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Askew Review 15

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DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD (Synapse Films) 2012.  Documentary.  102 minutes.  English/Italian.  Not Rated.  Roy Frumkes celebrates director George A. Romero's legacy bound Living Dead series through a collection of interviews spanning over three decades.  While the documentary mainly focused through the process of how 1978's Dawn of the Dead was handled from beginning to end, Frumkes candidly looks into Romero's other films such as Two Evil Eyes, Monkey Shines, and later Living Dead films.   The definitive edition of this "making of" documentary gives a great insight into the personal and professional life of director George A. Romero and his insanely dedicated team of cast and crew memebers that revamped the way zombies have socially been accepted into our culture.
  Document of the Dead was created out of love and respect for not only Romero and his revolutionary re-imagining of the zombie, but for the horror genre as a whole.  The documentary becomes the life work of director Roy Frumkes and he undoubtedly acknowledges the horror genre rather than focusing on himself conducting interviews and making self-proclaimed statements, like we may see more with Michael Moore documentaries.  The behind-the-scenes extended looks into the making of the Romero's movies are greatly informative and refreshingly candid and surprisingly difficult in a time period when distribution for a film like Dawn of the Dead was a hard sell due to the MPAA's mislabeling X-rated films and funding could have ceased to exist at any given moment.  Luckily, Romero had Richard Rubenstein producing, Romero fan/Suspiria director Dario Argento motivation, and a gifted Tom Savini taking on not only the special effects, but the stunts and an acting role as well.  One thing I wished the definitive edition touched on a little more was the examples of cultural inspiration, but there are brief clips of Night of the Living Dead spoofs in commercials and even in the adult industry with Night of the Giving Head.  Synapse's definitive edition of Document of the Dead is a great side dish to an already pleasing Living Dead series.  Goes down easy with the brains and the gooey viscera.  – Steven Lewis


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