Quick recap: Surviving hysterical women and zombies, a black man still can’t manage to get a break.
Fun (?) fact: Night of the Living Dead is ripe with amazing facts, from the chocolate sauce used for blood to Reader’s Digest warning watching the movie would inspire cannibalism. My favorite, however, is that the word zombie is never used in the film. Not even once.
My thoughts: I typically only fear zombies on a case by case basis. Fast moving ones? nope. Super decomposed ones that groan and like to fight plants? not really. Lumbering ones who look like they have just died and their only purpose is to devour you? Totes. And that’s what Night of the Living Dead had, which is why it worked so well for me. I saw the movie years ago but I don’t remember it having the same impact as it did when I rewatched it this time. Maybe it’s these trying times we are currently in or maybe it was the fact that my cat chose to bite my finger during a particular jumpy scene, but Night of the Living Dead got to me.
So, a few stray observations:
- I know that almost every horror movie draws inspiration from this film but the opening scene is just like Rocky Horror Picture Show, except that Johnny will never be as annoying as Brad.
- Ben is a much nicer person than I would’ve been to Barbra. She was useless the entire time, which I get because of the whole ‘brother eaten by zombies’ thing, but still it made it hard to really root for anyone but him.
- Zombie children are adorable but they use their cuteness to be absolute savage. Judy never stood a chance
I love how low budget this film is, yet it makes its point so clearly. The scene where the zombies chowed down was gross but it was the scenes where they just stood there hanging out that really bugged me. For something that unnerving, you don’t need millions of dollars to tell a story. The true punch, though, came at the end when Ben is gunned down by police. Those final still shots of the police taking his body using hooks is beyond chilling. If I had watched only that scene, I wouldn’t have been able to tell whether I was watching a horror film or a documentary on police brutality. Director George Romero might not have meant to make such a powerful statement about race, but he did and that’s why this is film is such a true classic.
Final review: 5/5. Essential viewing
Up next: More Horrorfest!