Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.
Barbra and her brother Johnny travel by car from Pittsburgh to the countryside to visit the gravestone of their father in the cemetery. Out of the blue, they are attacked by a strange man and Johnny is murdered. Barbra runs and releases the brake of Johnny's car since the keys are in his pocket, and flees to an isolated farmhouse, where she locks herself inside. Barbra is in shock and soon she finds a man, Ben, who is also escaping from the inhuman creatures and he reinforces the doors, windows and openings in the house. He also finds a shotgun and a radio and they learn that the radiation from a satellite that was returning from Venus has somehow reactivated the brain of the dead. Then they find five humans hidden in the basement: Harry Cooper, his wife Helen and their daughter Karen that is sick; and Tom and his girlfriend Judy. Harry has an argument with Ben, since he believes that the basement is the safest place for them and Harry does not agree. Along the night, the tension ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Filmed at Tim Hornish's grandmother's house in Zelionople. See more »
When Ben is bent over a ghoul he just killed in the woods, you can see a hand waving the character away from the body and out of the scene. See more »
There's nothing wrong with the radio. Must've been the station.
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There is no on-screen copyright notice, nor any of the usual legal disclaimers typically found in movie credits; this is the main reason the film has been in the public domain since its release. See more »
Low budget, creepy and unique - legendary for a reason
This landmark 1968 horror-shocker is a great example of what can be done with a limited budget, a simple idea, and some dedicated and talented participants. Very nicely shot, mostly well acted, NOTLD grabs your attention from the very beginning to the very end - and what a classic end it is.
The story begins with Barbara (Judith O'Dea) and her brother visiting the grave of a friend of their mother, and takes off almost immediately, as they are attacked by a horde of cannibalistic zombies. Narrowly escaping, but losing her emotional balance in the process, Barbara escapes to a house a bit farther down the road where she meets Ben (Duane Jones), the hero of the film. They discover a family with a sick little girl and a young couple in the basement of the house and they all get to work barricading themselves in and preparing weapons and other defenses. The rest of the story concerns the group dynamics between these survivors as the dead close in on their refuge, the story of what is going on in the rest of the USA - revealed through TV reportage and radio broadcasts, and sheer survival. The human side of this film is an interesting and accurate character study concerning what happens to people whose very lives are threatened.
The horror of this film is, unlike a lot of its recent descendants, less a matter of blood and gore than a matter of the real active horror of realistically depicted scenes of murder, death and cannibalism. Though the black and white footage involving blood and gore is certainly effective, there may not be quite enough of it for today's average horror fan. The photographic techniques of this film are innovative and powerful - showing just enough of the sheer hideousness of the film's basic concepts to disturb viewers, but not enough to allow them to detach from the film's protagonists.
I strongly recommend this film to anybody interested in the art of film making, and to those who enjoy the horror genre, though it is hard to imagine any serious horror fan who hasn't already seen this.
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