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
George A. Romero points out that despite the film's budget and how tight they were having to work when it came to equipment, he feels the cameras they used allowed for ample amounts of depth in each shot. He also notes late in production after they had picked up additional investors there was discussion about reshooting in color what they had already shot in black and white. They had already shot roughly a week's worth of filming, and they would have to go to 16mm if they switched to color. All of this factored in their decision to stick with black and white. See more »
One of the lines assigned to the news reader is a quote from the chief of police in Camden, North Carolina. The city and county of Camden have a consolidated government with a sheriff and no police chief. 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 ...
[...] See more »
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 old German version misses some short scenes of dialouge when Johnny and Barbara arrive at the cemetary. Some text is synchronized in a different meaning (the car's radio). 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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