Night of the Living Dead (1968) Poster

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Classic Horror
codmon3 February 1999
Romero is sublime. His ability to take a small budget and turn it into a stratosphericly giant film is unparalleled. This is one of the best apocalypse films ever (along with the rest of the trilogy). The zombies represent a slow moving enemy. It is easy to escape them. You have only to fear your own mistakes. On these the zombies will capitalize. One of the best aspects of this film is the lead character. Romero has always presented intelligent non-stereotypical black characters in his films. This film was made in 1968 while civil rights tensions were high, and the most "in control" character in the whole movie is a black man. If you can get past a couple of cheesy supporting performances, this is one of the best horror films ever.
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9/10
Low budget, creepy and unique - legendary for a reason
mstomaso15 May 2005
This landmark 1968 horror-shocker is a great example of what can be done with a limited budget, a simple idea, and some dedicated and talented participants. Very nicely shot, mostly well acted, NOTLD grabs your attention from the very beginning to the very end - and what a classic end it is.

The story begins with Barbara (Judith O'Dea) and her brother visiting the grave of a friend of their mother, and takes off almost immediately, as they are attacked by a horde of cannibalistic zombies. Narrowly escaping, but losing her emotional balance in the process, Barbara escapes to a house a bit farther down the road where she meets Ben (Duane Jones), the hero of the film. They discover a family with a sick little girl and a young couple in the basement of the house and they all get to work barricading themselves in and preparing weapons and other defenses. The rest of the story concerns the group dynamics between these survivors as the dead close in on their refuge, the story of what is going on in the rest of the USA - revealed through TV reportage and radio broadcasts, and sheer survival. The human side of this film is an interesting and accurate character study concerning what happens to people whose very lives are threatened.

The horror of this film is, unlike a lot of its recent descendants, less a matter of blood and gore than a matter of the real active horror of realistically depicted scenes of murder, death and cannibalism. Though the black and white footage involving blood and gore is certainly effective, there may not be quite enough of it for today's average horror fan. The photographic techniques of this film are innovative and powerful - showing just enough of the sheer hideousness of the film's basic concepts to disturb viewers, but not enough to allow them to detach from the film's protagonists.

I strongly recommend this film to anybody interested in the art of film making, and to those who enjoy the horror genre, though it is hard to imagine any serious horror fan who hasn't already seen this.
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9/10
"Yeah, they're dead, they're all messed up"
Smells_Like_Cheese26 October 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I don't think George Romaro ever had in his mind the masterpiece he created when he made Night of the Living Dead, one of the greatest horror movies of all time and gave birth to the zombie genre. The monster that is the zombie has been a little experimented with before with the film "White Zombie" but never like the dark depths that George took it too. To think that this film almost never would have made it to the public since George threw it in the trunk of his car thinking nobody would ever buy it, low and behold not only did the film sell but has one of greatest group of fans to follow it. Such a degrading film for it's time with naked, scarred up, chewed up zombies eating human flesh, there was no film like Night of the Living Dead. The metaphor that we are guaranteed 2 things in life: birth and death, the slow inevitable death that is walking towards you as if you are looking at your future self is just horrific. George was way ahead of his time and that's why Night of the Living Dead still gives me nightmares to this day.

Barbra and Johnny drive to rural Pennsylvania to visit their father's grave. When Barbra is afraid Johnny teasingly frightens; whereupon they are attacked by a zombie. Johnny tries to rescue his sister, but is then presumably killed when the man shoves him head first onto a tombstone. Barbra flees, with the killer in pursuit; eventually she ran off to an empty farmhouse where she discovers the half-eaten corpse. Running out of the house, she notices a man named Ben arrives in a pickup truck, drags Barbra back into the house, and barricades the doors and windows. Meanwhile, hiding in the cellar are a married couple, Harry and Helen Cooper, their daughter Karen, and teenage couple Tom and Judy. Harry asks everyone to hide in the cellar, but Ben deems it a "deathtrap" and remains upstairs. As they fight through the night for their lives, they try to escape to a safe house but the zombies outside have pulled up the table with the salt and pepper and are a bit hungry for some human flesh.

