While there are enough Dawn of the Dead items in the world to satisfy your collecting sweet tooth, Dawn of the Dead is not what one would call a gold mine of paraphernalia. This is due to Dawn of the Dead being produced before marketing became an important factor in a film's revenue (possibly the most important factor these days). Thus, Dawn of the Dead tie-in goods are not as common if compared to currently produced films.
Of what has been released, many of the items were ones produced as promotion intended for theater and industry people: movie posters, lobby sets, program books, etc. During the first run of the film, these items were unavailable to collectors. It wasn't until after the film closed that they slowly filtered their way to specialty dealers and then to lucky collectors.
As much as I never thought it would happen, in the last five or so years, since starting this website, Dawn of the Dead has been subject to model kits, various kinds of artwork, and action figures. But when compared to the likes of Star Wars and Star Trek, it is definitely a minor blip on the product scale. To be honest, I find it difficult to imagine going to a toy or hobby shop and seeing full lines of action figures, bubble gum cards, or stationary items based on the film. Basically, Dawn of the Dead does not lend itself to having its scenes depicted on esoteric items such as collector's plates, lip balm, or anything else companies of the Franklin Mint mindset can conjure.
During Dawn of the Dead's initial run there were only the most minimal of items available on the market, with the entire list countable on the fingers of one's hands: a Poster Book, a T-shirt, a hard and soft cover novel, a record and a board game. Not much there for the serious collector looking to impress lady friends with a "want to check out the Dawn of the Dead corner in my room?" line. Still, the undaunted collector, with a little perseverance (and a lot of searching), can come up with an enviable collection made up of items that go beyond these few 'official' products.
In America, Dawn of the Dead posters used to be cheap, with the original 'red logo' poster going for a mere $10. Recently the price has risen greatly. A much rarer 'green logo' poster was produced with the title's letter colored--yes, that's right--green. There was a decent enough poster produced by Thorn/HBO to coincide with the release of the first Dawn of the Dead videotape in December of 1983. It was the same shot as on their video box showing a zombified Roger rising out of bed. A poor choice, I feel, since it revealed one of the film's more intense moments, not to mention shows the fate of one of the main characters of the film (imagine a poster for Empire Strikes Back with the header, "I am your father, Luke!" You can toss all surprise out the window there!).
Foreign posters include an English quad (the English term for a one-sheet poster), several French (including a large three-sheet of the machete zombie), several Italian, a couple of German, Japanese (original and several Gaga issued re-release), a Spanish, a Belgium, etc., etc. The interesting thing about these posters is that almost all bare no relationship to the other; each is an almost entirely different take on the film and its theme. As is often the case, the style of poster used, the kind of imagery employed, reveals much about the culture in which it was released.
Lobby sets were fewer still, with an eight shot B/W American set, an eight shot color English set, a twelve shot color French set, an eight shot color Japanese set, and the best and most sought after, the eighteen oversized shot color set from Germany. The American set, being simple B/W, 8x10 shots, has been bootlegged for sometime making an authentic set difficult to identify, but usually copies are missing the film title on the bottom and/or the picture lacks sharpness. The European sets are getting difficult to locate and usually run between $50 to $100 a set.
For modelers, several pieces have been produced for Dawn of the Dead. In 1995, the Japanese company Fewter models released a garage kit featuring three figures from Dawn of the Dead: the poster zombie, the biker Blades (Tom Savini) and, connecting to Blades' machete, the machete zombie. These figures were done in that annoying "deformed" style that plagues many Japanese fantasy products. (For those unfamiliar with this style, it is a squashed and widened rendering of a character, making the figure look like a midget. This is considered extremely cute in Japan.) Originally, Fewter had planned a release of the four main characters (also deformed) but due to lack of sales of the first set, they canceled production of the second series. A real crime, because the second series was much better. An American kit of Stephen as a zombie leading the living dead to the heroes' secret hideout was made in 1995. Produced by Creatures from the Bronx River Productions, it sold for $125, while supplies lasted. This model received quite a bum rap, but I like it. Granted it lacks the realism that many modern kits possess, but it has a certain charm in its crudeness. I've been told that there is a bald zombie kit offered through a company called Monsters in Motion and sculpted by Bill Paquet. I've never seen it, but would be very interested to hear from anyone who owns it to learn more (such as price and availability).
Often I receive emails asking where Dawn of the Dead items can be obtained. My usual reply is perseverance and a heavy wallet. Most of the items that I have were collected over a twenty-year period and came about from scouring conventions and poster shops across the USA, England, Italy and Japan. But, for those less ambitious who want a few simple items, here are a few locations that offer the most requested items: the Dawn of the Dead script, poster, soundtrack, and T-shirt.
Hollywood Book & Poster Company, is a good start for getting posters and 8X10s. They also have one of the best Dawn of the Dead T-shirts around. (However, when I was visiting the store this past summer (1999) I was told that the shirt may be discontinued.)
Hollywood Book & Poster Company
6562 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028
Phone (323) 465-8764 Fax (323) 465-0413
For a copy of the script, write, visit, or check the homepage of:
Book City Collectibles
6631 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
Those looking for the Goblin Dawn of the Dead score (or anything else by Goblin) can order it on-line from Footlight Records. Footlight, located in New York City, is a wonderful store that specializes in film soundtracks, show and stage recordings. This was the store where I found my first Goblin CD back in 1991, so it will always get high praise from me. (I also sold them a sizable amount of records when I left the city and headed for Japan.) Enter "Goblin" on the search section of their page and see how many entries come up. You won't be disappointed.
113 East 12th St. NY, NY 10003
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 11-7, Saturday 10-6, Sunday 12-5, Closed Monday
Phone: (212) 533-1572 Fax: (212) 673-1496
Web page: http://www.footlight.com/
Here are a few cool miscellaneous Dawn of the Dead items that don't fit with the pieces in the Item List area (after opening an item, please use your browser's back button to return to this frame):
- Dawn of the Dead playing with Creepshow. Photo found ages ago in New York's The Village Voice.
- Ad from a cat. advertising the long version for college rental
- Ad for Elite laser release.
- Wearing my Gaga Communications' Zombie Jacket (which is actually quite a cheap jacket).
- Japanese comic.
- Ad for Dawn of the Dead with Mother's Day.
- Gaga "Perfect Collection" advertisement.
- Ad for Dawn of the Dead playing with Alien.
- Ad for Dawn of the Dead playing with Creepshow.
- The most valuable item in my Dawn of the Dead collection. What can it possibly be?
- A shot of one of my infamous Dawn of the Dead scrapbooks.
- I think I can safely that I've taken the goofiest photo of George Romero ever! Here he is reading an issue of Figure O. Gotta love that bondage Barbie on the cover!
- B.F.D. (Not exactly Dawn of the Dead, but cool for those who get it.)
- An old ad for the Atari race game that Roger plays in the mall's game center.
- Not Dawn, but Day of the Dead: Here is a pass to the legendary 80s NYC night club Area and the Day of the Dead cast and crew party they had there back in 1985. (Would you believe it? I was given this pass two days after the party!)
- Ad for Dawn of the Dead in Florida.
- Day of the Dead again. Not entirely sure when and where this was given out, but it was a limited release decal sheet meant to coincide with the Japanese release of the film in the theater or on video.
- A shot of a Dawn of the Dead tattoo etched on the arm of TZF reader David "Irezumi" Standard.