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.
Two siblings and three of their friends en route to visit their grandfather's grave in Texas end up falling victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths and must survive the terrors of Leatherface and his family.
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
Russell Streiner's mother owned Barbara and Johnny's car. The cemetery scenes were shot over 2 days. Someone ran into the car during a break in filming, leaving a dent that was easily visible on camera. George A. Romero rewrote the scene so the car came to a stop after crashing into a tree. See more »
Ben contradicts himself all through the story he tells Barbra about the gasoline truck. First he says he had just gotten into a truck he found to listen to the radio when this happened. But then he says that when the gas truck came by it was all he could do to miss it - inferring he was driving. He also says that it was "screaming by" and that zombies were chasing it on foot and keeping up - but all the zombies we've seen can be out run by even Barbra. He also says that the truck was on fire during this chase and there were zombies hanging onto the truck yet we've seen that the only thing that scares zombies is fire. 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 can't ...
[...] See more »
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 »
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.
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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