There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these bloodthirsty, flesh-eating monsters.
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.
Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. While the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won't lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.
Barbra and Johnny visit their father's grave in a remote cemetery when they are suddenly set upon by zombies. Barbra manages to get away and takes refuge in what seems to be an abandoned farm house. She is soon joined by Ben who stopped at the house in need of gas. Beset by the walking dead all around them Ben does his best to secure the doors and windows. The news reports are grim however with creatures returning to life everywhere. Barbra and Ben are surprised when they realize there are 5 people hiding out in the basement: Harry, Helen and Judy Cooper; and a young couple, Tom and Judy. Dissensions sets in almost immediately with Harry Cooper wanting to be in charge. As their situation deteriorates, their chances of surviving the night lessen minute by minute. Written by
This was one of the first films added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. See more »
When Ben creates a torch out of one of the table legs and is about to push the chair outside and light it in front of the zombies, he opens the door and for a split second you can see it is daylight outside, but it cuts back to nighttime in the next shot when he gets outside. See more »
They ought to make the day the time changes the first day of summer.
Well it's eight o' clock and it's still light.
A lot of god the extra daylight does us, you know we've still got a three hour drive back, we're not going to be home until after midnight.
Well, if it really bugged you, Johnny, you wouldn't do it.
You think I wanna blow Sunday on a scene like this? You know, I figure we're either going to have to move mother out here or move the grave to Pittsburgh.
Well she ...
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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 »
Night of the Living Dead: The Definitive Zombie Movie
George A. Romero is one of the most well-known and profitable directors of the genre, thanks to half of his films being the "Dead" movies. Other movies in his career, such as "Martin" and "The Crazies," are notable, but it's Romero's first film, "Night of the Living Dead," that gets all the attention. The 1968 zombie classic made his career, and influenced many follow-ups.
Johnny and Barbara are brother and sister. They travel to a cemetery to visit their mother before her grave is moved. Barbara does not take too kindly to the cemetery, it disturbs her. Johnny playfully jokes with her, saying "They're coming to get you, Barbara." And once a slow-moving man approaches them and attacks, the nightmare begins. Johnny is killed and Barbara flees for her life. She finds shelter in a tiny, deserted farmhouse. Soon, she realizes that she's not the only one hiding out. Five other people have isolated themselves in, and the struggle to survive continues. Boarding up the house is only a temporary delay before more flesh-eating ghouls attack. Should they stay upstairs or hide out in the cellar?
In a time when hilariously awful B-grade horror films were being produced, "Night of the Living Dead" was a shocking surprise, and still is. The MPAA rating system had a fit with Romero's film, and when it was released to the public, it scared the living daylights out of everyone, including little kids who thought they were seeing a normal Saturday matinée(Roger Ebert's rave review for the film also examines the reactions of the audience).
The film definitely has an advantage in being shot in black and white. It gives off the feeling of an amateur documentary, that this could really happen.
Next to the mood and atmosphere, why does "Night of the Living Dead" work so horrifyingly well? Well, in all of Romero's movies, not just the "Dead" films, there is social commentary littered throughout. And you'll definitely find that this film has a message or two. Some saw the film as an insight into racism. It was the first film to have an African-American hero, after all. But Romero chose Duane Jones for Ben simply because he fit the part. Also, many fans examine the film as an example of the Communist movement, that you couldn't trust anyone or anything. The zombies could be anybody. They could be your neighbor, your daughter, your husband or wife. It is truly a scary concept.
The film also has undeniable claustrophobia. We are uncomfortably sealed in with the survivors, and once the zombies get in, we're not getting out. Not even the cellar can help our protagonists.
In 1968 and today's generation, "Night of the Living Dead" rang and still does ring true to every viewer. Is this what our world will come to be? Will we be unable to trust the ones we know? Will they become emotionless, mindless murderers, and will our society crumble? Romero's film is not just a 60's horror film, and it never ages. Despite the difference in years, the dead are very much alive.
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