Night of the Living Dead!

For Halloween, I thought I’d go with the big daddy. One of the kings of them all. Grandfather of one of the most popular subgenres of horror today. I’m talking, of course, about George Romero’s classic, Night of the Living Dead.

Now THIS is a legendary film. When it comes to modern zombies, it’s the one that started it all. And it’s still fantastic. It also happens to be in the public domain (see below), so for this Halloween take a gander back at a flick you probably haven’t seen in a while:

Some things to note:

* When I spoke to Russell Streiner (Billy) several years ago for a feature on the 2005 Fangoria convention, he told me the movie doesn’t hold up just because of the zombies. “Night of the Living Dead, as odd as it may seem, there’s a lot of human drama that went into it. One of the things that made it successful is that it focused on telling a story.” And he’s right.

* The film is in the public domain only due to a quirk in the law.

* Because it’s in the public domain, there are literally dozens of DVD releases available. Don’t get suckered into one of the cheap knock-off DVDS. There is only one version worth getting.

* A huge, huge influence on The Walking Dead.

* Happy Halloween!

2 Comments

  1. Zaki

    While I appreciate NIGHT for what it is, I think that of the Romero ouvre I have to give it to DAWN for not only surpassing its predecessor on every technical level, but also holding up far better today.

  2. admin

    DAWN is widely praised and tends to be the most beloved of the Romero pictures, but at times I'm slightly lukewarm on it. When I'm in the right frame of mind I can appreciate the satire, but most of the time it veers a little too far into the realm of the silly for my taste.

    I like NIGHT's fairly straight take on the situation. These people are in what amounts to an apocalypse. Not much story there, really, just the struggles of a small group of people trying to survive and finding out that their own divisions might be worse than the creatures outside the door. Simple, but still holds up for me.

    That said, I do appreciate how DAWN reframes the zombie story in a way that offers some pretty snappy social commentary. And yeah, on a technical level it's a quantum leap forward.

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