‘Dawn of the Dead’ Returns to Theaters for Its Blood-Soaked Anniversary

Estimated read time 4 min read

The Big Picture

  • George A. Romero’s iconic
    Dawn of the Dead
    turns 45 this year, and is returning to theaters across North America this Spring.
  • The original
    Dawn of the Dead
    set the standard for zombie horror with its rich characters, gore, and haunting imagery.
  • Celebrate the 45th anniversary by purchasing tickets for the limited screenings in various locations, including the Monroeville Mall.

When it comes to horror sequels, there’s arguably no film as beloved as George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. The zombie mall from hell made its US debut in 1979 and 2024 marks the gory film’s 45th anniversary. Now, just in time for its bite-worthy birthday, the original Dawn of the Dead is returning to stalk theaters this spring all across North America.

Starting on April 12, 2024 (one day shy of its official 45th anniversary), the iconic horror nightmare will be shown on 90 screens. This includes Dawn of the Dead being seen at various independent theaters and drive-in locations. Some of the hot spots include cities like Toronto, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, and Miami. The premium theater chain Alamo Drafthouse is a major partner in this R-rated re-release as well. However, the coolest location the film will be shown in is at the Monroeville Mall (Monroeville, Pennsylvania) on April 12 where Dawn was originally shot. This will be an almost two-month event with the last showing being on May 31 in Saskatoon, Canada. It’s important to note that most of the showings for this occasion are one per location and some will be showing the 3D version.

The Master of Zombie Horror

While there’s an endless amount of zombie content nowadays, sometimes to the point of nausea, Romero’s emotionally raw approach to the genre remains timeless. He wasn’t the first to tackle this meaty sub-genre, but his rich characters, brilliant depiction of gore, and haunting imagery are burnt into the mind of every horror fan. His zombies became the template for the rest of time. That all started with Romero’s first zombie film Night of the Living Dead in 1968, whose unintentional social commentary was ahead of its time and horrific, quickly propelling it to cult classic status. We wouldn’t get a sequel until 1979 for various different reasons, but the project was brought to life in large part by another horror icon, Dario Argento, who oversaw the international release of the sequel. This would lead to many different cuts of the film over the decades under different titles, like Zombi.

That being said, what most people are familiar with is the American theatrical cut. Dawn would set the tone for the rest of the franchise, featuring new characters for each new installment. With an ensemble that had Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger, Gaylen Ross, David Emge, and Tom Savini, this is often regarded as the best cast of the franchise. Speaking of Savini, he also did the legendary makeup and visual effects of the film. The biggest difference between the original and its first sequel was the transition to color. That meant upping the gore and kills to a blood-red level of intensity, along with having some of the more unique zombie designs to this day. The film would go on to be remade in 2004 by Zack Snyder. As horror remakes go, it’s one of the best, but nothing can ever compete with the original Dawn’s vintage atmosphere that felt like it was painted on a thick canvas of mind-blowing guts and carnage.

You can buy your Dawn of the Dead 45th-anniversary screening tickets and see all the locations for the event on the film’s celebratory website.

Dawn of the Dead Poster

Dawn of the Dead

Release Date September 2, 1978

Director George A. Romero

Cast David Emge , Ken Foree , Scott H. Reiniger , Gaylen Ross , David Crawford , David Early

Runtime 126

Main Genre Horror

Writers George A. Romero

Studio United Film Distribution Company

Tagline When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.