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Headscratchers: Dawn of the Dead
  • From the remake: Why didn't Gun-Store Andy try to thin the herd a bit more? As funny as the "celebrity" pot-shots were, Andy had a whole gun store full of guns and ammunition, he was an expert marksman, and they weren't exactly dealing with an endless horde. Even if he couldn't wipe them out, it seems that with half-a-gun-store's-worth-of-ammunition's-worth of zombies dead and gone, their ventures outside would have gone more smoothly.
    • How many rounds does a gun store generally stock? Milwaukee has more than 600,000 residents, so if the gunshots were attracting them all to the mall it might not have been worth the effort.
      • It's a fair point, but a gun aficionado like Gun-Store Andy would probably have a suppressor or two handy... based on my rather limited knowledge of gun stores.
      • Along with the below statement mentioning suppressors wearing out, suppressors are NFA items (like machine guns, some semi-automatic shotguns like the Striker, and short-barreled shotguns and rifles). They're very expensive, also requiring a $200 tax stamp and a lot of paperwork to acquire. Most NFA items that aren't simply held by rental ranges for a fun weekend are in the hands of private owners, and even major firearms retailers will only have one or two at the most. Then you have to assume that Andy would even have a GUN that fits any of the silencers he has.
      • Suppressors wear out after a while. But anyways, I fully agree Andy should have tried mowing down the crowd during the days he was trapped. IF it has a negative impact (such as summoning an even bigger group of zombies from the city), fine, stop it, but that's no reason not to try.
      • See below re: "hearing range".
      • He was trying. They were making a game of it, even.
      • That wasn't a serious effort at all, just picking off a few zombies for fun. Considering all the ammo and guns he has, a real attempt to thin the herd would have probably involved him head-shooting the zombies closest to him repeatedly for a few hours every day.
      • Apparently Andy the gun store owner has never heard of a .22. All day plinking and no sore shoulder from the recoil.
      • And no guarantee of penetration of the skull from a distance. If he uses a bigger round and gets a headshot, it kills the zombie. He uses a .22 and gets a headshot, it maybe kills the zombie, or maybe just cracks its skull a bit and makes it really pissed-off and more eager to find out where those gunshots are coming from.
    • For that matter, why didn't they drop a few propane-tank bombs into the parking lot? They seemed pretty effective.
      • Because that would be a really really good way to destroy a good portion of the building they were taking refuge in, killed maybe a few dozen zombies at best, and attracted a whole lot more of them.
    • In the DVD they have an extra, a video diary of the movie from Andy's perspective. In one the entries, he talks about how he spent something like 600 bullets trying to thin them out, but that everytime he killed one, two more would show up. Another diary has him state how he tried to use a molotov cocktail, but the zombies didn't bulge, and instead only made him hungrier.
      • Still doesn't work: even if the gunshots attract every zombie within hearing range, that still only means he has to kill all the zombies within a several-block radius, not every zombie in the damn city. So it takes him a couple days, instead of one day. "Hearing range" is not infinite! It gets even worse when you consider that its hard enough for human beings to pinpoint the exact direction of a distant gunshot, so why do 600,000 mindless zombies all get to home in on it like a smart bomb? Hax.
      • Only has to kill every zombie in a several block radius? What is keeping other zombies from wandering within that several block radius and hearing the gunshots while Andy is still working on the first bunch of zombies that were originally in hearing range?
      • Assuming Andy had over 600,000 rounds in the store and didn't miss a shot, it would take him a very long time to clean out the city. If it takes him only 3 seconds to move on to the next zombie and kill it (not counting time spent reloading, getting new guns, cleaning the guns, eating and drinking, defecating, or sleeping), it would take 1.8 million seconds (3.42 years) to clean the place out. Even if you sent enough soldiers in that you kept up a constant rate of one kill per second (meaning enough soldiers that you could let them all eat, sleep, do their business, reload, and clean and repair their weapons), it would take 1.17 years to exterminate the entire city with small arms fire. Assuming none of them die in the process of fighting these fast, extremely durable monsters.