George casted a black lead, which was so unheard of at the time, I'm sure he never looked at the color but what a groundbreaking moment. He's the smart man who knows how to fight and even hit a white woman, what risks George took with this movie. The film is by no means perfectly made, but you have to understand that this was a low budget film made by a group of friends, however, when you think compared to today's low budget films that have no story with it, it's all about the gore, Night of the Living Dead broke that mold. I have a little tradition every year on Halloween, I have to watch this movie because it is one of the best horror movies of all time. How could you not still get the chills when little Karen turns into a zombie and goes after her mother with a shovel, her mother screaming "Baby!" and falls crying and screaming as her daughter just continues stabbing her to death, God, what a horrific scene! Taking a chance with a depressing ending, not to spoil too much as I feel that I already have but I envy anyone who sees this film for the first time because I like to see their reactions to this movie. A groundbreaking film, a horrifying story and a cast and crew that gave all effort, Night of the Living Dead is a terrific scary movie not to be missed.

9/10
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10/10
A True Horror Classic that changed all Horror films that followed it
ww_sketcher14 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Night of the Living Dead is a true classic and without a doubt Romero's best and most influential film.

Of course, being simply influential alone would not simply allow this movie to get a full-fledged star rating if it didn't pull through with it some quality at all, which it does in spades. In Night of the Living Dead, there is good pacing, surprisingly good acting from a list of no-name actors, and the most important part that sticks with the film to this day, the sense of dread in the film. In this movie to this day you get that feeling of hopelessness, people get attacked for no reason and nothing can save them. Whether it's family-togetherness, love between a couple, or even the law-enforcers at the end, this was all tapping into the uncertainty level people were having at the time and still today it has meaning. Topping this off with Romero's (at the time) large use of gore adds to the overall uneasiness of the film. Finally at the film's current times, there is a great subtle final nail in the coffin attack with the sad fate of the character Ben. Being the only sole voice of reason is shot, which, at the time of filming brought harsh realities of such other African-American leaders who were brought down unfairly such as Malcolm X or Martin Luther King, even if this wasn't the original idea Romero had.

Overall, no matter how cheesy some of this movie make look to modern eyes, Night of the Living Dead is a classic for offering horror without a shred of hope, forever influencing every horror movie in it's wake.
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Important low budget horror masterclass
ametaphysicalshark28 April 2007
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!

8/10
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Classic bit of low budget horror
bob the moo4 January 2002
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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8/10
An Iconic Zombie Film
Rainey-Dawn9 June 2015
This is "the" film that changed the way zombie films were created - more horrifying than ever before. Almost all zombie films that came after this one were patterned after this movie. "Night of the Living Dead" is the most iconic zombie film ever made.

The movie is outstanding for it's genre and film type. I feel the black & white really enhanced this flick - it gave it an eerier effect than a colour film ever could. The B&W gave the zombies an almost ghostly and most definitely a ghastly appearance. I think if this movie would have been in colour then it would not have the strong appeal and overall creepiness to it that the B&W gave.

This is a wonderful late at night film that I would highly recommend to fans of the horror genre. If you have not seen this film yet then you should find a copy to rent, buy or borrow because you will not be disappointed.

8.5/10
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The film that redefined the horror genre overnight
dominic-928 February 1999
The Shining, The Exorcist and The Omen are all films that owe some of their stylistic approach to this film. This is the film that re-wrote the rules of the horror genre as it went along, whilst acting as both social critique and fond homage to 'The Birds' as well.

Romero set in place a steady breakdown of all our assumptions of the horror film, which he then utilised to full effect through the rest of this film and the two superb sequels that followed.

