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Not Rated
Copyright 1968 Image Ten Inc.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Ben - Our hero, he is deadly with any improvised weapon and displays more common sense than ten of the other characters. Unfortunately shot by an overzealous bunch of zombie hunters.
  • Barbra - Spends most of the film in shock, right after her wits return she ends up the main course.
  • Harry - Wormy little asshole (now there is some verbal imagery) who does not like playing second fiddle to Ben. Ends up with 30-30 bullets in his belly and head, plus Karen gnaws his arm off.
  • Helen - Harry's wife, not a whole lot of love in the marriage. Troweled to death by her daughter.
  • Karen - Harry and Helen's daughter, she was bitten by a zombie and unconscious most of the film until becoming a flesh eating monster.
  • Tom and Judy - Country couple. He is definitely a good old corn fed boy, plus an expert at driving pickup trucks. Both are turned into barbecue.
  • Johnny - Barbra's mean brother, he gets bounced off a gravestone early on and returns as a zombie.
  • Chief McClelland - Leader of the local zombie hunters, he has a belt with some very large bullets in it. (.50 cal?) Odd thing is, they would never fit his rifle.
  • The Zombies - Dead people brought back to life by radiation from Venus.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Any horror buff will instantly recognize this film, actually any respectable film buff should. Shot in black and white on a shoestring budget, it defined the modern zombie movie and set the stage for a bloom of Italian horror films.

Barbra and Johnny drive several hours to visit their father's grave. At the cemetery a frightening man attacks, after watching the zombie kill her brother Barbra realizes she still has feet and quickly beats them to an old farmhouse. This is our main setting, normally being confined as such is a warning sign to audiences, but not here. Soon the others are present and between the characters' interactions with each other, the zombies, and their meager sources for information (radio and television) you will never be bored.

The television delivers the only serious goof. Authorities were not organized until after dark, nor did they realize these were zombies until sunset was long past, so the report showing Chief McClelland and his men creates a paradox. Another question, where was the television hidden upstairs? Did the woman who owned the farmhouse unplug and hide it every night in a closet?

Tom, Judy, and Ben make an attempt to refuel the truck so everyone can escape, but after shooting the lock off the pump a stray torch sets the gasoline stream on fire. The truck explodes (providing the zombies with an impromptu cookout) as Ben flees back to the farmhouse and a confrontation with Harry. With the two dominant males at each other's throats the zombies break in. It is a grim ending, among the most depressing ever, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Make sure you bury your parents close to home.
  • Zombies are responsible for most cases of vandalism.
  • Do not mess with some guy who has a tire iron, especially if his adrenaline level is skyrocketing.
  • Funeral clothes are made from polyester.
  • A house is full of scrap wood if you are creative.
  • Zombies are insectivores.
  • Only men are useful in any sort of emergency.
  • Zombies love barbecue.
  • Entrails have the same entertainment qualities as Play Dough.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 8 mins - Yes, yes, you're on the other side of a glass window. I think this zombie was a mime before he died.
  • 10 mins - Barbra is running through rough fields with no shoes on. Can you say ouch?
  • 27 mins - You are wearing an overcoat, no wonder it is hot. Stupid whacked out woman...
  • 52 mins - Not very sturdy as doors go.
  • 59 mins - Radiation is bringing the dead back to life?
  • 76 mins - That is probably a raw cow liver and you sir are the man.
  • 79 mins - Here is the suspect TV footage.
  • 92 mins - Ben, I would not stick my head out that window...

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note nightdead1.wav Johnny: "They're coming to get you Barbra."
Green Music Note nightdead2.wav A radio broadcast about the epidemic.
Green Music Note nightdead3.wav Harry: "You're insane, the cellar's the safest place!"
Ben: "I'm telling you, they can't get in here."
Harry: "And I'm telling you, those things turned over our car."
Green Music Note nightdead4.wav Reporter: "Are they slow moving, Chief?"
Chief McClelland: "Yeah they're dead, they're all messed up."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipnightdead1.mpg - 2.4m
I'm coming to get you Barbra.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 6
Night of the Living Dead
Reply #9. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by bloodandivory
Thing "I" Learned From This Film...

Every farmhouse has numerous boxes of 2 to 3 inch nails  and many hammer substitues handy.

