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
After being shot by Ben, Cooper stumbles down into the basement in order to die next to Karen, his daughter. As he had shown no redeeming qualities throughout the film, his final moment was Romero's way of showing that Cooper had at least some form of humanity and decency in him, seeking to spend his dying moment with his daughter. See more »
When Ben is telling Barbra the story about the zombies chasing the gas truck, his mouth does not match most of the words he is saying. 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 version shown on the Sci-fi channel deletes about seven minutes for time. The only shots cut for content are when the daughter is stabbing the mother and the blood splatters on the wall. See more »
Along with "Carnival of Souls", this movie stands out as one of the definitive black-and-white horror movies of a bygone drive-in movie era. This movie scared me horribly when I first saw it back in the sixth grade. I had seen other scary movies before, but I think what makes this film so frightening is that there is a somewhat scientific explanation involved and that the horror is occurring to average people. The terror is not due to some supernatural occurrence that we know to be fantasy such as a vampire or some other relic from a 30's or 40's Universal horror film. Also, the drama is playing out in and around a farm house in rural Ohio, not some mythical haunted mansion. This puts you into the dilemma with the players. The fact that such bad acting is in play here just adds to the realism rather than making the film campy.
This movie showed something that could have only occurred pre-Watergate. At one point, the people trapped in the farmhouse discover a television and turn it on in search of news of what is going on. Something almost as remarkable to today's audiences as the dead rising from their graves is seen to occur. In Washington, reporters confront a government official about the situation, the government official tells the reporters the truth, and everyone believes what the government has told them. All of this would be truly remarkable in today's environment of mutual mistrust between citizens, government, and the media. Also, although we don't have actual vampires as the villain here, we have a similar dilemma. As the radiation causes the dead to become animated and seek to eat the flesh of the living, each time a victim is bitten, that victim eventually dies only to rise minutes later seeking the flesh of the living themselves, producing a problem that grows geometrically, just as vampires do.
Finally, this film has something important to say about race. Unique to 60's films, the group in the farmhouse accepts Ben (Duane Jones), an African-American man, as a leader since he is smart and a quick thinker. This portrayal of an African-American as protagonist and problem solver is also unique to films of forty years ago. The ending is quite powerful, and you have to ask yourself, did race have something to do with the actions of the rescue posse? I don't know if this question was hung out there intentionally by the film's creators for the audience to ponder, but it is a point that is almost impossible to ignore.
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