This is perhaps one of the greatest low budget cult movies ever made, certainly one of the most influential, and in its brutally harrowing documentary style conclusion a harsh statement on American racial attitudes. A statement which is as relevant today as it was over thirty years ago.
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10/10
Low Budget Horror That Redefined The Genre
LoneWolfAndCub23 August 2005
Night of the Living Dead, directed by Geoage A. Romero, is a horror masterpiece and the first of three of his "Dead" movies. This low budget horror has changed the way movies are made. This didn't need an "A" grade cast and a huge budget to become one the world's greatest and most influential horror movies.

This is the simple story of seven strangers who board themselves up in a farmhouse from the ravenous hoards of flesh eating zombies that are rising. But peace doesn't last for long as the tension rises, chaos and tragedy breaks out.

This movie today is still shocking. There isn't a lot of gore but the scenes with gore a shocking and disturbing, even though they are in black and white. This is still regarded as one of the best horror movies in the world.

5/5.
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8/10
The king of low budget horror films
SmileysWorld24 January 2002
The budget was low.The actors were not the top of the heap,yet Night of the Living Dead is a very effective horror film.It was the film that no doubt set the standard for horror films of today.The whole idea of freshly dead corpses returning from the grave to feed on the living makes my hair stand up,even without the movie.I find myself comparing this film with 1999's The Blair Witch Project.They are similar,not in what they are about,but in how they were made.Both films took very little money to make,used no big name actors,and were very successful and effective in presenting their respective stories.Night does get rather gory and disgusting in places,but overall is worthy of the title of "classic".
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9/10
The original and the best
beatnick4914 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie succeeds in many respects, that it is the prototype of modern zombies, and many movie situations. It's also good as to where the emphasis is (story and characters) and that it has substance.

The emphasis isn't so much on the zombies but on the characters and how they deal with the zombies; the debate as to the best defence, the escape plan. The characters (aside from Harry Cooper) are sympathetic, Ben is just trying to keep the zombies out and figure an escape, Barbara is shocked and delirious, Tom and Judy want to stay together, Helen trusts the judgement of others and cares for Karen, and Karen is unwell. The movie is not boring either, it doesn't drag out, and long.

Not only is it the beginning of the zombie genre as we know it, it's also appears to be the beginning of the concept of being besieged that make up many horrors and sci-fis. While there is a debate in the farmhouse, the zombies know what they want and they all want it. And while they aren't a team they do not fight amongst themselves. In modern movies where the protagonists are besieged, the enemy is intelligent, physically strong, fearless, stealthy (in some cases), unusual, works together, often has superior numbers, and has often never been fought before. A number of these factors are possessed by the zombies in this movie. The besieged protagonists in many movies have to deal with limited resources, frightened members, injured members, and an enemy from within. This concept has been passed on to numerous movies since (such as the other "Dead" movies, Aliens, Ghosts from Mars, and Dog Soldiers as well as many others), but none have really given the entertainment and substance that this has, with Aliens being the only exception. I cannot speak of the succeeding "Dead" movies as I have not yet seen them.

This film also has substance (however even though most horror movies are predictable, plot less, and clichéd that is what quite often makes them my escapism; but this one is still superior); there is a plot, the story flows well, has structure, and there are no inconsistencies. It's also backed up with a social commentary, I am not saying a good movie needs to send a message, but it adds to the goodness of this film. It's a social comment on the late Vietnam War era; the establishment don't know what to do and humans are being made into killers (quite literally). And even if you disregard the social-commentary, it still makes good entertainment.

The movie achieves everything above, without the use of stunts and over the top special effects.