      • In short, assuming that one man could do anything to thin out a constantly increasing horde of zombies that numbers at LEAST 600,000 by just sitting on his roof and plinking demonstrates a very bad understanding of math, human skill, and human endurance. Zombies will be constantly reentering the area, attracted by various sounds. A platoon of Marines would take ages to clean the place up enough for human habitation, let alone one guy with a gun store.
      • You're still forgetting the mental effect this was having on the poor guy. He spent hours and hundreds of bullets and he didn't even make a dent in them. Sure he could have eventually thinned them out, but for every zombie he killed he saw two more take it's place. He had no way of knowing just how many zombies there were, and from his perspective he was getting knowhere (His first words after spending 600 bullets were "Well that's what you call an exercise in futility"). Plus, he doesn't just need to kill all the zombies between him and the mall (or somewhere with food that hasn't gone off), he needs to kill all the zombies in the whole area so that none jump him when he leaves the store.
      • Easy; when a zombie hears something and follows the noise, it starts moaning. The moaning attracts more zombies, and they in turn attract more, until the entire city and then some are moving towards the same location, if there aren't several "signals" confusing them. The original Day of the Dead aptly demonstrated this scenario at its opening scenes.
      • Get some long-lasting batteries, jam some Public Enemy ("Night of the Living Baseheads"), hook it up to a few loudspeakers, and you have an instant zombie distracter. The best part is, even if any of them do see you, the others can't hear it moan over the music.
      • That's no better than drawing them with the gunshots. The only advantage I can see in that plan is that he would have some kick-ass(and appropriate) music to either starve to death or get eaten alive to. Noise is noise. Playing loud music to "cover up" the sound of the moaning so other zombies won't hear it is like dumping a bucket full of mud onto your carpet to hide a little mustard stain.
      • You misunderstand. It's not to drown out the zombies. It's to distract them. Play something to attract the zacks, and then skulk around in the area they vacate. Their inability to signal other zombies means much more leeway in dealing with them.
      • Ultimately, the reason why Andy doesn't do it is because, being a Romero zombie film, using the tools at your disposal in a logical, rational way directly impedes the plot of the film, and so the characters can't use the tools at their disposal in a logical, rational way. (Btw, this sounds meaner than I intend, but I think it should be expected that Romero doesn't make Zombie Films wherein the survivors have the ability to succeed.)
      • Technically, he didn't make this one. He made the one this version was based on.

  • Why for the love of christ did they leave the mall!? The mall would be an ideal place for surviving a zombie seige, with access to canned food, supplies, medical kits, radios, clothing, everything. And yet they leave it all behind to go to an island despite not knowing if the boat is still in the marina, if the island even exists, if the island is uninfected, if they could even survive on said island and if they're even capable of getting through all the zombies. And the reason for this is what? The nurse saying "I don't wanna die here"? The zombie baby squicked them too much? The quote on the Let Me Get This Straight page even has the characters notice how stupid the plan is. If you're leaving a safe and supplied location to reach a place you're not even sure exists, at least give them a damn good reason!
    • A mall is actually a pretty shitty place to fortify. The gang was unbelievably lucky (to the point of divine intervention) that the mall was empty instead of filled with dozens or hundreds of people who all thought that the mall was a great place to survive the zombie apocalypse. It's loaded with entrances from every angle, including the roof, and it would take a great effort to locate and fortify every single entrance against creatures that have demonstrated the ability to shatter glass and break through interior doors with their bare hands. Chances are, unless you work at that particular mall you will have missed at least ONE door or window.
    • I thought they were running out of supplies which is why Ving Rhames said there are worse things than dying and sitting here waiting to die is one of them.
      • Nope, he just randomly said that after the zombie baby incident. Their supplies are never said to be running short; other than the lack of electricity, they were hanging on pretty well. And anyways, if their motivation had been a supply shortage, they should have tried going to a different mall or something - NOT going to an island that might not even exist and from which they probably have no freaking idea how to get food from.