Okay, I love this is a total classic... and, incidentally, it is the first film that featured a black actor in a role not specifically calling for a particular race.  I think that's pretty cool!

Most of the actors here weren't professionals, and neither were the makers, really, but they managed to create a fantastic movie that works, not only as a horror film, but as a keen social commentary.

Image Ten, listed as the production co., was so called because G. Romero found 10 people who'd contribute 1,000 dollars a piece to make the film.  Some of the backers actually appeared as zombies in the film!  I know of at least one who did, anyway.

Turns out old George R. went over budget... he spent a max of 16,000 dollars.  Given the revenue this film has taken in, it beats any other film in American history for income vs. cash outlay.

Whatever its flaws, I think it is a landmark film and a brilliant one.  The focus (not on what caused the disaster, but how humans relate and deal with it) was ahead of its time and wonderfully rendered.  The bleak outlook on human nature is more horrific than the zombies.

I first saw it in '71 (I was six years old, but my parents are like that -  no sex, but all the horror I could handle) and I remember it clearly from that first viewing.  I've loved it ever since. Though I enjoyed the remake, and sort of appreciated Barbara's more active role, the original is still alright with me!  Five Stars!
Night of the Living Dead
Reply #10. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Steve
Night of The living Dead - a cult classic, agreed. I'm afraid I must disillusion chaplin889' (Paul Westbrook)It isn't the debut of the walking dead - that (dubious) honour belongs to us Brits. Hammer films made Plague Of The Zombies in 1965. It also includes the first zombie decapitation!
Night of the Living Dead
Reply #11. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by master_d_68
I remember renting this movie for free at the local library when I was maybe 9 or 10. I popped it in, and laughed my ass off! The nude zombie invoked a couple of rewinds, but the ending came as a shock, I remember getting p**sed off at it, and kept rewinding it to make sure what I saw actually happened and I kept yelling at the mob to look closer at the silouette in the window. Depressed, I went to bed, but I discovered I couldn't. This movie, that I had dismissed as an unintentionally hilarious piece of shock grew scary as the night arrived. Memories of the little girl killing her parents, and Ben trapped in the cellar below a bunch of angry, hungry zombies, why didn't they open the door? What if they did? This movie was the scariest movie I had ever seen, and it still is. God bless you George Romero for my bouts with insomnia.
Night of the Living Dead
Reply #12. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by John Peterson
It's hard to believe that this classic movie is on the site.

However, the 30th anniversary edition that John Russo is responsible for DESERVES to be at the very top because it stinks to high heaven.

What a way to cheapen a legacy. Thanks a lot, John, Russ Streiner, Bill Hinzman, and Karl Hardman. You guys should have known better.

And thanks, Scott Vladimir Licina for taking a perfect score (a library one, to boot) and substituting an anemic one. What a dude. Not to mention your acting (non)ability.

And a Big thank you to George Romero for having the common sense NOT to take part with the 30th anniversary edition.

Thank you for letting me vent.
Night of the Living Dead
Reply #13. Posted on May 29, 2001, 05:18:30 PM by Matt
I saw this film when I was still in high school! It was played on TV, at around Midnight! I was at a friends house and I had to walk home afterwards! Down this dark road, and nothing but woods around! I was really scared! This movie was low budget but delivered big! I remember during the show the network kept flashing a banner at the bottom of the screen: THIS IS ONLY A DRAMATIZATION! And lastly this show should only be seen in the original B/W. Format! It really adds to the eerie mood!
Night of the Living Dead
Reply #14. Posted on June 24, 2001, 10:39:54 AM by Jimmy Wadd
Nobody seems to realize that Harry was right.  The basement was indeed the safest place.  Ben got exactly what he deserved, the overbearing bastard.
Night of the Living Dead
Reply #15. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Richard Of Portland
Night of The Living Dead is what horror movies should be, not just young horny adults screwing around while a serial killer knocks them off one by one.

I say this movie as a young Child, For months I was scarred silly and feared cloudy days.
Night of the Living Dead
Reply #16. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Ashleigh
This film wasn't really that scary, but I still consider it a classic. I haven't watched it more than once, and I don't care if I ever see it again. Well worth the experience, but really just OK. Sorry, everyone!
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