Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Dir. George Romero

This gets a four only for one or two reasons (which I’ll go into later). I’d probably only recommend this to Penny, as she’s a fan of both horror and cult films.

This is a basically a B-movie–the acting especially. The acting really took away from the impact of the film, especially the woman who played Barbara. The actor who played Ben also wasn’t very good, too. Basically, these people are trapped in a house as zombies tries to get in. That doesn’t sound that great, but if you had known nothing about the film (or zombies–was this the first flesh eating zombie film?) there are some aspects that would have been scary. For example, the audience doesn’t really know what’s happening. Initially, the characters hear on the radio that there are murders caused by some mass hysteria. Gradually, they learn bits of the truth: these are undead creatures that eat people and if you are bitten you will turn into ghoul yourself.

A couple of things were pretty creepy about an otherwise non-scary film. First, the scenes of the zombies actually eating parts of two burnt humans. You don’t really see the victims, but there are close ups of the zombies eating entrails and other body parts. This was more disturbing than I thought, given I’ve seen much more graphic gore. The other scene that was pretty effective was the one where the little girl becomes a zombie and kills her mother with a garden spade. The girl repeatedly stabs the mother with the sound of the spade thunking into flesh. Again, perhaps not scary by today’s standards, but I imagine it must have been freaky when it came out. Finally, I liked the use of still photos for the ending scene. The still photos added a documentary feel and elevated the creepiness factor.

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