      • Well, morale was at an all time low, and they had gotten sick of living the mall life. They knew it was only a matter of time before it was their turn to die, and they seemed to prefer to die on their feet than to slowly go insane.
    • The worst part is that they could easily have provided a situation that gave them a reason beyond being stupid.
      • Ennui is just as real a threat as the zombies. The original at least made it a point to show them all slowly succumbing to boredom, though.
      • When the survivors first entered the Crossroads Mall, the infection was only in its first day, meaning that there wasn't a large amount of zombies to fight through. They managed to lock it down before the main horde came. Searching out for another mall might've proved futile; you've got to fight through the zombies outside and inside the mall, as well as lock down the entrances...difficult to do when you've got a lot of running corpses chasing you down!
    • They were trying to save Andy, the gun store owner. He was starving to death across the street, and they knew that in trying to rescue him, they wouldn't be able to return to the mall without letting the zombies in. The attempt to send him food caused a chain reaction of events that let zombies into the mall early, and so they had to go. Besides, being under constant siege for a month is extremely stressful. Getting out of that situation is a legitimate goal, even if the journey is risky and the destination is unknown.
      • They had arrows from a sporting goods store, didn't they? Why not tie a line to one and fire it over, then set up a pulley system to get food to him?
      • They were way too far away to do that unless Legolas happened to be hiding somewhere in Andy's shop.
      • Then build a mortar on the model of a potato canon and use that to lob a line to the guy. Kids used to build all kinds of fun things that use explosives before people got so...whimpy.
      • No, they tried to get food to Andy after they planned to escape - they were just giving him food to keep him alive and strong enough until they did the big rescue. That's when everything went to hell and they had to flee early. And besides, while I understand that being under siege by zombies would be hell, fleeing a safe place into a zombie infested world because you're bugging out is stupid. Like said above, it'd be simple to give them a good reason; the mall caught fire, the army was carpet-bombing the town, the sheer mass of zombies were forcing their way in, a radio call from other survivors, etc. Even if they showed the characters undergoing severe mental erosion and insanity from the stress it would go a long way to explaining why they'd try to escape. Just having them say "Screw this, I wanna leave!" just makes them look like idiots who ruined their chances of living, not desperate and stressed survivors.
      • I just assumed they needed a way to end the film in a hollywood way, having them stay there indefinitely would be boring, though realistic.

  • Oh, and about that island? Apparently it's in Lake Michigan. Guess what's on the coast of Lake Michigan? Chicago. Yeah, that little island is going to be totally safe and secluded when 2.8 million people are desperately trying to escape the zombie plague on every sea-worthy vessel they can get their hands on.
    • More like ten million in the greater Chicago area.

  • In the original, why did the survivors put all the infected bodies in some freezers rather than shoving them off the roof? Surely the place will still be rotten if you keep the bodies inside the mall!
    • Considering that the only way back up to the roof would be through the boiler rooms and the survivor's hideout loft, I don't think they'd be prepared to lug all those bodies upstairs, through their primary living area, up a ladder and out onto a roof. The freezers were probably sealed (to keep the stock fresh), so the smell wouldn't bother them.
    • They ran out of water on large freshwater lake.
  • Okay, I'll be that guy. Fast zeds can't exist. Zombies are literally decaying pieces of meat; they have no motor skills. It's a miracle they can walk upright in the first place, let alone haul ass faster than the living beings they chase. Yes, it makes for a terrifying new concept on everyone's favorite reanimated corpses, but the biology fail irks me to no end.
    • Zombies can't exist. They have no functional circulatory system, no functional respitory system, no functional digestion system...Need I go on? They are impossible perpetual motion machines with no source of fuel, no means to move, no means to think anything even as simple as "brains!" - they are dead bodies that have been magically animated! Willing Suspension of Disbelief is a must if you're going to enjoy a zombie film. Fast zombies are no less credible than zombies themselves. They're zombies! They're magic!
