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Tricia's retro film reviews: Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead - 1968

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Night of the Living Dead is the 1968 horror film directed by George Romero. Barbra and Johnny go to the cemetery to visit their father’s grave. They get attacked by zombies and Barbra flees to a nearby house. She meets up with Ben, the Cooper family and a couple, Tom and Judy. Ben and Harry argue over tactics while everybody listens to the news. It turns out radiation has caused the dead to rise as zombies. The group’s only hope is to escape the house. Can they be able to get out without becoming zombies themselves?

This is a really good zombie flick that manages to hold up pretty well. Shooting in black and white was also good idea as it gives the film an eerie feel. Unusually, while the film has a downer ending, it’s on a personal level as Ben is accidentally killed. Humanity is able to defeat the zombies. The ending shows them about to burn them all and may lead viewers to compare it to pictures of lynching as it shows a group of white men burning the corpse of a black man. Romero wastes no time in jumping into the heart of the story as Barbra and Johnny are attacked by zombies in the first few minutes of the film. While the idea that radiation created the zombies is something out of a B-movie, it never gets cheesy. Surprisingly, there’s not a lot of blood and guts like in later zombie movies. In fact, most of the corpses look relatively intact. There is some gore, especially when the daughter kills Mrs. Cooper, but the film doesn’t wallow in it. We mostly see how the survivors are doing rather than the zombies attacking them. This is a really good zombie flick. Honolulu horror film fans should buy this movie.

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