The first time I saw 1978’s “Dawn of the Dead,” I was 13 & I was in bed, wearing an eye patch; ordered there by my doctor for “one week of bed rest with as little eye movement as possible.” Just a few days earlier my best friend shot me in the eye during a painful (very painful) BB gun battle. He didn’t mean to shoot me in the eye, of course. It was just a lucky shot. Lucky/unlucky is what I call it. Unlucky because he shot me in the most damaging and painful spot on my body, but lucky, because he also managed to miss – by one millimeter – the spot where I would’ve lost all sight in that eye. When I hit the ground screaming, I had a rush of regret. “Oh shit,” I thought, “I’m that stupid kid from A Christmas Story.”
I went to the optometrist and he sent me home with a not-so-fun eye patch, and the order to stay in bed for one week while my eye healed. I couldn’t move around at all. No showers, no walks (except to the toilet). I couldn’t even read a book (which was no problem for me because I was 13 and the only books I read had Batman in them). Movies were what the doctor ordered. I sent my Mom out to the 2 local video rentals with a long list of movies I wanted to watch.
She came back home with a bunch of Alfred Hitchcock movies, some old Gumby tapes (I was going through a big Gumby phase at the time. I was even in the Gumby fan club!) and all 3 tapes from George Romero’s Dead trilogy. At that point, I had only seen “Night of the Living Dead,” so since I was stuck in bed with a doctor-prescribed week-long order to watch as many movies as possible – I wanted to see the entire trilogy in one sitting.