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)