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"Night of the Living Dead" (1968) George A. Romero

The “Night of the Living Dead” is a 1968 independent horror and thriller film created by Russell Streiner and Karl Hardman and directed by George A. Romero. This film was produced and filmed in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania unlike other typical movies produced from this era. In fact, this movie had a fairly low budget when the movie was being filmed and created. Additionally, this film was in black and white, which was beginning to fade during this time compared to other 1960s movies in America. This time period was when American film directors were experimenting with new genres, which was known as the New Wave Era. Romero successfully portrayed realism tied into unrealistic events in the world. The tied in plot points allowed viewers to see some things they have never seen in any movie before. This was all portrayed by the setting, the music and anything that seems wrong and out of the ordinary.

The first scenes illustrated that there was a suspicious person walking around a cemetery, where two people, Johnny and Barbara were trying to visit their father’s grave. While they were walking in the cemetery, a suspicious person attacked them both, where Barbara ran away to a farmhouse. Upon arrival, she meets another man, Ben that was also on the run from those creatures. In the farmhouse, there were five additional people hiding in that same farmhouse. Once Barbara and Ben were in the house, two other couples came upstairs, and everyone was struggling who would lead this obstacle. Then, they developed several plans to stay safe, but later had to cooperate and to evacuate the farmhouse. Ben then turned on a news report that there had been a national emergency declared because there were human like creatures that were behaving like animals that kill and eat people. Additionally, it was stated that there was radiation in the atmosphere, which was also stated if somebody was hurt, injured or attacked by the creatures should seek medical attention immediately. Following the news report, Ben had a plan on how to save everyone from the creatures but was highly unsuccessful. As a result, the creatures took over the environment and caused a mass tragedy to almost all of the people that were hiding.

“Night of the Living Dead” was the first and most significant modern zombie film in history. This film initially was not huge success to critics because the audience were not ready to see movies with extreme violence like this. This film achieved brand new themes which would really would never happen in the real world, the creatures. Additionally, Duane Jones who starred as Ben was an African American actor that had a lead role, which was very rare during the 1960s. The sound effects were perfectly synced within each scene, the action was more important to focus to rather than both the dialogue and this additionally allowed future film directors to expand on the idea that movies can be created with combining realism and fictional creatures that eat and kill people. Additionally, the news reports throughout the movie changed viewer’s perspective that there was some realism involved in a fictional movie. As a result of this movie, themes similar to “Night of the Living Dead” have been adapted in future horror and thriller films.

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Michael Atkinson
Michael Atkinson
14 mar 2021

It was a landmark; true, critics didn't know what it was, but audiences flocked, and it was playing revival and midnight circuits through the 70s. (I remember the newspaper ads.) Anyway, what is it, really? Who cares about zombie movies? Your mention of the TV news footage touches on why it can be seen as significant: taken as a kind of messy metaphor, the film palpably invokes the Vietnam War AND the protests around it, both of which then raged on TV, and both which had everything to do with the civil rights struggle, which was also a bloody ordeal Americans saw on their crappy little black-&-white TVs for years. Think of this film as a vision of America (doesn'…

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