All in all, the result is a good movie, good characters, structure, and substance. One of the best horror movies ever. It has earned itself a 9/10. Romero and Russo do many proud, judging from the votes.
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8/10
Romero Awakens The Dead
virek21315 October 2010
It is very rare nowadays in Hollywood that $112,000 will cover anything more than the cost of catering on most movies. And yet that was all it took for George Romero and a number of friends of his in Pittsburgh to make what is without a doubt one of the most significant horror films of all times, the 1968 shocker NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Detested by a lot of critics in its day for several scenes of unsettling gruesomeness (though Herschell Gordon Lewis' gore films earlier in the 1960s beat him to the punch for true stomach-turning horror), the film is now understandably highly prized of its relentless, logical approach, and for being so utterly uncompromising.

Not much more needs to be said about the plot: it merely involves seven people who have barricaded themselves inside a rural Pennsylvania home after having been attacked by flesh-eating ghouls who have returned to life from the dead as the result of an exploded Venus probe bringing back a dangerous and unknown form of radiation. What Romero and his co-scenarist John Russo (who took partial inspiration for this film from Richard Matheson's classic 1954 end-of-the-world vampire novel "I Am Legend") show, however, is the strain built up by the way the characters, especially the ones portrayed by Duane Jones and the film's co-producer Karl Hardman, react to the horror that engulfs them...whether to stay on the ground floor, or to hide in the cellar, and how best to escape even as more and more of the undead surround the place. As it turns out, of course, there is no real way out, and there is no actual good end to the whole horrible situation.

Romero, who would continue his travail through the world of the undead through several sequels over the ensuing four decades, shot this film in black-and-white largely on location just outside of Pittsburgh over several weekends in the second half of 1967. NIGHT has, in many ways, the feel of a 1950s "invasion" film (think INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS), but its setting of an isolated house under siege clearly has its roots in Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 classic THE BIRDS; and the scenes of the ghouls munching on human flesh, though brief in nature, were then, and in many ways still are, shockingly contemporary. The cast of primarily amateur actors does well at being totally naturalistic, and the low budget look of the film gives it a documentary feel that hadn't been seen in horror films before, but which would be revisited in THE Texas CHAINSAW MASSACRE and THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.

Even after four decades of parody, imitation, and sequels, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is still not for those with weak constitutions, and for those who have seen far more graphic shockers, it will likely seem painfully old-fashioned. But for true horror connoisseurs, it is up there with the very best, and is an essential film of its kind and its era.
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10/10
My Favorite Horror Movie
claudio_carvalho30 May 2013
Barbra (Judith O'Dea) and her brother Johnny travel by car from Pittsburgh to the countryside to visit the gravestone of their father in the cemetery. Out of the blue, they are attacked by a strange man and Johnny is murdered. Barbra runs and releases the brake of Johnny's car since the keys are in his pocket, and flees to an isolated farmhouse, where she locks herself inside. Barbra is in shock and soon she finds a man, Ben (Duane Jones), who is also escaping from the inhuman creatures and he reinforces the doors, windows and openings in the house. He also finds a shotgun and a radio and they learn that the radiation from a satellite that was returning from Venus has somehow reactivated the brain of the dead.

Then they find five humans hidden in the basement: Harry Cooper (Karl Hardman), his wife Helen (Marilyn Eastman) and their daughter Karen (Kyra Schon) that is sick; and Tom (Keith Wayne) and his girlfriend Judy (Judith Ridley). Harry has an argument with Ben, since he believes that the basement is the safest place for them and Harry does not agree. Along the night, the tension between the two men grows while the house is under siege by an increasing legion of living dead.

"Night of the Living Dead" is my favorite horror movie and I do not know how many times I have watched this movie (the last times had been on 31 March 2001 and 15 January 2002). I was very young the first time I saw it and I was impressed with this movie. Today I have just seen a colorized version and despite my preference for the original black and white classic, I have nothing to say against this latest version.

"Night of the Living Dead" is the debut of the cult director George A. Romero and it is amazing the movie he made with an extremely low-budget. The story is scary and tension increases along 96 minutes running time. The conclusion is ironic and a sort of justice against the decision of Ben, who refused to stay in the basement and caused the death of the whole group. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "A Noite dos Mortos-Vivos" ("The Night of the Living Dead")

Note: On 10 August 2014, I saw this film again.

