Night of the Living Dead Review

In honor of George A Romero I give review on his magnum opus, Night of the Living Dead. The history of horror was changed forever when this film came out on October 1, 1968. It was something new and fresh and critics and audiences seemed to love it. So what’s the plot to this masterpiece of cinema. One day a woman named Barbara and her brother, Johnny, are paying respects in a graveyard when a zombie attacks them. Barbara runs for her life while Johnny stays behind to fend off the zombie. Barbara takes shelter in an abandoned house and also meets up with the pragmatic Ben, the untrustworthy Harry, and four other expendable characters. They group up to try to survive an attack of flesh-eating zombies. With only a budget of $114,000, this film created a lot of scares and a good amount of box office money. Though the film is made very well there are some flaws that are noticeable. For example, the female lead, Barbara, is way to annoying and doesn’t do anything but scream and whine all the time. I know that she worries about her brother but Jesus is she annoying! Plus a lot of are other group members are pretty dumb. Besides Ben the rest of them are just plain stupid. There’s this young couple who while try to fill up a truck with gas so they can escape in this one scene, accidentally lit the the truck on fire. instead of leaving it behind they get into the truck and while trying to drive away, the truck explodes and they die. Class act! Or how about this other couple who’s child gets bitten by a zombie and instead of immediately taking her to a doctor [you know with the supposed disease floating around and such] decide to bring her along without medical attention and hope for the best. I know scientists say that biting is the most ineffective way to spread disease but you can at least try to see. Plus there’s some lighting issues as well like when it’s supposed to be nighttime yet they didn’t film the scene at night and it’s so obvious that they filmed it at day. When I first saw that scene I thought it was dawn yet in the next shot it’s clearly night. But still the film has its advantages as well. The lead male, Ben, is a very smart character and does his best to fend off the zombies. Up till the point where he points how stupid everyone else is. Also there’s Harry who the film portrays as a complete asshole most of the time. The main thing everyone remembers about this movie is the risks it took. Now if this film was distributed by any big Hollywood corporation at the time it would have an all white cast with pretty tame violence. However director Romero was a risk taker by making the lead a black man and morally superior to the people around him plus gore. Besides the british Hammer Dracula movies, most films back then didn’t have any graphic violence. However this film had it and had a scene where it shows a swarm of zombies feeding of off intestines and other organs. Also the black and white really cements this films dark and foreboding tone. That’s why when Tom Savini tried to remake this in 1990 it just didn’t work. It was in color and it just repeated everything that happened in this movie. Overall this film is great. It was something new at the time and is still remembered as a horror classic. It may not have invented zombies but it was film to feature them for a while before its sequel came out in 1978. Stay tuned for that one.

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