Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Critic Consensus: George A. Romero's debut set the template for the zombie film, and features tight editing, realistic gore, and a sly political undercurrent.
This film tells the story of a small town community theatre troupe who are premiering Mrs. Frankenstein -- a bombastic original musical -- during the annual Halloween celebration. Following a bizarre event which causes the town to be overrun by a horde of zombies, the remaining survivors barricade themselves in the theatre, fighting for their lives. The ensemble cast features a variety of quirky characters, including a former soap star, a b-movie action hero, an alcoholic who quotes Shakespeare, a starlet hoping to make it to Broadway and the awkward young man who pines for her. Together, they must fend off zombie attacks as well as confront their own personal issues if they are going to have any chance of survival. … More
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Critic Reviews for Night of the Living Dead
If [Romero's] original vision of the undead looks dulled by today's standards, his embedded political commentary on racism feels just as sharp.
Although pic's basic premise is repellent -- recently dead bodies are resurrected and begin killing human beings in order to eat their flesh -- it is in execution that the film distastefully excels.
George Romero's remarkably assured debut, made on a shoestring, about a group of people barricaded inside a farmhouse while an army of flesh-eating zombies roams the countryside, deflates all genre clichés.
Over its short, furious course, the picture violates so many strong taboos -- cannibalism, incest, necrophilia -- that it leaves audiences giddy and hysterical.
I felt real terror in that neighborhood theater last Saturday afternoon. I saw kids who had no resources they could draw upon to protect themselves from the dread and fear they felt.
Audience Reviews for Night of the Living Dead
A family, a man, and a woman hold up in a farmhouse as they try to survive an attack of zombies.
I should forgive this 1968 classic for its poor special effects, its misogyny, its predictable character types, it plot holes, its overwrought performances, and its lack of any ethical raison d'etre. But I don't. The female characters are all useless fools, and why doesn't the old lady in the attic ever wake up and attack the group of survivors? If the dead are walking and she's dead, why isn't she walking? Was her brain damaged? If so, that wasn't clear.
Overall, while it's a horror classic, there have been improvements on this genre that have made it archaic.
With some visually impressive images for it's time, and being one of the first films to have a boarded up home, fighting zombies away, "Night of the Living Dead," to me, was the spark of the genre. So many good films have come from this genre, and even dating all the way back to this picture, it's terrific entertainment. Although it becomes a tad slow at times, it still manages to hold your attention well and send chills down your spine with it's practical effects. The acting is solid for it's time and the story is well played out, but the most commendable thing about this film is it's direction. George A. Romero truly knows how to handle his actors, and each zombie does not feel out of place. All around, it's a great film, albeit simple. "Night of the Living Dead" sets a bright future for this filmmaker!
This little low-budget classic set the standard for future horror films. It also kick started the zombie subgenre as we know it today.
The set up of a group of people banding together in an isolated farmhouse during a growing epidemic is simple, but the execution is superb, and anything but simple.
The undertones about racism (intentional or not), add a nice little social commentary to the terrifying and gruesome scenes filled with shocks and suspense, and I love how this is all done so intelligently, makes the most of it's budget and other limitations, and is very memorable, not least of which for some of the groundbreaking things done here, namely the casting, subject matter, effects, and ending. Sure, some of the acting is a little weak, but overall, this is a supremely iconic and important film, so it really is a must-see.
Night of the Living Dead Quotes
|Johnny:||They're coming to get you Barbara.|
|Johnny:||They're coming to get you Barbara.|
|Ben:||I ought to drag you out there and FEED you to those things!|
|Newscaster:||It has been established that persons who have recently died have been returning to life and committing acts of murder. A widespread investigation of funeral homes, morgues, and hospitals has concluded that the unburied dead have been returning to life and seeking human victims. It's hard for us here to be reporting this to you, but it does seem to be a fact.|
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