Day 30: They keep coming back in a bloodthirsty lust for HUMAN FLESH!… If it doesn’t scare you, you’re already dead! George A. Romero’s original masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead.
The zombies in this movie are not very scary and don’t even look that much different than regular humans, but given when it was filmed it was probably very cutting edge. The movie looks like it was filmed on a tight budget which may have contributed to its simplicity. It has a tragic ending which was also anticlimactic in my opinion. The movie itself isn’t scary and it doesn’t really keep you on the edge of your seat either and relies heavily on dramatic music and camera shots for its scare factor. I would still recommend the movie as a must see in order to appreciate some of the origins of zombie movies.
This one is hard. Did Night of the Living Dead revolutionize the horror genre? Yes, it did. Did it age well? Eh. The tricky part is that now zombies are so much a part of our popular culture it’s hard to peel back that lens to appreciate Romero’s first iteration. Romero’s ghouls aren’t a rage fueled frenzy or giant herd ready to break into this season’s settlement, they are slow and clumsy reanimated corpses. And in 1968, that’s all horror needed to break ground on new territory. The isolation of a few survivors hiding from a gory death is textbook horror. Is it still worth your time? Absolutely.
Night of the Living Dead works on so many levels. It’s a perfect background movie or a “cuddle up and watch” movie. Unlike some other films that came out around the same time, this one doesn’t feel like it has many parts that drag on. Like a few of the others on this list, I honestly can’t say how many times I’ve seen this movie. It’s been a classic to since I could remember and I’ve probably desensitized myself to some of its horrors. I noticed this the last time I watched with my wife and she freaked on the girl in the basement scene. There are things for many fans of horror to pick up on and appreciate. This movie will always come with a heavy recommendation from me, and a lot of times, a long follow up discussion. I love what George A. Romero did with this film, crew, and budget. He makes me proud to call myself a Romero.
-Josh T. Romero