Thursday, November 12, 2009

Night of the Living Dead 1968 Movie Review

So, this is where it all began. In 1968, George A. Romero made a low-budget indie movie called Night of the Living Dead and he launched a horror genre that has been around ever since. I was never a huge zombie fan,but I have come around since seeing these movies and I am now a fan.

This movie begins with a young man, Johnny(Russell Streiner) and Barbra(Judith O Dea) who are in Pennsylvania to visit the grave of their father. Barbra is clearly not comfortable with cemeteries and Johnny makes fun of her. Suddenly an old man(S. William Hinzman) comes towards them and he grabs Barbra. Johnny steps in and tries to fend him off, but the old man throws him against a headstone and Johnny hits his head and he dies. Barbra runs away from the old man who looks very strange and eerily pale. She runs to the car and tries to get away, but there are no keys in it. She lets it roll down the hill but it hits a tree.

She has to escape on foot from then on. She finds a farmhouse and it seems to be deserted. To her horror, she seems more people like the old man and they seem to be intent on getting her. She finds the body of somebody in the house and it is mutilated terribly. Barbra tries to escape and she runs into Ben(Duane Jones) who drives up in his truck and attacks a 'thing' with a tyre iron. They go into the house and he tries to talk to Barbra who seems to be lost in her thoughts. She is scares and she doesn't speak for ages as Ben tries to get some sense out of her. She eventually tells him what happened. Ben finds a radio and tries to get some information and he finds a rifle too. They discover that there are more people in the cellar.

Harry Cooper(Karl Hardman) and his wife Helen(Marilyn Eastman) are in the cellar with their daughter Karen(Kyra Schon). Karen has been bitten by one of the things and she is sick. Also in the cellar is young man Tom(Keith Wayne) and his girlfriend Judy(Judith Ridley). Harry wants them all to stay in the cellar but Ben is not convinced that that it the way to go. They argue over it. The others want to listen to Ben so they come upstairs. Ben finds a TV and they watch the broadcasts. The things are everywhere and they are eating human flesh. They say that the 'things' are the dead coming back to life. People are told to aim for their head when trying to kill them. There are groups of men roaming the country trying to kill them.

They come up with a plan to get out to a gas pump in the back and fill the truck so that they can get away. Harry is supposed to make Molotov cocktails are fire them out the top window to distract the 'things'. Tom goes out to do it but his girlfriend follows him. Tom messes up and spills gasoline everywhere and the truck ends up exploding. Ben witnesses it as he waits on the porch and when he tries to get back inside, Harry won't let him in. Ben bursts in anyway and he beats Harry. Poor Tom and Judy end up as barbecue for the things and they are eaten. They attack the house and the others try and hold them back. Ben finally kills Harry who is no good to help. He dies in the cellar. Helen is down there with her daughter who turns into a thing. She kills her mother.

Things go from bad to worse as the things finally get inside the house taking Barbra away as she sees her undead brother. Ben has to go back to the cellar and lock himself inside after telling the others that they were better off upstairs.. Harry and Helen spring back to life and he has to dispose of them. He waits in the cellar hoping that he will get rescued eventually. The next morning, the posse has reached the area and they are killing off the things by the dozen. Ben hears the noises and he comes up to look out the window. He is shot by the men who assume that he is a thing. He dies and he is put on the fire and burned with the other things.. I liked this movie a lot. There is a bit of everything in it- zombies,tension, a tragic ending...It was entertaining and it is hard to believe that it is over 40 years old!! I am going to give this one a 9/10.


DoubleD said...

this movie is truly a classic. no question it is one of a kind. Take a deep look at the movie

Anonymous said...

Well said DoubleD.

This is one of the first horror movies I remember as a kid, and one I bought many years ago not only because I like it, but because it's also the year I was born.

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