On 13 September 2015, I saw this film again.
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7/10
A classic a real gem that in it's time and day really brought fright and fear!
blanbrn11 February 2018
Finally after all these years watched the cult hit classic of the now late George A. Romero's "1968's" "Night of the living Dead". And for it's time this low budget independent picture was a masterpiece that helped change the landscape and gave upcoming horror films a new path to follow. For 1968 and being in black and white it had plenty of gore, death, and blood. And even a few twists and turns in the plot were found.

Set in Pennsylvania in a small farm town the nearby graveyard starts to come alive and one by the dead have risen! And oddly enough this is a panic and epidemic that is all over the country!

It's a battle of will and determination for survival against the walking undead! Many will not like this film when comparing today's standards of special effects, graphics, and "CGI" yet one can see that this old classic was a gateway to current hits like "The Walking Dead".
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10/10
The ugliness of human nature.
sunheadbowed11 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
You can almost time it to the exact second (around 72 mins in) when audiences stopped grinning and laughing behind their hands, expecting just another safe, silly horror film, and started feeling completely and utterly terrified.

Before that moment, teenagers didn't get blown up and have their intestines eaten on screen -- it simply didn't happen; everyone always survived in the end, it was fun to be afraid because everyone would be OK when the credits rolled (and this was a period when people took what happened on the big screen a lot more seriously than we do now or ever will again).

George A. Romero's debut film doesn't just kill off the sweet innocent teenagers (in the aforementioned most gruesome fashion) -- which would become a staple of horror, along with zombies themselves -- he kills off everyone. Even the film's brave hero, a black man with a shotgun (a subversive decision in itself for the 1960s) gets shot in the head by a pack of zombie-hunting white men and tossed on a bonfire to end the film (the ending is filmed in photographic stills, which creates a somehow more disturbing, documentary-like grisly realism conclusion to the events).

What's truly scary about 'Night of the Living Dead' isn't the zombies, it is the behaviour of human beings: it doesn't matter what kind of monster or demon you survive a battle with, in the end it's the ugliness of human nature that is going to defeat you. And for that reason the film will always resonate, no matter how badly the acting and low budget effects age.
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9/10
A great old indy horror film
AlsExGal22 November 2009
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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8/10
a cool classic
msburnett9916 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This movie used to be broadcast on TV every year on Halloween when I used to live in Pittsburgh. One year it was even broadcast in "unliving color". (That was how the colorized version was described.) Colorizing the original black and white movie was a huge mistake as the colors wound up looking fake. The ghouls were given green faces and the Molotov cocktails were colored bright orange.

There was also another version I remember seeing on TV one year. Someone had done a parody of the movie by splicing together scenes from the movie and dubbing in their own dialog. In their version, the people in the farmhouse were hosting a party but everyone forgot to bring the groceries! So the problem became how to fight off angry and hungry party guests. In this case, just hand them whatever you can grab (wood, nails, etc). In the scene where Ben flips over the table, the dialog was:

"The first thing we got to do is get rid of the table! If they don't see a table, they won't expect to eat!"

after he flips over the table:

"Hey Chlorine! This table has better legs than you do!"

"Oh really? Can it dance?", replies Chlorine.

The movie then ends with the zombies dancing and saying, "Let's dance!".

As far as I know however, I don't think this version has ever been released on VHS or DVD. But the original is a movie you can have fun with. Just mute the sound and make up your own dialog.
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10/10
The first and still the best
usgator2 August 2013
I am not sure how to go about reviewing this movie since it is my favorite of all time. I watch it every Halloween, without fail, as well as several other of this type. We are talking about a 30 year span here and I still love it!

