Night of the Living Dead (Zombie fans represent!)

While this blog concentrates mostly on books, a Halloween discussion cannot be complete with out this film. The Night of the Living Dead completely changed how horror movies were made. It was the most disturbing movie made up until that point. (I would argue that to this day it hasn’t been beat.) What made it so? Sure, the graphic depiction of cannibalism is pretty shocking, even if the diners were dead.

Does that make it cannibalism? Or do you have to be alive when eating someone for it to be cannibalism?

In any case I think what made it shocking, and further adventures of zombies since then shocking, was that we the people, normal everyday people, were the bad guys. Up until that point most horror flicks were in far away places with mad scientists or alien encounters. This was in the heartland of America and our deceased relatives were climbing out of their graves. The gore of the movie aside, the location and the people make The Night of the Living Dead a psychological horror film. This holds true for the flood of Zombie movies, shows and books that continue to be made. There have been many great zombie tales since, but for my money, it all begins and ends with The Night of the Living Dead.

As a side note, George Romero the director admits it was a rip off of the book I am Legend by Richard Matheson. Although in his novel, (and subsequent movies), it was a disease that caused something like vampirism.

Also the movie itself never called the zombies zombies. They were referred to as ghouls.

Memories of the first time you saw it?

Have not seen it? (gasp in shock)

Thoughts?

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2 thoughts on “Night of the Living Dead (Zombie fans represent!)

  1. I love Night of the Living Dead. I like it a lot, but I know I’ll dissapoint you when I say that I like watching Dawn of the Dead a little more. I think it is just because the main characters stop arguing for a little bit and they have that great line of, “When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.” The first time I watched it I wanted. Ben to live, but now when I watch it I understand, for the story to truly be really good he had to die. The connection to I am Legend always sounded a bit far fetched to me. I think that the Nigt of the Living Dead is related to I am Legend about the same amount that Night of the Living Dead is related to King of the Zombies. They all have a bunch of people getting transformed into monsters and threatening humanity. I know that George Romero said he took influence, but I take influence from Jack Web when I solving crimes. I am taking influence from so one who did a similar thing first, but the thing was there before both of us. I think George Romero has never surpassed his first masterpiece of Night of the Living Dead. All of his following movies he made following it just didn’t match up to the quality of the first one. Day of the dead although not very good has my favorite quote of the entire series which is: as Captain Rhodes is being ripped apart by zombies he utters his final words of, “CHOKE ON IT!” It sounds cheesy but it sure pays off for hi. Being a big pain the entire movie). After he dies the zombie that has been trained the whole movie salutes Captain Rhodes for being a good soldier, but a terrible leader. Great post and I look forward to not only your movie posts, but your book posts as well.

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    • Nope, no disappointment here Liam. I think I rate the original Night of the Living dead higher than others because the impact of shock it had on me when I first saw it. First impressions never go away, at last for me. That is a great line in Dawn of the Dead though. You are right it is a classic.

      I have read an article online where Romero did say he essentially stole the idea from I Am Legend, but I feel the same way you do on that. He changed the monster from a “kind of vampire” to a zombie, and then from the world already fallen, to the monsters to the very beginning of the invasion. That right there causes enough changes that the similarities disappear, beyond that yes, they are both monster movies.

      “CHOKE ON IT” was a great line too. It may be cheesy, but hell, we need cheese from time to time. Hamburgers are good, but a cheeseburger, now you are talking!I am a big fan of cheesy and tacky. I don’t need it on everything but sometimes I crave it.
      Sorry it took so long to reply.
      Thanks for the post and spread the word. I am going to try and post something once a day
      David

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