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A Nite to Dismember — October 31, 10pm – 8am (Buy Tickets)

A Nite to Dismember is Nitehawk’s first all-night horror movie marathon happening Halloween night from 10pm to 8am. We’re playing five of our favorite horror films that night (An American Werewolf in LondonBurn Witch BurnFright NightThe Burning and Dawn of the Dead), and to get in the spirit, we decided to discuss our favorite scene from each of the Nite to Dismember films here on the blog.

Next, Hatched co-editor and Nite to Dismember host Kris King talks about Dawn of the Dead, and how the film’s opening newsroom sequence sets the inescapable tone of dread for the rest of the movie.

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One of the most chilling scenes I can think of has to be those set in that hopeless, chaotic newsroom at the start of Dawn of the Dead. The men and women of the media have always been the ones to put a straight face on tragedy, the ones whose job it is to tell us what is going on in the world, even at the threat of their own lives.

With Dawn of the Dead, we see all of that fall apart. With the news station abandoned, the threads of the public safety net finally snap, giving way to a future of uncertainty and chaos.

The movie opens with an image of a wall that’s covered with this kind of shaggy wall carpeting. It’s kind of amusing to see now — it immediately dates the film, definitely the late seventies — but the odd texture of this visceral scarlet carpeting is extremely off-putting; especially as the camera settles on the image of a woman sleeping against it, apparently locked in some terrible nightmare.

Suddenly she starts to life, only to find no solace in the waking world save for a cup of black coffee.

This is our movie’s main character, Francine Parker, an employee at a local Pittsburgh news outlet that’s desperately trying to stay on the air, despite dwindling resources, a lack of vetted information, and programming that mainly consists of men shouting at one-another.

News of the dead’s rise has spread quickly, and chaos and misinformation have clearly taken hold over society at large. Editors and talking heads bark conflicting reports into cameras, and everyone just seems to be trying to talk over one-another. Through the chaos, three facts become clear: the dead are rising, they’re killing everyone they come across, and no one knows what to do about it.

There’s not a glimmer of hope in that chaotic studio, and with reports that the station will be going dark soon, cameras get abandoned, people pack up and they leave. The shouts of the director and the news anchor go unheeded as everyone up and walks out the door.

People exchange quick goodbyes and arrange rides towards home with one-another. Francine heads to the roof with her Flyboy boyfriend to take the traffic chopper out of town. Everyone has a plan, but none of them seem that well thought out. None of them are going to work, and everyone knows it. It’s over, all of it.

Now, that’s how you start a movie.