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 Tommy 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
When Ben is nailing wooden boards to the door, small numbers can be seen on them. These were written on the backs of the boards so they could be removed and replaced in between shots, preserving continuity. Some numbers are visible because some of the boards were nailed on backwards. See more »
[Harry Cooper sees the zombies eating the flesh of the late Tommy and Judy]
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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 car drives up a road, towards a graveyard. Cut to the graveyard, a woman and her brother have brought flowers to their mother's grave. Soon the brother starts taunting his sister, saying: "They're coming to get you, Barbara". Barbara laughs it off and after her brother runs away, she heads to the seemingly innocent man visiting a family member's grave to apologize, and out of nowhere he grabs her. Her brother attempts to fight him off but ends up being killed in the process and Barbara escapes to a farmhouse nearby.
That's how this incredible, highly influential masterclass in horror film making begins. What is still so fascinating about this film is that it retains its ability to genuinely, truly scare the crap out of you. It's not just a 'jump moment' film, George A. Romero sets the mood perfectly with a sublime script and truly effective use of music. As far as modern low budget horror films go, this is nearly the best of them, surpassed only by Sam Raimi's masterpiece "The Evil Dead".
"Night of the Living Dead" isn't scary because of the zombies (although the flesh eating sequences are still among the greatest and most horrifying horror scenes ever made). The film is still effective because it all has a feeling of impending doom. It seems hopeless, disturbing, terrifying because of the claustrophobic mood it sets. It's not the zombies that scare us, it's the idea of being trapped in a small area with nowhere to go and death itself standing right outside your door. What a brilliant film!
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