The Definitive Document of the Dead (2012) – By Duane L. Martin

Any horror fan who doesn’t know who George Romero is, should hang their head in shame. He’s only the creator of some of the most famous zombie films ever, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, etc….

Document of the Dead has been around for a very long time, and has evolved over the years. It was filmed over a 32 year period, and was originally used as a teaching tool, but has since turned into something far more, becoming more personal that really gives the fan a deep insight into the making of several of Romero’s films, but mostly focusing on Dawn of the Dead. This documentary, for lack of a better word, really comprises various things, including an educational look at the whole process. Virtually every aspect is covered, from the make-up and effects, to the lighting and camera work, stunts, location, distribution, and more. It doesn’t just have interview footage with Romero either, though there is a lot of that. It also talks to Tom Savini and many others who worked on Dawn of the Dead, to really give you a detailed look at every aspect of how the film was made, from the people who were down in the trenches making it.

The film also incorporates footage of meet and greets, where the people involved with the films got together in a party like atmosphere and discussed their memories of the time they spent working on the film, as well as just generally catching up and interacting. This also gives us a great look at some of the things you’d otherwise never hear anywhere else except maybe when these folks would appear on panels at conventions and festivals. While this later part of the film does slow down considerably and is far less interesting than the earlier parts that showed the making of the film and everything that went into it, it still offers some great anecdotes from the people that were there in the thick of it.

The only special feature it has is an all new commentary track with writer, producer and director Roy Frumkes, the man responsible for this wonderful document.

This documentary was obviously a labor of love, and anyone who’s a fan of Romero, zombies, or even just the horror genre in general will find something to love here.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, check out its page on the Synapse Films website here, and if you’d like to get a copy for yourself, you can pick up the DVD from Amazon here.