As a MAJOR horror movie buff since the age of about 10, this is the ONLY one that ever terrified me. I saw it in an extremely cut version, as a Saturday afternoon TV movie, and it still left a big impression on me. Most of the "gory" scenes were cut but it still scared the heck out of me. Everything about this movie works: from the claustrophobic atmosphere to the black-and-white cinematography ... and everything in between. Director George Romero is, and always will be, the king of the flesh-eating zombie movies.

This is the gold star of low budget horror flix. If you have not seen it, and are a horror movie fan, this is a MUST see. Do NOT hesitate, see it now, but remember this movie was made in 1968 and much of the shock value has faded as it has been done in 1000 movies since then. Keep in mind that THIS is the film the pushed the "gore" envelope and was the first modern zombie horror film and you can not help but be impressed. Once you see it you will also be compelled to see Romero's equally good sequels ... "Dawn of the Dead" (1978), "Day of the Dead" (1985) and "Land of the Dead" (2005). The other 2 ("Diary.." and "Survival ..") are not up to par, but still better than most of the other movies of this genre, no matter what the "critics" on IMDb say.

In closing, I cannot recommend this film enough for the serious, and open minded, horror movie fan.
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Horror at its absolute best.
MACE-1211 April 2001
Warning: Spoilers
"Night of the Living Dead" is proof that you do not need a multi-million dollar movie budget to make an unbelievable movie. This film still frightens many people (including myself) thirty some years after it was made. It is always amazing to me each time I watch this film how it still manages to appeal to my most basic fear instincts. There have been countless movies since this one that have been made for a hundred times as much money that I have seen and forgotten, but I am sure this one will always stay with me.

This film does such a fine job of shocking and frightening that it is easy to forget how George Romero made it remarkable in other ways. It was quite a coup in the late 60's to give a black character the lead in a movie and Romero quite cleverly satirizes race relations throughout the film. I think he is making a point of asking if human beings are really any better than the flesh-eating zombies. This is most potent at the end, when the black character is assumed to be a zombie and is shot and killed. Would they have made that mistake with a white person? Maybe. Maybe not. This is also a point that was severely botched in the 1990 remake, when they actually had Tony Todd's character become a zombie. In a way, that misses the entire point of the original.

Regardless, if you are a horror movie aficionado or someone interested in sociology, this movie must be seen. One thing is for sure. Love it or hate it, it will always stay with you.
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10/10
The one that started it all....
Although it is not needed to be said, for any zombie fan, it is anything but obligatory to view this movie because director George A. Romero is the guy who started the whole trend of making zombie films. For the year 1968, this movie had a lot going for it. As for those who may not find that older films have much appeal, this one does. Its story not only carries its own origin but also contains a well thought out written tone and a very addicting plot. Not to mention this film even has gore. Yes, gore.

The premise is very basic, a group of random individuals happen to meet up at house to hide from flesh-eating entranced humans, otherwise known as zombies. Bruce Capristo, the head of the makeup department did a great job at making the zombies look like normal people. Yet, the audience and characters alike can tell the difference between themselves and the zombies. Weird as it is, this will be the only movie Capristo would take credit for. After this he did not move on into other movies. It's also surprising to me how after this movie became a hit, that none of the actors really moved forward with their careers either. Because of this, the actors in this movie remain "no-name" actors.

Which brings me to my next point: characters. In most cases, when a movie has such a basic premise, character development ends up taking a back seat. Why? Because most audiences are more interested in seeing the plot device in action more than they are in the main characters. But what Romero and his screen writing partner, John A. Russo did was balance the screen time between the scenes of confronting zombies and the lead roles discussing how they're going to escape. This keeps the audience from becoming too bored with too much dialog or too much zombies. This holds true because too much of one thing isn't good in general. There needs to be a balance.

What remains the most potent about this picture is just how overwhelming this situation is and how quickly hope can be lost if this were to be a reality. Oddly enough, one would think that because zombies move so slowly, it would be easy to evade them. Better think twice about that claim. Even for these undead beings, they are relentless. To think if you had twenty to fifty of them around you,...sounds like its time to curl up in fetal position and go to that happy place every person has in their head. This is what Romero does with his audience, by creating a hopeless tone. It will seem like any direction taken towards escaping won't work and it's done very effectively.

