"Night of the living dead" (1968)
George A. Romero changed the face of horror films forever with his 1968 classic zombie flick, Night of the living dead. Made a super low budget in Pennsylvania with a main cast of seven people who are stuck in a rural farmhouse because the dead have come back to life and they came back hungry for human flesh! What a concept! Pure genius!
The film begins when Barbra played by Judith O'Dea goes to a cemetery with her brother Johnny played by Russell Streiner, to visit their father's grave. Johnny begins to tease Barbra who is uncomfortable being in a cemetery but uttering the now famous words, "They're coming to get you, Barbra!" Afterwards Johnny and Barbra are attacked by a zombie (known as the Flesh Eater) played by Bill Hinzman. Hinzman is the first EVER zombie to grace the silver screen-now how cool is that! Unfortunately, Johnny is killed by that Flesh Eater zombie and Barbra begins a journey of the unimaginable and unthinkable----having to fight off the living dead!
Trailer for "Night of the living dead"
One of the most magnificent aspects of this film was not just the concept and writing but also the casting of the first African-American male lead in a horror film. That honor and title goes to the late-Duane Jones, whose performance was breathtaking.
The beauty of this film is that its not just about dead people eating human flesh but about the removable of labels and barriers. It's not about being a woman or man, straight or gay, black or white but about being a living human and an undead human. Romero brought it back to basics, making it about people being people.
Part One of "Night of the living dead" where you
get to see both Hinzman and Streiner's performance-Golden!
So much happens when Barbra receives refuge in that farmhouse. Ben (Duane Jones) becomes the leader of the group and tries his best not only to keep them safe but to find a way out of that mess. I saved this film for last for my Weekend Cinema Spotlight because when I thought long and hard of one of the best horror/thriller classic films I just kept thinking about this one. This film just came from left field and no one expected such ideas to leave a long lasting effect on the movie industry and beyond.
I had the pleasure of meeting both Hinzman (Flesh Eater) and Streiner (Johnny) at a Chiller Theatre Expo and a Fangoria Convention, respectively. They were both sooooo super nice. I must say that people in the horror world are some of the nicest people you will EVER meet!
"Johnny" (Russell Streiner) and I at the Fango Convention in 2006.
He actually said to me, "They're coming to get you (my name)"
Omg he was so nice-so neat to meet him!!
"Flesh Eater" (Bill Hinzman) at the Chiller Theatre Expo
in 2006. I think he got me!! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!! LOL
So, before you watch any other zombie films which includes the t.v. show, The Walking Dead, watch the first ever zombie film and be prepared to be spellbinded! Remember without the success of this film there would be no zombie films, no "The Walking Dead" show, or "Day of the dead". Basically, we would have never even heard of the term zombie used in the fashion that Romero created on film. And there wold be no Zombie Apocalypse to be preparing for either. (Awww shucks!)
So, thank you Mr. Romero for introducing to humanity the mind bending concept of "the living dead".
Happy Halloween Everyone!