Film Reviews: “Night of the Living Dead” (1968)

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Directed by George A. Romero.

Is “Night of the Living Dead” the greatest horror film ever made? One could make that argument and I wouldn’t challenge it. If it’s not THE greatest, then it’s certainly a contender.

Johnny & Barbra drive out to the county to put a wreath on their father’s grave. It’s a gloomy evening and they have a 3 hour drive back. Just as they are about to leave, a man approaches and pounces on Barbra! Johnny tries to fend him off and is thrown head first into a tombstone. Barbra flees to an abandoned country house. She locks herself inside. More ghouls approach and surround the house. They slowly bang on walls and doors. Barbra is starting to lose her mind!

And that’s how the film begins… If you haven’t seen it, make it a priority! The story is so suspenseful and eerie, that I wouldn’t dare give the rest away. From start to finish you really feel alongside the ghastly events as they unfold. It’s that feeling that makes my stomach a pit of nerves while watching this.

“Night of the Living Dead” is a true classic. It also spawned an entire franchise of horror. We are of course talking about the modern day zombie, but they don’t refer to “them” as zombies in this. The are simply “ghouls” or “the recently dead.”

This is a mood film that I watch several times a year, especially on dark & cloudy afternoons. While the film’s sequel “Dawn of the Dead” tops “NOTLD” in many ways, it cannot match the film’s gloominess. The black & white print is gorgeous to look at. It’s a perfect film, even in its flaws. I love it for what it is, an honest and ambitious low budget effort that can never be duplicated.

4.0 out of 4.0 stars.

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