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 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
Columbia Pictures was the only major Hollywood studio interested in distributing this film, but eventually passed because it was in black-and-white at a time when movies had to compete with new color televisions. Columbia did distribute the 1990 color remake Night of the Living Dead (1990). American International Pictures (AIP) considered releasing the film, but wanted George A. Romero to shoot an upbeat ending and add more of a love story subplot. See more »
When one of the zombies is shown picking up and eating a cricket, the cricket continues chirp even after being eaten. See more »
We were riding in the cemetery. Johnny and me... Johnny. We came to put a wreath on my father's grave... Johnny and... Then and he said, "Can I have some candy, Barbara?" And we didn't have any! And... oh! It's hot in here. Hot! And he said, "Oh it's late! Why did we start so late"? And I said, "Johnny, if you'd gotten up earlier, we wouldn't be late." Johnny asked me if were afraid, and I said, "I'm not afraid, Johnny." And this man started walking up the road, he came slowly, and Johnny kept ...
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The credits play over still frames of the hunters dragging Ben out of the house with meat hooks. After the credits, there's a short scene of the hunters setting a pile of zombies on fire. See more »
A wave of mass murder sweeps across America as the recently dead return to life to kill and feast on their victims. A group of people board themselves up in an abandoned house to try and hold out against a small army of the undead. This is the classic low-budget horror film that is the model for recent hits such as the Evil Dead and The Blair Witch Project. George Romero stages a national disaster but reduces it to a single house for greater effect. The story focuses on the weaknesses of each of the characters in the house - their cowardice, their greedy, their stupidity etc. This makes the drama inside the house almost as palatable as the danger from outside and makes the characters more believable and important.
The undead are not huge works of special effects, nor are they anything other than lumbering beasts. But the threat they pose is well demonstrated
the film makes them feel unstoppable and relentless and makes their
lingering presence more menacing and less comical than it could have been. The use of an unknown cast also makes it more realistic as none of them have any baggage. Duane Jones is the standout actor as Ben - who is not without flaws himself.
The downbeat, realistic atmosphere to the film gives it a greater sense of tension and continues right through to the very depressing conclusion. An excellent flagship for low budget horrors.
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