"Night of the Living Dead" may be a bit campy for today’s audiences raised on big budget horror flicks, but as perhaps the most well known zombie flick of all time, its sheer historical value makes it worth viewing.
The film stars Judith O'dea as Barbara, a blond suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome after seeing her brother killed by zombies. Barbara eventually finds an abandoned house, where she and Ben (Duane Jones in one of the first leading roles for an African American in a horror film) fights off zombies for the rest of the movie.
In the ensuing chaos, zombies get burnt, shot and bludgeoned with a crowbar. As far as horror flicks go, "Night of the Living Dead" sets the standard for all future movies. People do horribly dumb things that get them killed, monsters jump out from behind walls and most problems get solved with a shotgun.
Director and writer George Romero made the film in 1968 on a shoestring budget, paying extras a dollar to star as the films undead flesh eaters, also the producer stars as Barbara’s brother. "Night of the Living Dead" is a perfect example of an independent film that has achieved cult fame.
While not exactly high drama or a biting social commentary, it’s a film that has to be admired for its craftiness, as well as the precedents it sets for later movies of it’s type.
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© The Voice, 2004
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