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 Karen 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 »
During the body-eating scene, one of the zombies can be seen looking at the camera for just a split second before taking a bite out of the 'human flesh'. 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 good 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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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 »
The 30th Anniversary Edition from Anchor Bay Entertainment removes 15 minutes of footage from the original film and inserts 15 minutes of new footage shot especially for this edition. George A. Romero was not involved with this version. The newly-shot scenes include the following:
A new opening sequence in which two graveyard workers bring the body of an executed child murderer to the cemetery. The parents of the murdered child are waiting at the cemetery, along with a priest, to view the murderer's body before it is buried. Before the body can be buried, it returns to life and begins attacking the group. This is the same zombie who is later seen wandering the cemetery and attacking Barbra and Johnny.
A scene where the victims of a recent car accident return to life as zombies. Three of the car's occupants, a mother and two daughters, return to life and begin wandering down the street, while the fourth victim, the father, is eaten by another group of zombies who come across the accident. One of the prominent zombies during this scene is a one-armed waitress zombie, who appears again later.
A few brief new shots of zombies wandering around outside the farm house, including the waitress zombie and the mother and daughters from the car accident scene.
A new scene where the priest from the beginning of this version of the film is interviewed by a TV reporter while local townspeople are hunting zombies in the background. During the interview, the priest is attacked by a zombie and bitten on the cheek.
A new ending sequence in which the TV reporter goes to a medical center to visit the priest, who has survived his zombie attack. The priest claims that the reason he did not become one of the undead is because he was been chosen by God. He continues by saying that the zombies are actually demons from hell, occupying human bodies, and that all dead bodies should be crucified. The TV reporter becomes frightened by the priest's ramblings and leaves the room. This release of the film is controversial among fans, and should not be considered the definitive version of the film.
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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