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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(1978), NR
Plus comparative with the 2004 version

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
March 27, 2004
30 out of 100

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If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

(1978), NR
Plus comparative with the 2004 version.
You can confidently take the "N" out of the "NR."

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Laurel Group
Distribution (US): Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director(s): George A. Romero
Producer(s): Claudio Argento, Dario Argento, Alfredo Cuomo, Richard P. Rubinstein
Written by/Screenplay: Dario Argento, George A. Romero
Cinematography/Camera: Michael Gornick
Music: Dario Argento, Goblin, Agostino Marangolo, Massimo Morante, Fabio Pignatelli, George A. Romero (director's cut), Claudio Simonetti
Film Editing: George A. Romero
Casting: John Amplas
Set Decoration: Josie Caruso, Barbara Lifsher
Viewed on: Anchor Bay Entertainment DVD

Wow! Straight out of preparing the report for VeggieTales: Lyle the Kindly Viking into preparing this report. Thank God for His hedges of protection.

From the first paragraph of our analysis of Dawn of the Dead (2004): "It will be interesting to do a comparative analysis with the 1978 (NR) version of this movie." This report provides that comparison. But it is not as interesting as I expected. I expected a glaring coarsening of moral standards between the 1978 version and the 2004 version. Instead, Dawn of the Dead (1978) was "ahead of its time." I expected to find in our research a few of the earlier films to be as devoid of morality as contemporary films. Dawn of the Dead (1978) is the first. You can confidently take the "N" out of the "NR." This 1978 version earned a score of 30 which is equivalent to R-rated films of the comparative baseline database. Though a smidgen worse than the 2004 version's score of 34, it might as well be the same.

The story opens with the WGON-TV studio trying to stay on the air amidst all the chaos and carnage created by carnivorous corpses cavorting through the countryside [Eph. 5:11]. Mindless marauders had taken over society as they endlessly prowl for food, namely human food, not food for humans but for humans as food. A bite from any of the deceased dudes or dudettes killed the victim ... for a while. Then the dead bite victim came back to life, rather a mere facsimile of life. A sort of limbo life. A bite from one of the resurrected renegades did it all over again. And each limbo luncher was hungry ... for flesh.

WGON Studio Administrator Francine Parker (Gaylen Ross) was convinced by her news copter flyboy boyfriend Stephen Andrews (David Emge) to take a powder from the studio at 9:00 PM to escape the madness by swiping the station chopper. After a sequence of kill-or-be-killed gore, two S.W.A.T. team members are swooped into the escape plot: Peter Washington (Ken Foree) and Roger DeMarco (Scott Reiniger). Strange indeed that the melee with the walking dead was prefaced by a racist massacre of African Americans and Hispanics rather than the waddling wanderers. It was not until after a few cops and a few "projects" inhabitants were blown away -- and one suicide by a cop -- that the S.W.A.T cops encountered any walking dead. In this subplot, one of the African American walking dead took a chunk out of his wife's upper left shoulder then her left bicep. Graphically. If you decide to try to stomach this sick flick, don't be eating lunch if you have a weak stomach.

After escaping the biting bad boys and girls encroaching on the studio, the quartet flew off to soon discover they needed fuel. Landing at a likely location, we are treated to a bunch of rednecks engaged in sport killing of the already dead. By official announcement of the scientists, the dizzy dead could only be killed, again, by destroying the brain or separating it from the body.

After getting some fuel the four pals now flew to a large enclosed mall. Seeing only a few dead people walking around they felt they had a chance at the mall. And what a chance. Everything they needed was there. For the taking.

Soon the mall was crawling with creepies and soon Peter and Francine were the only living left alive in the mall. At 8:50 AM they took off again to who knows where, barely escaping a hungry horde of the lumbering lifeless oozing closer and closer to them.

Following is a graphic comparative display for the two Dawn of the Dead movies.

There's not a whole lot to say about the comparison since there's not a whole lot left to work with for either version. I'll leave the conclusions to you.