But while this is effective, another great aspect to this tone is by instilling a small glimmer of hope every time an opportunity opens. This is what makes this story so gripping. I would feel right to let go and give up, but it wouldn't because you know there has to be a way to win. Also, the musical composer, William Loose did a fair job at the score. It definitely sounds like music and it does contain a reoccurring theme for the film and for the zombies themselves, so it does work.

The last area that surprised me was just how gory this late 1960's black and white film was. I mean, how did audiences back then take this film? People must have flipped out so much that it caused mass hysteria. It's obvious in a lot of scenes that the people parts used in the zombie scenes were animal parts but wow. I'm surprised Romero was let back into the film business after that. I actually wasn't expecting much at all but I'm pretty sure Romero had a lot more to put on the screen. I liked how things went with Romero's first film piece. It was evenly paced and kept me wondering what would happen next. How many films are like that nowadays?

Film legend George A. Romero has brought a treasure to generations to come, even if many would call it at the time malignant. When in fact, zombies are exactly that in our culture today. Night of the Living Dead is well constructed and boasts gross imagery even for 1968.
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10/10
A timeless nightmare!
Nightman8524 December 2005
The grandfather of low budget horror films, George Romero's classic Night of the Living Dead started a whole new genre of horror.

Folks become trapped in an isolated country house by an army of walking, flesh-eating corpses.

Night of the Living Dead is simply one of the most effectively terrifying and completely captivating horror films ever made! It stands as a great example of imagination over budget and has influenced scores of horror pictures. Romero gives us a very dark atmospheric kind of wonder that spans the entire film from its bleak opening frames to its eerie closing montage. The story is full of claustrophobic suspense and unrelenting chills! Even now, several decades after its making, this film is still as frightening as ever. In fact few horror films ever reach the terribly scary heights of Night of the Living Dead.

The films cast is great. Duane Jones is strong as the leading man. Judith O'Dea is touching and sympathetic as a traumatized young woman. Russ Steiner is memorable as O'Dea's joking brother, who delivers the films most haunting line "they're coming to get you Barbara...". The good supporting cast includes Karl Hardman as a hateful refugee, Marilyn Eastman as his wife, and Keith Wayne as a young man seeking escape.

Through and through, Night of the Living Dead is one of the greatest genre films ever made! It's solid proof that true horror never loses its effectiveness.

**** out of ****
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Horror Classic...
MovieAddict201612 February 2004
Note: There will be a full review of "Night of the Living Dead" coming soon, but until then, here's this, which will probably be deleted after I write a full-lenghth one.

Night of the Living Dead

Classic "zombie movie that started them all" about a young lady visiting a graveyard who seeks refuge in a nearby home with an assortment of various other passersby who find strange creatures attacking them from outside the house. Extremely low-budget and occasionally laughable in terms of flaws, George A. Romero's classic movie is riveting, horrifying and, quite simply, a classic of the genre. The primary inspiration for M. Night Shyamalan's hit film "Signs" (2002). An amazing horror film that proves you don't always need huge budgets and special effects to scare an audience.

*****
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10/10
Cult-classic.
Giallo196318 February 2017
This is possibly the most influential zombie movie ever made. Astonishingly made with a small budget but still dreadfully terrifying. Director: George Romero, writers: John Russo and George Romero, year of release: 1968, genre: horror, themes: desperation, apocalypse, survival and division. Now the plot is simple: a group of people barricade themselves inside an abandoned house in order to survive the onslaught of reanimated, flesh-eating ghouls. But what makes the movie most interesting is the story and interaction of the characters. None of them were heroic, they seemed pretty human and empathetic. They were divided because they each had their own agenda, which led to division between them. They could work together but they could not agree upon how to get out alive. That eventually led to the characters demise, because although they were all human they were not able to stand together. Ironic, since man has reason in contrast to the ghoul who had no reason, the ghouls were better at working together than the characters.

