Sunday, October 26, 2014

Classic Cinema Spotlight: Night of The Living Dead

A Vintage Nerd

George A. Romero changed the face of horror films forever with his 1968 classic zombie flick, Night of the Living Dead. Made a super low budget in Pennsylvania with a main cast of seven people who are stuck in a rural farmhouse because the dead have come back to life and they came back hungry for human flesh! What a concept! Pure genius!

The film begins when Barbra played by Judith O'Dea goes to a cemetery with her brother Johnny played by Russell Streiner, to visit their father's grave. Johnny begins to tease Barbra who is uncomfortable being in a cemetery but uttering the now famous words, "They're coming to get you, Barbra!" Afterwards Johnny and Barbra are attacked by a zombie (known as the Flesh Eater) played by Bill Hinzman. Hinzman is the first EVER zombie to grace the silver screen-now how cool is that! Unfortunately, Johnny is killed by that Flesh Eater zombie and Barbra begins a journey of the unimaginable and unthinkable----having to fight off the living dead!

Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead


One of the most magnificent aspects of this film was not just the concept and writing but also the casting of the first African-American male lead in a horror film. That honor and title goes to the late-Duane Jones, whose performance was breathtaking. The beauty of this film is that its not just about dead people eating human flesh but about the removable of labels and barriers. It's not about being a woman or man, straight or gay, black or white but about being a living human and an undead human. Romero brought it back to basics, making it about people being people.

So much happens after Barbra receives refuge in that farmhouse. Ben (Duane Jones) becomes the leader of the group and tries his best not only to keep them safe but to find a way out of that mess. This film just came from left field and no one expected such ideas to leave a long lasting effect on the movie industry and beyond.

I had the pleasure of meeting both Hinzman (Flesh Eater) and Streiner (Johnny) at a Chiller Theatre Expo and a Fangoria Convention, respectively. They were both sooooo super nice. I must say that people in the horror world are some of the nicest people you will EVER meet!


So, before you watch any other zombie films which includes the t.v. show, The Walking Dead, watch the first ever zombie film and be prepared to be spellbinded! Remember without the success of this film there would be no zombie films, no "The Walking Dead" show, or "Day of the dead". Basically, we would have never even heard of the term zombie used in the fashion that Romero created on film. And there would be no Zombie Apocalypse to be preparing for either. (Awww shucks!)

So, thank you Mr. Romero for introducing to humanity the mind bending concept of "the living dead".

**Originally Published on Bunny's Victory blog**

3 comments:

  1. Night of the living dead was the first Zombie movie I ever saw, I had no idea that is was THE first zombie movie! That is super cool, it was this movie that started my love affair with zombie movies. I'm not a huge horror movie fan, but I love a good zombie movie. It's so cool that you've gotten to meet some of the guys from the film.

    She Knits in Pearls

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  2. Very cool history. I wasn't aware that this was the movie that planted the seeds for the current massive love for zombie flicks and shows (and books, etc). You always share such interesting, fun film facts, dear gal, thank you!

    ♥ Jessica

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  3. My absolute FAVORITE movie! I have the DVD and adore it. I still remember watching it one TV the first time with my step dad. We were amazed at how gory and realistic it all was!

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