Movie Review: Night of the Living Dead

“They’re coming to get you Barbara.”

The first time I saw this, it was on the way to our hotel somewhere in Ohio. We went past the film’s location, not really putting two and two together until the end; I guess the next best thing would be to watch it in the cemetery. Anyways, my brother and I did our own riffing to this on our Nintendo DS’s; lines included “Begone, furniture demon!” (35-minute mark), “Oh deer!”, and the fact that the place has a seeming unending supply of doors and wood. That stopped when we both saw how it ended.

Now, the zombies here seem rather strong than how they’re usually depicted: slow and weak. Of course, the most recent subversion of this idea was seen in World War Z. But here, it’s interesting to see how the zombies move about and gather their strength.

The contrast in values is quite strong. The use of darkness and some scant lighting in some places, all through the black and white cinematography, help make this film more chilling. I do find it strange how early in the film it goes from early in the day to night in a matter of minutes.

I talked to a friend who is a fan of the film and we discussed how bleak the end was for our hero. Given the time period of the film’s shooting, it was radical to see an actor of a different race play the hero. I’m rooting for him to lead everyone to safety and survival. Then the ending comes and my heart drops. It’s the kind of ending where no matter how much you hope it doesn’t happen, it does and you experience rage and disgust for society, only to be reminded that truth is stranger than fiction.

It’s interesting to note that some shots echo, of all things, Manos: The Hands of Fate. It starts with a car and there are shots where Barbara is sitting on the couch that’s angled the same way (the scene where they talk about the cellar 40 minutes in or so) as the one in Manos. Now, this film has better quality in all areas than Manos but keep those instances in mind.

I do find it disappointing that Barbara just sits around in a catatonic state. Frankly, I’ve been like that in a few situations but I’d still try to help in a detached state.

As a 1001, it’s a good selection. It’s a horror staple that still carries the terror 45 years later.


1001 MYMSBYD selection


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