automaton slaves to their most primitive consumer desires (consumer = zombie?). And this becomes very clear when the group begins looting a large department store in the mall and taking advantage of the goods to satisfy their pettiest needs, such as dressing, fancy dinners, diverse entertainment, and all that is entitled. Despite the isolation syndrome, as long as they have material possessions to distract them, all is well. And this social criticism is no longer just understood and becomes wide open in some key sequences, such as the scenes in which zombies are filmed and then the store dummies, drawing a parallel between them / us, when the dead, without at will, they wander the hallways and escalators while the speaker announces some clearance, or when the zombies begin to struggle in front of the locked department store, more or less like people today to buy a new iPad or iPhone on the day of its release.

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