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'Dawn of the Dead,' in 3D, returns to Houston theaters this weekend

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Zombie attack in George A. Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” (1978).

Photo: Laurel Group Inc./1978

“Dawn of the Dead,” George Romero’s seminal 1979 film about zombies in a mall, returns to movie theaters this weekend in 3D. It focuses on a quartet of survivors who find refuge in a deserted shopping mall as the world outside deteriorates.

Despite the red and blue glasses, don’t expect in-your-face effects that fly off the screen. The film was adapted to the 3D format by original producer Richard P. Rubinstein, but it’s mostly added depth to several scenes. “Dawn of the Dead” 3D opens Friday exclusively at Regal movie theaters.

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Blood splatters more vividly. There’s a particularly gruesome exploding head near the beginning of the film. But Romero’s original vision remains untouched. That was important to Rubinstein, who has spent much of his life caring for and championing the film. Rubinstein also collaborated with Stephen King on 1982’s “Creepshow” and its 1987 sequel; 1989’s “Pet Sematary” and the 1994 “The Stand” miniseries. He also co-produced the 2004 “Dawn of the Dead” remake.

The original “Dawn” opens in the middle of an emergency broadcast. The brain-dead have taken over, and the country is in a full-on panic. It’s a jarring entry to the action that keeps the viewer in a state of confusion and dread for the entirety of the film. Once the action moves to the mall, broader social and political themes come into focus. Greed, capitalism and consumerism are brilliantly framed by the mall setting.

‘Dawn of the Dead’ returns in 3D to theaters for Halloween weekend.

Photo: courtesy

The mall is also meant to be a safe haven for the survivors but soon becomes its own prison of loneliness and isolation. It feels especially relevant as people still process the past few years of COVID-19 and lockdowns.

“Dawn of the Dead” has not been available to watch, at least legally, for more than a decade, so even without the 3D upgrade, simply getting to experience it on the big screen is a huge win. Romero, who died in 2017, saw portions of the 3D version and was a fan.

Just be careful hitting up the mall this weekend.

‘Dawn of the Dead’ 3D


Running time: 127 minutes

Where: Opens Friday at Regal Houston MarqE 23, Houston; Regal Greenway Grand Palace 24, Houston; Regal Benders Landing, Spring; Regal Lone Star, Tomball.

  • Joey Guerra

    Joey Guerra is the music critic for the Houston Chronicle. He also covers various aspects of pop culture. He has reviewed hundreds of concerts and interviewed hundreds of celebrities, from Justin Bieber to Dolly Parton to Beyonce. He’s appeared as a regular correspondent on Fox26 and was head judge and director of the Pride Superstar singing competition for a decade. He has been named journalist of the year multiple times by both OutSmart Magazine and the FACE Awards. He also covers various aspects of pop culture, including the local drag scene and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”