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DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) – Episode 150 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“This place is gonna be rotten.” Hopefully, that sounds familiar, either from this episode’s subject or the original Horror News Radio introduction recording. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they celebrate their 150th episode and Halloween with Geroge Romero’s uber-classic, Dawn of the Dead (1978)!

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 150 – Dawn of the Dead (1978)

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Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.


Dawn of the Dead was the first time Jeff ever saws effects as graphic as those featured in the film and he admits he got a little nauseous. Watching the film now, he’s impressed by Romero’s depiction of the social conditions of the time and how relevant it still is today. During his first viewing of Dawn of the Dead, Bill saw people run from the theater during the exploding head scene early in the film and he loved the effect used when a male zombie bites a woman’s shoulder. In his view, Dawn of the Dead is more influential in creating the zombie movie as we know it today than any other film. Chad was already a fan of Night of the Living Dead (1968) when the radio spot for Dawn of the Dead made a big impression while scaring the crap out of him. He had never seen anything like the zombie carnage he’d seen in Dawn of the Dead and it became one of his top ten favorite horror movies. The creepiness of the empty mall in the center section of Dawn of the Dead pulled Doc in and he is fascinated with the character development that takes place during that section.    

The 70s Grue Crew gives a big thank you to all of the Grue Believers who voted in the poll that chose Dawn of the Dead for this episode. You helped make the sesquicentennial episode of Decades of Horror 1970s a special one for all of us. If you haven’t seen this classic in a while, you owe it to yourself to give it a rewatch and this Halloween might be just the time.

Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode in their very flexible schedule will be Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), chosen by Chadl!

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Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk. Jeff has written for and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.