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08.20.2017
Document Of The Dead (1985)
Movie Review by The Mortician
04.08.15

Document Of The Dead (1985) One of the first documentaries (that I can recall) with actual on-set footage of the making of a HORROR movie and a classic one at that: DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978). This was done before the days of DVD Making Of featurettes and was a trendsetter. I recall getting a VHS "bootleg" copy of this work in progress back in 1987 from some students of NY School of Visual Arts teacher/filmmaker Roy Frumkes, who made this bad boy. DAWN OF THE DEAD is the STAR WARS of zombie movies for me, and it's exciting to see actual scenes being filmed in the Munroe Mall where the movie was being shot in late 1977-78, and the interviews with director George Romero (where Frumkes is casually walking around the mall with him) is priceless nostalgia. This is when Romero was on fire, making his best work! Exciting to see his enthusiasm and also a nice chunk of the doc going to effects legend Tom Savini's make-up effects (doing the zombie thing to extras!) and stunt work. Key cast members are also interviewed. Frumkes continued tinkering with this project for 27 more years (!), interviewing Romero on several other of his movie sets, including TWO EVIL EYES (co-directed with Dario Argento) and right on through MONKEY SHINES and DIARY OF THE DEAD! It's interesting to see Romero's evolution and perspective on things as time marches on. There's another fascinating interview walk, some twenty years later, with Romero and Frumkes. Still, the best footage is from DAWN '78, before capturing on-set action and interviews was the norm. Again, Frumkes was a trendsetter here, setting the tone for today's DVD "extras", which we take so much for granted. Highly recommended for fans of DAWN '78, Romero, and indie horror filmmaking. A true gem.

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