Night of the Living Dead is not what viewers today probably think of when they think “zombie movie”. In classic black and white this film they never directly use the term zombies (at least, not from what I caught), and instead of running or a mix of running and using shelter, nearly the entire film takes place in an isolated house.
This movie starts out with brother and sister Barbara (Judith O’Dea) and Johnny (Russell Streiner) in a car on their way to their father’s grave per their mother’s request. They’re going to place a cross with flowers on the grave in memory. Johnny is complaining about being so late when Barbara tells him if he’d gotten up earlier they wouldn’t be late. Johnny starts reminiscing about scaring Barbara in that cemetery when they were kids and scaring her by saying “They’re coming to get you Barbara. There’s one now!” when they see an unknown figure in the cemetery. Johnny rushes off, but Barbara walks, not thinking anything of it when the stranger attacks her! She calls out to Johnny who helps her, but ends up losing his life in the process. Barbara is able to get away in the car for a little bit, but ends up wrecking the car and runs until she finds a house she can hide in.
She’s in shock and doesn’t know what do to, and suddenly there’s a man in the house with her. This is Ben (Duane Jones) and he tries to help Barbara as best he can and not only fights off the zombies, but finds out the radio in the house works, and he boards up the doors and windows!
Come to find out, there’s a family in the cellar of the house! Harry and Helen Cooper with their daughter (Karl Hardman and Marilyn Eastman respectively) and more people arrive to the house. Tom and Judy (Keith Wayne and Judith Ridley) try to help escape and keep things calm, but it doesn’t quite work.
The film plays out really well and has a twist ending that I wasn’t expecting, but could see happening in reality.
Heather: I’d really recommend watching this with a friend. It sparked the idea of a Halloween movie night for me. Or just a classic horror movie night. The movie was good and because it wasn’t really what I expected I felt that it was neat to see where the genre started and how the genre evolved. The genre being zombie movies.