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Dawn of the Dead (2004)

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Details Release Date: Mar 19, 2004; Rated: R; Length: 97 Minutes; Genres: Action/Adventure, Horror, Mystery and Thriller; With: Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames; Distributor: Universal

So how many zombies are going to get shot in the head in Universal's Dawn of the Dead remake? ''I'd constantly fight with the studio over how many head shots to put in the movie, because the more the better,'' reports director Zack Snyder, a Super Bowl-commercial vet making his feature debut. ''I want zombie war. But [they're] like, 'If it was a war movie, you couldn't show all those people getting shot in the head.' And my argument was always, They're zombies! You can shoot them in the head all day long. There's no Zombie Defamation League!''

This from a guy who bailed on S.W.A.T. because he didn't want to make it PG-13. Snyder promises ''a hard R'' (''Some good gore, a little bit of language, a little teeny bit of lovin''') for his redo of the George A. Romero cult fave, which will again send survivors to the mall to fight a ''zombie plague.'' Ving Rhames and Sarah Polley are the odd-couple leads. ''The quote-unquote innocence of Sarah and the quote-unquote masculinity of me is yin and yang,'' Rhames says. ''She's very soft and peaceful. I'm generally the opposite.''

Lining up a good bit of product placement -- the movie is set in a mall, after all -- was tougher. ''Starbucks didn't want to be part of our movie, I guess because they didn't want to see their logo with blood sprayed all over it, which I find sort of a p -- -y approach to marketing,'' Snyder laughs. ''And the Gap too. Everyone was scared of us!''

Originally posted Jan 23, 2004 Published in issue #747-748 Jan 23, 2004 Order article reprints