"Dawn Of The Dead" Versus "Zombi"
I had the utmost respect for Dario Argento. The guy Directed some of the Best Italian Horror Movies - "Suspiria", "Trauma", and "Deep Red" - He even Wrote "Once Apon A Time In The West"! But, as cool as all those Movies are, to me the greatest thing Dario Argento ever did was scrape up the cash to make The Greatest Movie Of All Time - "Dawn Of The Dead"! The original, not the shitty remake. What a drag that we can't talk about "Dawn Of The Dead" without getting that out of the way. If only the squares who think "The Godfather" is so great couldn't talk about it without having to say "The original 'Godfather', not that shitty remake with Don Johnson and Joe Piscopo!". But I don't know what to make of Argento now that I've seen "Zombi", the version of "Dawn Of The Dead" he put together out of George Romero's raw footage (Romero put together the cut for the US Market and Argento put together the cut for the European Market). It's so bad I can only quote Gene Siskel - "Oh, SHIT! I'm DYING!!"
If "Dawn Of The Dead" is known for one specific moment it is when that Zombie gets the top of his head sliced off by a helicopter blade. I guess you need to have seen it to know what I mean. And if you haven't seen it get out there and pick up "Dawn Of The Dead" right now! Unless you are in Europe and all you can find is "Zombi" because - My Fellow Americans might want to sit down for this - Dario Argento did not include the Zombie getting the top of his head sliced off in "Zombi"!!! I'm going to fly to Rome in the Acid Logic Helicopter, land right outside Dario Argento's house, and pile up a bunch of "Dawn Of The Dead" remake DVDs between the house and the helicopter so when Argento comes out to yell at me he'll step up on all those DVDs and - SLICE-O OFF-O TOP-O HEAD-O!!! Seriously, dude, what were you thinking? In the European version of "Psycho" did you cut the Shower Murder Scene? "No! I keepa da Shower Murder Scene! I cut everything in Movie BEFORE Shower Murder Scene and everything in Movie AFTER Shower Murder Scene! SHOWER MURDER SCENE!!!" It makes no sense! I wouldn't cut the maggots falling out of the ceiling in "Suspiria"! Hell, I'd add in another fifteen, twenty minutes of maggots falling out of the ceiling and getting in the girl's hair so they run around screaming. That would have been awesome. I don't get it, man . . .
More reasons to throw beer cans at your TV set screaming "What the FUCK!?! (And this is an Election year!) - Whenever we "Dawn Of The Dead" devotees gather we love to amuse and entertain each other with kooky impressions of the Cross Eyed Retarded Cop who asks the Heroes if they've got any cigarettes. What a FUNNY GUY! And then, after they tell this goon they've got no smokes, he and his stupid buddies go off in a boat to certainly get eaten by Zombies, and the Heroes all take out cigarettes and light up. MESSAGE - It Is Now Every Man For Himself. Every one watching the Film scratches their chin in deep contemplation. But not in the Dario Argento version! Why? Because there aren't any Cops in his version! None! They just meet up at the Helipad and climb into the helicopter, and take off! Hey, Dario Argento! What you got against people scratching thir chins in deep contemplation? But Argento shows them all lighting up anyway as if that's so interesting in itself. Maybe that makes sense because it is for European audiences and all they do in most European Movies is smoke. If Argento had today's CGI technology he would have added a cigarette hanging out of every Zombies' mouth. But anyway, another Great "Dawn Of The Dead" Moment SHOT TO HELL!!!
There are so many screwed up things about "Zombi" you could write an Acid Logic article about it! Like the Comedy scene where they go to the Bank and have fun playing around with all the money - Everybody loves it, right? Well, Argento cuts it in HALF! I guess Italians have no sense of humor about money. That's why an American had to go to an Italian to get the money to make this Movie. Argento makes the scene with the Zombies in the Tenement Basement chewing on body parts longer and more gruesome but when it comes to Wild And Crazy Guys throwing dollar bills in the air he gets UPTIGHT! Remember the scene where Roger -The Cop who gets bitten by a Zombie, dies, and turns into a Zombie- is playing a Race Car Video Game? He crashes the car and the game informs him that he has died. But then the machine mysteriously restores him Back To Life so he can drive again. Cause he's gonna die and come Back To Life as a Zombie, right? Well, Argento ends the scene right after Roger crashes the car!!! Huh? Wha? Huh? Right when I was about to scratch my chin in some deep ass contemplation!