That is a pretty strong social commentary, because if we reflect on reality we have war, pollution and division between the rich and the poor. Through our values, culture and norms we create division among ourselves. That is a pretty interesting theme and a stable of Romero's later on in his movies. Out of 'Night of the Living Dead' a question such as "who is more dangerous, man or ghoul?" might arise. Actually I feel it rises such a question, so in a way the movie is questioning our values. Because, although that is what makes us strong as a race that is also our downside, because we might not be able to compromise our values. Anyhow, before 'Night of the Living Dead' movies were not this gory. This movie had explicit gore which lead to controversy, with critics at that time calling it an "unrelieved orgy of sadism". Of course, times have changed and the gore and violence in movies have tremendously increased. So by today's standards the gore in this movie is pretty tame. But it still delivers unrelenting terror and dread. I remember watching it the first time and I got petrified. I also watched it with a friend - who is a gore and horror movie hound - and the movie completely stunned us both.

It can be attributed to the script, story and characters because as time went on in the movie, the more desperate the characters became. So the suspense and tension was slowly building up as well as the dread. Then the audience had no choice but to embrace the terror of doom and dread.

A cult-classic that has definitely stood the test of time. 10/10
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10/10
Night of the Living Dead: The Definitive Zombie Movie
eytand944 July 2011
George A. Romero is one of the most well-known and profitable directors of the genre, thanks to half of his films being the "Dead" movies. Other movies in his career, such as "Martin" and "The Crazies," are notable, but it's Romero's first film, "Night of the Living Dead," that gets all the attention. The 1968 zombie classic made his career, and influenced many follow-ups.

Johnny and Barbara are brother and sister. They travel to a cemetery to visit their mother before her grave is moved. Barbara does not take too kindly to the cemetery, it disturbs her. Johnny playfully jokes with her, saying "They're coming to get you, Barbara." And once a slow-moving man approaches them and attacks, the nightmare begins. Johnny is killed and Barbara flees for her life. She finds shelter in a tiny, deserted farmhouse. Soon, she realizes that she's not the only one hiding out. Five other people have isolated themselves in, and the struggle to survive continues. Boarding up the house is only a temporary delay before more flesh-eating ghouls attack. Should they stay upstairs or hide out in the cellar?

In a time when hilariously awful B-grade horror films were being produced, "Night of the Living Dead" was a shocking surprise, and still is. The MPAA rating system had a fit with Romero's film, and when it was released to the public, it scared the living daylights out of everyone, including little kids who thought they were seeing a normal Saturday matinée(Roger Ebert's rave review for the film also examines the reactions of the audience).

The film definitely has an advantage in being shot in black and white. It gives off the feeling of an amateur documentary, that this could really happen.

Next to the mood and atmosphere, why does "Night of the Living Dead" work so horrifyingly well? Well, in all of Romero's movies, not just the "Dead" films, there is social commentary littered throughout. And you'll definitely find that this film has a message or two. Some saw the film as an insight into racism. It was the first film to have an African-American hero, after all. But Romero chose Duane Jones for Ben simply because he fit the part. Also, many fans examine the film as an example of the Communist movement, that you couldn't trust anyone or anything. The zombies could be anybody. They could be your neighbor, your daughter, your husband or wife. It is truly a scary concept.

The film also has undeniable claustrophobia. We are uncomfortably sealed in with the survivors, and once the zombies get in, we're not getting out. Not even the cellar can help our protagonists.

In 1968 and today's generation, "Night of the Living Dead" rang and still does ring true to every viewer. Is this what our world will come to be? Will we be unable to trust the ones we know? Will they become emotionless, mindless murderers, and will our society crumble? Romero's film is not just a 60's horror film, and it never ages. Despite the difference in years, the dead are very much alive.
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