31 Days of Halloween Day 17 – NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

31 Days of Halloween – Day 17

Night of the Living Dead (directed by George A. Romero, 1968) These days, the Zombie genre is all the rage. The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, Zombieland, and World War Z are all capitalizing on the concept that the dead shall roam the earth. What we sometimes forget is that the success of these franchises can all be attributed to one simple black and white classic; George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Why do zombies travel in slow moving, thoughtless packs? It’s because Romero zombies did. Why do zombies feast on the flesh of the living? It’s because Romero zombies did. In my eyes, no film has shaped the present state of modern horror more than Night of the Living Dead. Think about it; people are crazy over television show The Walking Dead. Basically, TWD is Night of the Living Dead on steroids. It is the same concept of survival against hordes of zombies, and each other, but with a bigger budget. Barbara and her brother Johnny are visiting their father’s grave in a countryside cemetery. They are attack by zombies, but Barbara manages to make it out alive. She finds refuge in an abandoned farm house, where she is joined by Ben, who is in search of gas. Ben tries to secure the house from the onslaught of the undead, who are gathering by the minute. Besides surviving the zombies, they also have to survive conflict within the house when a group of people emerge from hiding in the basement. Radio broadcasts paint a grim picture of the outside world, but the people trapped in the farmhouse have faith that they can survive until help arrives. This film must have been shocking to viewers upon its release. What is more disturbing than cannibalism? The film was deemed as containing explicit gore. Imagine if it had been shot in color. Romero was forced to film on black and white film because of budget, but that is a good thing looking back. The budget restraints gave the film a ‘documentary’ type feel, which makes it seem more real. The use of the radio broadcast dialogue, acting as a type of narration, also gave it realism. The main cast, Duane Jones (Ben) and Judith O’Dea (Barbara) were great choices, being unknown actors, because recognizable actors would have taken away from the naturalness of the movie. For a night of true classic, no smoke and mirrors horror pleasure, make room for Night of the Living Dead during this Halloween season. And remember, if attack by zombies; “Beat ‘em or burn ‘em. They go up pretty easy”.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects
  • Day 17 – Night of the Living Dead
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