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Night of the Living Dead (1968)


Duration 1h 36m Rating (UK) X
Source of story An orignal screenplay
Director George A. Romero
Writers/Script John A. Russo, George A. Romero
Starring Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Carol Wayne

Elevator Pitch: When a brother and sister are visiting their father’s grave they are attaked by a weird man, resulting in the death of the brother when his head is smashed on a gravestone. The young woman runs away and ends up in a farmhouse where, afte a while, she, a young black man, Ben, a young couple and a family including a girl who is unconcious, congregate. They are beseiged by men and women who move in a strange way and attack the farmhouse.  The young couple try to escape but are caught and eaten. What fate can await the rest.

Content: No sex or nudity, or drinkling or drug taking but quite a few unpleasant scenes of the zombies eating people. This includes the sick child eating her father’s arm. So the main content of the film consists of the zombies trying to get into the farmhouse and those inside trying to prevent this from happening.  There are later scenes as the posse of guys with rifles and pistols get out into the country to dispatch the zombies, which can be killed by a shot in the head.

A View: I wish I could say I liked this outing, since it is a classic and holds a special place in the panoply of horror films, but I was put off, I admit, by the black and white presentation and the desperate music which spluttered unevenly in the background, the tone rising  a bit during frightening scenes. It set the standards for what zombies can do, and how they can be dispatched and we have virtually forgotten that zombies were originally voodoo entities, brought back from the dead as cheap labour. All I can say is that if yu decide to watch it you know what you are getting.

Additional Info: There is a lot of back story, but one interesting item is that it came out just before the US rating system was initated and at a Saturday afternoon matinee children were traumatised. Roger Ebert observed a nine year old girl opposite him sitting very still and crying her eyes out.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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