• “This was an important place in their lives.”

First released in 1979, George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead remains the definitive filmic statement about American consumerism. Little needs to be said about the visual motif of brain-dead zombies swarming around a shopping mall; it’s a perfect metaphor for consumer culture at its worst. In the recurring image, shopping has been internalized to the level of base impulse, no longer attached to material need or even want—it’s simply what people do when they no longer have the power to think. No matter how many times I see the movie, I’m overcome with bitter laughter when David Emge’s newsman comments gravely on the horde that’s trying to break into the shopping center he and his friends have transformed into a fortress. “[They’re driven by] memory of what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives.”