    • The explanation that Max Brooks uses in his Zombie Survival Guide (which, incidentally, doesn't support Fast Zombies due to lack of coordination) is that a zombie can exceed a human's limits initially due to lack of fatigue and pain. While they will eventually tear their muscles apart from constant strain, it allows a powerful and enduring first strike. My thought would be that until their nerves and muscles deteriorate more, they can push their bodies beyond what they could in life.
    • You know what really bugs me about the films (or rather, the fanbase) is people who hate the remake primarily because the zombies can run. When in fact the original Dawn of the Dead had running zombies as well. What? Nobody remembers the children that sprint out of the closet at Ken Foree's character like he was the Easter Bunny or some shit when they stop to refuel the helicopter?
    • Fast zombies ARE realistic. That is, of the 28 Days / Weeks sort. They're technically not dead, so there's no reason they couldn't exist. It's just that Dawn of the Dead made them dead AND runners so you had to kill them with headshots.
      • Fast and agile zombies miss the point. The reason zombies are dangerous is not because they are fast or tough. A single zombie is generally a pushover for anyone with the physical ability to heave a blunt object, much less use a gun. But you never deal with one zombie; you deal with hundreds, thousands or even hundreds of thousands of them! So it's their numbers which makes them such an unstoppable force, not their speed or physical prowess. So even though humans are faster, can wield deadly weapons and can kill many many zombies, they'll still lose since they'll eventually be overwhelmed. While this troper agrees that it's unfair to hate the film purely because the zombies are fast, it is his opinion that fast zombie are flawed from the git-go.
      • Fair enough. It is true that zombies are dangerous because of numbers, but remember that you're combining that in addition to the speed and strength required to make even an individual zombie a legitimate threat. I always argue that the fast zombie is more terrifying(not creepy, terrifying), and people always give me that same "It's when they build up that it gets bad" argument, as if they think that sprinting zombies never grow in numbers and overwhelm. Which situation is more frightening: You have to get past seven-hundred zombies that can only stumble at a pace slower than a toddler and can be pushed over, or you have to get past the same amount that have the ability to sprint at speeds of at least 25mph? I don't know about you, but as an out-of-shape geek, I'd rather take the ones that I could avoid easily just by walking and keeping my eyes open. Also, remember that most of the reason why the slow zombies overwhelm people in the movies is because the protagonists suddenly grab onto the Idiot Ball and think that they're safe while they hide in shelter, even though they can see the bastards building up outside. The only thing terrifying about those movies is that, depending on how cynical you are, people really will act that stupid once the dead start to rise. It's even more clichéd than running zombies. Maybe it's time for a change.
      • ^I'm working on something. Gimme a few years. Also, the fact that zombie are somehow able to take over most of the population overnight generally defies all logic. If someone is stumbling toward you and moaning, it's generally easy to just stay away from them, especially if they can't climb over barriers.
      • Escalating threat levels don't necessarily make something scarier, at least in terms of viewing fiction. A movie about, say, a killer with a nuclear missile stockpile isn't necessarily going to be scarier than a movie about a killer with basic hand-to-hand weapons.
      • A lot of things make sense if you allow this thing or that. But where the remake lost me was the doggie door. I mean, putrefying brains manage to reason this out?
      • You mean like they'd already figured out how to yank on boarded-up doors until the boards came loose in the original Night of the Living Dead? Grabbing a doggie-door's edge isn't much different.
      • So, what did you think of a zombie figuring out how to fire guns in Land of the Dead? And Romero made that one!
      • I seriously don't mind fast zombies, it gives some needed variety to a monster that has been done to (un)death. Just imagine if every vampire movie has been made in the exact same way as Lugosi's Dracula.

