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Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Directed by George A. Romero Screenplay by John A. Russo & George A. Romero

  Happy Halloween! Oops, meant Happy October! Happy blah! I’m just too excited, I always await this month as I’m sure other Horror fans do, because for me, that means only scary movies (you can’t stop me!) and decorating for Halloween; regardless that even with them up, my house is always decorated for the dark and ominous: BAHAHAHA. And Trick r’ Treating…well, mainly for the kiddo but still fun to do! Thought a nice way to start out the month would be with a classic. A film that may need no introduction to some, what with all the zombie craze that has infected our society momentarily; how bout them Dixon’s eh?

  I myself, am not quite as big a zombie fan as most others. I much prefer serial killers and whatnot; don’t knock me, I won’t knock you. I also, will not be doing this as would a normal “original” post but there is a very good reason for that; I actually prefer Tom Savini’s remake that Romero wrote the screenplay solo for. It was kept very near and dear to the fans of the original (which usually helps). It is a great classic and essential to the sub genre, hell it’s what started the sub genre but could have been made better, what, with an actual budget and slightly better cast behind it. It just didn’t excite and scare me like the 1990 version did and I thought the duo of Romero and Savini was fantastic. At that point both men had gained a great appreciation within the genre and perfected the original version much unlike many of those that came after including the 3D version and especially the 30th Anniversary edition which should have never been taken into consideration of being touched. The original can just the same be seen as a silent film, which I actually enjoyed but once again, doesn’t always do the trick of capturing the same outright scare intended. Some quick FF’s about the original being that some before working titles had been Night of the Flesh Eaters/Monster Flick though there seems to be a bit of confusion of those, simply what I had found. Used to simulate blood was chocolate syrup was used (like in Psycho) and the “zombies” (though the word is never used) munched on ham that had the syrup over while “eating” the bodies.

  The premise is not anything too complicated. Siblings Barbra (Judith O’Dea) and Johnny (Russell Streiner) go to visit their father’s grave for their mother when he takes notice of someone walking in the distance and tries to scare her by stating eerily “They’re coming to get you Barbra.” Just a shame he wasn’t a mind reader for they in fact go after him while trying to save his sister when one grabs hold of her. She runs off and enters a farmhouse in which she later runs in Ben (Duane Jones). For the remainder of the film Barbra remains in shock until she chooses to not be a victim, oh never mind, her a** gets carried away like the rest of them. Before however, they eventually run into a family and some kids that had been down in the cellar who were afraid to see what the earlier commotion was upstairs. The only real hero being Ben who tries his damnedest to fight off the slow approaching horde that slowly surrounds the house by discovering “they” are afraid of fire and setting various ones throughout the movie as well. The father, Harry (Karl Hardman) and wife (Marilyn Eastman) were with daughter (Kyra Schon) in the cellar of which the dad turned out to be a pretty big douche (glad he bit it, both times!) but I suppose when the world’s coming to an end, ’tis expected. They’re able to keep in contact with the outside world in that their TV is on constant broadcast and receive updates on what they do know/what actions to take next. None of that matters of course because once the house is eventually bombarded, Ben retires to the cellar: the last one left, able to wait until morning in the hopes of being saved. So is he? No! While cautiously going upstairs to see what all the noise was, he’s shot in the head and burned with the rest of the bodies; which is probably what would end up happening to the majority of us “once” these happens.

  I can certainly see the appeal and get those who have long devoted their viewing pleasures to the world of the undead. But it wasn’t anything by any means to make one jump out of their seat, especially in the year 2012. The fact that they gave it no definite means to carry on was a nice change. How much I agree with the ending strictly depends upon what the movie had consisted of prior, so they could go either way and I don’t necessarily “knock” those for what they decided to go with, unless of course when I do. 🙂 The cast was as well great to watch. O’Dea played a more realistic response to what I would imagine occurring, don’t want to discuss the remake too much since it’ll be saved for its own review but wasn’t how they decided to portray her character. Quite frankly and once again (as was the same with Let Me In) the only reason for favoring the cast of the remake a bit more being that I had been a fan of those already and had appreciated them for their other work. Those involved for the most part only went on do other zombie projects (mainly sequels or the remake itself). Either way a classic and great feel to kick off October with.