The level of body splattering and gore violence in the 2004 version (72.2 instances per hour) was nearly three times as dense as in the 1978 version (28.8 instances per hour), too many in each of the two films to leave any of the original 100 points in Wanton Violence/Crime. As expected due to the increases in technology, most instances of violence in the 1978 version were not as graphic nor as realistic as in the 2004 version.

In the 1978 version there were 32.3 instances of impudence (nearly 100% due to foul language) per hour but in the 2004 version there were 55.1 per hour, still too many in both to leave any of the starting 100 points in Impudence/Hate. Though not visible in the display, there were almost twenty times as many uses of the most foul of the foul words in the 2004 version than the 1978 version [Col. 3:8].

Ross was nude from the waist up in bed with Emge in this 1978 version, ostensibly after intercourse. Note that Ross's nudity was so blurred and shadowed that it was difficult to tell whether Ross was actually nude and not just wearing a flesh-colored nightgown. However, the nudity and intercourse in the 2004 version was bold and unmistakable, providing cause for the difference in scoring. I guess that the change from obscure (1978) to blatant (2004) is a measure of the change in modesty of filmmakers [Ps. 12:8; Jude 4] and of what they think the audience wants ... or have taught the audience to want. In this 1978 version the nudity with implied intercourse plus a camera angle to force the viewer into impolite viewing of one of the actresses and the pregnancy from immoral intercourse was all there was to Sexual Immorality. [1Cor. 7:2; Rev. 21:8]

In the DVD case is an insert that claims "There is no explicit sex in this picture." DUH! I wonder what the scene of Ross and Emge in bed nude was supposed to be? Granted they were covered except for their upper torsos, but it was obvious they had engaged in immoral intercourse ... again. Also, if you have a curse filter that relies on well synchronized closed captioning, be aware that the synchronization is not 100%. A few foul words might squeak through.

The listing in the Findings/Scoring section provides all that was found if you would like to know all that was found. After seeing the thermometers and reading the Summary/Commentary section, in this case why on earth you would want to is beyond me, but it's there.

SPECIAL NOTE: We will be reducing the volume of coverage in the Summary/Commentary section of our reports and the number of reports generated in an effort to reduce costs until full funding can be achieved. The Findings/Scoring section of each report, the heart of the analysis model, will NOT be reduced in any way.

Thank you for your patience as we diligently search for funding. Anyone who wishes to volunteer to help us locate 501(c)(3) nonprofit funding and sponsors is encouraged to notify me.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  Eph. 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
  Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
  1Cor. 7:2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
  Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] cowardly [deilos {di-los'}; timid, fearful], the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent, situationally redefine, counterfeit, conditionally apply] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]   Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

Dawn of the Dead (1978) CAP Thermometers

Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
 assault firearms
 gunfire killing, graphic, repeatedly, frequent
 gun battle
 firearm threats, repeatedly
 mutilation gore, repeatedly
 cannibalism, repeatedly
 mass assault
 sport killing, repeatedly
 assault to kill, repeatedly
 action violence, repeatedly
 biting gore, repeatedly
 many strewn dead bodies
 theft/looting, repeatedly
 beating with a gun butt, repeatedly
 killing by sledge hammer, repeatedly
 killing with a screw driver to the brain
 killing by vehicle, repeatedly
 killing by fire/explosion
 killing by beheading, twice
 gunfire with injury
 knife to throat
 multiple assault

Impudence/Hate (I)
 racial hatred, repeatedly
 considering abortion
 64 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
 two uses of the most foul of the foul words

Sexual Immorality (S)
 pregnancy by immoral sex
 man and woman in bed nude after intercourse
 camera angle to force viewer on private parts

Drugs/Alcohol (D):
 smoking, repeatedly
 drinking, repeatedly
 use of booze to ease pain

Offense to God (O)
 five uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 15 without
 walking dead throughout
 "When there's no more room in Hell, the dead walk the earth"

Murder/Suicide (M)
 suicide, offscreen but gun to face
 suicide to prevent being killed, offscreen
(NOTE: All killings of "zombies" were considered "kill or be killed" and were thus incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime instead of Murder/Suicide.)

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There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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