  • Am I the only person who cannot fathom why, after her initial encounters with the zombies, Ana was not BEGGING them to barricade all those huge glass windows and doors when they first entered the mall? In the first ten minutes of the movie, her zombie husband breaks a wooden bathroom door and shatters her windshield. I refuse to believe, even in light of all the other concepts I must swallow, that not a single zombie even accidentally broke one of the many, many, many feet of plate glass every mall ever built has on the ground floor. None of them accidentally stumbled through Ana & Co's original break-in spot either. Shenanigans. But even if they couldn't break the glass, why wasn't she terrified that they might?
    • You may as well ask why didn't they create fortified/concealed fall-back positions, destroy a few staircases, "hope for the best, prepare for the worst"?
    • Regarding the barricades: A deleted scene shows the gang fortifying some doorways with furniture, but it was cut out as it felt like it broke the flow of the film. As for the gang's original break-in point (the door by the service entrance), they locked it. It was a solid metal door, too; so the zombies couldn't break it down.
    • In any case, it's durable plexiglass that could take a brick thrown at it barely taking a scratch. Very different from the cheap window glass used in private homes to avoid replacing them due to vandalism all the time.
      • That's true, but the Max Brook Zombie Survival Guide points out that riot-proof glass keeps out humans, not zombies. All human rioters would eventually give up and go home. Those hundreds of zombies will keep pounding on that glass nonstop until they rot away into nothing, putting the glass under way more stress than it was designed to handle. Besides, riot-proof or not, would you put all your trust in plexiglass alone?
      • Ugh. Not this shit again. How many times do I have to explain it to people? Max Brooks is NOT the God of zombies! He wrote one book. ONE. A parody of those DIY survival guides that rednecks and conspiracy theorists are always treating like bibles, using zombies vaguely based on Romero's classic shamblers as a way to make it entertaining. And now every fucking zombie fan in the world is treating it like it'll really help them in a real zombie apocalypse. It won't. If you want to scrutinize zombies based on tropes that ONE MAN has created, why not look upon the real God of the Zombie: George A. Romero? You know, the guy who actually made the original Dawn of the Dead?
      • Just because he's not "God of the Zombie" doesn't mean you can just dismiss everything he said. He clearly did a lot of research into the subject if nothing else, so please quit whining when people use it as a point of discussion.

        As to it being just a "parody," and therefore dismissable, here's a little note from the guide's own page:
      Brooks has stated in multiple interviews that he was writing it as a straight survival manual because he's just that obsessed with the topic. The whole parody angle was wrongly assumed by horror fans when it came out, offending many of them, and he had to go on his survival lecture tours and make multiple interviews to get them to believe he wasn't making fun of it and was actually one of them.
      • Andre explicitly calls the glass "Shatter-proof". Whilst Andre might not have installed the windows (although being a criminal, would certainly know the usual types of glass used in stores through burglary and such), then the windows would hold. Zombie or not, they're still human bodies with human limitations. Breaking through plexiglass by punching and kicking is difficult for a full-strength, non-decomposing human; so naturally, the weaker, decomposing zombies would be unable to apply enough force to shatter the glass or force it out of its frame.
      • This would be correct if you were talking about weak, decomposing zombies. Except as the OP noted, the film BEGINS with a zombie tearing through an interior door with its bare hands in seconds and severely damaging a windshield with one punch. The zombies in the remake are not only not decomposing (they seem to be more of the Hate Plague type from 28DaysLater than any kind of reanimated corpse), but they have strength and endurance that almost borders on superhuman, and is the absolute peak of adrenaline-pumped human strength at a minimum. Not only do you have the possibility of the entire horde of hundreds outside basically pushing their combined weight against this glass (worse than any Black Friday panic you've ever seen), but all of the members of this horde are powerful enough to tear through barriers like a wrecking crew. And it only takes alerting a single zombie of that gigantic horde and attracting it to the doors to cause every single member to join in.
