George A. Romero directs Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea and Russell Streiner in this zombie horror where a ragtag group of survivors are besieged in a boarded up farmhouse.
“They’re coming to get you Barbara!” One of the true revolutions in cinema. Before this landmark, zombie movies were classy period dramas with a haunted ghoul… afterwards the hordes just got faster, hungrier, relentless. The fear of the mob, of the crowd, infection, loss of humanity… the 21st century’s fears predicted and given cheap celluloid form. Before this landmark, DIY indie movies were about hipsters farting about the streets of Manhattan but now you could make action, horror and thrillers on a shoestring budget. Romero proved you just needed your own energy, purpose, brute simplicity. Before this landmark, a black protagonist hardly existed on the screen unless it was a hero who conformed to white liberal Americas hypocritical standards of worthiness. Duane Jones’ Ben takes charge and takes action…“Now get the hell down in the cellar. You can be the boss down there, I’m boss up here!” Night of the Living Dead ain’t no museum piece, no milestone to be mentioned in essays then overlooked. It still grips as a movie nightmare, moves like its life depended on it, takes risks that still feel impactful. Romero’s claustrophobic framing helps, his complete abhorrence of narrative slack is essential.
Check out my wife Natalie’s Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk
We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/