At least Argento had the sense not to cut Roger dying and vowing not to turn into a Zombie after he has passed away. Scott H Reiniger is brilliant in this scene and certainly the best Actor in the whole Movie (Although it's a little freaky how much he looks and acts like Tom Cruise. Would you rather have some guy who looks and acts like Joe Piscopo in this thing?) But, wouldn't you know it, Argento has to fuck up my man Reiniger's performance in the big "Parking Trucks In The Mall Entrance So Zombies Can't Get In" sequence. What really makes this sequence Super Suspenseful is Roger gradually losing his mind and finally letting his guard down so he gets bitten by a Zombie "ROGER!!! GET IT TOGETHER, MAN!!!" Argento has his way with this part of the Movie like Bill Clinton at an Apple Pie Eating Contest on The Fourth Of July. Dumb Ass Dario cuts out the beginning so not only do we have no idea what they are doing driving around in those trucks but instead of us seeing Roger BEGINNING to freak out he is ALREADY freaked out and just comes off looking like some kind of an idiot. Forget Roger, he makes Scott H Reiniger look like a BAD ACTOR! A really BAD ACTOR who looks and acts like TOM CRUISE! Scott oughta kick Argento's ass! The only Movie this guy ever got to be in and Argento makes him look like a DOUCHEBAG in front of every Zombie Movie Fan in the European Continent! Everybody in America who sees "Dawn Of The Dead" goes "Why wasn't this guy in 'Top Gun'? He was ROBBED! 'Eyes Wide Shut' could have been a pretty good Movie with Scott in it! You think Nicole Kidmon would have dumped a guy like that? NO WAY!!" But because of Argento everybody in Europe is doing kooky Scott H Reiniger impressions "We haff got zis by ze ass, baby! We haff got zis by zee ass!! OH, MY GOD!! I HAFF FORGOTTEN MY BAG IN ZE OTHER TRUCK!!!" Sleazy Europeans mocking a courageous American Joe who has forgotten his bag! Makes me wanna puke! Hey, Scott, you wanna go to Rome with me in the Acid Logic Helicopter? We'll give that Argento geek the Vic Morrow Treatment!
One thing that doesn't appear in Romero's Movie but is in Argento's - The Zombie who bit a big chunk out of Roger sitting in a puddle of Roger's blood and munching on the aforementioned chunk. Now, everybody who has seen "Dawn Of The Dead" is going "Oh! Man! That Zombie sitting in a puddle of Roger's blood and munching on that oft mentioned chunk? I GOTTA SEE THAT!!!" No, you don't. You don't have to see it because . . . Well, it just looks kind of goofy. Sorry. There's no telling how these things are going to look until you shoot em and finally screen em. Sometimes things turn out really cool and other times . . . Forget it! There is also an unsuccessful attempt at filming a Biker cutting a Zombie's head off that Romero seems to have given up on halfway through. But Argento puts it in probably just to embarrass Tom Savini "See? Mister American Big Shot Tom Savini fuck uppa sometime, too! Ha ha! Savini only Mortal Human!! Ha ha!!" Argento throws in barrels of gore that Romero left out but Enough Is Enough! A little too much of that stuff and people can't see the Movie's Point. Argento seems determined to rip the Point out of the Movie and show Zombies eating it, so - What the Hell, put in a Zombie tearing his arm off cause it's stuff under the wheel of a truck. Forget that it looks phoney as Hell, we've already cut out the brilliantly done special effect of the Zombie getting the top of his head sliced off by a helicopter blade, we've got plenty of time to fill up with stupid stuff that doesn't work! Who cares? It's just another Zombie Movie, right?
And Argento keeps messing up Romero's jokes! Humor is a delicate thing and clumsy editing can really screw it up. One night I was in a Chinese Restaurant and (Hi, everybody! How are you enjoying the article? - Wil Forbis, Acid Logic Editor) and the Waiter said "No, that was DUCK sauce!" Ha ha ha! "Zombi"s Biker Attack climax is so incoherent it induces incontinence in coyotes. Argento seems to have fallen Head Over Heels over the Bikers and is determined to use every bit of the footage of them he can scrape up. The shot of all of them riding down a hill and right at the camera is so good Romero really should have used it, but his Editing is so precise he must have had a very good reason to leave it out. But Argento? What the Hell?! "Now we putta inna da shot where da Bikermens ride all up and da Zombie Extras get so scaredy pants they forget to be Zombies!" Boy, does that look dumb. Romero simply shows the Main Bikers entering the Mall and zipping around. Argento has them entering the Mall, zipping around a little bit, then going back outside of the Mall, and then going back in for more fun zipping around. Romero makes no effort to develop any of the Bikers into "Characters" so additional footage of their "Wild Angels On Black Friday" shenanigans makes watching them FINALLY getting eaten by Zombies more of a pleasure than such a thing really ought to be.
Romero originally planned to end the Film with the Female Lead committing suicide by throwing herself into the blade of That Darn Helicopter but changed his mind. He never even shot it and Thank God for that because Argento undoubtedly would have put it at the End of "Zombi" just to bum everybody out. That's probably why his version doesn't have that Zombie getting the top of his head sliced off "No Main Lady getta chop chop inna helicoppenner blade no Zombie Man getta chop chop inna helicoppener blade! If I had known George no shoot dat girl get chop chop I never get money to make Movie! Nobody mess with Dario Argento! NOBODY!!"
Anyways, Dario Argento, your Reputation here in America is hardly strong enough for you to get away with this mess. All it would take is an Acid Logic Interesting Motherfuckers about that Fulci dude and a Motherfucking Masterpiece about his "The Beyond" and you won't even be as well known around here than Carlo Vespucci. Carlo WHO? Yeah, piss me off again and you won't be as known in the US as Italian Horror Directors that don't even exist!
Honestly - No wonder Asia turned out the way she did!
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