      • On another note, this is exactly why malls are such a bad place to hole up in case of a zombie apocalypse: even if you magically found a mall that was 100% abandoned and gave you free reign (not going to happen, since dozens and potentially hundreds of other locals will flee to the mall or be trapped in it during the initial panic; do you REALLY think you're the only one with that idea?), it's loaded with entrances on all sides. You won't necessarily have the keys to access the full building, but even if you could roam anywhere in the mall you'd still have a hard time locking down every single door, window, roll-up gate, and crawlspace that leads outside. It's very possible that even if you found an empty mall to hide in, the hordes would break in through any space they found (especially if you made ANY noise or activity that they could notice through all those giant plate glass doors and windows) and either smash their way to you or spend their days idling in locked back rooms and loading docks until they either found a way in or you accidentally opened a door.
  • In the remake why is SO much stuff on fire and exploding during the opening credits? I feel like they just had extra budget laying around and decided to blow some stuff up.
    • To let people know that the world is going to hell in an impacting way.
    • First sign of zombies, you'd have people shooting up the place. And driving away. And shoot-driving. Car accidents, explosions of petrol/gas stations, molotovs...
    • It's a typical movie formula: get the audience to go "Wow, this is awesome and huge!" right from the beginning, spend the middle of the movie introducing the rest of the plot and characters and building up to the climax, then end with a huge finale. The lion's share of the budget (and effort) goes to the beginning and end, to grab the audience and give them a bombastic and satisfying ending. That's why the film starts with explosions and car crashes and zombies running around and ends with explosions and car crashes and zombies running around, but the middle is mostly talking and characterization with a few minor action sequences to keep the audience from getting bored.
  • In the original, the fact that the survivors just left the helicopter completely in sight bugs me slightly. While covering it in tarpaulin wouldn't totally disguise it, at least it'd prevent looters from immediately identifying it. They could've gone further, too; They managed to make a fake wall to conceal the location of the hideout door with the supplies in Penney's, and I'm sure they would've had enough time to construct a fake set of walls to encircle the chopper, hiding it from view. Granted, if they had to escape in a hurry, the walls wouldn't be practical: But once they were on the roof, with the ladder retracted, they could take the time to remove the walls.
    • Or, for that matter, when they disguised the entrance to their living quarters, why did they not bother to seal it with more than a sheet of masonite and a couple strips of wood?
      • For both of those questions the answer is, so they can get away quicker. Cover the helicopter or putting up fake walls would have hindered their ability to get away. Remember they weren't planning on fighting over the mall once the bikers turned up they just wanting to make their lives harder. As for the wall making it weak enough so you could just punch through it; if you're in a tight spot would have been handy if they couldn't get to the vents and it would have worked just fine if not for zombie-Steven.
    • It wasn’t the helicopter sitting on the roof that atracted the raiders. It was the helicopter landing after Francine’s flying lesson. A lesson that came in very handy, I might point out. Even if they concealed the helicopter when not using it, the flying lessons would have been enough to attract attention.
  • What made that one biker think it would be a good idea to check his blood pressure while surrounded by flesh-eating zombies?
  • Why did the bikers bother attacking a mall that was clearly inhabited? There's being an asshole and then there's just charging blindly against an unknown force. Were there seriously no other uninhabited malls or shops to loot in relative safety?
    • The bikers aren't military strategists. They want to rove around creating rampant chaos and destruction for shits and giggles. When they saw that there were people in the mall, and that those people had a good thing going, they wanted to destroy it and loot the mall for no reason other than that it made them happy. We get to see quite clearly the results of their stupidity.
  • Granted there are reasons for breaking in the mall. But why did the biker's only take the jewels and cash as the bulk of it? Wouldn't it be useless during I don't know the END OF THE WORLD?!
    • It's instinct. Intellectually they might have accepted that the world has ended and the jewels and cash are valueless in this new world, but on the other hand they're still mature adults who have spent their entire lives having the value of money and luxury goods such as jewellery impressed upon them almost 24/7. They want a taste of being rich. Plus, they don't exactly seem to be that bright.
      • Besides after the zombies? Gold and diamonds have proven their worth; whats to say than in the post-apocalyptic world gold isn't just as valuable; humans do dig that colour.


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